All Columns in Alphabetical Order

Saturday, April 30, 2022

#ReadThis #MyPlaceIntheSun by @officialgsjr @KentuckyPress #GeorgeStevensJr Life in the Golden Age of Hollywood and Washington Highly Recommended

It's not who you know, it's WHOM YOU KNOW.  And now that we've READ THIS we feel we know George Stevens, Jr. who is most definitely a legend in his own right.  From a Hollywood background to an illustrious career in Washington, D.C. and starting the AFI, Stevens has had quite the life and it's all in color for you here as you read about one of the most interesting lives you can imagine.  If you've heard of the Kennedy Center Honors, he is a co-creator.  We've written on The Academy for years; this is what they say about him.

This brilliant work is coming out mid-May by the University of Kentucky press and we suggest you order it now!  Of course the title is a take on his father's hit with Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor: A Place in the Sun.  Weighing in at nearly 500 pages, this represents a lifetime of achievement and is an absolute must for any cinephile or lover of American history.  If you are reading us we'd guess you are both!

An autobiography, My Place in the Sun is sequentially ordered and tells extraordinary stories from a firsthand perspective which is always exactly what we are looking for.  We love how Stevens is able to share so much of his family history which was so well-kept by his father and that alone is reason enough to read this great work that is about to make the bestseller list.  The Stevens family tree in the front is a fantastic tool that you'll refer back to.

From Laurel and Hardy to Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn (let's flip it again: it came up Stevens!), George Stevens Jr. grew up in the spotlight just as his father had before him in a family filled with legends in acting.  Did you know there wouldn't have even been a Laurel and Hardy without Stevens Sr. having the vision of how to film blue eyes.  But, like his dad, his work behind the camera is what has set him apart.  In particular, his pioneering spirit into film in regards to American History!

George Stevens Sr. left the film industry to help America during WWII (p.47) and like his dad, George Stevens Jr. left the film industry to chronicle the presidency of President Kennedy, at his request.  The stories are fascinating and will again provide you with an incredible authentic take on what America was like then.

Top Ten Reasons to Read This

1.  He says: "If there was religion in our family, it was this idea of quality and excellence." (p. 276)

2. Don't you wonder why Stevens Sr. allowed Monty Clift and Liz Taylor to do the scene three times without direction?

3. Don't you want to know what eating hamburgers and drinking chocolate milkshakes with Elizabeth Taylor was like?

4.  You will learn respect for the audience

5.  It's quite Charles Kuralt-esque, telling America's story to the world (p. 151)

6.  He cares about preservation as evidenced by his actions

7.  He appreciates camera angles along with Lillian Gish, who says: "If God had wanted you to shoot me from that angle, he would have given you a camera in your belly button.  Mr. Griffith always said, 'Shoot from above for an angel, shoot from below for a devil.'"

8.  The personal letters alone here make this worth reading.  It's American History.

9.  It's what we DO that's great!  (not money per Katharine Hepburn, George Stevens Sr. and Jr. p. 359-360)

10: Because if you don't Read This, YOU WUZ ROBBED.
(and yes of course we know proper English...were robbed but you just gotta read this kid to get it.)

This is not at all a quick read but could not be more deserving of your time.  Also we were quite pleased to see Christine Baranski mentioned as she is amazing in The Good Fight.

We loved the picture on the top of the Empire State Building in 1941, we are super jealous of your picture from The Stork Club because we were born too late, and we only wish there were more pictures and that they were in color also.  But for more of that, we strongly suggest you also watch his documentary "George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey" along with reading this book.

My Place in the Sun is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

The son of a celebrated Hollywood director emerges from his father’s shadow to claim his own place as a major force in American culture. George Stevens, Jr. tells an intimate and moving tale of his relationship with his Oscar-winning father and his own exciting career in Hollywood and Washington. Fascinating people, priceless stories and a behind-the-scenes view of some of America’s major cultural and political events grace this riveting memoir.

George Stevens, Jr. grew up in Hollywood working on film classics with his father and writes vividly of his experience on the sets of A Place in the Sun (1951), Shane (1953), Giant (1956) and The Diary of Anne Frank (1958). He explores how the magnitude of his father’s talent and achievements left him with questions about his own abilities and future. The younger Stevens began to forge his unique career when the legendary broadcaster Edward R. Murrow recruited him to work at the United States Information Agency in John F. Kennedy’s Washington. He began his service in government by initiating what has been called the Golden Age of USIA filmmaking. In 1967 he became the founding director of the American Film Institute, placing him at the leading edge of culture and politics, shepherding the rescue of thousands of endangered motion pictures, and training a new generation of filmmakers. He created the Kennedy Center Honors and began making distinguished films and television programs that celebrated American culture and explored social justice.

In My Place in the Sun, George Stevens, Jr. shares his lifelong passion for film and commitment to the performing arts. He provides an insightful look at Hollywood’s Golden Age and an insider’s account of life in Washington as he collaborated with presidents, power brokers, media moguls and social activists. This magnificent and delightful memoir brings to life a sparkling era of American history and culture.


Film Studies/Biography/Memoir 528 pages ∙ 6.125 x 9.25

130 b/w illustrations

ISBN 978-0-8131-9524-7

Back to TOP