One of Rollyson's favorite Hollywood biographies, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
The Unruly Life of Woody AllenRead about the other books on Rollyson's list.
by Marion Meade (2010)
It is hard to pull off an unauthorized biography of a living figure, but Marion Meade does so with aplomb. Her painstaking research results in a concise and penetrating account (originally published in 2000 and recently revised) of Woody Allen's career and working habits. We learn, for example, about the different drafts of his masterpiece, "Annie Hall," which Allen wanted to title "Anhedonia"—until test audiences reacted with "blank stares." The book argues that, after "parading his insecurities, phobias, and deep self-deprecation," the filmmaker came ever closer to his audience, who could see themselves or parts of themselves in this endearing character or, more precisely, in his problems. Meade views "Hannah and Her Sisters" as the best of his achievements, with its beautifully crafted screenplay that shrewdly maintains its focus on character while exploring the heart of family relationships. She doesn't flinch from describing the scandal that erupted when he was discovered in an affair with Mia Farrow's 19-year-old adopted daughter—but this biography concentrates on this distinguished filmmaker's tireless pursuit of his art.
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The Page 99 Test: American Isis.
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