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Spielberg on Spielberg (2007)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary | Biography  -  9 July 2007 (USA)
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Considered to be one of the most respected film critics in the country, as evidenced by his work with Time magazine, Richard Schickel is widely known for writing, producing and directing a ... See full summary »

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Considered to be one of the most respected film critics in the country, as evidenced by his work with Time magazine, Richard Schickel is widely known for writing, producing and directing a number of documentaries about Hollywood and its most important figures. As the producer of works such as "Woody Allen: A Life in Film" and "Scorsese on Scorsese", Schickel allows legendary filmmakers to explain their work. This time, Schickel has reunited with producer and director Steven Spielberg (welcome back from Mars if you haven't heard of him) for his most recent effort, "Spielberg on Spielberg", which premiered on Turner Classic Movies. The pair also collaborated on 2000's "Shooting War", a profile of World War II photographers. Already a living legend, the Oscar-winning director has chosen to share one of the most impressive American success stories: that of a young filmmaker who was brave enough to dare to dream and who would eventually give the world some of the most entertaining and ... Written by alfiehitchie

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9 July 2007 (USA)  »

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Spielberg talks enthusiastically about his films...
22 May 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

I'm not quite sure why the credits state that this was "written by Richard Schickel" because STEVEN SPIELBERG does all of the talking without notes, seemingly from the top of his head, and they seem to be his own words, not the words of a writer.

He begins telling how he made home movies as a boy, and as a young man took one of those bus tours to the Universal studio where he hid out in the men's restroom and waited until the tour left before he began his own walking tour of the various buildings. After meeting one of the department heads, he was lucky enough to get a three day pass that enabled him to return day after day for further inspection of the premises and to get familiar with the various aspects of film-making. He even returned on the fourth day, hoping the studio guard would recognize him and let him in. He did, and Spielberg spent the rest of his summer vacation on the Universal studio lot.

He dropped out of college in his sophomore year to direct and thereby began his career behind the camera, first in films for television (his first TV film starred Joan Crawford and Barry Sullivan), and then for the major studios.

He has some fascinating tidbits to tell about his reasons for making all the films on his resume--everything from early films like DUEL and SUGARLAND EXPRESS, to his triumph with JAWS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. He even had to learn from his failure with 1941 (Pauline Kael had warned him what a difficult time critics would give him once he had a failure).

But then came RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, E.T. and JURASSIC PARK, all of which benefited from his unbridled imagination and enthusiasm.

He discusses his darker films too, declaring that THE COLOR PURPLE was his first adult drama; that EMPIRE OF THE SUN was told from a boy's point of view, always looking upward at the freedom of flying; SCHINDLER'S LIST was the portrait of a very ambiguous man and a very difficult period for the Jewish people.

He talks too about SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, A.I., MINORITY REPORT, WAR OF THE WORLDS, MUNICH and AMISTAD, and why these projects captured his imagination and were important projects for him to do.

Any film buff would be interested in this documentary on a great filmmaker.


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