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Sunday, June 26, 2022

From his father to his career, George Stevens Jr. remembers 90 years in film with ‘My Place in the Sun’

George Stevens Jr.’s early life was fascinating: as the son of director George Stevens, he was attending the Oscars before he was a teenager, having dinner with Elizabeth Taylor before either of them turned 20, Helping his father to “Shane,” driving with James Dean in his ill-fated Porsche Spyder, and even directing the second unit for his father’s film “The Diary of Anne Frank” in Amsterdam. are.

Not surprisingly, Stevens Jr.’s new memoir, “My Place in the Sun: Life in the Golden Age of Hollywood and Washington,” is full of insanely entertaining anecdotes, ranging from legends from Katharine Hepburn to Cecil B. DeMille. If it was just celebrity encounters, though, the book would have felt like a sweet dessert of name-dropping.

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Stevens Jr. uses not only his father’s story—including “A Place in the Sun” and “Giant”, but also historical footage shot on D-Day, Berlin, and the liberation of Dachau—where Came from to illuminate their own values. Once out of his father’s shadow, he lived a full and lucrative life of his own. (Stevens Jr. was never angry and says, “The most satisfying job I’ve ever done was making the documentary “George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey.”)

Stevens Jr. served as the Edward R. Produced 300 short documentary films for Murrow. Films included a march on Washington, the Oscar-nominated “The Five Cities of June,” which touched on everything from the fight for unification to John Kennedy’s famous speech in Berlin, and the Oscar-winning “Nine from Little Rock.” ,

Determined to take filmmaking seriously as an art form, Stevens Jr. then founded the American Film Institute, an institution that taught, celebrated and preserved films. He also founded the Kennedy Center Honors and produced events such as the 2008 inauguration of Barack Obama. Along the way, he became close friends with Bobby and Ethel Kennedy, winning Emmys for writing and producing “The Murder of Mary Fagan” and writing and directing “Separate But Equal”, a play about Thurgood Marshall. wrote.

Stevens Jr recently spoke via video from his porch in the capital’s Georgetown area. Now 90, he exudes a low-key fascination for looking back on both his and his father’s achievements. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

> Your book is full of fascinating stories. Were you conscious of trying to make this more than a series of amusing anecdotes?

There was a lot of discovery in writing the book – there are moments in life that you miss but when you look back on them, they have a consequence you don’t understand.

I remember riding home from the Academy Awards with my father after winning for “A Place in the Sun.” Oscar was in our middle seat and he said, “We’ll have a better idea of ​​what kind of picture this is in about 25 years.” He understood that films needed to stand the test of time. What he didn’t realize was that he was talking to a future founder of the American Film Institute, for whom the test of time—in terms of Life Achievement Awards and preservation of classic films—became a defining characteristic. So, looking back, there’s a significance to this that I didn’t take credit for when it happened.

World Nation News Desk
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