In 1988, Oscar-winning director Volker Schlondorff sat down for an impromptu interview with legendary writer-director Billy Wilder in his Beverly Hills office. Two weeks later, Wilder was still jawing about his writing process; the joys and difficulties of working with stars like Marlene Dietrich, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe; and wittily explaining his philosophy of humor and storytelling, always with an easygoing and avuncular jocularity.
It is truly a joy to sit down with Billy Wilder, a Polish immigrant who became one of the great Hollywood practitioners, and listen to him talk off the cuff (the only way he'd agree to talk) about his experiences making classics like "Some Like It Hot," "Sunset Boulevard," "The Apartment," and "Stalag 17." Relaxed, humble but forthright (he speaks to Schlondorff in a changing mixture of German and English), Wilder conveys a confidence in his approach and working methods without ever appearing arrogant. And his anecdotes about golden-age celebrities are gracious rather than catty — yet still revealing. This is a must for movie buffs.