Out of Focus: Power, Pride, and Prejudice--David Puttnam in Hollywood

Charles Kipp, Author, Charles Kipps, Author William Morrow & Company $22.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-688-09022-7
Variety editor Kipps reveals a stunning combination of arrogance and naivete on the part of British filmmaker David Puttnam, whose 1986 appointment as CEO of Columbia Pictures ended in less than one year amid a storm of controversy. Puttnam, who produced a series of minor period pieces before his Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire , thought he had a mandate from Columbia's parent company Coca Cola to challenge the Hollywood establishment for what he perceived to be a tradition of mediocrity, according to the author. He shows how Puttnam became a media darling with antagonistic broadsides aimed at the Hollywood creative and business communities. He scuttled moneymaking properties like Ghostbusters II and Moon struck , later claiming he had not realized Coke's main objective was to produce highly profitable films. This lively, entertaining book concludes that Puttnam's efforts to keep the stature and money of the CEO position while wearing the mantle of an outsider led to professionally self-destructive behavior. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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