George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1984)

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The man who assembled the remarkable documentary George Stevens: A Filmaker's Journey had the benefit of knowing the subject intimately: the film was written, produced and directed by George Stevens Jr. Utilizing pristine-quality filmclips and interviews, Stevens Jr. details Stevens Sr.'s rise from silent-film cameraman to one of the top producer/directors in Hollywood. We are treated to snippets of Stevens' camerawork on the Laurel and Hardy films at Hal Roach Studios, then we are transported to his salad days as a feature director at RKO. Among the films highlighted from this first chapter of Stevens' directorial life are Alice Adams (1935), Swing Time (1936) and Gunga Din (1939) (one would like to have heard a bit more background info concerning Stevens' Wheeler and Woolsey comedies). Next we find Stevens as an autonomous entity at Columbia Pictures, producing and directing such classics as The More the Merrier (1943). The war years are thoroughly covered via Stevens' vivid color footage of the invasion of Europe. The last stages of Stevens' Hollywood career is traced through generous portions of A Place in the Sun (1951), Shane (1953), Giant (1956) and The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). The many interviewees include Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Warren Beatty. As an added filip, A Filmmaker's Journey includes rare home-movie sequences showing George Stevens at home and at work--all filmed with as much care and professionalism as Stevens' "mainstream" pictures.

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