Hollywood Trail Boss

Burt Kennedy, Author, Max Evans, Foreword by Berkley Publishing Group $13 (208p) ISBN 978-1-57297-295-7
As a screenwriter, Kennedy wrote several of the well-regarded Bud Boetticher westerns starring Randolph Scott (The Tall T; Ride Lonesome), and as a director, he brought an uncommon wit to such westerns as the James Garner film Support Your Local Sheriff. As a talented writer who has worked with such stars as Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra and Alec Baldwin in his long film and TV career, Kennedy could reasonably have been expected to have come up with a number of well-crafted movie anecdotes. But this featherweight ""memoir"" reads like the scarcely edited transcript of rambling tape-recorded reminiscences, with no particular shape or structure (at one point, Kennedy even says, ""I want to read you what I put in my diary that day""). Too many of these ""stories"" are overelaborate and pointless accounts of petty troubles on location--too much rain, muffed lines, overbearing producers. The best anecdotes in the book aren't Kennedy's, in fact, but the umpteenth retelling of other people's well-known stories about director John Ford's brutality or John Wayne's movie-star capriciousness. One section is nothing more than a list of famous people Kennedy has known--no stories or insights, just banal asides like ""Ann-Margaret, a dear girl."" Potential readers are justified in being scared off by the introduction, in which character actor Jack Elam admits that ""I haven't seen one line of this book."" The book includes a filmography of Kennedy's career. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
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