Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age at the American Film Institute certainly gets the nod for clunkiest title of the year. (Who would have bought Kevin Brownlow’s The Parade’s Gone By if he’d called it Aged Veterans of the Silent Screen Talk Shop to an Inquiring Young Scholar from England?) Luckily, the title of George Stevens Jr.’s collection of interviews isn’t at all indicative of the content. The interviews, culled from seminars held at the American Film Institute in its salad days, are valuable for all sorts of reasons. Here, waxing nostalgic—or just waxing—are George Cukor, William Wyler, Raoul Walsh, Howard Hawks, Hal Wallis, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, Stanley Cortez, Ernest Lehman, Fritz Lang, Jean Renoir, Federico Fellini, King Vidor, Harold Lloyd, James Wong Howe, William Clothier, Elia Kazan, Richard Brooks, Ingmar Bergman and Satyajit Ray … among others. There are phenomenal bullshit artists in the mix, and serious artists, and every gradation of craftsman in between, but the prevailing tone set by three quarters of the interviewees is a fierce idealism. Many of these men—yes, it is an all-male crew—say the same thing in different words.
more from the NY Observer here.