I can’t pretend to have any objectivity about Jerry Lewis. I grew up worshiping him. And while I came to realize that he was fallibly human I never stopped being impressed, especially after I met him. That’s why I didn’t hesitate when the publisher asked me to contribute a foreword to a new edition of his 1971 book The Total Filmmaker (Michael Wiese Productions)

I have an original hardcover copy of the book on my shelf but this quality paperback reprint has many additions that make it worth owning: introductory essays by Nicolas Cage, Deana Martin, and Jerry‘s widow as well as several notable filmmakers (Randal Kleiser. Caleb Deschanel and Peter Arnold) who attended his classes at USC in the late 1960s. Cage’s piece is especially touching.

There are also rare photos of Jerry at work and pages from his shooting scripts complete with handwritten notes and storyboard sketches.

For all the acclaim he received from audiences and even some critics as s performer, he was proudest of his work behind the camera. This book, adapted from his lectures, is clearly written in his voice and reaffirms his dedication to the medium of film… although I would love to see what he would have done with some time to play and an iPhone.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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July 2024