Author: Sidney Lumet
Original publication date: March 19, 1996

In theory, the proposition of reading a filmmaker's verbose analysis of his own career sounds like a recipe for a masturbatory disaster. Sidney Lumet's Making Movies is the exception. When your impressive filmography includes gems like 12 Angry Men (1957), Serpico (1973), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), and Network (1976), you're afforded the space to speak. In Lumet's case, there's an added bonus: He's one hell of a writer.

Told with enthusiasm, Lumet's lean, precise account of the lessons he learned on his various movie sets walks the line between tutorial and psychological study. Aspiring filmmakers who read Making Movies will gain a better understanding of the requisite do's, don'ts, and sanity-retainers. Not to mention gaining a new respect for one of the greatest American directors of all time. —MB