1942: The Third Reich is at its peak. The Czech resistance in London decides to plan the most ambitious military operation of WWII: Anthropoid. Two young recruits in their late twenties, ... See full summary »
This documentary does a good job of analyzing Steven Spielberg's film career. It is in rough chronological order, but not exact chronological order. For example the film starts out with "Jaws" (1975) and comes back to Steven's film directorial debut with "Duel" (1971) later.
It goes into details about his home life only when it is relevant to his work as filmmaker, and it is apparently relevant a great deal. The audience knows this because it is Steven Spielberg himself who contributes the most to the commentary. Apparently Steven has a great gift - he has retained a vivid memory of what it was like to be a child all of these years later. That explains why he made some of the films he did, and how he worked with children and could show the viewpoint of children so well. Spielberg talks about how he has had the same team of professionals working with him on films for years, some since the 70s, and he pays tribute particularly to composer John Williams.
It does go into some of his failures, though only briefly. Apparently he considers "1941" (1979) a failure, and I guess I can see how coming off one hit after another in the mid to late 70s he might feel that way.
Many of the actors and actresses that have starred in his film are almost giddy with praise, and I guess we should expect that, but that is countered with Spielberg's criticism of his own work, which is very insightful.
The best stories: the pandemonium and the overruns in time and money on the set of "Jaws", and how Steven Spielberg, the perennial C student, could not get into USC film school no matter what he tried, so in 1968 he simply trespassed on the Universal lot, found a vacant office and took up residency, and began to go on different sets learning how professional directors practiced their craft. He was even thrown off the set of a Hitchcock film once! However, it was six months before anyone even challenged his presence at Universal, and even then he ended up with a seven year contract directing for Universal TV. Things and security have certainly changed in 50 years!
I'd highly recommend this work to anybody who wants the story of Spielberg's career from the mouth of the subject himself. 147 minutes seems like a long documentary, but for me the time just flew by.
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