April 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Book Review

Which Lie Did I Tell by William Goldman
  Bloomsbury Press paperback 490 pages ISBN 0-7475-5317-3  

Which Lie Did I Tell

This book is Goldman's eagerly-awaited follow-up to his earlier book, Adventures in the Screen Trade. Widely quoted in the U.K. media, including the current affairs TV programme Breakfast with Frost, it is a hilarious exposé on the art of writing for the screen by one of the movies' most successful original, and adapted screenplay writers. He includes a lot of very sound advice to would-be writers citing many examples of his own work and explaining what worked (e.g. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,) and what failed (The Year of the Comet, for instance). He also analyses, in detail, the elements that made the crop-dusting scene in North by Northwest and the zipper scene in There's Something About Mary so memorable. [See also our review of the DVD of North by Northwest on this site this month that also contains a feature length commentary by the film's original screenplay writer, Ernest Lehman.] He sketches all the pitfalls that the would-be writer has to negotiate on his way to seeing his inspiration turned into a movie: all the rewrites to accommodate the jealousies and egos of producers and actors etc.

He also writes a prospective treatment of a screenplay and invites the reader and several of his professional screenplay writer colleagues to offer their views on its viability.

An absorbing and fascinating read about one of film music's sister arts.

Ian Lace

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