Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade – William Goldman

Another gem from Phil’s bookshelf. After bemoaning the books on my “To read” shelf, and failing to get to the Barbican Library to stock up on fresh page-turning fodder, Phil came to the rescue:

Phil: “What do you fancy reading?”
Mary:”I don’t know, something like this [pointing to William Goldman’s Adventures in the screen trade].”
Phil: “You mean like this [holding out Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade], his follow-up.”

Thus I found myself back in the world of making movies, US-style, but this time with William Goldman deconstructing scripts, and explaining what works and why, and what doesn’t and why not – not just in his opinion but bringing in comments and analysis from other screen-writers he knows. It’s a small, small world!

And, yes, there are occasional asides, offering Heat-type gossip about stars of the silver screen. Thank heavens for a weekend for reading!

Buy it: Amazon link

Adventures in the screen trade – William Goldman

I cadged this from Phil after picking it up at his after finishing Ann Tyler ahead of schedule (aka without having another book with me to move on to for the morning commute – disaster!). A fascinating read, albeit rather dated. Still, most of the films William Goldman discusses are familiar blockbusters of yesteryear, many of which stand the test of time – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for example – and it is fascinating to learn about the history of their making, from the germ of the idea to the on-going success (or failure). And it is equally interesting to read about the role of the screenwriter, and the other job titles that appear in the ever-growing list of credits that roll at the end of films.

For me, the book could have lost the final section, where William Goldman talks you through creating and analysing a screenplay, but I can imagine that readers who do want to become screenwriters will find it a useful and probably unique section.

Buy it: Amazon link