Director’s Cut: My Life in Film

Ted Kotcheff, with Josh Young. ECW (Legato, U.S. dist.; Jaguar, Canadian dist.), $26.95 (408p) ISBN 978-1-77041-361-0
It’s fascinating to go behind the scenes of the movies Kotcheff has directed, such as the gory First Blood and the hilarious Weekend at Bernie’s, and the story of his life proves to be equally interesting. He was raised in poverty in Toronto by a Bulgarian father and a Macedonian mother, and he spins tales of persecution and perseverance with a deft touch. He can veer from pain and sadness, as in memories of being beaten by his father, to outright hilarity, such as his story of hiding garlic in his high school’s ventilation system in response to racial slurs. But readers will primarily want the movie and TV magic, and Kotcheff delivers. A highlight is his description of living with Mordecai Richler in London, England (“The place was disgusting, but we considered it to be merely bohemian and reveled in it”), and eventually seeing Richler’s masterpiece The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz realized on the big screen. As he explains why music matters, how Gene Hackman gets into character, and how shooting a nighttime kangaroo slaughter resulted in a change in Australian hunting policy, Kotcheff’s love of the whole process of filmmaking shines through. Agent: Andrew Stuart, Stuart Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017
Release date: 03/14/2017
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