Twelve years ago at the blog — The Devil’s Candy with added Kael

This post is by Unknown from West Coast Stat Views (on Observational Epidemiology and more)

We were talking a lot about education costs at the time so the analogy of cost spirals was a bit more obvious then than it is now.  A few years after posting this, I came across this passage from a Pauline Kael essay spelled out that what went wrong with Bonfire a decade before the film was made.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Devil’s Candy — movie bombs and college budgets The recent discussion of higher education costs got me thinking about other spiraling budgets and about one of my favorite case studies on the subject, Julie Salamon’s excellent, The Devil’s Candy, an account of the making of the movie adaptation of Bonfire of the Vanities.

Salamon, already a well established journalist, was given almost unprecedented access to the production. I say ‘almost’ because there is one other similar book, Picture, by Lillian Ross of the New Yorker, which describes John Huston’s filming of Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage. Huston’s film has grown in critical stature over the years, but it was a notorious commercial flop, which should, perhaps, have been a warning to Brian DePalma and the other people behind Bonfire.

Of course, Hollywood is a world of its own, but there are some general lessons in The Devil’s Candy. One is that enterprises have a right size and if you try to scale past that size, things can go very wrong. As DePalma (who deserves serious points for forthrightness) put it:
“The (Read more…)