In this Book

I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History
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This is a moving, star-filled account of one of Hollywood’s true golden ages as told by a man in the middle of it all. Walter Mirisch’s company has produced some of the most entertaining and enduring classics in film history, including West Side Story, Some Like It Hot, In the Heat of the Night, and The Magnificent Seven. His work has led to 87 Academy Award nominations and 28 Oscars. Richly illustrated with rare photographs from his personal collection, I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History reveals Mirisch’s own experience of Hollywood and tells the stories of the stars—emerging and established—who appeared in his films, including Natalie Wood, John Wayne, Peter Sellers, Sidney Poitier, Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, and many others.
    With hard-won insight and gentle humor, Mirisch recounts how he witnessed the end of the studio system, the development of independent production, and the rise and fall of some of Hollywood’s most gifted (and notorious) cultural icons. A producer with a passion for creative excellence, he offers insights into his innovative filmmaking process, revealing a rare ingenuity for placating the demands of auteur directors, weak-kneed studio executives, and troubled screen sirens.
    From his early start as a movie theater usher to the presentation of such masterpieces as The Apartment, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Great Escape, Mirisch tells the inspiring life story of his climb to the highest echelon of the American film industry. This book assures Mirisch’s legacy—as Elmore Leonard puts it—as “one of the good guys.”

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Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Foreword
  2. p. ix
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xv-xvi
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  1. Prologue
  2. pp. 3-5
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  1. 1. My Family
  2. pp. 6-14
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  1. 2. The University of Wisconsin
  2. pp. 15-21
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  1. 3. Los Angeles and Monogram
  2. pp. 22-35
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  1. 4. Allied Artists
  2. pp. 36-44
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  1. 5. The 1950s
  2. pp. 45-60
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  1. 6. The Screen Producers Guild
  2. pp. 61-66
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  1. 7. Back at Allied Artists
  2. pp. 67-71
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  1. 8. Moulin Productions, Inc.
  2. pp. 72-77
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  1. 9. William Wyler and Friendly Persuasion and Billy Wilder and Love in the Afternoon
  2. pp. 78-83
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  1. 10. On Our Own
  2. pp. 84-99
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  1. 11. Billy Wilder and Some Like It Hot
  2. pp. 100-103
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  1. 12. John Ford and The Horse Soldiers
  2. pp. 104-107
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  1. 13. John Sturges and The Magnificent Seven [contains image plates]
  2. pp. 108-113
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  1. 14. The 1960s
  2. pp. 114-121
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  1. 15. West Side Story
  2. pp. 122-130
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  1. 16. One, Two, Three and Other Projects
  2. pp. 131-139
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  1. 17. William Wyler, Elvis Presley, and John Sturges
  2. pp. 140-153
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  1. 18. A Big Hit and a Few Misses
  2. pp. 154-161
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  1. 19. Blake Edwards and The Pink Panther
  2. pp. 162-171
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  1. 20. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  2. pp. 172-200
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  1. 21. 633 Squadron, a New Corporate Entity, and Unrealized Projects
  2. pp. 201-207
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  1. 22. The Start of a Jinx and Cinerama
  2. pp. 208-217
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  1. 23. Hawaii
  2. pp. 218-234
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  1. 24. A New Relationship with Norman Jewison
  2. pp. 235-245
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  1. 25. In the Heat of the Night
  2. pp. 246-258
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  1. 26. A Western, a Comedy, a Drama, and a Caper
  2. pp. 259-270
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  1. 27. Personal Matters—Familial and Corporate [contains image plates]
  2. pp. 271-276
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  1. 28. Dark Days for the Film Industry
  2. pp. 277-294
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  1. 29. Billy Wilder and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and Avanti!
  2. pp. 295-302
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  1. 30. Fiddler on the Roof
  2. pp. 303-313
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  1. 31. Goodbye to United Artists
  2. pp. 314-323
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  1. 32. Hello to Universal
  2. pp. 324-347
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  1. 33. The Return of Peter Sellers
  2. pp. 348-358
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  1. 34. The 1980s and 1990s
  2. pp. 359-385
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  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 386-388
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  1. Filmography
  2. pp. 389-414
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  1. Career Milestones and Awards
  2. pp. 415-417
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 419-449
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