I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History by Walter Mirisch Books in Review
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I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History
by Walter Mirisch
The University of Wisconsin Press
ISBN 0-299-22640-9
Published April 2008 - Hardcover - 451 pages - $29.95

I love movies and I love reading about the making of movies and the people involved.  Walter Mirisch is one such person, the legendary movie producer of West Side Story, In the Heat of the Night, Some Like It Hot, Fiddler on the Roof, The Thomas Crown Affair, Moby Dick, and the incomparable The Magnificent Seven.  Mr. Mirisch eloquently tells his side of the movie business, with both enthusiasm and heartfelt love.  We're taken on an interesting journey and learn how his Polish immigrant parents (his mother was born in the States but was of Polish descent) in New York, the Depression, the collapse of the economy, their struggles, their education, their moves from place to place, and above all, the enviable (and sadly lacking nowadays) work ethic of the time.  Not only did Mr. Mirisch attend the University of Wisconsin, he went on to study at Harvard where he studied for his MBA while World War II broke out.  In the meantime, his older brothers had been successfully managing movie theaters and had elevated their jobs to other positions within the industry.  Mirisch's move to Los Angeles during the war and his subsequent job with Monogram (a B-movie production company), and it wasn't long before things started happening for him.  He tells of the recruiting of stars and film crew and the making of many of his films, the hardships and successes, the ups and downs, the branching out with his brothers to form their own company, and a whole lot more.  Very much "what goes on in the background" of movie companies and how movies get made.  He lovingly tells about the many directors he's worked with (Billy Wilder), actors he's worked with, the patience one has to have when it comes to film making, his tenure as President of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and of course, his devoted family.  Mr. Mirisch has won a multitude of awards, including Oscars.  Another two of my all-time favorite movies were because of this man: The Party and The Great Escape.
Conclusion - A wonderful historic and personal account of movie making through the decades, and a must for all movie enthusiasts.

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