Friedkin, William. “The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir”, Harper, 2013.
A Candid Look at Hollywood
William Friedkin has directed some of Hollywood’s major films—“The French Connection”, “The Exorcist” and two very special films for the gay community, “Cruising” and “The Boys in the Band”. Now in his memoir, Friedkin takes back to his youth in Chicago and then forward to his present life in Hollywood and he can really tell a story. He is a maverick and he was there when what was traditional storytelling was replaced by rebellion and alternative lifestyles and when filmmakers were paranoid because they felt like this country was a nervous breakdown about culture.
Friedkin’s book is like his movies—full of action and surprises, suspense and humor. He puts his focus on character and craft and gives us a lot of personal detail. He is honest, often brutally so and one of the true master directors to come out of the 1970s which was a great decade in the history of filmmaking. In 1985, he gave is “To Live and Die in L.A.”, a masterpiece of energy; the highly criticized film “The Exorcist” and “The French Connection” are masterpieces unto themselves. Friedkin’s book follows his work and he knows what he writes about. He created his own success with films that have stood the test of time and while I did not get much about “Cruising” which is in my mind something of a classic, I did get a lot of other information.
Friedkin puts the emphasis here on his work and what went on behind the scenes. His book is a journey through happenings by chance and events that were not planned as he moved from living in a poor urban neighborhood to a city where dreams come true.