Encounters with Filmmakers: Eight Career Studies
Greenwood Press, 1991 - 420 pages
This aptly titled study of the careers of eight prominent Hollywood directors is based on personal acquaintance, on formal and informal interviews conducted over a period of several years, and on scholarly research on the directors and their films. In each case, Tuska presents a study of the artist in terms of his creations, surrounding the chronology of his work in film with an appraisal of it and an informal portrait. Eschewing the subjective approach to film study akin to literary analysis, in which a critic projects sometimes alien theories on a film, Tuska proceeds from the premise that one cannot understand a filmmaker's craft without coming to terms with his personality and understanding how he went about achieving the results he sought.
The particular directors were chosen because their careers parallel the development and growth of the motion picture industry from the silent era to the present. The earlier directors, H. Bruce Humberstone and, to a lesser extent, Henry King, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, John Huston, and Orson Welles, had to struggle, each in his own way, to liberate themselves from the restrictions of the studio system; Roman Polanski and Sam Peckinpah came on the scene in the era of the independent director but faced other difficulties. Each was able to overcome obstacles and produce films of enduring artistry. Their output is documented in detailed filmographies prepared by Karl Thiede, and a photo section provides a graphic dimension to the portraits of the directors, often showing them on the set and with actors or production staff. A bibliography and an index complete the work.