Kipps reveals a stunning combination of arrogance and naivete on the part of British filmmaker David Puttnam, whose 1986 appointment as CEO of Columbia Pictures ended in less than one year amid a storm of controversy.
Variety editor Kipps reveals a stunning combination of arrogance and naivete on the part of British filmmaker David Puttnam, whose 1986 appointment as CEO of Columbia Pictures ended in less than one year amid a storm of controversy. Puttnam, who produced a series of minor period pieces before his Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire, thought he had a mandate from Columbia’s parent company Coca Cola to challenge the Hollywood establishment for what he perceived to be a tradition of mediocrity, according to the author. He shows how Puttnam became a media darling with antagonistic broadsides aimed at the Hollywood creative and business communities. He scuttled moneymaking properties like Ghostbusters II and Moon struck, later claiming he had not realized Coke’s main objective was to produce highly profitable films. This lively, entertaining book concludes that Puttnam’s efforts to keep the stature and money of the CEO position while wearing the mantle of an outsider led to professionally self-destructive behavior. Photos not seen by PW. Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal:
Earlier Hollywood management upheavals have produced best sellers (Steven Bach’s Final Cut , LJ 8/85, and David McClintick’s Indecent Exposure , LJ 8/82), so Morrow and Kipps probably have high hopes for this account of Puttnam’s rise and fall at Columbia Pictures. Puttnam, producer of Chariots of Fire and The Killing Field , was widely heralded when he was picked for the job of CEO and chairman at Columbia, and his exit has been largely blamed on philistines in the film industry. Kipps shows that there’s enough blame to go around for everyone, including Puttnam. His book may not be a best seller, because he uncovers no criminal activity, and big stars play only a tangential role, but it is thoroughly researched, well written, and fascinating for anyone interested in the movie biz.
- John Smothers, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan,
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.