I bought this book a while ago, and the other day I started reading the section about the author, the late Julia Phillips, producing "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," one of my favorite movies.
I was really taken by her warts-and-all portrait of herself and other people (although Spielberg doesn't seem to get any warts in what I read). When you read about her manic journey into movie producing, with all the crazy characters, you wonder how a movie ever gets made -- and how it could ever turn out as good as "Close Encounters" or "Taxi Driver" (another film she produced).
I know the Hollywood of the Seventies is long gone, as is Julia Phillips, but this books serves as one person's document about how some of the best movies got made.
My favorite quote: "Of all the dead people I know Francois Traffaut wins the prick award hands down." (Traffaut, the famous French director of films "Day for Night" and "The 400 Blows," played Claude Lacombe, the French Project Director in "Close Encounters.")
She goes on to talk about how Traffaut fakes the deafness in one ear so that he can pull power plays on people, making them repeat themselves all the time. She sets up a bet with Spielberg that if she whispers "Francois" at a dinner that Traffaut will look up. She whispers it, and he does look up. Then Spielberg welches on the bet! Funny stuff.
Another historical note about Phillips is she was the first woman to win the Oscar as producer for "The Sting."