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Sam Spiegel

Genre: Biography, Nonfiction; Author: Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni

Manipulative, philandering, occasionally incarcerated, Spiegel won Oscars for producing On the Waterfront, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Lawrence of Arabia. To David Lean, he was an antagonist. To Jack Nicholson, a father figure. Fraser-Cavassoni – who knew Spiegel when she was growing up and worked on his last film, 1983’s Betrayal – has a clear affection for her subject. Which may explain her reluctance to explore his peculiar motivations (Spiegel’s oft-mentioned affinity for much, much younger women is never analyzed; many relatives appear only in passing). What results is the gripping tale of an enigma, but the incomplete story of a man.

Originally posted April 4 2003 — 12:00 AM EST

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