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The Devil's Candy


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About the Author

Julie Salamon is the author of several award-winning books for adults, including Wendy and the Lost Boys, as well as her debut novel for children, Cat in the City. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and more. She lives in Manhattan with her family.


Wall Street Journal film critic Salamon systematically and incisively lays out the process that conceived of Bonfire as a socially relevant epic, then turned it into a successor to Heaven's Gate. Moving from pre- to post-production, she charts the ruinous situations--the stars' high salaries and scheduling problems, the limited range of Bruce Willis, the conflicting messages from studio heads and more. The requisite tidbits are here, as well--did Melanie Griffith have breast augmentation during the shooting? (Yes.) What does Brian DePalma drink for lunch? (Three cappuccinos.) There is also much detailed material on how a movie is made, including the range of instruments used to recreate sounds and the type of beading attached to Griffith's eye-popping party dress. Casual film fans may be overwhelmed by the scope of Salamon's information; aficionados will feel they've finally gotten enough. More speculation would have been welcome on whether Hollywood will learn from the mistakes of Bonfire or always fall prey to ``the devil's candy''--that ``impossible, expensive, possibly monumental thing.''420 Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Vanity Fair. (Nov.ok )

Salamon, film critic for The Wall Street Journal , was given seemingly unlimited and early entree to the production of Brian De Palma's film version of Tom Wolfe's novel The Bonfire of the Vanities . This is apparently the first time a writer has been allowed such unfettered access to the creation of a film since Lillian Ross wrote Picture ( LJ 10/1/52) based on the filming of The Red Badge of Courage (1951). Wisely, Salamon's narrative includes not only De Palma and the leading actors, but lesser-known contributors such as the costume designer, production assistants, and location scouts. She is adept at interweaving all viewpoints and activities into the whole. Although the film was a colossal failure, for reasons which Salamon makes very clear, the book is an eminently readable success.-- Roy Liebman, California State Univ. Lib., Los Angeles

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