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Billy Wilder on Assignment

Noah Isenberg

Warwick’s presents
Noah Isenberg
in conversation with Shelley Frisch

Billy Wilder on Assignment

Thursday, June 24, 2021 - 4:00pm PDT

Billy Wilder on Assignment
buy the book

This is a free virtual event on Facebook Live.

On Thursday, June 24th at 4:00pm PDT Warwick's will host Noah Isenberg as he discusses his new book, Billy Wilder on Assignment: Dispatches from Weimar Berlin and Interwar Vienna, in conversation with translator Shelley Frisch. Noah Isenberg is professor and chair of the department of radio-television-film at the University of Texas at Austin, the author of We'll Always Have Casablanca, Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins, editor of Weimar Cinema, and the recipient of an NEH Public Scholar Award.

Before Billy Wilder became the screenwriter and director of iconic films like Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot, he worked as a freelance reporter, first in Vienna and then in Weimar Berlin. Billy Wilder on Assignment brings together more than fifty articles, translated into English for the first time, that Wilder (then known as Billie) published in magazines and newspapers between September 1925 and November 1930. From a humorous account of Wilder's stint as a hired dancing companion in a posh Berlin hotel and his dispatches from the international film scene, to his astute profiles of writers, performers, and political figures, the collection offers fresh insights into the creative mind of one of Hollywood's most revered writer-directors.

Wilder's early writings - a heady mix of cultural essays, interviews, and reviews - contain the same sparkling wit and intelligence as his later Hollywood screenplays, while also casting light into the dark corners of Vienna and Berlin between the wars. Wilder covered everything: big-city sensations, jazz performances, film and theater openings, dance, photography, and all manner of mass entertainment. And he wrote about the most colorful figures of the day, including Charlie Chaplin, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Prince of Wales, actor Adolphe Menjou, director Erich von Stroheim, and the Tiller Girls dance troupe. Film historian Noah Isenberg's introduction and commentary place Wilder's pieces - brilliantly translated by Shelley Frisch - in historical and biographical context, and rare photos capture Wilder and his circle during these formative years.

Filled with rich reportage and personal musings, Billy Wilder on Assignment showcases the burgeoning voice of a young journalist who would go on to become a great auteur.

Shelley Frisch is the award-winning translator of Dietrich & Riefenstahl and the three-volume Kafka (Princeton), among other books. You can follow her on Twitter @shelfrisch.

Billy Wilder on Assignment: Dispatches from Weimar Berlin and Interwar Vienna Cover Image
By Noah Isenberg (Editor), Noah Isenberg (Introduction by), Billy Wilder
ISBN: 9780691194943
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Princeton University Press - April 27th, 2021