Steven Spielberg: A Biography. Second Edition

Article excerpt

Steven Spielberg: A Biography. Second Edition Joseph McBride. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2010.

Since the 1970s, Steven Spielberg has been one of the world's most prolific and popular film directors. Among his best known movies are Jaws (1975), E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Jurassic Park (1993), and Schindler's List (1993). Spielberg's movies have earned billions of dollars and numerous Academy Awards, and their success, in turn, has profoundly influenced the way Hollywood makes motion pictures. As Roger Ebert noted in the June 8, 1998 issue of Time: "Spielberg's most important contribution to modern movies is his insight that there was an enormous audience to be created if old-style B-movie stories were made with ?-level craftsmanship and enhanced with the latest developments in special effects."

Film historian Joseph McBride has been an admirer of Spielberg for almost 40 years. In this expanded and updated edition of his Steven Spielberg: A Biography, he explains that he "became aware of Steven Spielberg's prodigious filmmaking gifts in 1972, when I saw his TV movie Something Evil. In the twenty years that followed I watched with bemusement as his enormous popularity left him largely without honor from his Hollywood colleagues and the critical community. The disdain of the self-styled intellectual elite for this great popular artist reminded me of the condescension which such Golden Age directors as Hitchcock, Hawks, and Capra were treated in the prime of their careers" (533).

In 1993, McBride decided to write a comprehensive and unauthorized examination of the filmmaker's career - the first of its sort. He spent more than three years preparing the book, conducting interviews with Spielberg's family, friends, and colleagues, though the director himself refused to meet with McBride or answer his questions. First published by Simon & Schuster in 1997, McB ride's biography not only provided readers with information about Spielberg's personal life and his adventures on the set, but also detailed analyses of all of his feature-length theatrical films - from his debut picture Firelight (1964) up to Schindlern List, for which the director won his first Academy Award. …