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‘Don’t Say No Until I Finish Talking,’ TCM’s Doc on Top Hollywood Producer Richard D. Zanuck, Heads to DVD

'Don't Say No Until I Finish Talking,' TCM's Doc on Top Hollywood Producer Richard D. Zanuck, Heads to DVD

A must-see for students of Hollywood and would-be producers, Laurent Bouzereau’s inside-the-movie-biz documentary “Don’t Say No Until I Finish Talking: The Story of Richard D. Zanuck,” will be released on DVD this September, via Turner Classic Movies.

Zanuck, the son of legendary 20th Century Fox co-founder and executive Darryl F. Zanuck, produced his first film, “Compulsion,” before he turned 25. He became president of a struggling Fox a few years later, only to be fired by his father, which led the younger Zanuck to jump to rival Warner Bros. as Executive Vice President. Richard Zanuck was the subject early in his career of one of the best Hollywood books ever written, John Gregory Dunne’s "The Studio." (Read Anne Thompson’s New York Times interview with Zanuck here.

Richard Zanuck later joined with the late David Brown to produce many of Steven Spielberg’s early movies, such as “The Sugarland Express” and “Jaws,” as well as “Driving Miss Daisy,” for which they won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Zanuck later parted ways with Brown, and for the last decade worked with director Tim Burton, producing six of his films, including "Planet of the Apes" and 2012’s “Dark Shadows.”  Zanuck died later that year at age 77 (TOH! obit here).

Bouzereau’s film features many conversations with the producer, as well as his wife and sons and a raft of Hollywood A-listers, among them Spielberg, Burton, Clint Eastwood, William Friedkin, Alfred Uhry and Tom Rothman.  (Spielberg executive produced the film, along with DreamWorks execs Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey.)

“Don’t Say No Until I Finish Talking” comes out on home video September 8, and TCM is making the film available only through its online store.  Check out a promo for the documentary below.

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I'm not as enthusiastic about Dunne's "The Studio" as you are. In the book, which covers a year at Fox in…1967, I think…Dunne focuses on some of the least interesting stuff going on at the studio, while the more interesting stuff is happening on the margins, just out of Dunne's focus, in the office down the hall from where he is or in the soundstage next to the one he's covering. He keeps making references to things going on that should have gotten more attention from him. It got very frustrating. As I read it, I kept thinking, "You're missing the story." I also remember thinking that his wife, Joan Didion, should have gotten the assignment. She was a much more astute observer and would certainly have found the right story. (She wrote rarely about film, but when she did it was great. I wish she'd done more.)

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