Many words have been written about the man who is most often considered the world's greatest living director, giving insight into the making of his films, the careers he has helped launch (far too many to mention here) and the indelible mark he has left on pop culture. Author Barry Monush has delved into that storied career, breaking his career down into ten easily definable sections. It makes for a logical journey through the almost fifty year career of popular cinema’s finest son.
First we take a look at the highlights of Spielberg’s career in “Spielberg Through The Years”, a chapter which could easily be expanded into a book all by itself. Blasting through the highlights of his career in bullet points, it shows the breadth of his talents and the peaks of his achievements. By his 6th major motion picture, E.T: The Extra Terrestrial in 1982, he was at the top of the commercial tree, knocking Star Wars from the top spot and gaining plaudits from his peers. Sir Richard Attenborough famously made vocal his belief that it was Spielberg, not Attenborough, who should have won the Best Director gong at the 1983 Oscars.
For a Spielbergaphile (is that even a word?) this is manna from heaven as chapters look at his film adaptations taken from literary sources as well as his directorial efforts on the small screen. Filming locations he has shot in, on-screen writing credits, the scripts and productions that he has overseen (and there are a lot, with many 80’s and 90’s classics among them), his small screen productions, even his on-screen acting credits (more than you might think). All of them are compiled and listed for easy access.
Spielberg is a one-man industry, the touchstone for today’s supremos like J.J. Abrams. You might be surprised by the amount of times he has turned up on screen, but his use of music – specifically that of his musical muse John Williams – won’t surprise you one iota. Has there ever been a more fulfilling pairing of director and composer than Williams and Spielberg? Highly unlikely, and it’s a partnership that has underpinned every Spielberg film bar 3 (Twilight Zone: The Movie, The Color Purple and Bridge of Spies, trivia fans) and helped cement Spielberg’s standing in the history of cinema.
The final chapter counts the beans of his career at the box office, underscoring his heft as a titan of the industry, but the worth of his contribution to cinema can’t simply be counted in bums on seats. In just seven years he gave us Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. Put simply, no one else comes close.
STEVEN SPIELBERG FAQ / AUTHOR: BARRY MONUSH / PUBLISHER: APPLAUSE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW