Forty Years in Film: John Frankenheimer Talks About His Life in the Cinema

Gerald Pratley

This book traces the career of the maverick American director John Frankenheimer from his early days in television and his debut film, The Young Stranger in 1956, to Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, Grand Prix and The Fixer, to the most recent projects for HBO and his latest film, Ronin.


Author Gerald Pratley, the film critic and commentator, has assembled over the years interviews with Frankenheimer in which the director talks both informatively and entertainingly about his career. The result is a book which not only examines the films in detail but also provides commentary from the director himself, thus making this a very personal study of a filmmaker and his work. Pratley also offers fascinating first-hand "On Location" reports for many of the films.


In a series of recollections, the director talks openly about his career, its highlights and successes as well as its failures and low points. He gives graphic descriptions of how his films were made, who he worked with and how he has survived through the rapidly growing and changing film industry in America.


Over the years, Frankenheimer has worked with many actors and maintained particular working relations with stars such as Burt Lancaster who appeared in several of Frankenheimer's earlier films such as Birdman of Alcatraz, The Train, and Gypsy Moths; and Alan Bates who starred in The Fixer. In more recent years, Frankenheimer has worked with respected actors such as Raul Julia and Kyle MacLachlan in his films for HBO, which is now a major force in the making of films for television in the United States.


It's not just the stars who are discussed in Frankenheimer's recollections but many of the director's colleagues in the making of films. The producers, the script writers, the photographers and editors all contribute to his vivid account. The director talks frankly and sometimes critically about his relationship with the studios, about the American film industry as a whole, and about the personalities he has encountered over his long career in the industry.


This is the definitive book on Frankenheimer, a director whose work has in turn been daring, extravagant, innovative and always interesting. This book is also about being an American film director during the past four decades. It speaks clearly of the very particular world that makes the most extraordinary demands on individuals and will be of interest to those who want to know more about not just Frankenheimer but also the mechanics of filmmaking and about the American film industry of recent times.

0934223475 (AUP)
Lehigh University Press - The Films of Frankenheimer