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253: My Place in the Sun with George Stevens, Jr.

We’ll do something a little different today. Instead of learning about the history behind a movie, we’ll learn about the history of Hollywood itself with a man who lived it: George Stevens, Jr.

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Note: This transcript is automatically generated. There will be mistakes, so please don’t use them for quotes. It is provided for reference use to find things better in the audio.

Dan LeFebvre: Everyone knows that movies are a form of entertainment. So when it comes to films that are based on a true story, we don’t expect them to have the same sort of historical accuracy as a documentary would. And yet there’s a lot of overlap in the kind of storytelling required to make a feature film compared to a documentary film.

And since you’ve spent your career working in both movies for Hollywood and documentaries in Washington, can you share some of the differences that you’d put into making a documentary, making sure that’s accurate, that a feature film may not get?

[00:03:11] George Stevens, Jr.: Sure. And there are obviously many variations.

When I was. Working in Washington during the New Frontier. Edward a Murrow was running the United States Information Agency under President Kennedy and he asked me to come back and run the motion picture division of U S I A and we made about 300 documentaries a year with a lot of new and new then and fascinating filmmakers and.

I felt quite an obligation with those films that we be historically accurate. We were representing the United States. We were telling America’s story abroad, and for example, we made a film on the March on Washington that James Blue directed that was extremely well received. We made a film called Nine from Little Rock about the nine students who entered Little Rock High School when it was segregated under George, governor George Wallace.

And, there was a lot of abuse when they were brought to the school. And we told the stories of their lives after they got out of Little Rock. Graduated from Little Rock High. So in that, Realm accuracy seemed very important. I made a film called George Stevens d-Day to Berlin about my father, George Stevens, the director who headed combat photography for General Eisenhower in the war in Europe.

And two there. I felt an obligation, in fact, I’m trying to think of a documentary I would make. When I didn’t feel that George Stevens a filmmaker’s journey, which will have its 40th anniversary next year, is the film I made about my father telling the story of his life and career.

And again, I wanted that to be accurate. And we could talk about mini-series for television. Do you wanna explore that? Yeah, definitely. I did two of those. Both were based on factual stories. I’ll talk about the second first, which was called Separate but Equal. It starred Cindy Poitier as Thurgood Marshall and Burr La Burt Lancaster as John W.

Davis and Richard Kiley as former governor of California, Earl Warren. It was the story of Brown versus the Board of Education. The Supreme Court case that made segregated schools unlawful. In that case, I felt a very strict obligation to be accurate. I made it for a b c television sponsored by General Motors, and a b C had a very strict called program practices unit within the network that required.

Factual programs to be factual and I had a good deal of contest with them because they were preventing me from doing things that I believed and was confident were accurate. We work with them and eventually I did everything I wanted to do, but it was very important that it be accurate.

The other was called The Murder of Mary Fagan, which Jack Lemon starred in, along with Peter Gallagher and Kevin Spacey. And Rebecca Miller. And that was a story of a Jewish factory manager in Georgia in 1914 who was accused and convicted of murdering a young woman by the name of Mary Fagan, who worked in his factory.

We did. Great research on that and in every respect made it as accurate as possible. However, it being a dramatized situation. We took certain liberties in writing the parts of Leo Frank and his wife because some, however many years later there was not any precise detail. We had to create dialogue, so I could not claim that was factually precise, but I felt it was a reasonable presumption in terms of what they said and did.

[00:07:49] Dan LeFebvre: As I was reading your book, one of the stories that really jumped out to me was when you traveled to Europe with your father after World War ii. To see places like da, how and the beaches of Normandy, his first time back since he landed there with the Allied forces on D-Day. How did the stories from your father’s experiences during the war affect your filmmaking?

[00:08:11] George Stevens, Jr.: We were about to make the Diary of Anne Frank, which he directed and produced, and I was the associate producer and the director of the location scenes in Amsterdam and. He had, of course, firsthand experience in the war. And again with the diary van Frank, we wanted to be accurate. We had the benefit of her diary.

We had the benefit of talking to Otto Frank, her father, and I’m quite comfortable that is a film that is meets the high standards of accuracy. In my own work I mentioned the two earlier films, George Stevens de Berlin, and obviously I was very influenced by what he had told me. And it helped me be confident that I was de presenting an accurate picture.

[00:09:07] Dan LeFebvre: What was it like you mentioned in your book that you. Found your father’s color footage from World War ii, can you take us back to what that moment

[00:09:16] George Stevens, Jr.: was like? I will tell you, I knew that footage was there in Beacon Storage. And I’d seen the film cans, but he never really wanted to watch it.

After the war, he’d come home, was in a different mindset. But after his death, I was proposed that I write a book. And I looked at all those cans of film that were in North Hollywood and I asked that one be sent to me. When I returned to Washington in one afternoon, I went into a screening room by myself and gave the can of film to the projectionist in the projection booth, and this, these images came on the screen.

They were beautiful. Gray morning images and what were called barrage balloons. Those huge objects that stood in the sky to intercept airplanes were in the sky. And I realized because of the label on the film that said Dday to cats, I don’t know what cats was that this was June the sixth, 1944.

Wow. And it was in color. And I realized that. Other than those who had been there on that day, I was the first one to see the morning of D-Day in color. And it was so moving and we were the, it was footage taken on the H m s Belfast, which was a British ship that was the flagship of that greatest seaborn invasion in history.

And it was the ship that would fire the first barrage at oh 500 in the morning onto the Normandy beaches. And I’m watching it and I see men on the deck and all of a sudden around a bulkhead comes a man in flack gear and all of this and a helmet. And it’s my 37 year old father. On this ship preparing for D-Day, and he goes to a 35 millimeter camera and looks through the lens, and that’s the 35 millimeter cameras that would record the landing.

And a colleague was shooting this sort of behind the scenes footage that was not official that it, that introduced my father to me on that day within. The 20 minutes I spent watching that D-Day footage, I decided that I wasn’t gonna write a book. I was gonna make a film about my father. Yeah.

[00:11:58] Dan LeFebvre: Yeah. I, and I’ve seen that.

It’s, it is fa it’s a fascinating film. And getting to see some of that footage in color, there’s stuff from World War II that has been colorized, of course, but it’s not the same.

[00:12:10] George Stevens, Jr.: No, it’s not an Steven Spielberg. Acquired all of that film from the Library of Congress. I placed the, I felt an obligation to put the film about three hours of color film of the war in the Library of Congress so other filmmakers could use it without cost.

And I know that Stephen and Janos Kaminski, his brilliant cameraman, screened it in preparation of shooting. Saving Private Ryan,

[00:12:40] Dan LeFebvre: you mentioned earlier the Diary of Anne Frank, and that’s another story I wanted to ask you about. What was it like getting to talk to Otto Frank and seeing the place, you mentioned in your book that you actually, saw the place where he and his family hid from the Nazis and that also had to have been very moving.

[00:12:59] George Stevens, Jr.: It was we went to, after we visited dad and I the Normy beaches we went to Amsterdam and went to a small office in the city One morning, rang the doorbell and was the door was opened by Otto Frank over a six foot tall, then in his sixties, had balding with gray hair. He had been an officer in the German army in World War I and returned as a citizen of Germany.

And then faced the matter of having to wear a yellow star and all the other abuses. And he took his family to Amsterdam and he started a spice business in a five-story building. And he was very pleasant man. And we went in and sat down and he was looking at the man who was gonna be telling his daughter’s story on film.

But he was extremely gracious. And after a while he went to a filing cabinet. He opened it and he came back with something wrapped in cloth and unfurled the cloth. And there before my father and me was Anne Frank’s diary. Wow. With the pictures pasted in her handwriting and it was just so moving to see this work of it.

Girl written between the ages of 12 and 14 that would eventually be read by I believe 70 million people. And how Herb voice replaced that of Adolph Hitler. His became silent and hers became heard around the world. And then we went with Auto Frank to 2 63 Princeton crop, the street on a canal where the Spice Factory was in a row of.

Buildings and Otto Frank took us into the now deserted building and we climbed the steps to that top floor behind a false bookcase where they hid for nearly two years. I’d write about this all of my boat, which is called My Place in the Sun, life in the Golden Age of Hollywood and Washington. And within the book is a picture of me holding.

And Frank’s diary and a picture of my father climbing the steps to that attic with Otto Frank and behind the bookcase. He told us the story of the day that the green police came to arrest them, and they, were terrifying them and they found his briefcase in which he kept the money. The jewelry and other documents have important, and they just shook it all out on the floor.

And they gathered up the money and they gathered up the jewelry and all the valuables, but they left on the floor. All this spew of papers, they spilled out of the bag and they left the evidence. They left Anne Frank’s diary on the floor and it was recovered. Wow. And.

[00:16:21] Dan LeFebvre: You mentioned Washington and the title of your book, and you went from making movies in Hollywood to working in Washington, working for the United States Information Agency.

With the documentaries you mentioned there was it. More challenging to faithfully tell stories. Movie studios, driven by budgets and things. And not that there’s not budgets in Washington, but there’s an extra layer of political pressure. Was it more difficult to make things faithfully there to tell the

[00:16:47] George Stevens, Jr.: stories and No, it wasn’t.

I ha I, first of all, I was working under Edward a Murrow, who was a man of such integrity and somebody you wanted behind you, and he was behind me. And encouraged me to be bold and to bring in new filmmakers. It was clear to me, I was very impressed with President Kennedy, of course and came to know him a bit and speak to him on the phone a couple of times, and it was just an opportunity.

President Kennedy I wrote down a lot of what he said at the time cuz he had this eloquence and grace. Of language. One thing he was fascinated by Greek poetry. There’s a book, I think it’s by Edith Hamilton called The Greeks, and he recited a line that I wrote down and it was the Greek definition of happiness.

The fullest use of one’s powers along lines of excellence, which create happiness. And I realized that is the opportunity that he and Murrow had given me. I was very happy having the responsibility to make these films and try to make them as excellent as possible. So it was a, it turned out to be a wonderful situation to to have that responsibility and that position.

[00:18:17] Dan LeFebvre: Speaking of J F K, I know you worked with jf K of course, you worked with presidents from J F K to Obama and everybody in between. What’s one of your favorite stories of an American President?

[00:18:29] George Stevens, Jr.: One is that I, we made a film called The Five Cities of June in 1963, which covered four cities and Berlin.

The coronation of the Pope in Rome was one of them. The launching of a Soviet astronaut, a female was another. But President Kennedy appeared in Berlin before 500,000 people at the Berlin Wall and made his famous it Ben Ein Berliner speech. And this film was made in 35 millimeter color, and it was really people simply were fascinated by it, and it was very moving.

And I was in Edward r Murrow’s meeting of senior officers one afternoon, and my deputy came into the office and handed me a note and I looked at the note and I nodded at Murrow and excused myself. My office was one flight below Murrow’s, and as I walked into my office my secretary said, I will call back Mrs.

Lincoln. And I sat down and held the phone, and on came Evelyn Lincoln the president’s personal secretary, and she said, I’ll put the president on. And the next thing I hear is George. I saw the five cities of June last night. I think it’s one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen. How many places has it been shown?

How many languages? He had a rat hat tat of questions and all of which I answer. And then he said, keep up the good work. And he was gone. But it was, I never anticipated I would be, Speaking on the phone with the President. And I went back to Murrow’s office and took the place of my deputy, who had informed the group of why I had been taken out of the meeting.

And Murrow said do you want to tell us about your recent experience? And I described the president’s curiosity and approval of our work. And it was so moving to me to see these senior foreign service officers who’d been in many governments and how gratified and moved they were to know that the president was actively looking at the work we produced at U S N I A.

What a great reason

[00:21:14] Dan LeFebvre: to leave the meeting too and call from the president. That’s a. With your days as the founding director of the American Film Institute in Hollywood, you helped preserve and restore thousands and thousands of films. How did you go about deciding what films to restore and preserve?

[00:21:37] George Stevens, Jr.: The first thing we did in starting that project was to meet with archivists from the Museum of Modern Art George Eastman House, the Library of Congress. And our own archivists that I had engaged for a f i and we made a rescue list of 175 movies that they considered the most important of the missing films.

And in those days, studios and producers they were moving right on to the next film. And they didn’t have any idea that films would be shown again in later years. And film was produced in those years on nitros cellulose film stock that over time would deteriorate and could turn into dust in a film can.

So all of those films needed to be reproduced on the new acetate film that would last forever. So if we, and then we had people two really kind of film sleuths, I called them who would go around archives and storerooms and studios looking for these films. And then we made an arrangement with the Library of Congress that we would deposit them there for preservation.

And they are now part of the, American Film Institute collection at the Library of Congress. That numbers, I believe, 50,000 motion pictures. Wow. So a f I played a decisive role with many allies doing that work.

[00:23:25] Dan LeFebvre: Was the thought process back then for filmmaking that you said, you say in the mo moving on to the next one, was a thought process that these are almost, the films are almost temporary.

[00:23:37] George Stevens, Jr.: Yeah, yesterday’s newspaper.

[00:23:40] Dan LeFebvre: Oh, okay. Okay. Because I think of now now we think of, there’s classic movies that have been around for a long time, and so you assume that a movie that’s made now is also gonna be around for a long time. And so it’s maybe just a different mindset.

It sounds like that’s a, it’s

[00:23:55] George Stevens, Jr.: a different mindset. And it’s one of the virtues of the creation of afi. Which is still doing this work. And Martin Scsi has a film foundation and they are doing the work. There are many people involved in this, but it got its national impetus from the American Film Institute.

And we are proud of that. So

[00:24:20] Dan LeFebvre: yeah. Do you think the AFI then helped make that change to where change in mindset to where today? People assume that movies are going to be around longer.

[00:24:31] George Stevens, Jr.: I would say arguably that more than any other institution or people was the a f I founded in 1967.

That did that.

[00:24:41] Dan LeFebvre: That’s fascinating. I wanted to shift in, talk about another mo another movie that you worked on, the Thin Red Line, cuz I, I talked to a historian recently about that one. It’s one of his favorite World War II movies because it is so different than other World War II movies.

And you were on, in your book, you talk about, being on set in the Australian rainforest for the entire five months of shooting that film. Can you share some of your stories from the set of the thin red line?

[00:25:08] George Stevens, Jr.: Terrence Mallek directed it and wrote it, and Terry had a kind of distinct way of working.

He he liked to kind of visual spontaneity. And he worked with John Toll Oscar winning cinematographer, one of the best. And. They would plan scenes, but there would be occasion when Terry would tap John on the shoulder and say, come over here, and he’d find an alligator or a beautiful bird or some piece of wildlife that was, important to the setting there in Guadal Canal a largely uninhabited island.

Of which the American troops were fighting to take away from the occupiers the Japanese army. And so it was always adventurous with Terry. And and he worked carefully with the actors and gave them an opportunity to find their roles and get into the It was a very productive experience.

[00:26:23] Dan LeFebvre: Another form of storytelling that I’m curious about has to do with the in-person productions. For example the Kennedy Center Honors, which you produced and wrote since you created them in 1978 until 2014. And then in your book, you mentioned the Obama inaugural celebration at the Lincoln Memorial of Christmas in Washington.

So for those. I imagine it’s a different type of challenge cuz not only are you creating the story for an audience that’s viewing them on screen, but also the in-person live event. You’re almost creating the story at the same time as you’re telling the story. What were some of the challenges that were unique to that type of production?

[00:27:03] George Stevens, Jr.: That’s a very good analysis. I would add to that the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, which was the first of these that I did when we. Created the the Life Achievement Award to acknowledge lifetime achievement. Films that in the vernacular of the Stevens family stand the test of time.

And John Ford was the first. James Cagney ii Oron Wells, and Betty Davis and David Lie, and William Weyler and John Houston, and on. Up until today, though, I no longer produce it. I produced the first 25 where Nicole Ki Kidman will be honored. Two things. One, you are doing it for a live audience.

You must serve that audience, which is often not the case. We had a rule. We are doing it for the people. In the auditorium, and we didn’t do retakes. We didn’t ask them to do something, perform. They were our audience as well as our cameras. And that was a very good instinct because I think it, it kept them at a high caliber and kept the audience engaged.

First you have to do the research. On the a f i honoree or on the five honorees of the Kennedy Center Honors or the history of American inaugurations for Obama’s inauguration, each one is different. Each one requires excellent collaborators. I wrote and produced most of them with another writer.

Various over the years had a series of very fine directors working on them, and it’s just a job of trying to figure out how to tell that story. Most interestingly, for the Kennedy Center Honors, our secret weapon was we made five minute films about the honorees. So someone would come in knowing who Carrie Grant was, but they may not have known who Agnes Dil the great choreographer was.

But once they’d seen the five minute film, all the audience was in the same place and was able to enjoy the tributes that followed. And we worked very hard on those films and they are really, if I do say so, tiny masterpieces, they really capture the. The nature and the achievement, and often they’re very moving because these artists overcame obstacles to become who they were.

It’s a disappointment to me that once my son Michael and I stopped producing the honors, they abandoned the biographies. And I think the audience has a much. Lesser experience because they never understand the depth and scope of the achievement of these. I remember the first one we showed was in the first honors in 19 78 when Arthur Rubenstein, Marion Anderson George Ballentine, Richard Rogers of Rogers, and Hammerstein and Fred Astair were the honorees.

And the first one recognized was Marian Anderson. And you saw, and we didn’t show the films on little monitors, we made it like Radio City musical. It went dark and the screen filled the stage in the dark. And you saw Marian Anderson heard her sing as a young artist, heard her sing at the Metropolitan Opera.

And the sequence where, She was banned from performing at Constitution Hall in Washington by the Daughters of the American Revolution and Eleanor Roosevelt, the president’s wife, invited her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial on a Sunday, on Easter Sunday before 50,000 people and the audience saw Marian Anderson sing My Country T of the, or.

When the film ended, we had not anticipated, but. Everyone as the lights came up, got on their feet and turned to the box and gave this ovation to Marian Anderson. And that beat proved to be true with each film that we showed over the next 37 years. So anyway, that’s just one I could go on. But casting and editing and all of the aspects of storytelling come into play with those Live to tape performances.

Is it more

[00:32:07] Dan LeFebvre: difficult to tell a story in that five minutes as opposed to, a feature length film or a longer documentary? I imagine sometimes it’s, it is more difficult to put it in there. Did you find that was the case?

[00:32:19] George Stevens, Jr.: I th I think if it was a good discipline, we were confined by time and you surprise how effective you can be of giving people a some, you can see some of those on.

YouTube and all. They’re definitely worth looking at.

[00:32:37] Dan LeFebvre: Something else I wanted to ask you about you mentioned Sidney Ponte earlier, and you kind, you, in your book you talk about how you convinced him to do television instead of film, and talking about the time there, you mentioned that you needed the four hours that television could provide to tell the story of Thurgood Marshall’s quest and legal segregation.

And then of course you mentioned earlier that, that ended up being separate but equal. But then later on you also turned that into a Broadway play simply called Thurgood. So can you give us a peek into your process of telling a true story across multiple mediums? You’re talking TV to onstage.

[00:33:16] George Stevens, Jr.: Yeah. Let’s start with Sidney and your observation that he did not do television. And this is true of both the murder of Mary Fagan and separate but Equal, both of which won the Emmy for Outstanding mini-series. Those were not subjects that you walked into a network and they said, oh, yep, that’s what we want to do.

You had to say, this is gonna be really interesting. It’s the Supreme Court is not gonna be dull. This story of this. Unfortunate man who was lynched by the Ku Klux Klan in Leo Frank in the murder of Mary Fagan. They both said, oh, people aren’t gonna enjoy that.

In each case, I wrote a script one in collaboration with Larry McMurtry and Jeffrey Lane called The Murder of Mary Fagan. And the other separate but Equal, I wrote myself And I was able to go first to Jack, which proceeded was the first of my mini-series. And I was playing golf with him one day.

And it was known that Jack did not do television. And on the fifth hole at Hillcrest, I, while we were walking down the fairway, I said, Jack, I’ve done a piece that’s a story about a very. Involved a very noble, fig figure, governor John Slayton of Georgia. And I know you don’t do television normally, but it’s, I think it’s a very distinguished piece.

I wonder if you’d read it and he said, sure kid. Send it over, and I went back, that was in Hollywood. I went back to Washington and I was sitting in this house. And the phone rang about seven o’clock one night and he says wow. He says, that’s a great story. He says he says, yeah, I’d love to do that.

Yeah. He says, you’re gonna have to deal with my agent Lenny Hirsch. He’s a bit of a pain in the ass, but I think you can work something out. So Jack just was captivated by this material and said yes, where he’d. Always said no to television and the similar to Sidney. I went to him before I wrote it, I’d been to c b s and they said, this sounds like a good story, but you’re not gonna be able to cast it for a mini-series.

And I said, what about Sidney Poitier? And they said, oh, we go to Sydney Poitier almost every year and he just won’t do television. And they said if you can. We’ve talked to Cindy, and if he says, he’ll read your script, we’ll pay for it. I went up to his house on Cove Way in Beverly Hills and I told him what I had in mind and why I wanted him to do it, and that I understood his practice with PEC to television.

Sid had a rather princely way of talking, and he looked at me and he said, if you come with a compelling script on this, Peace with Thurgood Marshall. I will do it. So I was sentenced, a writer’s strike started and I was able to write if I wasn’t under a contract of a studio. So I wrote the script and went back to him and he said, yes.

[00:36:45] Dan LeFebvre: Wow. That would, did you feel some sort of extra pressure to that since it was not only telling a good story, but also trying to convince Sydnee that he was going to switch to do

[00:36:58] George Stevens, Jr.: television? He the script convinced him and he had enough respect for me, even though I had not, I’d been directing Peter Gunn and Alfred Hitchcock and the location work for my father on.

The Diary of Van Frank, but since I’d gone to the, into the government, I had not been directing and I’d been pro producing television and writing and I told A, B, c I was gonna direct it and they never batted an eye and they were very pleased with the outcome. Oh, over the

[00:37:31] Dan LeFebvre: course of your career, what’s something that stood out to you as the biggest advancement in the film industry?

[00:37:41] George Stevens, Jr.: They were telling stories of pretty good when Buster Keaton was doing it, and when my father was making Shane and John the place in the Sun or Lawrence of Arabia for David Lean. Obviously the cameras are smaller. On Shane, we had this enormous camera and he shot that famous fight scene in the saloon in Shane that I think had 143 different cuts and they were all shot with that huge technicolor camera.

Whereas today you would have a small camera.

[00:38:16] Dan LeFebvre: Yeah. Which I think is fascinating too. It’s almost another mindset thing because I’ve heard, just from my experience, I’ve. I heard a lot of artists and getting into filmmaking. They, and they think that having the latest, greatest technology is going to help them create a better film.

So I think it’s fascinating that it’s not that, it’s not the technology that,

[00:38:35] George Stevens, Jr.: okay, I would say this, that digital cameras have created, have broadened the opportunity. Young people can make films. Old people can make films. That’s the demo. Democratization of the use of the medium is a tremendous step forward.

Since you

[00:38:56] Dan LeFebvre: told so many stories for other people using a wide range of mediums. And then speaking of your book, you’re telling your own story. Did you find. Yet another medium in, in writing a book and telling your own story, did you find that to be a different type of challenge that was difficult?

[00:39:15] George Stevens, Jr.: Definitely a different kind of challenge and it it, everything is difficult, it create something. But I’ll tell you a story. My father, I was in the Air Force part of the time. He was making Giant. I worked with him at the beginning. And then through the editing. And it was, it’s a three hour and 20 minute film for which he won another Oscar.

And the precision and the care he took with every aspect of making a film. But in the editing, we, he’d start at reel one and go through it and through it, and he’d find things and fix things, change. And after about a year, sitting in a hot projection room with him, I said one day, dad, We’ve previewed this film twice.

It is so good. Shouldn’t you just put it out there and release it? And he looked at me and he said, think of the man hours. He would’ve said, man and woman hours today. Think of the man hours that are gonna be spent watching this film over the many years to come. Think of all that time. Don’t you think it’s worth.

We spend a little more of our time making it better for those people who are gonna spend their time. And I had that idea with my book. I found it that I just to keep working through it until they took it away from me, but I finally had, COVID gave me time to make it become the book I wanted to write and, It wasn’t until very near the end that I came upon the title, my Place In the Sun, life in the Golden Age of Hollywood and Washington, my place in the Sun obviously being an homage to my father, whom I share the cover with.


[00:41:10] Dan LeFebvre: We were talking earlier about the mindset of filmmakers then of they didn’t expect the films to last, and so it. It’s telling how pioneering your father was to not have that same mindset to, he was already thinking of longevity. And I love the, standing the test of time.

[00:41:26] George Stevens, Jr.:

Just to tell you that briefly, he and I went to the Academy Awards in 1952. Joseph El Mackowitz had won the previous year for all about Eve, and he read the nominations John Houston for the African Queen. William Weiler for Detective Story. Vincent Minelli for an American in Paris. I kaza for a streetcar named Desire and George Stevens for a place in the sun.

I wouldn’t be telling you this if somebody else had won it. Riding home in the car that night. This Oscar was on the seat between us and I was 18 years old and he looked over at me. And he said, we’ll have a better idea of what kind of a film this is in about 25 years. Oh wow. There were no cinema techs, no DVDs.

He had been in the theater with his father as a boy. A father was an actor director and he understood what was important about a work of art. Now, he didn’t know he was that the 18 year old sitting next to him. Would one day be the founder of the American Film Institute and the Kennedy Center Honors, which are all about the test of time, but it was an idea that stuck with me.

[00:42:48] Dan LeFebvre: Thank you so much for coming on the show. You mentioned your book, my Place in The Sun Life, and the Golden Age of Hollywood and Washington, and I’ll make sure to include a link to that in the show notes for this episode. But before I let you go, at the books end, you talk about continuing to ponder stories.

To turn into film. And since your book is filled with stories from your life, I thought it would be fitting to wrap up our chat today by asking you what story from your life do you think would make a great film?

[00:43:15] George Stevens, Jr.: I have a story that I’m working on that I think more to the benefit of the public.

It’s not about my life, but about two great figures in American history that I cannot name for you at this moment. For practical reasons that I am, I’m excited to be engaged again, will be a long movie for streaming se several seasons. And and I would only add it’s a postscript to that, that my place in the sun is now available on audiobook with my voice.

And if you didn’t like my voice today, I suggest you’re not. Listen to it. I really enjoyed this discussion.

[00:44:05] Dan LeFebvre: Thank you so much, Georgee



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