Cover image for Hurricane Billy : the stormy life and films of William Friedkin
Hurricane Billy : the stormy life and films of William Friedkin
Segaloff, Nat.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow, 1990.
Physical Description:
320 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.3.F75 S4 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Reviews 4

Booklist Review

The director of The French Connection, The Exorcist, and To Live and Die in L.A. is portrayed warts and all in this biographical treatment written, the author wryly notes, with Friedkin's permission, "but not his cooperation." Segaloff shows us a flawed genius with a passionate commitment to his art and an insecurity-ridden personality that seems to be the norm among the better film directors. Which is not to say that Friedkin doesn't have his good side; he does, and Segaloff provides several passages in which it is fully revealed. But it is the darker aspects of Friedkin's character, which so often seem to find expression in his brilliant but intensely disturbing movies, that form the major focus here. Though Segaloff's interpretive analyses of Friedkin's movies tend to be written in the stiff, self-consciously intellectual tone of a college term paper, all those with an interest in filmmaking in general and Friedkin's work in particular should nevertheless find this book interesting. Filmography, bibliography; no index. --Steve Weingartner

Publisher's Weekly Review

Segaloff, a freelance journalist who concentrates on the film industry, chronicles the career of William Friedkin from his early documentaries to his major films ( The Boys in the Band ; The French Connection ; The Exorcist ), which have made him a dominant, controversial figure. Basing much of the book on interviews with the director and his friends and associates, the author attempts to understand Friedkin's fascination with sex, violence and murder, the sensational qualities that have made his films so shocking and so commercially successful. Unfortunately, even though the book is written in a gritty tone when Segaloff discusses the personality of a man known for his ruthlessness and need to control, the long synopses of the movie plots are presented in such a colorless style that one loses interest. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The course of Friedkin's career reads like the stuff of fiction. Starting in the mailroom of a local TV station, he went on to TV documentaries, commercial TV, and then to feature films, directing two of the 1970s biggest blockbusters, The French Connection and The Exorcist . His dizzying rise was followed by an almost equally dizzying decline: he has had several flops, suffered a heart attack, been embroiled in highly publicized domestic strife, and created almost hysterical controversy with his 1980 film Cruising . Segaloff seems ambivalent about his subject, who comes across as abrasive, if not downright abusive. Despite the author's effort to place Friedkin in the tradition of the director-auteur, his place in cinema history is not yet established. For informed laypersons.-- Roy Liebman, California State Univ. Lib., Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Segaloff's book is a frank, behind-the-scenes look at William Friedkin, the director of The Boys in the Band (1970), The French Connection (1971), and The Exorcist (1974). Friedkin's career has been marked by his willingness to take on difficult projects and by his unwillingness to compromise his artistic vision. As The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968) and Cruising (1980) bear witness, Friedkin is not always successful with his projects, but he always brings a great deal of energy to bear on his films. Segaloff has done a great deal of research among Friedkin's associates to untangle some of the critical and personal arguments that surround Friedkin and his work. The filmography is complete. The six-page bibliography and ten-page index are both useful. A few more photographs from Friedkin's films would be appreciated. Although Friedkin's career is in the doldrums, this book indicates that he still has the vitality to attract the public's attention should he find the right vehicle. College and university libraries. -R. Blackwood, City Colleges of Chicago, Wilbur Wright College