Combustible Celluloid
 

Conversations with Wilder, by Cameron Crowe

Review by Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Conversations with Wilder, by Cameron Crowe

Cameron Crowe, a writer and director himself (Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous) took a cue from Francois Truffaut's groundbreaking interview book with Alfred Hitchcock and sat down with the persnickety 90 year-old Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot) for a series of probing interviews. All 372 pages of Crowe's "Conversations with Wilder" (Knopf, $22.50) are devoted to nothing but Wilder's own words.

Like John Ford, Wilder himself is the source of many of the Billy Wilder legends, and this book does nothing to dispel them. But it's a most entertaining read nonetheless. If nothing else, Wilder is a brilliant and witty storyteller, and it's hard to put the book down. (According to Wilder, Cary Grant was the stingiest man alive.)

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