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Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master

by Michael Sragow

Availablepaperback$27.95s 978-0-8131-4441-2
Availableepub$27.95s 978-0-8131-4442-9
Availableweb pdf$27.95s 978-0-8131-4443-6
Screen Classics
694 pages  Pubdate: 12/10/2013  6 x 9  52 b&w photos

Best remembered for the iconic classics Gone with the Wind (1939) and The Wizard of Oz (1939) to the silver screen, Victor Fleming also counted successful films such as Red Dust (1932), Captains Courageous (1937), Test Pilot (1939), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), and the groundbreaking Joan of Arc (1948) among his more than forty directing credits. One of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood’s golden age, Fleming (1889–1949) was renowned for his ability to make films across a wide range of genres. In Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master, author Michael Sragow paints a comprehensive portrait of the talented and charismatic man who helped create enduring screen personas for stars such as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Gary Cooper.

Michael Sragow is the movie critic for the Orange County Register and contributes regularly to the New Yorker. He edited Produced and Abandoned: The National Society of Film Critics Write on the Best Films You’ve Never Seen and two volumes of James Agee’s work for the Library of America.

Victor Fleming strides through Michael Sragow’s eponymous biography with the panache of Rhett Butler—and no wonder, since the director helped forge Clark Gable’s onscreen persona with Red Dust and Test Pilot years before they reunited for Gone With the Wind. -- Wendy Smith -- Los Angeles Times

Not only persuasive in its argument that Victor Fleming was one of the unsung titans of his era, [this book] also makes for a fascinating case study in how power was acquired, wielded, and lost during the 1930s and ’40s. . . . For readers with a limited knowledge of the movie industry, its transition from silent to talkies, and the rise of the big studio picture, Sragow’s thorough scene-setting could double as a cinematic history lesson—illuminating the many famous lives that Fleming touched (and helped to shape) and the ways in which sets, casts, contracts, and careers worked during Hollywood’s grand glory days. -- S. James Snyder -- Time

Sragow is immensely attentive to Fleming’s films, and he traces in detail the fortunes of all the people connected to them, but his book is held together by what can only be called the romance of movie-making in the studio era—the large, free, hard-drinking life that the men (but rarely the women) enjoyed when movies were still made quickly and relatively cheaply, craft was spoken of with respect, and art was barely mentioned. -- David Denby -- New Yorker

Michael Sragow’s Victor Fleming is certainly among the best film director biographies ever published. Mr. Sragow captures the man, a life and an era that is, as the title of Fleming’s most famous film put it, ‘gone with the wind.’ -- Peter Bogdanovich -- Wall Street Journal

Winner of The Marfield Prize given annually by the Arts Club of Washington