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Some Like It Wilder: The Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder

by Gene D. Phillips

Availablecloth$39.95s 978-0-8131-2570-1
Availableweb pdf$39.95s 978-0-8131-7367-2
Availableepub$39.95s 978-0-8131-3951-7
Screen Classics
464 pages  Pubdate: 02/05/2010  6 x 9  47 b&w photos

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One of the most accomplished writers and directors of classic Hollywood, Billy Wilder (1906–2002) directed numerous acclaimed films, including Sunset Boulevard (1950), Sabrina (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), and Some Like It Hot (1959). Featuring Gene D. Phillips’s unique, in-depth critical approach, Some Like It Wilder: The Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder provides a groundbreaking overview of a filmmaking icon. Wilder began his career as a screenwriter in Berlin but, because of his Jewish heritage, sought refuge in America when Germany came under Nazi control. Making fast connections in Hollywood, Wilder immediately made the jump from screenwriter to director. His classic films Five Graves to Cairo (1943), Double Indemnity (1945), and The Lost Weekend (1945) earned Academy Awards for best picture, director, and screenplay. During the 1960s, Wilder continued to direct and produce controversial comedies, including Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) and The Apartment (1960), which won Oscars for best picture and director. This definitive biography reveals that Wilder was, and remains, one of the most influential directors in filmmaking.

Gene D. Phillips is author of Creatures of Darkness: Raymond Chandler, Detective Fiction, and Film Noir and Godfather: The Intimate Francis Ford Coppola.

Phillips intertwines Wilder’s life story, drawn from archival records and his interviews with Wilder, with his films, providing a plot synopsis, quotes, anecdotes, and mildly interesting trivia for each film. -- Library Journal

Phillips presents Wilder in accurate detail and sets many legends to rest. He understands and analyzes each project with support from his copious research, countless interviews with those who knew and worked with Wilder, as well as an interview with the grand master himself. . . . He goes beyond the surface and deep into the complex mind and soul of the famous film director. . . . This book is, in my view, definitive. -- Vincent LoBrutto, author of Martin Scorsese: A Biography

Wilder often clashed with the strict production codes and national conservatism in order to present lively characters and plots that were out of the ordinary. He left behind a rich legacy and the reputation for being a master at his craft. -- Vincent LoBrutto, author of Martin Scorsese: A Biography

Phillips, who interviewed Wilder several times, has mastered the voluminous correspondence between Wilder and his antagonists and collaborators, which reveals a hidden history of studio filmmaking that often contradicts the myths. -- DGA Quarterly

Some Like it Wilder is an absolute must for any fan of film history or for film history collections in general. -- Wisconsin Bookwatch

[Phillips] tells the story of this iconic filmmaker’s journey from being a writer who escaped Nazi controlled Germany to becoming an Academy award-winning director. -- kydirect.net

Wilder’s life story, told before, is very usefully updated here. Recommended. -- Choice

Featuring Gene D. Phillips’ unique, in-depth critical approach, Some Like It Wilder: The Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder provides a groundbreaking overview of a filmmaking icon. . . . This definitive biography reveals that Wilder was, and remains, one of the most influential directors in filmmaking -- Turner Classic Movies

The real trick is to keep the narrative interesting, and Father Phillips is certainly up to the task, so much so that his book has recently been touted on the America Movie Classics cable television network—surely a promotional coup for the University Press of Kentucky. Wilder’s life story told many times before is here usefully updated. -- J.M. Welsh -- Literature/Film Quarterly

Some Like It Wilder: The Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder paints both a comprehensive and affectionate portrait of Wilder. . . . The work remains and speaks for itself, but this book will give anyone interested in Wilder a fresh insight into how it got made. -- Pretty Clever Films