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1. Some Like It Wilder: The Life
2. Conversations with Wilder
3. Billy Wilder (Pocket Essentials)
4. Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder,
5. On Sunset Boulevard: The Life
6. Billy Wilder in Hollywood (Limelight)
7. Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot:
8. Some Like It Hot
9. Close-up on Sunset Boulevard:
10. Billy Wilder:The Complete Films,
11. Billy Wilder: Interviews (Conversations
12. Conversations with Billy Wilder
13. Wilder Times: The Life of Billy
14. Ethics and Social Criticism in
15. Billy Wilder El Cine de Ingenio
16. Billy Wilder
17. Double Indemnity: The Complete
18. Sunset Boulevard
19. The Film Career of Billy Wilder
20. Literary Readings of Billy Wilder

1. Some Like It Wilder: The Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder (Screen Classics)
by Gene D. Phillips
Hardcover: 464 Pages (2009-12-22)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$33.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0813125707
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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One of the most accomplished writers and directors of classic Hollywood, Billy Wilder (1906--2002) directed numerous acclaimed films, including Sunset Boulevard (1950), Sabrina (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), and Some Like It Hot (1959). Featuring Gene D. Phillips's unique, in-depth critical approach, Some Like It Wilder: The Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder provides a groundbreaking overview of a filmmaking icon. Wilder began his career as a screenwriter in Berlin but, because of his Jewish heritage, sought refuge in America when Germany came under Nazi control. Making fast connections in Hollywood, Wilder immediately made the jump from screenwriter to director. His classic films Five Graves to Cairo (1943), Double Indemnity (1945), and The Lost Weekend (1945) earned Academy Awards for best picture, director, and screenplay. During the 1960s, Wilder continued to direct and produce controversial comedies, including Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) and The Apartment (1960), which won Oscars for best picture and director. This definitive biography reveals that Wilder was, and remains, one of the most influential directors in filmmaking.

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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars SOME LIKE IT WILDER
It is a definitive look at the career of Billy Wilder.Each film has interesting stories connected to it.Very insightful and entertaining, especially for a movie buff.

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute must for any fan of film history or for film history collections in general
When a new media takes from, there are those who seek to embrace it for their creativity. "Some Like It Wilder: The Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder" looks into the work of Billy Wilder, a man who lived nearly a century and spent more than half of that creating films working with legendary actors of film such as Marilyn Monroe, and has been the mind behind countless truly classic films that have shaped film as an artistic medium. "Some Like it Wilder" is an absolute must for any fan of film history or for film history collections in general.
... Read more

2. Conversations with Wilder
by Cameron Crowe
Paperback: 400 Pages (2001-09)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$104.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0009GIDSG
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In Conversations with Wilder, Hollywood's legendary and famously elusive director Billy Wilder agrees for the first time to talk extensively about his life and work.

Here, in an extraordinary book with more than 650 black-and-white photographs -- including film posters, stills, grabs, and never-before-seen pictures from Wilder's own collection -- the ninety-three-year-old icon talks to Cameron Crowe, one of today's best-known writer-directors, about thirty years at the very heart of Hollywood, and about screenwriting and camera work, set design and stars, his peers and their movies, the studio system and films today. In his distinct voice we hear Wilder's inside view on his collaborations with such stars as Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, and Greta Garbo (he was a writer at MGM during the making of Ninotchka. Here are Wilder's sharp and funny behind-the-scenes stories about the making of A Foreign Affair, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Love in the Afternoon, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, and Ace in the Hole, among many others. Wilder is ever mysterious, but Crowe gets him to speak candidly on Stanwyck: "She knew the script, everybody's lines, never a fault, never a mistake"; on Cary Grant: "I had Cary Grant in mind for four of my pictures . . . slipped through my net every time"; on the "Lubitsch Touch": "It was the elegant use of the super-joke." Wilder also remembers his early years in Vienna, working as a journalist in Berlin, rooming with Peter Lorre at the Chateau Marmont -- always with the same dry wit, tough-minded romanticism, and elegance that are the hallmarks of Wilder's films. This book is a classic of Hollywood history and lore.Amazon.com Review
Conversations with Wilder, an invaluable, photo-intensive volume, is a kind of remake of Truffaut's must-read interview book Hitchcock, with Cameron Crowe in the inquisitive Truffaut role and wily 93-year-old Billy Wilder as the crafty master director. Drawing on his experience interviewing the monsters of rock and his deep, shot-by-shot knowledge of Wilder's work, Crowe gently and cunningly coaxes answers from Wilder--arguably today's most influential living director--on what made his hits tick and his flops suck, along with glimpses of what might have been. Did you know Mae West and Mary Pickford spurned Sunset Boulevard and Wilder spurned Marilyn Monroe for Irma la Douce? That The Apartment was inspired by Brief Encounter and the look of Double Indemnity was based on M? The gossipy insights are great too. Bogart spat when he talked, so Wilder couldn't back-light him in Sabrina, and Audrey Hepburn's wardrobe woman had to towel her off after each take--discreetly! Wilder loathed Raymond Chandler (partly because Chandler disdained James M. Cain when adapting Double Indemnity) but gives him his due as a screenwriter: Chandler could do dialogue and descriptions, but he couldn't construct a scene. "He was a mess, but he could write a beautiful sentence," says Wilder. Agatha Christie was the opposite: "She had structure, but she lacked poetry."

Some critics scoff at Crowe (who cried while directing emotional scenes in Jerry Maguire) for taking on the cynic Wilder. But they're brothers under the skin. Both leaped from popular music journalism to directing. Both incorporate actual events in their films. Wilder keenly regrets not filming this scene in The Spirit of St. Louis, which he claims really happened: the night before his historic flight, Lindbergh's handlers talked a pretty waitress into having sex with him. They claimed he was a virgin, and likely to die on his voyage. In the hero's parade upon his return, she waves at him through the ticker-tape, but he doesn't see her. "Would have been a good scene," mourns Wilder. Without this book, we'd never have known about it. --Tim Appelo ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wilder's Tips For Writers
This is a great book. Go to page 357 and see Mr. Wilder's tips for writers.

As a filmmaker it has been such a joy to read Mr. Crowe's CONVERSATIONS WITH WILDER.

The many production stills provided in the book show set etiquette and provide incite into film making.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun Book
Though less clear than Truffaut's book on Hitchcock (mainly because of Wilder'slack of interest in explaining himself) 'Conversations with Wilder' does echo that landmark book. Not as tightly structured as Truffaut/Hitchcock, but also a book about a Directing God, written by an admiring younger director, who wants to go through the whole career of the maestro, hoping to understand some of the magic. A must read for every Wilder fan, something every film maker (and film lover) should be. Wilder (who at first is uninterested to cooperate) seems a bit more humble than the Master of Suspence, so he tells less tricks and other details. He is far more eager to talk about his most succesful films and prefers to leave the films he regards as failures alone. Crowe however tries to come back to them, every now and then, but Wilder is a smart converser. This leads to a fun book, which perhaps shows more of the psyche of Wilder than the film technical (in the broadest sence) side of him. As a film maker you can perhaps learn more directly from Hitchcock's approach, as a film lover this is just as much fun to read. Wilder's honousty is charming and in no way a danger to the grand status of the film maker. Knowing how wonderful his masterpieces are, it is perhaps even more impressive to read how easy it seemed for Wilder to make them. Wilder is never showing off, never full of himself and always entertaining. A true genius who made some of the best films ever.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Enthusiastically recommended by Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies, the Hollywood Reporter, et.al.

If you want to get on track to one day being a happy, laughing, feisty old man, buy this book.The amazing director Billy Wilder speaks freely and delightfully with Mr. Crowe about all the things that went right, and the many, many other things that went wrong with films from "Some Like It Hot" to "Sabrina" to "The Seven Year Itch," and much more.Hundreds of photos evoke the points of discussion (or is it, thousands of photos?).Close-up discussions of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, and much more.

You may come to see Mr. Wilder as a blind date who showed up on your doorstep:a funny little German man, and not the suave genius your mother had promised at all.He spends the entire book giving you reasons why he is most certainly not the movies' knight in shining armor, but in the end (despite all his excited, hilarious minor outrages) he only proves that he is that knight, after all.

An outstanding companion to Truffaut's indespensible book on Hitchcock, but very different.Both are "interview" books, and each paints a very lively picture of its subject.But where Hitchcock comes off as a man left at the bus stop, like his cameo in "North By Northwest," with his career somehow fallen from his fingertips too soon, Wilder seems like a grandfather surrounded by delighted children in the twilight of his years.He shows us how to laugh, and roll our eyes at both success and failure, through the international language of film.

5-0 out of 5 stars great for any future film-maker
This book really allows the reader to visualize the type of person Wilder is. His character shines through in his words. Cameron Crowe succeeds in getting that more personal story behind the director by asking tougher questions. It is also very entertaining to read because of the endless stories that Billy Wilder tells about "behind the scenes" of the making of his movies.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, touching, thoughtful, well-written
With this book, you see what a huge difference great writing makes when it comes to films. Crowe and Wilder are both articulate, thoughtful, and in love with film and words. The care in this book shows. You don't just get a thorough knowledge of Wilder straight from the man himself, but you get a glimpse into Crowe and Wilder's developing relationship. It's an amazing, moving book, and it made me want to go out and rent every Wilder film I could get my hands on. ... Read more

3. Billy Wilder (Pocket Essentials)
by Glenn Hopp
Paperback: 96 Pages (2001-03)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$25.70
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Asin: 1903047366
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Charm is a useful byword for the career of Billy Wilder. His films often

explore the charm of innocence and the charm of corruption, or to put it

more precisely, the charm of corruption for the innocent and the charm of

innocence for the corrupt. The director does not regard cloistered virtue as

being very photogenic, but tainted virtue is another thing entirely. In his

most serious dramas, characters who have compromised and corrupted

themselves in tragic ways-like Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard and Chuck

Tatum in Ace In The Hole-undertake too late to reclaim their integrity. In

his comedies, characters whose desires are represented by the corruptions

of worldly compromise and easy comfort-like Bud Baxter in The Apartment,

Harry Hinkle in The Fortune Cookie, John Pringle in A Foreign

Affair-relinquish their spoils and return gladly, if a bit stained, to the

integrity they previously had no use for. Virtue becomes its own, more

appreciated reward and vice its own punishment. Since the 1930s, Wilder-s

cinematic charm has been making audiences accept some unconventional

truths and root for some unlikely heroes.

Perhaps Fred MacMurray also sensed that Wilder is one of Hollywood-s

anti-Disneys. A Wilder project, redeemed though it was by the charm of its

writing and direction, nonetheless often addressed a subject in a way that

offended the keepers of the status quo. This, of course, may simply be another way of saying that Wilder puts his directorial charms and exploration

of innocence and corruption to the service of a realist-s vision while

Disney prefers the eye of fantasy. The realist is usually the one whose work

elicits the sharp intake of breath from the audience when they sense that

things may not be the way they appear on the surface. As Wilder-s character

Barry Detweiler, a Hollywood producer, says in Fedora: -Sugar and

spice, and underneath that-cement and stainless steel.- It-s a bracing recipe,

one that usually allows Wilder to adhere to his cardinal rule of filmmaking:

-Don-t bore people, which is a very, very difficult thing... If you

have anything worthwhile saying better be very sure it is wrapped in chocolate

so they will swallow it.-

If in some ways Billy Wilder is an anti-Disney, what would a trip be like

to Wilderland, that imaginative theme park based on the spirit of his films?

It would, at least superficially, be eclectic. Wilder made films in every

genre of his day except the western. He made the pioneering film noir in

1944, Double Indemnity, which also starred Fred MacMurray (playing a

killer, the role that first made him fret about the safety of his career). What

came to be the staples of that genre-hard-bitten voice-over narration, a

dangerous femme fatale, urban landscapes shrouded in darkness both photographically

and morally-are all on display in this landmark movie.

Wilder made the first film that took a realistic look at alcoholism (The Lost

Weekend), one of the first POW films (Stalag 17), and a handful of films in

various shades of light and dark that might be labeled -fairy tales for


... Read more

4. Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder, A Personal Biography (Applause Books)
by Charlotte Chandler, Billy Wilder
Paperback: 352 Pages (2004-08-01)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$5.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003D7JV84
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Billy Wilder (1906-2002) was one of the legendary figures in 20th-century film. When he died recently, he left behind an incredible celluloid legacy. Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, Double Indemnity, The Apartment, The Lost Weekend, Sabrina and other Wilder films have become a part of our shared experience and collective memory. In Nobody's Perfect, Billy Wilder speaks for himself, in what is as close to an autobiography as there ever will be. Charlotte Chandler, author of authorized bios on Groucho Marx and Federico Fellini, met Wilder in the mid-1970s and began a friendship that continued until his death. Over the course of more than 20 years, she interviewed not only Wilder, but many of the actors and other creative people who worked with him. The result is this remarkable book, a very personal look at one of filmdom's true creative geniuses. In a life as dramatic as his films, Wilder survived World War I and escaped the Holocaust. His great gift as a screenwriter soon became apparent, as did his easy rapport with actors. As a writer-director, he worked with such stars as Greta Garbo, William Holden, Tony Curtis, Barbara Stanwyck, Marlene Dietrich, Ginger Rogers, Gloria Swanson, Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper, James Cagney, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Marilyn Monroe - most of whom were interviewed for this book. This revealing and vastly entertaining book is a wonderful, timely tribute to this great writer-director, a legacy of Wilder's wit, insight and remarkable wisdom. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging story of one of the great figures of 20th century
Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder by biographer Charlotte Chandler is the personal and engaging story of one of the great figures of 20th century movie-making -- the legendary Billy Wilder (1906-2002). The great director perhaps best known for classics such as "Some Like It Hot", "The Apartment", "Sunset Boulevard", and many more, Billy Wilder narrates much of "Nobody's Perfect" in his own words, rendering it as close to an autobiography as any story of his life can be. A filmography complements this witty, insightful, life story of a creative visionary.

2-0 out of 5 stars Charlotte Chandler is very, very imperfect
I read Cameron Crowe's book a couple years ago, and it is head-and-shoulders above this.What Charlotte essentially does in this "personal" biography is string together a long series of celebrity interviews into one barely coherent narrative.

One gets the distinct impression it was far more important for Charlotte to "get to know" these interview subjects than it was for her to write this book.What makes me think that?Perhaps it's the photos of Charlotte and several of her interviewees sprinkled throughout this book.

On the whole, "personal" seems to be shorthand for "lazy."

4-0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Look at a Supreme Opportunist
My love of films came to fruition during a brief period when the "auteur theory" held sway in the 1960s and 1970s. Auteurist critic Andrew Sarris classified Billy Wilder in his "Less Than Meets the Eye Category," primarily because he was "too cynical for the more serious demands of middle-class tragedy (DOUBLE INDEMNITY) and social allegory (ACE IN THE HOLE). A director who can crack jokes about suicide attempts ... and thoughtlessly brutalize charming actresses like Jean Arthur (FOREIGN AFFAIR) and Audrey Hepburn (SABRINA) is hardly likely to make a coherent film on the human condition."

It was only as a result of seeing Wilder's films that I discovered what Sarris was really saying was that the director was both too versatile and too successful -- and it didn't help that his approach to directing films was as a writer rather than as a visual artist.

Reading Charlotte Chandler's oral history of Wilder's career, I was impressed with Billy Wilder's ability to be able to create iconic native masterpieces of film noir (DOUBLE INDEMNITY) and Hollywood Gothic (SUNSET BOULEVARD) without the benefit of growing up in the United States. While his later comedies (such as SOME LIKE IT HOT) owe much to his collaboration with Lubitsch, Hawks, and Mitchell Leisen, Wilder developed his own style of comedy and retained his ability to make good films well into his eighties.

In the chapter on SUNSET BOULEVARD, actress Nancy Olson makes an astute comment: "Billy said, 'Every character in SUNSET BOULEVARD is an opportunist.' It seemed to me that what he is saying is that this picture is not only about opportunism, but about ... the consequences of it."

A little light bulb went on in my mind. Wilder's films are all, in their own way, about opportunism. Walter Neff and Phyllis Dietrichson take advantage of each other for their own nefarious ends in DOUBLE INDEMNITY. In picture after picture, I see a pattern of characters using one another with interesting results, with the ultimate example being Kirk Douglas in ACE IN THE HOLE.

Chandler's interviews are mostly interesting, though the intrusion of plot summaries in the middle of each chapter is intrusive: These should have been relegated to the Filmography in the back of the book. I was disturbed that Chandler did not see fit to add any of her own observations about Wilder except insofar as to provide a segue for the many quotes. Still, it is both a useful and entertaining book and a valuable addition to the literature about this fascinating filmmaker.

There is no one wilder in Hollywood than Billy - Billy Wilder, that is.  And the new bio of him, "Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder: A Personal Biography," is as close to the "perfect" non-critical, fun history of a man and his movies. Written by Charlotte Chandler (whose previous works include "I, Fellini" and "Hello, I Must Be Going: Groucho and His Friends"), the tome is based on interviews she conducted with Wilder and his friends over a period of years. The result is a wonderful kaleidoscope of movies, politicians, actors, geniuses and louses. From Sigmund Freud to Louis B. Mayer, from Richard Strauss to Joan Fontaine, from Prince Yussupov to Walter Matthau --- Wilder knew them all. He is the man who put Marilyn Monroe over a subway grate, Jack Lemmon in a dress and Gloria Swanson in the most famous close-up of them all. The great beacon shining through the entire book is, of course, the wit and humor of the man.  Wilder is certainly one of the great comic directors of all time, and his legacy is astounding. By structuring the book around the subject's work in a strictly chronological manner, Chandler creates a picture of Wilder that is at once true and wildly engrossing. The early stories about journalism in pre-war Berlin are as fascinating as the later tales of success in glittering Hollywood. That the last 20 years of his life, arguably the most creative time in an artist's life, were spent without a single film project is the underlying tragedy of this book, and Chandler doesn't exactly dwell on it, but the painful reality is certainly there. We like to think of him as this way: Billy Wilder, Somebody's Perfect. (Submitted by staff member Stephen J. Finn)

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Entertaining
Billy Wilder made some of the greatest American movies such as Some Like It Hot, Sabrina, and Sunset Boulevard.He was also in charge of filming the liberation of Nazi concentration camps in the 1940's.This interesting and informative book covers his life and career, and behind-the-scenes stories of each major movie he made are in here, too.Whoever said "they don't make movies like that any more" wasn't kidding! I highly recommend this book. ... Read more

5. On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder
by Ed Sikov
Paperback: 688 Pages (1999-11-17)
list price: US$17.45 -- used & new: US$66.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786885033
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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From the early years of anti-Semitism and frustration in Austria to the glory of Hollywood and six Academy Awards, Billy Wilders life is as fascinating as his movies. Now, drawing on new interviews, current research, and previously inaccessible archives, Ed Sikov offers endlessly entertaining portrait of one of this centurys most influential directors and screenwriters. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling Bio of a Hollywood Great
Superb. Exhaustive and well-written. This book provides a view into one of the greats. I had seen a number of Billy Wilder movies before reading the book, but now I have much more appreciation of the man and his accomplishments. After finishing this biography, I have resolved to watch as many of his movies as I can.

If you want to learn about how one individual can go from a rural outpost of a decaying empire to a preeminent position in the center of the world's image maker, read this book. A compelling story of a compelling life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Could Have Been Better
I decided to read this, because I just read the New York Times Rewview of Ed Sikov's new book about Peter Sellers.
The part of the book I enjoyed the most was from the beginning to World War II. The later in his life it got, the denser and more academic it became. Mr. Sikov teaches film and it got more like a textbook.
The end of the book, I have to agree with the reviewer from Vienna. It was more a book for film students. The beginning in Europe was a great look through a certain person into another time. Make Billy Wilder fictional and you have a great historical fiction piece.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Good, but Nobody's Perfect
This is a very good biography of Billy Wilder.It revealed a lot about him and his career I didn't know.I disagreed with Sikov on his evaluations of a few films (I like "Love in the Afternoon" much better than he, but Sikov really seems to hate Gary Cooper) but we agreed on a lot.(Heck, we even liked the same scenes in "Fedora.")

I gave the book five stars, but I have a few reservations.My problems came when Sikov went beyond Wilder's career -- or didn't.His descriptions of politics in Interwar Europe struck me as okay, but superficial.Okay, this book will be nobody's first choice to learn about such matters, but a little more polish here would have helped.Then, toward the end of the book, Sikov keeps mentioning that Wilder was out of step with Hollywood.However, there is really nothing about what the rest of Hollywood was doing, namely how Wilder stacked up against Mel Brooks or Woody Allen in this era.I would have liked to have seen that issue addressed.

However, as a "life" of Wilder and not a study of his "times", this is a great book.Fans of Wilder's films will greatly enjoy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A compelling bio of one of Hollywood's most fascinating men
This bio of Billy Wilder is a totally fascinating one, filled with both world and cinematic history.Billy Wilder, a Polish Jew, proves to be a man of unique intuition and fast thinking as he rises from the ranks of stringer journalist to screenwriter in pre-World War II Europe, escapes the Nazis, gets a U.S. resident visa and, without speaking English, is hired to write for the movies.The author beautifully captures the ambiance of pre-war Europe and a Hollywood filled with emigres.Ultimately, the book left me sad, as Wilder ages, his friends die one by one, and he is unable to keep up with the times in terms of the types of properties to which he's attracted, how Hollywood works, and what the public wants.However, there is no denying his fantastic track record, his six Oscars, and the amazing legacy of brilliance he left behind.The rollercoaster ride of Wilder's life is well chronicled in this very satisfying, thought-provoking book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Book on the Late& Great BILLY WILDER
Last week marked the passing of a true Hollywood heavyweight, a man who excelled as a writer, director, and producer, who left his mark in just about every film genre, except the Western - the one and only Billy Wilder.

Wilder's death at the age of 95 will no doubt bring renewed interest in his long and varied career. It is an irony that would have brought a wry smile to Wilder, and undoubtedly one of his biting remarks. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a comprehensive study of the life and art of Billy Wilder, you should look no further than Ed Sikov's brilliant "On Sunset Boulevard."

Sure, if you're looking for an extended interview with Billy Wilder himself, there's that other book ... but like the more famous, or rather infamous Hitchcock/Truffaut sessions that inspired it ... it can only be one sided.

Ed Sikov doesn't merely tell you to take Billy Wilder at his word.He conducted original interviews with scores of Wilder's colleagues and friends, dug through production archives, scripts, notes, and film footage to assemble not only a fascinating study of a filmmaking genius, but the conclusive portrait of the man behind that genius.

Sikov's analyses of Wilder's films are fresh and exciting, and his prose leaps off the page. You know instantly that Sikov knows his stuff, and that it's a subject close to his heart. ... Read more

6. Billy Wilder in Hollywood (Limelight)
by Maurice Zolotow, Billy Wilder
Paperback: 396 Pages (2004-08-01)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$12.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0879100702
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"A double delight: a richly entertaining biography of both screenwriter-director Wilder and his milieu - Hollywood... a fascinating montage of a man whose talents and quirks, virtues and faults, are endlessly engrossing. Electrifying opinions of those with whom he has worked and the original casting choices for his films are often surprising: Mae West was his first choice for Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and Mary Pickford was his second! A first-rate book about a complicated, talented curmudgeon." - After Dark ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars As charming and witty as Wilder himself
I never read this book without laughing out loud in wonderment and delight. Unlike most other Wilder biographers, Zolotow (who died only a few years before Wilder) was a contemporary and spent years with the man, interviewing meticulously Wilder, Iz Diamond, and many of Wilder's actors and friends.His was the original, foundational research many later biographers drew oon."Words, words, words?" Well, of course --- that is what books are made of! In the interest of full disclosure: I am Zolotow's daughter. I don't adore all my father's books, but this one truly delights me. The tapes of these interviews, BTW, are held by the University of Texas Special Collections department.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Look at Hollywood's Grand Old Man
Amidst the flurry of new books by and about Billy Wilder, don't neglect this forgotten gem originally published in the mid-70s.Author Zolotow has an 'Old Hollywood' perspective on Wilder's astonishingly productive careerand acerbic personality--not to be missed. ... Read more

7. Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot: DVD Edition (25)
Hardcover: 384 Pages (2010-11-01)
list price: US$59.99 -- used & new: US$37.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 3836516837
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The funniest movie ever made. Everybody likes it hot!

"This book is a joy and almost as good as seeing the film." - The Independent, London

Just before the cameras started rolling, producer David O. Selznick famously told director Billy Wilder that his new picture was doomed, saying, "You cannot combine comedy with murder." Wilder replied that he'd try anyway, and Some Like It Hot was eventually voted Best Comedy of the Century by the American Film Institute. A crossdressing, gender-bending, genre-busting, kinky crime caper, Some Like it Hot (1959) tells the story of two jazz musicians who dress in drag and go undercover in an all-girls' band to escape the Mob. With an ingenious screenplay by I.A.L. Diamond and Billy Wilder, and flawless performances by Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe, Some Like it Hot is comic perfection.

This Special Edition includes
Interviews with Billy Wilder, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and others
* Excerpts from the script's first draft
* Behind-the-scenes on-set color photos
* Original promotional materials and a wealth of supporting ephemera
* Annotated/illustrated Billy Wilder filmography
* And the DVD in the original version of this phenomenal movie

... Read more

8. Some Like It Hot
by Billy Wilder, I. A. L. Dimond
Perfect Paperback: 180 Pages
-- used & new: US$5.85
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Asin: 3150197538
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9. Close-up on Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilder, Norma Desmond, and the Dark Hollywood Dream
by Sam Staggs
Paperback: 448 Pages (2003-02-04)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$6.61
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Asin: B0045EPCXM
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Classic storytelling about one of Hollywood’s darkest masterpieces, Close-up on Sunset Boulevard goes behind the scenes to reveal everything about the making of this movie and the larger-than-life personalities of its creators and stars. Close-up on Sunset Boulevard features unforgettable anecdotes about every player: from silent queen Gloria Swanson in her poignant comeback to the cheerful ingenue Nancy Olson (who had never heard of the great and glamorous Gloria), from henpecked, handsome---and hungover---William Holden to the raucous writing team of Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. Close-up on Sunset Boulevard is a fascinating, unputdownable movie history.
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Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sam Staggs at his best
Sam Staggs has proved to be a master of his genre. This is just one of several books that he has written for film buffs. He always comes up with little snippets of gossip and background information that everyone else seems to have missed. It is not necessary to be a film buff to enjoy the books but it certainly helps. So far I have read four of his books about film classics (All About Eve, Sunset Boulevard, Imitation of Life & Streetcar Named Desire) and I am really hoping that he has another up his sleeve.All About All About Eve: The Complete Behind-the-Scenes Story of the Bitchiest Film Ever Made!Close-up on Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilder, Norma Desmond, and the Dark Hollywood DreamWhen Blanche Met Brando: The Scandalous Story of "A Streetcar Named Desire"Born to Be Hurt: The Untold Story of Imitation of Life.

3-0 out of 5 stars hard cover
great book great deliveryonly bad thing is i received a paper back issue always order hard cover

5-0 out of 5 stars Sam Staggs has a very compelling way of keeping your interest .
I was very taken with this book. It's the second one of his I've bought. Am still reading the other one.He has a way of keeping your interest to know whats next.All the characters are such interesting people on & Off screen. Have always been entriged with movies & how they were made then.Recommend this book to any one who has same interests.Gloria Swanson was such a consummate actress.

4-0 out of 5 stars Starring Norma Desmond
What a wonderful experience reading this book.It's like diving off a cliff and landing right smack on set.Staggs is wrong to suggest anyone is better in the role of Norma Desmond than Betty Buckley.In time, her performance will resonate in the Broadway history books.The interviews here are fantastic, with all the detail and more for the most obsessive fans out there.The information about William Holden and his wife/executioner is fascinating.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inside Sunset Boulevard
I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Staggs other venture in to "All About Eve," All About "All About Eve," so I knew I wouldn't be disappointed with this book. The way he dissects the entire movie without the result being so cut & dry that you feel like you've spent the whole day reading a phone book. I knew that Mae West was once considered for the role of Norma Desmond, but never knew that version was slated to be a comedy, how right on target they were with that thought! ... Read more

10. Billy Wilder:The Complete Films, The Cinema of Wit 1906 - 2002
by Glenn Hopp
Paperback: 192 Pages (2003-11-01)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$14.00
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Asin: 3822815950
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This biography of director Billy Wilder ("Sunset Boulevard, Some Like it Hot") contains movie posters, a bibliography and a complete filmography.
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4-0 out of 5 stars The Genius of Wilder Augmented by Wondrous Photographs
To me, Billy Wilder is synonymous with the best of what Hollywood offered during the mid-century golden era. A consummate screenwriter, who eventually evolved into one of the leading directors and producers, Wilder has made film classics that have endured into our collective consciousness. Author Glenn Hopp does a nice job following Wilder's career from his birth in Austria in 1906 to his escape from the Nazi uprising in Germany to his eventual settlement in Hollywood. He started writing for his mentor, Ernst Lubitsch, penning the scripts for lovely confections such as "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife" and the Garbo classic, "Ninotchka". Then he made his directorial debut with a Ginger Rogers romper, "The Major and the Minor" in 1942. After that film he had a string of critical and commercial hits - "Double Indemnity", "The Lost Weekend", "Sunset Boulevard", "Stalag 17", "Sabrina", "Love in the Afternoon", "Witness for the Prosecution", and arguably his high-water marks, "Some Like It Hot" and "The Apartment", both non-coincidentally starring a never-better Jack Lemmon. Wilder continued into the 1980`s, but he became less assured with his later films. The book covers each film and provides tantalizing glimpses into the stars involved. It also has some interesting inserts on the visual style he displayed in certain films like "The Apartment", the use of minor characters, and most interesting, deleted scenes like a shot of Fred MacMurrray facing the gas chamber at the end of "Double Indemnity".

For those who want a more critical and detailed assessment of Wilder's career, this is not it. The book breezes through much of his history, but the photographs are wonderful, some familiar, many completely new to me, for example, color shots on the set of "Some Like It Hot". But if you are looking for a more comprehensive view of his work and his filmmaking process, as well as more on his personal life and dealings with his casts, then I suggest you pick up Ed Sikov's "On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder", a fairly thorough, even-handed biography. As with most of the Taschen books, this is well worth getting simply for the plentiful photographs beautifully presented. ... Read more

11. Billy Wilder: Interviews (Conversations With Filmmakers Series)
 Hardcover: 200 Pages (2002-05-06)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$42.50
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Asin: 1578064430
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Editorial Review

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Always daring Hollywood censors' limits on content, Billy Wilder directed greats such as Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Ginger Rogers, Marlene Dietrich, Kirk Douglas, Audrey Hepburn, and Gary Cooper. Billy Wilder: Interviews follows the filmmaking career of one of Hollywood's most honored and successful writer-directors and spans over fifty years.

Wilder, born in 1906, fled from Nazi Germany and established himself in America. Starting with a celebrated 1944 Life magazine profile, the book traces his progress from his Oscar-winning heyday of the 1940s to the 1990s, in which he is still witty, caustic, and defiant.

Often playful and sometimes outrageous, but just as often very serious, Wilder details his rise as a Berlin cub reporter to a fledgling screenwriter in Hollywood's "Golden Age." He tells the stories behind his brilliant direction of such classics as Double Indemnity (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Stalag 17 (1953), Sabrina (1954), The Seven-Year Itch (1955), Some Like It Hot (1959), and The Apartment (1960), among others.

A dazzling raconteur, Wilder gives the scoop on the royalty of cinema, from the maddening magic of Monroe to the uncanny empathy of frequent alter ego Lemmon. Though his natural tendency is to spin marvelous anecdotes on the subject of show business, Wilder also delivers penetrating and instructive observations on his craft. On screen, his special blend of cynicism and romanticism was always expressed in a style that avoided showiness.

Billy Wilder: Interviews includes in-depth profiles, spirited Q&A's, and on-the-set glimpses of the director at work. Taken together, the interviews form an unofficial memoir of a sophisticated artist once described by a colleague as the most unusual and amusing man in Hollywood.

Robert Horton is the film critic for The Herald in Everett, Washington. His work has been published in Film Comment, New York Newsday, American Film, and the Seattle Weekly. ... Read more

12. Conversations with Billy Wilder
by Cameron Crowe
Paperback: 393 Pages (2001-01-08)
list price: US$26.85
Isbn: 0571203868
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The renowned director talks to Cameron Crowe about 30 years at the very heart of Hollywood. Wilder's distinct voice provides a fascinating insider's view of the film industry past and present. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Too Much Crowe; Not Enough Wilder
Cameron Crowe does a great job of getting Billy Wilder to "open up," for certain. There was many interesting anecdotes and facts I previously did not know, so this book is the page-turner everyone proclaims it to be. Crowe does a good job at kibbitzing an answer out of the somewhat stubborn Wilder. However -- since Crowe consciously based the format of this book on the Hitchcock/Truffaut interviews of 1966 -- it is lacking in certain areas.

Firstly, many of the photographs are horribly transferred stills from the movies, which were taken from video, not film. The pixelization is sometimes so horrible as to wipe out almost half of the information. As there are many more photos done by this makeshift method (most of the others are publicity stills or of Wilder, Hollywood movie stars, etc, not from the actual movies), it would seem to me that the publisher (not some dinky independent, but Alfred A. Knopf, major player over here) could have gone the extra mile and made some high-quality stills from the studios' answer prints. Since they didn't, however, this volume appears "rushed to market."

Second, Crowe's organization is horrible: Unlike Hitch/Truffaut, it sort of meanders from movie to movie and then back again. It's organized chronologically (by interview session, not movie), and often goes back over movies already discussed, because Crowe forgot some question or another. Also, Crowe doesn't go much into the bit players and character actors at all. I mean, HOW COULD HE GO AN ENTIRE VOLUME ON BILLY WILDER WITHOUT EVER MENTIONING SIG RUMAN (who was to Wilder as Leo G. Carroll was to Hitch) or Cliff Osmond?

Perhaps, it's because Crowe spends more time dropping the name "Jerry Maguire" every other page or so (as long as he was shamelessly self-plugging, why not "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," a much better movie?). Tom Cruise -- who's never been in a Wilder movie -- is listed in 10 different pages in the index. Also (unlike Truffaut) Crowe goes to great lengths in order to insert himself into the text, including going over a house call by Wilder's doctor, a lunch with Wilder and his wife, phone calls Wilder is taking , etc. (in Hollywood, these are called "gratuitous scenes").

Lastly, the end notes list (with big backdrops of those horrible pictures from VHS) the credits, but they are very incomplete, and don't list most of the technicians or supporting cast.

All-in-all this book is very good, but heavy editing is needed to give it a semblance of chronology, and Crowe's gratuitous and voluminous self-referencing really could do with a ruthless editor's red pen. That, and some quality stills, would have made a good read a classic. ... Read more

13. Wilder Times: The Life of Billy Wilder
by Kevin Lally
Hardcover: 496 Pages (1996-05)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$12.60
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Asin: 0805031197
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A portrait of renowned Hollywood director Billy Wilder examines his early years as a journalist, initial struggle as a screenwriter, ties to his German home world, and successes with such films as Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot. Amazon.com Review
Billy Wilder is one of America's most versatile film directorswith an oeuvre ranging from film noir ("Double Indemnity")to comedy ("Some Like It Hot") to drama ("SunsetBoulevard"). In the first English-language biography of Wilder in ageneration, Kevin Lally, managing editor of Film JournalInternational, recounts Wilder's story, from his childhood inVienna of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Hollywood, where he worked asa screenwriter before becoming a director. Lally also takes a closelook at each of Wilder's films. ... Read more

14. Ethics and Social Criticism in the Hollywood Films of Erich von Stroheim, Ernst Lubitsch, and Billy Wilder
by Nora Henry
Hardcover: 264 Pages (2000-10-30)
list price: US$125.00 -- used & new: US$55.00
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Asin: 0275964507
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This study of Erich von Stroheim, Ernst Lubitsch, and Billy Wilder focuses on what the common ethical themes in their Hollywood films unveil about the cultural and intellectual heritage of these German and Austrian emigres and their influence on American culture. Aware of the influential power of their films, these filmmakers strove to raise the intellectual standard and the positive educational value of the American film. Brief individual biographies describe their heritage, major influences, and goals and draw connections among the three filmmakers in their preference for German and Austrian literature and philosophy, which focuses on social criticism, ethics, and the problem of identity. Detailed analyses of their individual styles of filmmaking and readings of selected films reveal how they put their philosophies into practice and to what extent they influenced one another. Films analyzed include The Merry Widow, The Wedding March, Heaven Can Wait, To Be or Not To Be, Sunset Boulevard, and The Fortune Cookie among others. By delineating their contributions to the development of modern film, this research explores the filmmakers' impact on film and cultural history. ... Read more

15. Billy Wilder El Cine de Ingenio 1906-2002 (Spanish Edition)
by Glenn Hopp
 Paperback: 192 Pages (2003-09)
list price: US$54.50
Isbn: 3822822515
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Billy Wilder (1906-2002) was American cinema's greatest import. Hailing from Austria, Wilder arrived in Hollywood in 1935 and, with his skilled eye and sharp wit, took the town by storm. Exploring nearly all of the silver screen's genres (slapstick comedy, eerie suspense, film noir, courtroom drama, romantic comedy...) and sometimes creating unheard-of genre cocktails (comedy and war in a Nazi prison camp in Stalag 17) he graced every film he directed with the inimitable and magical "Wilder touch." That films like Sunset Boulevard, Witness for the Prosecution, Some Like it Hot, The Apartment, and Love in the Afternoon all hall from the same director/co-writer is a remarkable thing. With 26 films to his name, Billy Wilder was not only one of the greatest and most prolific filmmakers of all time but also the most versatile. ... Read more

16. Billy Wilder
by Axel Madsen
 Hardcover: Pages (1969-01-01)

Asin: B003T48MYA
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17. Double Indemnity: The Complete Screenplay
by Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler
Paperback: 150 Pages (2000-12-04)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$8.00
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Asin: 0520218485
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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On every level -- writing, direction, acting -- Double Indemnity (1944) is a triumph and stands as one of the greatest achievements in Billy Wilder's career. Adapted from the James M. Cain novel by director Wilder and novelist Raymond Chandler, it tells the story of an insurance salesman, played by Fred MacMurray, who is lured into a murder-for-insurance plot by Barbara Stanwyck, in an archetypal femme fatale role. From its grim story to its dark, atmospheric lighting, Double Indemnity is a definitive example of World War II-era film noir. Wilder's approach is everywhere evident: in the brutal cynicism the film displays, the moral complexity, and in the empathy we feel for the killers. The film received almost unanimous critical success, garnering seven Academy Award nominations. More than fifty years later, most critics agree that this classic is one of the best films of all time. The collaboration between Wilder and Raymond Chandler produced a masterful script and some of the most memorable dialogue ever spoken in a movie.

This facsimile edition of Double Indemnity contains Wilder and Chandler's original -- and quite different -- ending, published here for the first time. Jeffrey Meyers's introduction contextualizes the screenplay, providing hilarious anecdotes about the turbulent collaboration, as well as background information about Wilder and the film's casting and production. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-have for Chandler fans
I enjoy anything written by Raymond Chandler and this screenplay was certainly no exception.I had watched the movie several times before reading the screenplay and it still held my attention.Apparently there is another version of the screenplay but I have not read it so I can't offer any comparison but this one was well worth the money.I would also recommend the screenplay for The Blue Dahlia if you enjoyed this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
This is a great script. A must read for those who are studying the art and wish to become a screenwriter.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sub Text
I have watched the movie a number of times and had fun reading the script. The subtext is a riot. I think most thinkers will "get" it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic script for classic movie
Billy Wilder may not have been born in America, but he knew America inside and out, from the vernacular of the ordinary folks to the sleezy ambitions and passions of the middle class.He captured all of that in his brilliant screenplay for DOUBLE INDEMNITY, turning the novel into a masterpiece of what has come to be known as Film Noir.He always stressed structure when he talked about his scripts and this is perfectly structured, tightly coiled like a spring, with the suspense building moment by moment -- along with the decaying relationships.Brilliant.

5-0 out of 5 stars A toss-up for Raymond Chandler fans
For those who already purchased the Library of America edition of "Raymond Chandler : Later Novels and Other Writings" (which contains the screenplay of "Double Indemnity"), here are two reasons why you should buy THIS edition of the "Double Indemnity" screenplay:

1. Unlike most other screenplays published in book form, this edition of "Double Indemnity" appears to be a facsimile of the original screenplay; It's not just a book, but a relic of classic film.

2. This edition also has the alternate/deleted "Gas Chamber" ending which the Library of America edition is lacking.

If it were not for the above two qualities, I would recommend any Chandler fan to purchase the Library of America edition of Chandler's work that contains the "Double Indemnity" screenplay instead of this one. Here's why:

In this edition, Chandler's name does NOT appear on the cover; only Bill Wilder is credited on the cover. However, Chandler's name DOES appear on the title page and first page of the screenplay (the Amazon scans of the book illustrate this curiosity). Why the exclusion of Chandler from the cover?!
Answer: This book was published while Billy Wilder was still alive and he was able to steal the limelight from Raymond Chandler one last time. Well done, Mr. Wilder.

As for the screenplay itself, I've read a lot of screenplays of movies that I have liked and "Double Indemnity" reads better than most. The voice-over dialogue for Neff (written by Chandler) is the best part of the screenplay and is worth having in print. Whether you're a fan of classic Film Noir or an aspiring screenwriter, this is a must-have for your bookshelf. As for Chandler fans, it's only a matter of which edition.

For more information on Raymond Chandler's involvement in "Double Indemnity", I recommend the book "Creatures of Darkness: Raymond Chandler, Detective Fiction, and Film Noir". After reading, you will see why I and other readers are so incensed by the exclusion of Chandler's credit from the cover. ... Read more

18. Sunset Boulevard
by Billy Wilder
Paperback: 143 Pages (1999-06-24)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$13.91
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Asin: 0520218558
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Sunset Boulevard (1950) is one of the most famousfilms in the history of Hollywood, and perhaps no film betterrepresents Hollywood's vision of itself. Billy Wilder collaborated onthe screenplay with the very able Charles Brackett, and with D. M.Marshman Jr., who later joined the team. Together they created a filmboth allusive and literate, with Hollywood's worst excesses andneuroses laid out for all to see. After viewing Sunset Boulevard LouisB. Mayer exclaimed: "We should throw this Wilder out of town!" TheNew York Times, however, gave the movie a rave review, praising"that rare blend of pungent writing, expert acting, masterlydirection, and unobtrusively artistic photography." The film wasnominated for Best Picture, and Wilder won an Academy Award for BestStory and Best Screenplay.

This facsimile edition of Sunset Boulevard makes itpossible to get as much pleasure from reading the highly intelligentscreenplay as from seeing the film. Jeffrey Meyers's introductionprovides an intriguing array of background details about Wilder, thefilm's casting and production, and the lives of those connected towhat has become a classic. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Screen Play for a Beautiful Film
It's a pleasure to read Wilder's screenplay for "Sunset Boulevard." Rarely are the director and the writer the same person. In this case we get to see what Wilder wanted depicted in an almost poetic writing style. When coupled with the beautiful final product it is truly a treat to watch Billy Wilder's timeless classic "Sunset Boulevard"

5-0 out of 5 stars I think it is one of the best pieces of literature ever.
I think the way Billie Wilder expresses the life of a washed up actress and the life of a starving screnwriter is a wonderful interpratations of life ever. i loved the musical although I found it far fetched from thebook. ... Read more

19. The Film Career of Billy Wilder (A Reference publication in film)
by Steve Seidman
 Hardcover: 175 Pages (1977-06)
list price: US$18.50
Isbn: 0816179344
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20. Literary Readings of Billy Wilder
by Georges-Claude Guilbert
Hardcover: 215 Pages (2007-10-01)
list price: US$79.99 -- used & new: US$79.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1847183158
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Billy Wilder, hailed by most as a great filmmaker, often considered himself primarily as a writer. Yet to this day no publisher had thought fit to release literary interpretations of his work. Such an endeavor was clearly missing. The idea of this book is to offer academic but non hermetic readings of nine of his most significant films, informed by literary criticism, Gender Studies, semiotics, Film Studies, and theartistic sensibilityof its contributors. Literary Readings of Billy Wilder should please film students, English students and Wilder fans alike. ... Read more

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