cover image Spielberg: The Man, the Movies, the Mythology

Spielberg: The Man, the Movies, the Mythology

Frank Sanello. Taylor Trade Publishing, $22.95 (280pp) ISBN 978-0-87833-911-2

That adversity is the mother of invention certainly holds in the life of the most successful filmmaker of all time. Born in 1947, Spielberg grew up as a harassed Jew in a WASP suburb of Cincinnati. Fascinated by film from an early age, he used his sisters as actors as he made movies as a teenager. Rejected at the prestigious UCLA Film School because of insufficient grades, in 1969 he directed his first movie, Amblin', which won awards at the Venice and Atlanta film festivals and was brought to the attention of executives at Universal Studios. His first professional job was directing Joan Crawford in a segment of Rod Serling's Night Gallery TV series. He first hit paydirt with The Sugarland Express and in 1975 would become an artistic and financial success with Jaws, which was followed by Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Sanello (Cruise: The Unauthorized Biography) chronicles behind-the-scenes stories about the making of each Spielberg picture. He also looks at the director's marriages to actresses Amy Irving and Kate Capshaw. Although the author tends to psychoanalyze Spielberg over his emerging sense of Jewish identity and the making of Schindler's List (for which Spielberg won an Oscar for best director), this is a solid, fast-paced bio. Photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)