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Spielberg on Spielberg 2007
Description: Movie critic Richard Schickel interviews Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg about his craft, his body of work and the film business.
Released: 09 Jul 2007 Director: Richard Schickel Writers: Richard Schickel Actors: Steven Spielberg Genres: Documentary, Biography
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Spielberg on Spielberg Reviews:

I'm not quite sure why the credits state that this was "written by Richard Schickel" because STEVEN SPIELBERG does all of the talking without notes, seemingly from the top of his head, and they seem to be his own words, not the words of a writer.He starts saying how he made home films as a boy, and as a young boy took one of those bus tours to the Universal studio where he hid out in the men's restroom and waited until the tour left before he began his own walking tour of the different buildings. After meeting one of the department heads, he was lucky enough to receive a three day pass that enabled him to return day after day for further inspection of the premises and to receive familiar with the different aspects of film-making. He even returned on the fourth day, hoping the studio guard would recognize him and allow him in. He did, and Spielberg spent the rest of his summer holiday on the Universal studio lot.He dropped out of college in his sophomore year to direct and thereby began his career behind the camera, first in movies for tv (his first TV movie starred Joan Crawford and Barry Sullivan), and then for the major studios.He has some fascinating tidbits to say about his reasons for making all the movies on his resume--everything from early movies like DUEL and SUGARLAND EXPRESS, to his triumph with JAWS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. He even had to learn from his failure with 1941 (Pauline Kael had warned him what a hard time critics would give him once he had a failure).But then came RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, E.T. and JURASSIC PARK, all of which benefited from his unbridled imagination and enthusiasm.He discusses his darker movies too, declaring that THE COLOR PURPLE was his first adult drama; that EMPIRE OF THE SUN was said from a boy's mission of view, everytime looking upward at the freedom of flying; SCHINDLER'S LIST was the portrait of a very ambiguous boy and a very hard period for the Jewish people.He talks too about SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, A.I., MINORITY REPORT, WAR OF THE WORLDS, MUNICH and AMISTAD, and why these projects captured his imagination and were necessary projects for him to do.Any movie buff would be interested in this documentary on a nice filmmaker.


Richard Schickel, who everytime does perfect movie documentaries, has again given us an insightful interview with a director. This time it's Steven Spielberg. Spielberg talks of the movies he made in childhood, his entry into present business, his first forays in directing, and his many accomplishments. The interview is interspersed with movie clips of Spielberg's teen efforts, the TV film he directed, "Duel," as well as "Jaws," "Schindler's List," "E.T.," "Close Encounters" et al.It's obvious from listening to Spielberg talk that he's a boy of tremendous energy and passion whose ambition early on led him to take risks and ask for what he wanted. I doubt very much if his success was ever in doubt among those who knew him. A dedicated family man, he tells that he wouldn't end "Close Encounters" the method he did originally, that now, as an older and committed husband and father, he knows the value of family in a method that he didn't back then. He also speaks of the formation of his Shoah Foundation, an offshoot of his work in "Schindler's List." At 60 years old, Spielberg speaks with the excitement of a boy years younger and with the rapid speech of a teenager. We can expect much more interesting and varied work from him in the years to come.


Spielberg on Spielberg (2007) *** 1/2 (out of 4) Richard Schickel's "documentary" on Spielberg is in the same vein as his 2002 movie Woody Allen: A Life in Movie and 2004's Scorsese on Scorsese. Like those two documentaries, this one here doesn't run nearly long enough but it's great hearing from Spielberg on some of his lesser known films, although there's method too much time spent with a couple of the soon day projects. The Jaws talk is kept very slim, which is nice since there are countless documents on this subject. The one thing I was really letdown by is that, unlike the another two movies I mentioned earlier, this one here doesn't really give Spielberg the time to discuss his favourite movies as a kid or the movies that influenced him the most. Schickel's documentary Watch the Skies! now has Spielberg talking about older movies so with that in mind I want some of that footage would have made it in here.



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