paul on mazursky

"America’s most undervalued filmmaker finally gets the book he deserves. It’s warm, personal, idiosyncratic and insightful—just like his movies."

—Leonard Maltin

Paul Mazursky’s nearly twenty films as writer/director represent Hollywood’s most sustained comic expression of the 1970s and 1980s. But they have not been given their due, perhaps because Mazursky’s films—both sincere and ridiculous, realistic and romantic—are pure emotion. This makes films like Bob & Carol & Ted & AliceAn Unmarried Woman, and Enemies, A Love Story difficult to classify, but that's what makes a human comedy human. In the first ever book-length examination of one of America’s most important and least appreciated filmmakers, Sam Wasson sits down with Mazursky himself to talk about his movies and how he makes them. Going over Mazursky’s oeuvre one film at a time, interviewer and interviewee delve into the director's life in and out of Hollywood, laughing, talking, and above all else, feeling—like Mazursky’s people always do. Touching, hilarious, and just a little bit insane, Paul on Mazursky offers us a firsthand look at one of America’s most treasured writer-directors. The book includes a filmography and never-before-seen photos.


"Paul Mazursky is one of the great writer-directors of cinema. His work is closer to that of a novelist than a movie director. His complicated, conflicted, and comedic characters are some of that decade's finest."
—Quentin Tarantino
"Talk is how the great writer-director-actor-warm-hearted-satirist Paul Mazursky communicates in his films, and talk about everything is what he does in this wonderful, illuminating book by Sam Wasson that gently probes the artist and the man for his views on movies, Hollywood and himself. For years, Mazursky and a group of friends have gathered daily for coffee at the Farmers Market in Los Angeles to talk about the comedy called life, and Wasson succeeds brilliantly in capturing the ease of their conversation for the reader without our having to fly to LA—and find no room at the table. Anyone who cares about films and wonders how they manage to get made, and who likes both to be educated and to laugh, should read this book."
—Eric Lax, author of Conversations with Woody Allen
“It was called Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, and it was the first film directed by Paul Mazursky, who went on to make seven genuinely memorable movies in a fascinating 35-year career that offers some rueful lessons about the changing nature of the American film. That career is the subject of Paul on Mazursky, a delightful book of conversations between the film writer Sam Wasson and the garrulous octogenarian.”
—John Podhoretz, The Weekly Standard
A fresh, innovative paradigm for biographical studies...Grab this book and a large cup of coffee, find an oversized stuffed chair, and slip into the funny heart of another human being.”
“Paul on Mazursky reminds us that Mazursky’s varied talents add up to a memorable legacy of film making.”
—Benjamin Ivry, The Forward


Wesleyan University Press
Powell’s Books
Barnes & Noble