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Showing posts from January, 2021

Book Review: Conversations with Wilder by Cameron Crowe

Conversations with Wilder is Cameron Crowe's attempt to do for Billy Wilder what Francois Truffaut did for Alfred Hitchcock in his 1966 book Hitchcock/Truffaut . The young French film maker and the veteran British director had sat down and gone over Hitchcock's film career in a series of interviews for a book that would become a mine of Hitchcock quotes, and probably the best known of the many books on Hitch. At the time that Conversations with Wilder was published, Billy Wilder was one of the last remaining great film directors of the Hollywood studio era. A former journalist, Wilder's film career had begun in Europe, before he moved to the US in the early 1930s to work as a screenwriter.  As with some later writer-directors, it was frustration with the treatment of some of his scripts that prompted him to turn to directing himself, paving the way for other writers to do the same. From the 1940s to the early 1960s, Wilder made a string of films that have gone on to almos

The Fourth Protocol (1987)

This Cold War thriller was based on the novel by Frederick Forsyth and gives an early lead role to future James Bond star Pierce Brosnan. This time, though, Brosnan plays a Soviet spy, working on a plot to detonate a nuclear bomb in Britain, and Michael Caine is the British agent who has to stop him. Caine plays John Preston, an agent of Britain's internal security service MI5. Preston is one of those troublesome mavericks so popular in the movies, who are always breaking rules and clashing with their bosses. Preston is barely tolerated by the acting head of the service, the unctuous Brian Harcourt-Smith (Julian Glover), and when the opportunity arises Preston is shuffled off to the relative backwater department overseeing airports and ports.  In his new post, Preston is sent to investigate when a sailor is killed in an accident while trying to leave a Soviet ship in Glasgow docks at 2 am. The Russian sailor was challenged as he tried to leave and ran into an oncoming lorry. Among