Sunday, 4 September 2011

BRONSON'S LOOSE! The Making Of The Death Wish Films

Bronson's Loose! The Making Of The Death Wish Films
By Paul Talbot
Foreword by Andrew Stevens
161 pages B&w
$15.95 US
Published by iUniverse

I've wanted to pick this one up for a while now, but the price was never 'right' for me (more on that later), so
I was very pleased to be able to source a copy from Ebay for under a fiver, postage included.

The book itself is a medium sized softback and just 161 pages thick, but boy does it look cool. Awesome full colour artwork from Death Wish 3, beautifully cropped and composed. As soon as I saw this online, I knew
I wanted it, and I have to say that this is one of those situations whereby you can judge the book by its' cover.

I love the original Death Wish movie, which is an undisputed classic, and I also have a soft spot for the sort of schlocky
action movies the sequels transmogrified into. Also, whilst I know some people can't stand him, I like Michael Winner because he
always speaks his mind, however unpopular that may be. Throw in the extremely colourful duo known as 'The Go-Go Boys' (the Cannon figureheads Golan and Globus),
and you have a very interesting mix.

The one notable absentee in the roster of interviewees is Charles Bronson, for obvious reasons, but I find this just adds to his enigmatic 'man of few words' persona.

It's exhaustively researched, and the author has interviewed a number of people related to the numerous films, including cast, crew, and upper-level production people.
Each film has a dedicated chapter, plus there are two Appendixes which detail the casts, crews, and plots of the films, plus the soundtracks. It's an easy and engrossing read.
Of particular interest are the various rejected concepts for the sequels, and various alternate endings and casting possibilities.

My favourite part? There are loads, but the peach has to be the anecdote regarding the MPAA appeals process for Death Wish 3 '...when director Michael Winner complained that Death Wish 3 was
given an X rating because it had 63 killings while the R-rated Rambo had 80 killings, the woman at the ratings board explained that most of those
killed in Rambo are Vietnamese."

Jaw dropping, ain't it? I think that merits the description 'Cartmanesque'.

Paul Talbot's book really only has one flaw...there's not enough of it! I can quite happily overlook the fact that all the pictures are in black and white, but for
me, this book was over far too quickly. I guess I should just learn to pace myself a little better.

If you like the Death Wish films, this is a must's that simple. If not, don't.

It's currently available for somewhere between £8-£10 on Amazon, which is a little more reflective of the US dollar cover price of $15.95...I seem to remember it being something like £16 when I first became aware of it,
hence I didn't buy it. Is it value for money? If you like Death Wish, then yes it is. It is a fleeting, all too brief pleasure, but a pleasure all the same.

All in all, I'm really rather pleased with my purchase here. My copy won't be finding itself back on Ebay anytime soon.

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