The Films of James Bridges
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Originally arriving in Hollywood to pursue an acting career, James Bridges went on to write and direct such popular films as The Paper Chase, The China Syndrome and Urban Cowboy. This book tells the story of his life and career, helped by new interviews with friends and collaborators; it also offers a detailed analysis of each of Bridges' eight feature films, including his lesser-known cult classics September 30, 1955 and Mike's Murder.
the textbook he is diligently reading (determined not to be humiliated again by Kingsfield for not studying). On the page, highlighted words and phrases pop out at us: "L. HAND, Chief Judge..." and "The court took the view that while...." In some respects, these shots are the most romantic in the entire movie. We think, Here is how lawyers are made. To whom do we attribute the visual subtlety and sophistication of Bridges's second film? On The Paper Chase, Bridges repaid one old friendship (by
members of that club. It's a very old time New York club. Houseman and I had lunch there I don't know how many times. So we shared a certain thing that Jim and I didn't share and he wouldn't have been interested in anyway. I'm not quite sure of the point I'm trying to make. We were friends, but we had limited shared interests.79 Edward Herrmann's film career was launched. After The Paper Chase, plum roles in Mike Nichols's The Day of the Dolphin and George Roy Hill's The Great Waldo Pepper soon
said, "It has a lot of the things in it that studios support. They'll feel commercially confident in it because it'll have a lot of sex in it, it'll have a lot of girls. We won't have any problem getting the studios to support this kind of a movie from a commercial standpoint. We just have to make sure that it's a good movie."2 Kurumada accompanied Bridges to several clubs similar to the Sports Connection. He remembered, "We went to look at it and saw that people were dressing up and buying
don't get to experience more of his stories," Jack Bender observed. "When you go to a Jim Bridges film, there's a comfort zone. You're going to be on a comfortable sofa that's going to hold up and you may go places where you're not comfortable, but underneath you there is going to be this solid thing, which is called American storytelling that he definitely sprang from. It would have been really interesting to see where his filmography would have gone."63 What would his last films have been like?
Bridges: An Arkansas boy comes home," The Echo, April 1, 1976. 23. The Baby Maker presskit (National General Pictures), p. 2. 24. Jay Carr, "Bright Lights Amid the Chaos," The Boston Globe, April 1, 1988. 25. Jack Larson, interview with the author, March 16, 2008. 26. Anthony Tommasini, Virgil Thomson: Composer on the Aisle (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997), p. 478. 27. Barbara Hershey, interview with the author, June 28, 2009. 28. Tom Bonner, email to the author, February 26, 2009.