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THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST STUNTMAN: MY LIFE AS INDIANA JONES, JAMES BOND, SUPERMAN AND OTHER MOVIE HEROES
By Vic Armstrong (with Robert Sellers)
softcover; 368 pages; color and B/W; Editions: 2011; 2012 (updated paperback edition)
This amazingly breezy read is packed with dozens of danger filled anecdotal tales told in Armstrong's own words covering his work on many of cinemas biggest movies. Constantly engaging, it's just as spectacular reading about the elaborate stunts as watching them unfold onscreen.
This revised edition originally surfaced in 2011 and must have made a bundle for an expanded one to be released so quickly; after skimming over any number of pages it's easy to see why. With so many varied productions and stories to relay, Armstrong is incredibly adept at recalling minute details and recounts them marvelously.
Within these 368 information packed pages you'll find dozens of anecdotes and reminisces of the legendary stuntman's work on such epic action pictures as YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967), BILLY TWO HATS (1974), A BRIDGE TOO FAR (1977), SUPERMAN (1978), FLASH GORDON (1980), RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), KRULL (1983), CONAN THE DESTROYER (1984), TAI PAN (1986), RAMBO 3 (1988), TOTAL RECALL (1990), STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997), WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005) and many others too numerous to mention.
There's even stories from Armstrong on films that went unfinished such as THE NEW SPARTANS, an action thriller from director Jack Starrett that would have seen one of the most ambitious casts of big name performers (Oliver Reed, Toshiro Mifune, Fred Williamson, Susan George, Jimmy Wang Yu, Patrick Wayne among them) from around the world up on the screen.
He also discusses his own directorial feature film debut with the John Wooesque bullet ballet of ARMY OF ONE (1993) aka JOSHUA TREE, one of many post ROCKY 4 (1985) roles for 80s action star Dolph Lundgren.
Armstrong goes into an enormous amount of detail on not just every aspect of his stunt experience, but he also pulls no punches in regards to his working relationships with the various filmmakers and performers from the films themselves.
Speaking of pulling no punches, some other great bits regarding Grace Jones beating the holy hell out of the stunt guys from CONAN THE DESTROYER, which was widely reported back in the day, are contained herein. In addition, Armstrong gives out some hilariously quirky tales including a bonkers one about his introduction to Stanley Kubrick and also the stunt masters travails working with, and around the madness of George P. Cosmatos on ESCAPE FROM ATHENA (1979).
His exhaustive work on the SUPERMAN and INDIANA JONES series' are given a generous amount of space, particularly the latter. Especially enlightening is how Armstrong ultimately had to double for Harrison Ford for a time during the shooting of INDIANA JONES & THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984) after the actor suffered a back injury putting him out of commission for three weeks. Armstrong's striking resemblance to Ford is notable, and definitely worked out to the productions advantage.
It's not all fireworks and testosterone exploding across the silver screen, though, as the author also goes into details about his family life and his personal associations about those he's worked with. Armstrong is quite candid and revealing in his sometimes shocking and hilarious accounts.
His book is likewise peppered with a good amount of appreciation from the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Sir Christopher Lee and a spirited Introduction by Steven Spielberg. Also included are many rare B/W and color behind the scenes photos from dozens of films Armstrong has worked on from his own personal collection.
This amazingly breezy read is packed with dozens of danger filled anecdotal tales told in Armstrong's own words covering his work on many of cinemas biggest movies. Constantly engaging, it's just as spectacular reading about the elaborate stunts as watching them unfold onscreen. Simply one of the best books of its type and difficult to put down once you've started, this compact, novel sized book will fit in a jacket pocket, or book bag for reading on the go. It also makes a great addition for your nightstand, or even bathroom perusal, although you will likely find yourself in there longer than need be. Highly recommended reading for action movie fanatics and anyone interested in other aspects of production outside of acting and directing.
To be released on May 29th, 2012, the book can be pre-ordered HERE at amazon.
You can also see more about the book, including its hardcover edition, HERE at the Titan Books website.
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I've been a huge movie buff since childhood catching old horror and monster flicks on Shock Theater and kung fu movies at the drive-in during the late 70's and early 80's. I've had a long time fascination with, and appreciate all genres of fantastic cinema, good and bad. One fans cheese is another fans juicy steak. I like both equally and seldom find a film I truly dislike as I will find something of interest in just about anything. The bulk of the films or tv series' seen here are mostly from my childhood, or films I own in what has become an Amazing Colossal DVD collection.