Desley Deacon reviews 'The Best Film I Never Made: And other stories about a life in the arts' by Bruce Beresford

Desley Deacon reviews 'The Best Film I Never Made: And other stories about a life in the arts' by Bruce Beresford

The Best Film I Never Made: And other stories about a life in the arts

by Bruce Beresford

Text Publishing, $29.99 pb, 281 pp, 9781925603101

Reading Bruce Beresford is enough to make any aspiring filmmaker think twice about following in his footsteps. ‘The Best Film I Never Made’, the title article of this collection of Beresford’s occasional writing over the last fifteen years, says it all. This is the sad, but in its way hilarious, story of his attempt to put together a movie based on the life of James Boswell. He knows from bitter experience that ‘skating on thin ice is the modus operandi of most film producers’; but he is ever optimistic, and his heart is in the project. With shooting only nine days away, however, his mobile rang: ‘Nik Powell was on the phone from Germany. The conversation was brief, just a few seconds – ‘There’s no money. The film’s off.’ The mobiles (supplied by the production office) all stopped working a few minutes later. A day or so later the production office in Shepparton had gone. No one connected with the film could be found.’

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Desley Deacon

Desley Deacon

Desley Deacon is a writer and historian living in Sydney. She is currently revising a manuscript, Four Husbands, a Lover, and a Friend: Mary McCarthy’s Experiments in Heterosexuality, for University of Chicago Press and is working on a biography of Australian-born actress of stage and screen, Judith Anderson. She was formerly Professor of History at the Australian National University, where she is now Professor Emerita, and taught for a number of years at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Elsie Clews Parsons: Inventing Modern Life (University of Chicago Press), and Managing Gender: The State, the New Middle Class, and Women Workers 1830-1930 (OUP), and has co-edited, with Penny Russell and Angela Woollacott, two volumes on transnational biography.

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