Burton on Burton (Anglais) Broché – 2 mars 2006
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The prose simply sparkles with intelligence, and probably just scratches the surface of his brilliance. Burton impresses with his underlying sense of artistic integrity, but amazes with his heartfelt discussions about art and character. He wants you to share the sense of fun that these experiences have given him, and speaks passionately on many aspects of life. Here is someone not afraid to relate the most pedantic details if he considers them to have impacted his vision, and this is where the book excels most. In many ways, the talk about his actual films is comparatively mundane when compared to recollections of the experiences that shaped them.
Topped off with a selection of Burton's distinctive artwork, this is a fine addition to the library of any movie fan, and it will leave you in awe of one of a cinematic talent that defies categorisation. In the foreword, Johnny Depp calls Burton a genius, and having read the man's take on the world, I think that it's a label I wouldn't argue with. This book is an exemplary example of the interview form, and proof that the best medium for preserving discussion will always be the written page.
It's still a very interesting read, with amusing anecdotes (such as his description of working with Danny Elfman for the first time) scattered about. His sporratic descriptions scratch the surface of his personal life (for example, he discusses how Lisa Marie found their dog, Poppy) reflect his personality well.
It would be interesting to see another revised edition, covering from Apes onward.
I think the thing I liked most about this book, is that an overwhelming percentage of the text are in Burton's own words. The editor wraps this nicely in a very smooth flowing readable arch without making many presumptions as to what Burton himself might be thinking. Honestly, this is one book I couldn't, and didn't, put down and it was an extremely satisfying read.
Even as a true "Burtonite", I found myself learning all sorts of interesting little details and insights about the man, that I otherwise would not have garnered on my own. The series of these books have been a gold-label of fascinating reads on directors from all sorts of styles and genres, so it is not surprising that their editor selection is impeccable.
The books covers everything from Burton's idolization of greats like Roger Corman, Vincent Price, Ray Harryhausen and the early Hammer Films. It covers his simple beginnings in the often paradoxical suburbs of Burbank, his "imprisonment" in the Disney system, disdain for the major studio system and ultimate serendipitous events which lead up to him being one of the most highly sought after and most successful directors of our time. On a deeply humanistic note, it delves into his need to connect with something on a personal level on each film he does, his close personal relationships with Johnny Depp, Lisa Marie and Helena Bohnam Carter, among others, and his perception on estrangement with his parents. The book goes on to thoroughly review each of Burton's features which included what he was thinking during all stages of production, including many illustrations often by Burton himself. Finally it sums of his preference to reuse many cast and crew including (but by no means limited too) Christopher Lee, Danny Devito, Rick Heinrichs, Collen Atwood, Chris Lebenzon and Danny Elfman, which is detailed further with explanation of his dislike for verbal communication. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, there are some very intimate moments in this novel from Burton's perspective including his disheartening with the tabloids over rumors of an affair with Helena Bohnam Carter on the set of "Planet of the Apes", his discouragement with the studio system especially in terms of the "Batman" and "Superman" franchises and dealing with the suicide of his friend and "Batman" corroborator, Production Designer Anton Furst.
The back jacket of the book says it succinctly in a quote from Empire "A must for fans", but I beg to differ. This book is not only a must for fans, but anyone looking for a little contemporary documentation on a fascinating individual who is truly one of a kind, despite what you think of his particular brand of aesthetics.
Burton really does go through much detail of his life, both in career and personal aspects, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Certainly a must for Burton fans, but also for anyone interested in knowing more about the creative genius behind such unforgettable masterpieces.
For the majority of the book, an italicized summary of a series of events, written by Salisbury, will be followed by a page or two by Burton on that same topic. This is then followed by another paragraph, or so, by Salisbury on a following event and so on and so forth.
Johnny Depp's Prologue, though shorter than expected, is very well written and provides a very interesting look at the actor's view of Burton before he met him, during Edward Scissorhands, after, and then during Ed Wood (and possibly Sleepy Hollow, I can't quite remember). He has some quite nice things to say about Tim and provides an eloquent intro for both the casual Tim fan and the die-hard Burtonite.
Definetly a must for all interested in Tim's work.