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Harold S. Bucquet
Richard Zanuck certainly wasn't shy when talking about his life and career
This documentary has movie producer Richard Zanuck talking about both his family and career in great depth, along with interviews of those who had worked with him. It's a good look at his life starting with his early childhood up to the time of his death. Tragically, Mr. Zanuck saw this documentary only three days before he died, but wrote a letter saying how impressed he was with the final product the day that he saw the documentary.
His famous father, Darryl F. Zanuck, founder of 20th Century Fox, had the benefit of having the studio system behind him during his entire career. Son Richard started out in the business as the studio system was collapsing, took control of his dad's studio, Twentieth Century Fox, as it was financially buckling under the weight of the death of said studio system - and Cleopatra (1962), whose failure oddly nobody mentioned - and closed the studio down until he could sort through what Fox should do next.
Richard Zanuck basically rebuilt Fox under the new studio model that the industry has today - artists come for a particular project, and then leave when they are done with that project. When Zanuck was fired from Fox - by the act of his own father - he made lemonade out of lemons and became one of those independent producers himself, spending the rest of his life working on his own projects rather than for a studio. He had many successes particularly in the 70's and 80's - most notably The Sting, Jaws, The Verdict, Eiger Sanction, Cocoon and Driving Miss Daisy. It seemed from the 90's forward he had more trouble adapting to these CGI laden times we live in, and I can hardly blame him - so do I for that matter.
Not bitter towards his dad, who really did him wrong in many respects, he seemed to have a few demons himself. He mentioned his drinking which he enjoyed very much, and that he just stopped one day when he found himself arrested for drunk driving. One odd personal thing Richard said when talking about his own marriages - he said that the first two lasted nine or ten years and that they were good marriages, yet they ended in divorce. I just found that to be an odd statement, since I would consider a good friendship to be something that lasted nine or ten years, but not a marriage.
I'd recommend this since so much of it is Richard Zanuck talking about himself, and the rest of it are people who actually worked with him - Morgan Freeman, Johnny Depp, Clint Eastwood, William Friedkin, Ron Howard, and Steven Spielberg among others, not just critics who knew his work but didn't know the man. Highly recommended.
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