Don't Say No Until I Finish Talking: The Story of Richard D. Zanuck (2013) Poster

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Very Good Look at Zanuck
Michael_Elliott8 May 2013
Don't Say No Until I Finish Talking (2013)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Nicely done documentary taking a look at the career of studio head and movie producer Richard D. Zanuck. The documentary has the great fortune of being able to get Zanuck to talk about his career before his death in 2012. We start off taking a look at his early life, which included certain trouble with his legendary father. We also get to learn about his fighting problems, him having to fire Judy Garland and other stories that made him the person he would become. After we learn about his personal life we head towards the various films he produced and get stories about the making of PLANET OF THE APES, THE EIGER SANCTION, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, JAWS, COCOON, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and various others. Not only do we get Zanuck talking about his career but we also hear from his children, his wife and various people that he has worked with including Steven Spielberg, Willian Friedkin, Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer and various others. DON'T SAY NO UNTIL I FINISH TALKING is a well-made documentary from director Laurent Bouzereau who many will know from the various DVD extras that he has made. He does a very good job here and I really liked how he structured the documentary with Zanuck's early life talked about during the first third and then we get to all the movies. I really liked the stories that were selected to be talked about and there's no question that Zanuck does a very good job at telling his own story. Fans of his movies will certainly enjoy this documentary and there's no question that it makes you want to go out and watch the films again.
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Richard Zanuck certainly wasn't shy when talking about his life and career
AlsExGal11 May 2013
This documentary has movie producer Richard Zanuck talking about both his family and career in great depth, along with interviews of those who had worked with him. It's a good look at his life starting with his early childhood up to the time of his death. Tragically, Mr. Zanuck saw this documentary only three days before he died, but wrote a letter saying how impressed he was with the final product the day that he saw the documentary.

His famous father, Darryl F. Zanuck, founder of 20th Century Fox, had the benefit of having the studio system behind him during his entire career. Son Richard started out in the business as the studio system was collapsing, took control of his dad's studio, Twentieth Century Fox, as it was financially buckling under the weight of the death of said studio system - and Cleopatra (1962), whose failure oddly nobody mentioned - and closed the studio down until he could sort through what Fox should do next.

Richard Zanuck basically rebuilt Fox under the new studio model that the industry has today - artists come for a particular project, and then leave when they are done with that project. When Zanuck was fired from Fox - by the act of his own father - he made lemonade out of lemons and became one of those independent producers himself, spending the rest of his life working on his own projects rather than for a studio. He had many successes particularly in the 70's and 80's - most notably The Sting, Jaws, The Verdict, Eiger Sanction, Cocoon and Driving Miss Daisy. It seemed from the 90's forward he had more trouble adapting to these CGI laden times we live in, and I can hardly blame him - so do I for that matter.

Not bitter towards his dad, who really did him wrong in many respects, he seemed to have a few demons himself. He mentioned his drinking which he enjoyed very much, and that he just stopped one day when he found himself arrested for drunk driving. One odd personal thing Richard said when talking about his own marriages - he said that the first two lasted nine or ten years and that they were good marriages, yet they ended in divorce. I just found that to be an odd statement, since I would consider a good friendship to be something that lasted nine or ten years, but not a marriage.

I'd recommend this since so much of it is Richard Zanuck talking about himself, and the rest of it are people who actually worked with him - Morgan Freeman, Johnny Depp, Clint Eastwood, William Friedkin, Ron Howard, and Steven Spielberg among others, not just critics who knew his work but didn't know the man. Highly recommended.
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"Most certainly Say Yes! Warning: Spoilers
"Its difficult many times when the subject of a Feature Doc acts as the Host of the Film." They tend to get inside themselves more than often and sometimes does not paint a true picture of whom that person really is. In this case, the opposite applies.

Richard Zanuck is a emotional guy and lets it all hang out is this Bio Doc of the Studio Chief and Indie Producer and Filmmaker entire life and career. Starting with his father we get to see how it would be to grow up the son of the Head of one of Hollywood's largest and most successful Studios. But times become tough with the Studio System demise and Richard is brought in to give 20th Century Fox new control along with new management and a fresh start. He is responsible quickly with some of the biggest blockbusters. Such film's as The Longest Day and The Sting are under control of the young Zanuck and his father could not be more proud. But then after several hits, Richard decides to to go back to the basics and steps into the territory of big budget Musicals usually handled by cross town rival MGM. The flops happen as quickly as his initial successful Films and he is unbelievably out of a job.

Earlier in his life at Fox, thanks to his father he would learn the technical behind the camera below the line jobs and this on and off-set experience would help guide himself in the direction of a wonderful and lasting partnership with David Brown as a Producer. With every studio in town eying what's next for the Zanucks, he Produces a few low budget film's to get himself rolling and then comes JAWS! The film that saved Universal is a Film than Zanuck and Brown green-lighted and even with all the production problems pointed out so vividly by Spielberg in this film, worldwide Box office receipts made them all Stars and a ticket to do whatever they wanted for many years to come.

I wanted to know a little more about the man and his personal relationship with his father, his failed marriages are taken in jest as is his madman demeanor but again he is the one talking about himself the most in the Film. Many incites here from the likes of Johnny Depp to William Friedkin and Clint Eastwood along with Tim Burton really take us inside a a cut-throat business like never before.

This film is textbook on the History of going Indie in the 1970's and clearly Richard Zanuck paved the way for Filmmakers outside of the Studio System today attempting to secure financing and getting their projects made. He should be the mentor of what was then and what is now making their way through the Film Festival circuits. A total shock to all that he passed on only a few days after screening and endorsing this film.

There will never be another Richard D. Zanuck and I feel that everyone that sees this remarkable film will understand what I mean in the first sequence of events that unfold.

Outstanding accomplishment and congrats to all involved.
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Zanuck's story is one worth hearing
Mr-Fusion31 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Well-produced documentary that tracks Zanuck's prolific career from his birth into the industry, rise to the top of Twentieth Century Fox, his ousting from the studio, and his enduring legacy thereafter. Several heavyweights (Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Tom Rothman, Johnny Depp, William Friedkin, et al) show up with complimentary things to say about the man, and he really did seem to be the artist's producer.

It doesn't even matter if you're not interested in the man's early life; by the time we get to "Jaws", you're hooked. And Laurent Bouzereau (king of the DVD featurette) knows how to hit you where you live with the sentimental gut-punch of an ending.

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