United Artist’s David V. Picker

To list the films and filmmakers David V. Picker has been involved with in his careers as president of United Artists, Paramount, and Columbia borders on giving a comprehensive history of the medium in the latter half of the twentieth century. A HARD DAY’S NIGHT, PERSONA, THE JERK, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, TOM JONES, LAST TANGO IN PARIS, LENNY, the James Bond franchise; auteurs such as Ingmar Bergman, Bernardo Bertolucci, Mike Nichols, John Huston, Woody Allen, and on and on (and on) — Picker, through a lifelong embrace of adventurous filmmaking, has had a hand in more than a few standout titles. (Also LEONARD PART 6 — we’re not dealing with gods here.)

Picker has now put his experience in the industry into handy print form in the new book, Musts, Maybes, and Nevers: A Book About the Movies, where he recalls his adventures, good and bad, getting classics and not-quite-classics to the screen, and provides numerous anecdotes of his encounters with the artists and insiders who made it happen. I was able to spend some time with Picker to talk about the industry as it was and as it is, and what it was like capturing all that on the page.

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