In a press release about the forthcoming TCM documentary Spielberg on Spielberg (airing July 9th at 8 pm), George Lucas is quoted as follows: “Steven is the consummate filmmaker. He has an extraordinary ability to make brilliant movies — brilliantly artistic, brilliantly entertaining, and brilliantly successful. Steven’s genius is that he knows, innately, how to communicate through film. He is one of the few directors I know who can actually edit in his head while he is filming.”
Here’s HE’s compassionate revision of this statement, which I’ve sent along to TCM publicists: “Before he compromised and then totally muddied up his once-hallowed reputation with forehead slappers like 1941, The Color Purple, Always, Empire of the Sun, Hook, Amistad, A.I., Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal and Munich, Steven Spielberg was once (i.e., from 1975 to 1982) regarded as a consummate filmmaker. He seemed to have an extraordinary ability to make brilliant movies — stylistically vivid (although not very artistic), often entertaining, and, of course, financially successful.
“The money part is what finally counts for industry mainstreamers who derive satisfaction from showing obeisance before power and kowtowing to the heavyweights. This is built into our DNA — monkeys do the same thing — so try and understand. At the same time please understand that if Spielberg’s films had not been so enormously profitable for so long, TCM would not have produced this documentary. You know it, we know it…and now our cards are on the table.
“Spielberg’s mid ’70s to early ’80s rep was based on the fact that he once knew, innately, how to communicate through film. There was a downside to this, however. What Spielberg communicated all too clearly by having Tom Cruise‘s son turn up alive at the end of War of the Worlds was that he’d turned into a total sentimental sap.”