I Am Spartacus!: Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist

Open Road Media
8
Free sample

A “lively” memoir by the Hollywood legend about the making of Spartacus, with a foreword by George Clooney (Los Angeles Times).
 One of the world’s most iconic movie stars, Kirk Douglas has distinguished himself as a producer, philanthropist, and author of ten works of fiction and memoir. Now, more than fifty years after the release of his enduring epic Spartacus, Douglas reveals the riveting drama behind the making of the legendary gladiator film. Douglas began producing the movie in the midst of the politically charged era when Hollywood’s moguls refused to hire anyone accused of Communist sympathies. In a risky move, Douglas chose Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted screenwriter, to write Spartacus. Trumbo was one of the “Unfriendly Ten,” men who had gone to prison rather than testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee about their political affiliations. Douglas’s source material was already a hot property, as the novel Spartacus was written by Howard Fast while he was in jail for defying HUAC. With the financial future of his young family at stake, Douglas plunged into a tumultuous production both on- and off-screen. As both producer and star of the film, he faced explosive moments with young director Stanley Kubrick, struggles with a leading lady, and negotiations with giant personalities, including Sir Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, and Lew Wasserman. Writing from his heart and from his own meticulously researched archives, Kirk Douglas, at ninety-five, looks back at his audacious decisions. He made the most expensive film of its era—but more importantly, his moral courage in giving public credit to Trumbo effectively ended the notorious Hollywood blacklist. A master storyteller, Douglas paints a vivid and often humorous portrait in I Am Spartacus! The book is enhanced by newly discovered period photography of the stars and filmmakers both on and off the set.
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About the author

Kirk Douglas is a renowned actor whose work on and off the screen has been rewarded by three Academy Award nominations, an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and the Medal of Freedom. Through his production company, Bryna, Douglas has produced acclaimed films such as The Vikings, Lonely Are the Brave, Paths of Glory, and Seven Days in May. He has penned ten novels and memoirs, including The Ragman’s Son (1988). His 1960 epic, Spartacus, based on the Howard Fast novel of the same name, is credited with helping to end the practice of blacklisting film professionals who had refused to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee. Douglas appeared in almost ninety movies before retiring from film acting in 2004.   In 2009, he starred in an autobiographical one-man show called Before I Forget at the Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles. Douglas maintains an active life in Beverly Hills and Montecito, where he resides with his beloved wife Anne.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Jun 12, 2012
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Pages
220
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ISBN
9781453239377
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Performing Arts / Film / History & Criticism
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Communism, Post-Communism & Socialism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Discover the life and lines of Spartacus. . .

He is Spartacus. And a whole lot more. That rugged chin. Those broad shoulders. A swag epitomized in epic films such as Spartacus and The Bad and the Beautiful. Crowned one of greatest actors of all time, Kirk Douglas, whose son Michael continues to build on his Hollywood legacy, is more than legendary. He's a husband. A father. A philanthropist. A Renaissance man. At 97 years old, Kirk Douglas has embraced many roles. But poet?

Playing on his Yiddish roots, Life Could Be Verse--not worse--gives readers the best seat in the house to the intimate world of an acclaimed actor who has turned the silver screen gold. But his poems transcend pentameters--they are nostalgic celebrations of old Hollywood, of timeless lessons in life and love, reflecting an era when people had few coins in their pockets but an abundance of hope in the promise of the American dream.

Through poems, prose, and photographs, Douglas candidly shares it all as he chaperones us through the stages of his life, including the untimely death of his youngest son and the stroke that left him unable to speak. Still, Douglas doesn't dwell in the sadness. Instead, he tantalizes us with his words, his perspective on life, and some never-before-seen photographs and stories of Marlene Dietrich, Lauren Bacall, Brigitte Bardot and his most cherished leading lady of all, his wife of sixty years, Anne Buydens.

Life Could Be Verse is uncomplicated yet revealing, poignant yet playful. It's the life and the lines of Spartacus-an uplifting reminder that many times the story of our lives is the most entertaining script of all.

(The following is an original poem Kirk wrote about his famous son Michael Douglas):

Fathers and Sons

"Am I a good father?'" I asked my son

He took a pause, too long for me

I waited and waited for him to answer

And finally he said, "Ultimately."

But the pause was all I heard

The silence was so loud

I was waiting for some kind word

Something that would make me proud.

How could I have been so dumb?

And I never heard

The answer in the pause,

When he spoke not a word.

I became a "good father,"

It took me too long to see,

When I needed him

More than he needed me.
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