Q & A with Jeffrey Spivak about Buzz: The Life & Art of Busby Berkeley

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Re: Q & A with Jeffrey Spivak about Buzz: The Life & Art of Busby Berkeley

Postby Lomm » August 22nd, 2015, 10:09 pm


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Re: Q & A with Jeffrey Spivak about Buzz: The Life & Art of Busby Berkeley

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » August 22nd, 2015, 10:27 pm

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I adored all the choreographed synchronized swimming sequences in Million Dollar Mermaid. Do you have any special stories you can share with us about Busby Berkeley's experience on this film?

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Ryan Gosling and Busby Berkeley....

I can imagine how excited you must be to have your biography optioned for a film. Can you share with us what your hopes are once the project is completed? Are there any specific episodes in Busby's life that you have a fondness for seeing on the big screen?

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Re: Q & A with Jeffrey Spivak about Buzz: The Life & Art of Busby Berkeley

Postby Moraldo Rubini » August 23rd, 2015, 1:31 am

I'm a fan of Mr. Berkeley's movies and look forward to reading your book. Though I'm daunted, as my impression is that the bright spots of his life is reflected only in the end product of his work; behind the celluloid it seems a dark tale of alcohol, tragedy and tyranny. Yes?

I'm curious about Busby's transition from black and white kaleidoscopes to the even more dazzling Technicolor spectacles he gave us. Did he prefer color to black and white? How much input did he have on color usage? Did he care, or did just hand the reins to Natalie Kalmus? My understanding is she could be a bit of tyrant herself. Did the two see red with respect to each other?

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Re: Q & A with Jeffrey Spivak about Buzz: The Life & Art of Busby Berkeley

Postby CoffeeDan » August 23rd, 2015, 8:34 am

Thanks for coming to SSO and talking about Busby Berkeley, Mr. Spivak. I too had a copy of The Busby Berkeley Book when it was first published, and I read it to pieces. I'll probably do the same with your book!

My first question is about Busby Berkeley and his working relationship with musical arranger Ray Heindorf. They worked very closely together for Samuel Goldwyn, and I've heard that Buzz refused to sign with Warner Brothers unless they also signed Heindorf as well, saying that Heindorf's arrangements inspired him as much as the girls of the chorus did. Heindorf certainly changed things musically at WB -- did he have the same effect on Berkeley's numbers?

And for that matter, how closely did Berkeley work with his musical arrangers in general?

Second question: How many cameras did Buzz really use when filming his numbers? He always claimed he used a single camera, and that he had a firm sense of how he was going to shoot ahead of time -- "editing in the camera," as it were. But there are so many angles and such rapid cutting in some of his numbers, plus his groundbreaking use of the moving camera, that it doesn't seem possible. Some post-production work had to be necessary -- can you shed some light on his working methods in this respect?




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Re: Q & A with Jeffrey Spivak about Buzz: The Life & Art of Busby Berkeley

Postby Lomm » August 23rd, 2015, 10:11 am


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Re: Q & A with Jeffrey Spivak about Buzz: The Life & Art of Busby Berkeley

Postby moira finnie » August 23rd, 2015, 10:18 am

Your mention of Gertrude Berkeley makes me wonder--do you think her effect on her son was largely positive or negative? Was she the ballast and inspiration in her son's life or was she a hindrance to his growth as a person, especially in his many marriages?

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Above: Gertrude Berkeley in her prime as an actress.
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Re: Q & A with Jeffrey Spivak about Buzz: The Life & Art of Busby Berkeley

Postby knitwit45 » August 23rd, 2015, 10:26 am

No questions, just a warm thank you for sharing so much about one of the stars of Hollywood. Your book is now a must read for me. Again, thanks for being here!
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Re: Q & A with Jeffrey Spivak about Buzz: The Life & Art of Busby Berkeley

Postby buzzbbiographer » August 23rd, 2015, 10:58 am

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Re: Q & A with Jeffrey Spivak about Buzz: The Life & Art of Busby Berkeley

Postby kingrat » August 23rd, 2015, 12:32 pm

Thanks so much for meeting with us. Earlier this year I got to see a restoration of THE GANG'S ALL HERE on the big screen in all its Technicolor glory. What fun that was.

I'm interested in your saying that Berkeley wasn't particularly influenced by the art or psychology of the time. That fits with my feeling that Berkeley is an instinctual surrealist. His wild imagination simply works that way. For him, dozens of chorus girls wearing giant banana headdresses was just natural.

Was his experience with the 1960s Broadway NO, NO, NANETTE generally positive?

I look forward to reading your book.



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