2002 Film Music CD Reviews
Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Which Lie Did I Tell by William Goldman
Bloomsbury Press paperback 490 pages ISBN 0-7475-5317-3
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.