"This intimate portrait is composed of Sylbert's unfinished memoirs augmented by interviews with collaborators and leading directors including Elia Kazan, Mike Nichols, Roman Polanski, and Warren Beatty. Aficionados will enjoy the candid observations about this talented, intellectual, often tempestuous designer and the off-camera stories of the making of these films. The book is at its best when Sylbert discusses his designs in terms of metaphor, stylistic structure, restricted color palettes, and authenticity of details....Extensive collections serving upper-division undergraduates and above."
"Sylbert was the late (d. 2002) Academy Award-winning production designer for such films as Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?, The Graduate, Rosemary's Baby, and Chinatown. At his wife's request, Hollywood writer/editor Townsend edited his unfinished memoir in the third person. Included are his thoughts on production design and art direction, and her assessment of his contributions which went beyond design, and quirks. The book includes photos and drawings of his film sets, and some character- revealing anecdotes by his wife, Sharmagne Leland-St. John- Sylbert."
"When director Roman Polanski was looking for the perfect location for Rosemary's Baby, production-designer extraordinaire Richard Sylbert immediately suggested The Dakota, a classy Upper West Side apartment building. In Designing Movies: Portrait of a Hollywood Artist (Praeger), Oscar-winner Sylbert (posthumously co-authored by Sylvia Townsend, who expanded his memoir) neatly answers the question, What does a production designer do? Townsend also interviewed some of his famous collaborators, such as Francis Ford Coppola and Warren Beatty, to garner a behind-the-scenes portrait of a cinematic visionary. Considering the films Sylbert worked on, such as The Graduate, Reds, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the exceptional Chinatown, there isn't a better candidate to explain why design is so critical to a films success."
"[A] finely written history and an elegant tribute to a great man....[a] fascinating ride through the Hollywood glory days of the ''60s, '70s and early '80s--a candid, pungent, wonderfully detailed tour."
"Dick Sylbert was arguably the most gifted production designer of his generation. When he died, he left the kernel of a memoir, which has been used as the basis for this riveting account of his life in the movies."