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Sidney J. Furie: Life and Films

by Daniel Kremer

Availablecloth$45.00 978-0-8131-6596-7
Availableepub$45.00 978-0-8131-6597-4
Availableweb pdf$45.00 978-0-8131-6598-1
Screen Classics
430 pages  Pubdate: 11/12/2015  6 x 9  77 b&w photos

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Known for his visual style as well as for his experimentation in virtually every genre of narrative cinema, award-winning director Sidney J. Furie also has the distinction of having made Canada’s first ever feature-length fictional film in English, A Dangerous Age (1957). With a body of work that includes The Ipcress File (1965), Lady Sings the Blues (1972), and The Entity (1982), he has collaborated with major stars such as Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Robert Redford, and Michael Caine, and his films have inspired some of Hollywood’s most celebrated directors, including Stanley Kubrick and Quentin Tarantino.

In this first biography of the prolific filmmaker, author Daniel Kremer offers a comprehensive look at the director’s unique career. Furie pioneered techniques such as improvisation in large-scale film productions, and sometimes shot his films in sequence to develop the characters from the ground up and improve the performers’ in-the-moment spontaneity. Not only has Stanley Kubrick acknowledged that Furie’s The Boys in Company C (1978) informed and influenced Full Metal Jacket (1987), but Martin Scorsese has said that he considers The Entity to be one of the scariest horror films of all time. However, Furie was often later criticized for accepting lowbrow work, and as a result, little serious study has been devoted to the director.

Meticulously researched and enhanced by Kremer’s close relationship with the filmmaker, this definitive biography captures the highs and lows of an exceptional but underexamined career, taking readers behind the scenes with a director who was often ahead of his time.

Daniel Kremer is a screenwriter and director of several films, including A Trip to Swadades (2008) and Yarns to be Spun on the Way to the Happy Home (2007).

How wonderful that there is finally a book about Sidney J. Furie, one of the best directors in the whole of my career . . . and one of my greatest friends. I wouldn't have had a career without him! -- Michael Caine

No other biography or single critical work evaluates the films of Sidney J. Furie. His story fills in the history of mid- to late-twentieth-century filmmaking from the perspective of a competent, busy director carving out and maintaining a career in film. Kremer’s book is a lively, interesting account of a filmmaker whose career had its high and low moments, but Furie always moved ahead with energy and optimism. -- Douglass K. Daniel, author of Tough as Nails: The Life and Films of Richard Brooks

One hell of a book on one hell of a director, with one hell of a career! I originally wanted to make The Godfather with him, but wound up working with him on two other pictures—and had about as good a time as I ever had on a movie set. Sidney J. Furie is one of the favorite directors of my career and now, finally, there is a book to tell his story. He has survived fifty years as a filmmaker on grit, determination, and genius . . . especially genius! -- Albert S. Ruddy, producer of The Godfather, The Longest Yard, and Million Dollar Baby

Long before Furie made his mark on Hollywood, he blazed a new path in Canadian film as an independent maverick by making what is considered the first modern Canadian film. Without his work to encourage Canadian filmmakers, it’s hard to know where the film industry in Canada would be today. -- Paul Corupe, writer for Canuxploitation.com, Take One Magazine, and Rue Morgue

Daniel Kremer’s consummate profile of filmmaker Sidney J. Furie reveals the sweeping career of a considerable practitioner of latter twentieth century moviemaking. Riveting production histories, sterling analytical acuity, and compelling anecdotes of perseverance and creative will, characterize the scope of this impressive study. Sidney J. Furie is poised as a cornerstone resource for students of cinema, academics, as well as the viewing public. -- Aaron Hollander, cinematographer and documentarian

A man who revered testing the limits of film composition and the anamorphic widescreen process, Kremer produces a solid biography about a director not many people know about. Furie himself is incredibly humble, recounting intimate details on the backstage goings-on with his films, many of which suffered from troubled productions and inflated egos, and each of the films covered blends Furie's personal stories with Kremer's in-depth analysis of each as a body of work in Furie's directorial canon. If you've enjoyed any of Furie's films this gives far more information on him than any director commentary. -- Cinema Sentries