For about six or so years I worked in the same art gallery cafe, on and off. To my mind it was probably one of the best jobs I ever had. It was a job with barely any responsibility, where coffee could be pilfered freely and generously between customers and where the staff were allowed, and…
If I’d had this book before I went to film school, I wouldn’t have gone to film school. I would simply have taken the money I’d saved on tuition and made movies. These are the lectures I had hoped to hear in film school and never did. They seem to me the perfect synthesis of what one must know to tell stories on film. I cannot imagine anyone setting out to make movies without reading this book. —Bruce Joel Rubin
Mackendrick: The Man Who Walked Away. A Scottish Television documentary from 1986 about Alexander (Sandy) Mackendrick, the director of such brilliant Ealing films as The Man in the White Suit, The Ladykillers and Whisky Galore, who then went to the United States and made the masterpiece Sweet Smell of Success. However, he became “the man who walked away” of the title: his disillusionment with Hollywood after a number of bad experiences led him to leave the film business and accept a post as Dean of the Film School at California Institute of the Arts — Cal Arts. He had never quite got used to the life of a freelance director, outside the factory system of the studio, which had suited him better.
Mackendrick’s wisdom and insights were invaluable to his students, one of whom was James Mangold (director of Copland, Girl Interrupted, Walk The Line, 3.10 to Yuma). Ironically Mangold would go on to succeed in the shark infested waters his mentor had escaped. Featuring interviews with Burt Lancaster, James Coburn and Gordon Jackson amongst many others, as well as extensive access to Mackendrick himself, this is a gem: anyone with an interest in this fine director deserves to see it.
Film writing and directing cannot be taught, only learned, and each man or woman has to learn it through his or her own system of self-education. —Alexander Mackendrick