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The Creative Producer: A Memoir of the Studio System, by David Lewis

The Creative Producer: A Memoir of the Studio System, by David Lewis

James Curtis

ISBN: 9780810827202

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In 1938, Warner Brothers production chief Hal Wallis grudgingly described David Lewis one of his six "supervisors" and a veteran of 15 feature films to director Michael Curtiz: "That Lewis is a genius at getting scripts out of people who can't write " Wallis knew that writing ultimately defined the job of the creative producer and that David Lewis had an uncanny talent for coaxing the best filmic material from the screenwriters he supervised. In this memoir, Lewis describes his development as a production executive and how the associate producer helped make the famed studio system work. It was the producer (or "supervisor," at Warners) who saw the script budgeted, cast the film, helped choose the director, and gently influenced the filming itself. Once shooting was complete, it was the producer who stayed with the project through editing and previews. David Lewis (1903-1987) was an associate producer at RKO and later at MGM. He hit his stride at Warner Bros., where, between 1937 and 1942, he produced twelve films with such popular stars as James Cagney (Each Dawn I Die), Humphrey Bogart (It All Came True), Bette Davis (Dark Victory), Ronald Reagan (Kings Row), Errol Flynn (Four's a Crowd), and Charles Boyer (All This and Heaven Too). His films were nominated for a total of 15 Academy Awards, including three for Best Picture. Some of Lewis's films have rightfully become classics; all reflect an unerring instinct for character and structure, part of the filmmaking process he describes in The Creative Producer.
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