Apart from the fact that The stuntman is one of my favorite films, I
have a number of personal connections to the film. A friend and mentor
of mine was Robert Lecky who worked with Mel Simon whose company
financed the film. Robert helped Mel segue from being the largest
builder of shopping malls in the United States into becoming a force in
the film industry. The cinematographer on The Stuntman was Mario Tosi
who was a friend and fellow Ferrari GTO owner in the late sixties. If you have
seen the footage I narrated that was shot by Peter Helm of our group and
our Ferraris at Willow Springs, you will have noticed Mario driving one
of the three GTOs in the film.
I didn't know Chuck Bail well. Chuck
played the stunt coordinator in The Stuntman and actually coordinated
stunts in the film, but I met with him about an unrelated project
at his home and at the airport hanger where he kept the Stearman
bi-plane gifted to him by Steve McQueen on his passing. Chuck and Robert
Lecky were friends and Chuck directed The Gumball Rally where if you
saw a Ferrari Daytona on the screen, you heard a Ferrari Daytona on the
soundtrack. I met and talked with Steve Railsback about The Stuntman in
Du-pars one day when I was with a mutual friend who had worked with
Steve in Yugoslavia on Veliki Transport. Allen Garfield (sometimes
credited as Allen Goorwitz), who played the screenwriter in The
Stuntman, called to comment on a Discussions episode I had written for
Kathi Carey after he had seen it on cable and he later attended the premiere
screening of my film Bleeder & Bates at the Hollywood Roosevelt
Hotel paying me the ultimate compliment by saying that Bleeder reminded
him of the work he had done with Wim Wenders. Tony Rush, son of The
Stuntman's director Richard Rush, acted in my film Terminal Velocity (1984).
Richard Rush sat in on a table-read I had organized for an
investor/distributor for one of my projects kindly reading one the
The Stuntman's poster attracted my attention picturing,
as it did, the devil sitting on a camera crane. When I stopped at the
theater box office in Westwood one afternoon to ask the ticket-seller
what the film was about, the answer she gave me was, "It's hard to say."
Immediately, I knew I had to see the film and more conversant figures
in the film business than that ticket-seller had difficulty answering
the question as to the film's subject matter. It is a film about filming
that deals with the illusion of perception and reality at every
level--a journey into the realm of questioning what is--with first-class
acting and dialogue that is sharp, witty and thought provoking;
everything I could ask for in a film and seldom get.
In making a
film about filmmaking, The Stuntman delivered filmmaking excellence in
the bargain. Notice Peter O'Toole's entrance into the film as his
helicopter flies in and lands hitting the camera mark perfectly with
perfect framing on Peter as Eli Cross, the director of the
film-within-the-film. One of my favorite line's from the film is the
rhetorical question "How tall is King Kong?" making reference to the
fact the the 3'6" gorilla was transformed by movie magic into a monster
in our perception. Another line of dialogue influenced my
development of the Action/ReAction technique and was spoken by O'Toole
commenting on an actor's performance by saying "It's not what he's
eating but what's eating him that makes it kind of interesting." Richard
Rush broke a number of filmmaking conventions and you can see that, on
more than one occasion, he broke the so-called 180 degree rule in
setting up his shots. I didn't mind at all.
The music score by
Dominic Frontiere is memorable, one of my friends commenting that the
main theme sounded like an hommage to Nino Rota. Dusty Springfield sang
the love theme "Bits & Pieces" (Dominic Frontiere/Norman Gimbel)
with lyrics that remind us that once there were real singers without
Auto-Tune and with well-crafted and coherent lyrics that could provide
perspective on one's life--even change it via the insights provided by
If you haven't seen the film, let me recommend it to you without reserve. It is 131 minutes of rousing fun.
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
Click to buy on Amazon
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
Click photo to see clips from Stephen's movies
Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
Kindle or Paperback versions
Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
Click on poster to buy the poster and DVD
Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
Click photo to watch on Amazon Direct Video
“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...