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Escape Artist—based on Glenn Lovell’s extensive interviews with John Sturges, his wife and children, and numerous stars including Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, and Jane Russell—is the first biography of the director of such acclaimed films as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Bad Day at Black Rock. Lovell examines Sturges’s childhood in California during the Gr Escape Artist—based on Glenn Lovell’s extensive interviews with John Sturges, his wife and children, and numerous stars including Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, and Jane Russell—is the first biography of the director of such acclaimed films as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Bad Day at Black Rock. Lovell examines Sturges’s childhood in California during the Great Depression; his apprenticeship in the editing department of RKO Pictures, where he worked on such films as Gunga Din and Of Human Bondage; his service in the Army Air Corps in World War II; and his emergence as one of the first independent producer-directors in Hollywood. Chronicling the filmmaker’s relationships with such luminaries as Spencer Tracy, James Garner, Yul Brynner, and Frank Sinatra, Escape Artist interweaves biography with critical analyses of Sturges’s hits and misses. Along the way, Lovell addresses the reasons why Sturges has been overlooked in the ongoing discussion of postwar Hollywood and explores the director’s focus on masculinity, machismo, and male-bonding in big-budget, ensemble action films. Lovell also examines Sturges’s aesthetic sensibility, his talent for composing widescreen images, and his uncanny ability to judge raw talent—including that of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn, all of whom began their careers in Sturges’s movies.             This long overdue study of a major Hollywood director will find a welcome home in the libraries of film scholars, action movie buffs, and anyone interested in the popular culture of the twentieth century. Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association "Pick up a copy of film critic and scholar Glenn Lovell's terrific new Sturges biography, Escape Artist. . . . I can't urge you enough to check out this interview-rich, aesthetically and culturally perceptive look at the filmmaker and his work."—Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News “Lovell’s list of interviewees reads like a who’s who of Hollywood and they obviously provided rich source material for this full-scale biography and career survey.”— Leonard Maltin “This long overdue study of a major Hollywood director will find a welcome home in the libraries of film scholars, action movie buffs, and anyone interested in the popular culture of the twentieth century.”—Turner Classic Movies (TCM.com)  


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Escape Artist—based on Glenn Lovell’s extensive interviews with John Sturges, his wife and children, and numerous stars including Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, and Jane Russell—is the first biography of the director of such acclaimed films as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Bad Day at Black Rock. Lovell examines Sturges’s childhood in California during the Gr Escape Artist—based on Glenn Lovell’s extensive interviews with John Sturges, his wife and children, and numerous stars including Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, and Jane Russell—is the first biography of the director of such acclaimed films as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Bad Day at Black Rock. Lovell examines Sturges’s childhood in California during the Great Depression; his apprenticeship in the editing department of RKO Pictures, where he worked on such films as Gunga Din and Of Human Bondage; his service in the Army Air Corps in World War II; and his emergence as one of the first independent producer-directors in Hollywood. Chronicling the filmmaker’s relationships with such luminaries as Spencer Tracy, James Garner, Yul Brynner, and Frank Sinatra, Escape Artist interweaves biography with critical analyses of Sturges’s hits and misses. Along the way, Lovell addresses the reasons why Sturges has been overlooked in the ongoing discussion of postwar Hollywood and explores the director’s focus on masculinity, machismo, and male-bonding in big-budget, ensemble action films. Lovell also examines Sturges’s aesthetic sensibility, his talent for composing widescreen images, and his uncanny ability to judge raw talent—including that of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn, all of whom began their careers in Sturges’s movies.             This long overdue study of a major Hollywood director will find a welcome home in the libraries of film scholars, action movie buffs, and anyone interested in the popular culture of the twentieth century. Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association "Pick up a copy of film critic and scholar Glenn Lovell's terrific new Sturges biography, Escape Artist. . . . I can't urge you enough to check out this interview-rich, aesthetically and culturally perceptive look at the filmmaker and his work."—Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News “Lovell’s list of interviewees reads like a who’s who of Hollywood and they obviously provided rich source material for this full-scale biography and career survey.”— Leonard Maltin “This long overdue study of a major Hollywood director will find a welcome home in the libraries of film scholars, action movie buffs, and anyone interested in the popular culture of the twentieth century.”—Turner Classic Movies (TCM.com)  

38 review for Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges

  1. 5 out of 5

    Checkman

    The Magnificent Seven Bad Day At Black Rock The Great Escape Gunfight at the O.K. Corral The Old Man and the Sea The Satan Bug Hour of the Gun Ice Station Zebra The Eagle Has Landed McQ Joe Kidd Chances are you've seen at least a couple of these movies. Many people have, but have no idea that they were all directed by John Sturges Many have never heard of him, but Sturges left behind an impressive body of work. Glenn Lovell is a film historian who began researching Sturges life while the director was s The Magnificent Seven Bad Day At Black Rock The Great Escape Gunfight at the O.K. Corral The Old Man and the Sea The Satan Bug Hour of the Gun Ice Station Zebra The Eagle Has Landed McQ Joe Kidd Chances are you've seen at least a couple of these movies. Many people have, but have no idea that they were all directed by John Sturges Many have never heard of him, but Sturges left behind an impressive body of work. Glenn Lovell is a film historian who began researching Sturges life while the director was still alive He interviewed Sturges several times in the years leading up to Sturge's death (1992). He also interviewed others who had worked, or were still working in the industry at the time:Clint Eastwood, June Allyson, Anne Sheridan, Robert Wise, Ernest Borgnine and many more. The result is a solid look at one of Hollywood's most underappreciated directors and his not unsubstantial body of work. A cross between a biography and a film studies piece I enjoyed "Escape Artist". I'm a lifelong film buff and I have always found the mix of business, politics, commercialism, egos and the creative process that is film making to be fascinating. It's actually amazing that any movie gets made at all when the whole process is looked at closely. Lovell examines every movie that Sturges made during his forty year career. Naturally some movies (Bad Day at Black Rock, The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, The Old Man and the Sea) receive more attention than others, but they're all allocated at least a few sentences. Sturges personal life doesn't receive as much focus though you will learn a few things about the man. This is clearly a book about his movies and what was involved in getting those films to the screen. "Escape Artist" is a long overdue examination of one of Hollywood's more underrated directors. It is clear eyed, solidly researched and informed with a solid understanding of both film making and the business of filmmaking. Excellent read and highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Van Roberts

    Anybody who cares about the films of the late John Sturges--my all-time favorite movie director--will carve this biography.

  3. 5 out of 5

    James

    A biography and appraisal of the director of “Bad Day at Black Rock”, “The Magnificent Seven”, and “The Great Escape”, the book has all the hallmarks of its subject: it’s efficient, skilled, effective, and highly entertaining.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bern J

    As the summary on the back page states: "Lovell explores Sturges's focus on masculinity, machismo, and male-bonding in big budget, ensemble action films such as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape & Bad Day at Black Rock. The author also examines Sturges's aesthetic sensibility, his talent for composing widescreen images, and his uncanny ability to judge raw talent-including that of Steve McQueen,Charles Bronson, and James Coburn, all of whom began their careers in Sturges's movies." All tru As the summary on the back page states: "Lovell explores Sturges's focus on masculinity, machismo, and male-bonding in big budget, ensemble action films such as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape & Bad Day at Black Rock. The author also examines Sturges's aesthetic sensibility, his talent for composing widescreen images, and his uncanny ability to judge raw talent-including that of Steve McQueen,Charles Bronson, and James Coburn, all of whom began their careers in Sturges's movies." All true & well written. BTW-That wasn't Steve McQueen riding the motorcycle over the 60' jump in The Great Escape.That was his good friend, stunt man and SoCal desert racer,Bud Ekins.Bud did the jump in one take & he was riding a heavy Triumph 650cc desert sled, a dinosaur by today's standards.An iconic moment on film.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    This book was just what I needed right before Christmas breaks over me. Paul Thomas Anderson said something interesting about Sturges' commentary on the disc of BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (he said it was an MFA's worth of information about filmmaking) and that reminded me of what a great movie that was. Which then reminded me of what a great move THE GREAT ESCAPE was. And so I got the book. It's a great tour through the man's career, and now I feel chastened for not taking him more seriously as an Am This book was just what I needed right before Christmas breaks over me. Paul Thomas Anderson said something interesting about Sturges' commentary on the disc of BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (he said it was an MFA's worth of information about filmmaking) and that reminded me of what a great movie that was. Which then reminded me of what a great move THE GREAT ESCAPE was. And so I got the book. It's a great tour through the man's career, and now I feel chastened for not taking him more seriously as an American director. A great read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This book barely merits a 3-star rating, solely because the subject (John Sturges) is so compelling, interesting and hasn't had a biography written about him until now. The execution was just poor. Rather than focusing on the dealmaking and stories around making some of the most iconic action and western movies of all time, the author meanders almost aimlessly between film school claptrap, lofty auteur jargon and the occasional anecdote. This book barely merits a 3-star rating, solely because the subject (John Sturges) is so compelling, interesting and hasn't had a biography written about him until now. The execution was just poor. Rather than focusing on the dealmaking and stories around making some of the most iconic action and western movies of all time, the author meanders almost aimlessly between film school claptrap, lofty auteur jargon and the occasional anecdote.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Neil Russell

  8. 5 out of 5

    Robert Frost

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bob Arnett

  10. 4 out of 5

    Herbert

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mithun Gangopadhyay

  12. 5 out of 5

    António

  13. 5 out of 5

    Victor Zatsepin

  14. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Andreas

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mickey Fisher

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joel Canfield

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liberman Alexandre

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  19. 5 out of 5

    James

  20. 4 out of 5

    Steven Kobrin

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ken

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dan Friedman

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Wulfsohn

  24. 5 out of 5

    Thine Robest

  25. 5 out of 5

    Justyna [regałzikei]

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  27. 5 out of 5

    John

  28. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Manuelshift

  31. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Read

  32. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  33. 5 out of 5

    Cbj

  34. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  35. 4 out of 5

    Jake Bellew

  36. 5 out of 5

    William

  37. 4 out of 5

    Arson

  38. 4 out of 5

    Nur

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