Million Dollar Movie

Michael Powell, Author, Martin Scorsese, Introduction by Random House (NY) $30 (626p) ISBN 978-0-679-43443-6
This outspoken, splendidly rambling memoir is the great British director's (d. 1990) follow-up to his A Life in the Movies. While the earlier volume discusses the making of the eccentric and opulent Red Shoes (1948) and Black Narcissus (1947), Powell chronicles here a career in decline, one bottoming out with the much-derided Peeping Tom (1960), a study of voyeurism to be celebrated only by a later generation of filmmakers-among them Francis Ford Coppola, who serenaded a delighted Powell in a Manhattan restaurant, and Scorsese, who spurred reappraisal of Powell's career. To Powell, Hollywood executives were ``chair polishers'' myopically focused on the bottom line; he and collaborator Emeric Pressburger, on the other hand, were artists for whom the box-office ``grosses are too gross.'' The book is buoyant and unpretentious, full of affectionate anecdotes about actors Jennifer Jones, Michael Redgrave and Dirk Bogarde; larger-than-life producers Samuel Goldwyn and Alexander Korda; and figures great and obscure-Henri Matisse, Hitchcock, even Powell's beloved dogs, who take over the narration at strategic points-that reflect Powell's exuberance and generosity. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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