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Losing the Light - Terry Gilliam and the Munchausen Saga.

LOSING THE LIGHT-Terry Gilliam & The Munchausen Saga by Andrew Yule (Applause, 247 p.) would not make a movie script -- simply because nobody would ever believe that a talented director, a reputable financial institution and a major American studio (Columbia) would ever become involved in such a scandalouslyinept, conflict-ridden and frequently dishonest enterprise.

In fact, the book could be read as a clever take-off on independent film production, were it not for the fact that unfortunately, Yule's sad tale is only too true, and his quotes are only too real.

The making of Losing the Light provided Yule with plenty of colorful material. The budget rose from $43 to $46 million. The picture -- a remake of an old tale, already produced once by the Germans back in the 1940's on an elaborate scale -- was directed by the talented Englishman, Terry Gilliam, who also directed the recent hit, The Fisher King.

What makes this detailed account of a disaster quite fascinating, is both the intellectual and fiscal dishonesty. This was made worse by the fact that the picture was shot in Italy, where every expenditure apparently doubled automatically in the face of incredibly sloppy supervision.

Those who know how a picture is made, and particularly those who know Gilliam and the many production and financial personalities connected with the film, will probably consider the book facinating and amusing, since Yule doesn't hesitate to sketch characters and conversations in realistic terms.

Clearly, the only half-way sane person on the set was Gilliam, who soldiered on regardless and who seems to have been the only one who really believed in the film. There is a touching quote from him in the book. "I think my priorities are right. I will sacrifice myself or anyone else for the movie. It will last. We'll all be dust."
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Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Words:301
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