When Brian De Palma agreed to allow Julie Salamon unlimited access to the film production of Tom Wolfe's best-selling book The Bonfire of the Vanities, both director and journalist must have felt like they were on to something big. How could it lose? But instead Salamon got a front-row seat at the Hollywood disaster of the decade. She shadowed the film from its early stages through the last of the eviscerating reviews, and met everyone from the actors to the technicians to the studio executives. They'd all signed on for a blockbuster, but there was a sense of impending doom from the start - heart-of-gold characters replaced Wolfe's satiric creations; affable Tom Hanks was cast as the patrician heel; Melanie Griffith appeared mid-shoot with new, bigger breasts. With a keen eye and ear, Salamon shows us how the best of intentions turned into a legendary Hollywood debacle.
The Devil's Candy joins John Gregory Dunne's The Studio, Steven Bach's Final Cut, and William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade as a classic for anyone interested in the workings of Hollywood.
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WHAT A GEM!!!
This book should have a thousand 5 star reviews by now! It is a hidden gem for movie lovers, pop culture fanatics, and gen x people like me, who were young adults in the early ‘90’s. I am appreciating the picture of young directors and young actors who are still so familiar for the nostalgia and very human at work interactions/behind the scenes view Salamon gives us.
I like to spend my credits on books that are longer and this is wholly satisfying this far. Although I’m trying to pace myself, the first 10 hours have gone by fast. I am rather choosy about narration and agree with earlier reviewer that the author’s voice, while not at all polished sounding, is sincere and rather charming. Which brings me to perhaps what has charmed me the most so far in this story and it is ‘Brian DePalma.’ I admit to not having been overly familiar with him or his story and probably wouldn’t have considered him to be my cup of tea. However, without being fawning or at all fake, Salamon shows us a man who is sensitive and dare I say ‘polite,’ in a business that is full of characters who couldn’t recognize his sensibilities for what they are and may have dismissed him as rude or aloof. This can be a problem for sensitive people when they get overwhelmed or are in hyper-focus mode, so, I get it. We see his friendship with Spielberg (a very nice little scene I just finished.) We see young Tom Hanks and pregnant Rita Wilson... Melanie Griffith when she was hot in the scene and a smirking, young Bruce Willis. If you’ve worked on a movie set, the description of the pecking order and chaos will all come back to you. Lol.
All this and I haven’t even gone into the actual story of the making of the movie! There is a lot there, full of detailed misunderstandings, wins, heartbreak and absurdity. For now I plan on watching it again with my husband who has enjoyed listening to me pass on stories from this book, as soon as I’ve finished listening. Definitely recommend! It’s a fun book.
2 people found this helpful
- Patrick Reeve Boyd
Only 3 Hours In
I’m riveted. This thing is phenomenal fun and her voice is so cute in her naively intellectual way, like she’s discovering it all as she goes.
1 person found this helpful