Category Archives: Richard Schickel

The Luncheon Society/Dean of Film Writers, Richard Schickel, on Martin Scorsese/San Francisco—Fior D’Italia/May 9, 2011/Los Angeles—Napa Valley Grille/September 10, 2011

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It is fair to say that “Conversations with Scorsese,” places one of the best film writers aside one of the industry’s best directors. Over the past four decades, Martin Scorsese has delivered gem after gem on the screen and having our old friend Richard Schickel talk us through his career helps to better understand his artistic genius.

Thankfully, Scorsese likes to talk. We’re ever thankful that Schickel loves to ask penetrating questions. Together they create a 400 page oral history that sums the director’s career thus far. At the end, you have the feeling that you’ve been riding shotgun at every location shoot; that you’re there at every tortured edit; and you’ve been present for both the good and the tough times.

For the past four decades, spanning his tenure at Life, then Time Magazine, and now at Vanity Fair, Richard has given readers the best seat in the house when it comes to the movie industry.  When he joined us last year for lunch at Chez Mimi in Santa Monica to discuss his book about Clint Eastwood’s relationship with Warner Brothers, it was oneHollywood story after the next. On a sunny afternoon in May, Richard delivered in San Francisco and did it again in early September in Los Angeles.


Richard Schickel brings them alive.  Nobody knows the industry like the Dean of Film Writers.  Richard has written over 40 books, created over 40 films, and has narrated the filmmakers comments for countless DVDs. His film, “You Must Remeber This,”  serves and the unofficial history of Warner Brothers. Continue reading

The Luncheon Society/First Half 2010 recap/What’s coming up in the Second Half

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I thought I would quickly touch base now that we have completed the first half of 2010. Thus far  there have been 19 gatherings San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Manhattan.  We look for an equal number in the second half and should round out the year at 38-40.

Reminder.  To remind everybody, the SF and the LA Luncheon Society gatherings for Christopher Hitchens have been postponed and will be rescheduled later in 2010.

The Luncheon Society website.  For those who are unable to join us around the table,  you can subscribe to have The Luncheon Society summaries sent via email.  Click on the links below to learn more about the luncheons. Continue reading

The Luncheon Society/ Film Historian, documentary filmmaker, and critic Richard Schickel on Clint Eastwood/LA-Chez Mimi, March 20, 2010

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Richard Schickel tells a great story that reveals Clint Eastwood’s loyalty to Warner Brothers; it’s a tale few see in the entertainment industry, where players change agents as fast as their wives and “A list” actors get thrown under the bus after a subpar opening weekend.

Film has always been a major role in The Luncheon Society.  Whether it was Roger Ebert talking about the Oscars right before he fell ill in 2006, John Sayles discussing The Graduate while sitting next to the film’s producer Larry Turman, or Academy Award winner Lee Grant walking us through her struggles with the Hollywood Blacklist in the 1950’s, film is the keyhole that best understands the American psyche, complete with our catalogued strengths and weaknesses.

Schickel is one of the preeminent film historians in the industry and has reviewed films for Time and Life Magazine for the better part of four decades. Earlier this year, he penned a wonderful piece in Vanity Fair about Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, and how their partnership cemented Raging Bull as a film classic.  Schickel has authored over 30 books, produced, written and directed over 30 documentary films; and is found on the commentaries of over 40 DVDs.  He holds an honorary doctorate from The American Film Institute, won a British Film Institute Prize, based on his contribution to the art form. Richard’s latest book, a retrospective on Clint Eastwood’s long career with Warner Brothers, was published several weeks ago to wonderful reviews. We were thankful for the intercession of our friend Erika Schickel who put “the arm” on her father to meet The Luncheon Society.

Go ahead, make my movie. According to Schickel, after completing three “Dirty Harry” features during the 1970’s, Eastwood and his production company wanted to give the franchise a break and explore new ideas. He politely begged off repeated requests by Warner’s executive team to produce and direct another installment.


However during the early 1980’s, Warners made a number of ill-timed investments which included purchase of Atari. For awhile, the video game company flourished but soon tanked badly and dragged the Warner stock down nearly 70% from the previous high. Senior management was in deep trouble and Clint Eastwood had a long relationship to protect.  Everybody knew that another Dirty Harry sequel would be smash hit and it would staunch the hemorrhaging on Warner’s balance sheet. This time, Eastwood agreed to move forward.

The rest was history; the movie was called Sudden Impact and Eastwood’s signature line, Go ahead, make my day,” became the 6th most memorable line in a film according to the American Film Institute. Most importantly, the box office receipts helped Warners out of a tough scrape.

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