S. P. Eagle: A Biography of Sam Spiegel

Andrew Sinclair, Author Little Brown and Company $17.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-316-79236-3
Gottfried Reinhardt called him a congenital crook, John Houseman said he parlayed a pack of lies into a motion picture and Arthur Schlesinger eulogized him as the last of the giants. The author of this brisk biography provides plenty of evidence to indicate that all three descriptions of Sam Spiegel may be valid. With criminal convictions in Europe and Mexican authorities on his trail, Spiegel entered the United States as an illegal alien in 1939 and went on to win three Academy Awards for producing such movies as The African Queen, On the Waterfront, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. Sinclair doesn't dwell so much on moviemaking per se as on Spiegel as the ultimate Hollywood hustler; devious, clever and charming, he was ""a loyal friend, a hard master and a terrible enemy.'' A thoroughly enjoyable work by the author of Adventures in the Skin Trade. Photos. (February)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
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