Jan 8, 2023
My GP took off on me last year. Landed some big
gig in Geneva I think. He's a bright one. Not that I knew him very
well. Only met him twice in six years. Anyhow, I went in for my
tri-annual (once every three) check-up the other day. The nurse was
pleasant. Told me he'd been working in the same clinic for 30
years. Adventurous, I thought. Then a student comes in. Also
pleasant. Bit bland, but hey, I thought, it takes years to spice up
character. Finally the resident/doctor arrives. Must've been in her
mid-thirties. She was absolutely delightful. Smiling, smart, funny.
What a difference she made. She lit up the room.
Same can be said of Lizzie
Gottlieb when she appeared on the screen. My screen that is, on
Zoom. It was a delight to talk with her
about Turn Every Page her new documentary
(released December 30th, 2022 by Sony Classics). It features the
50-year relationship between writer Bob Caro, 87, and his editor
Bob Gottlieb, 91.
Page has a delightful (yes, I know, I'm using it too much, but
I figure if Caro can overuse a mot juste -
"loom" in his case, according to Bob G. - so can I) soundtrack. It
deftly conducts the viewer, and the two Bobs, through the film
towards the pressing goal of completing Caro's biography of Lyndon
B. Johnson. We see the two at work on the fifth and final volume of
the book and in the process, learn about what they're both after:
uncompromised (uncompromising?) excellence. The two are by nature
industrious, and both have egos. Combine all of the above and you
have the makings of both a classic book, and a very watchable
documentary, one that gives you a feel for the magic in this unique
relationship and a sense of the great joy that can be experienced
between writer and editor as they make a book together. What
you get with this film is a whimsical, entertaining glimpse at a
very special kind of quiet alchemy.
I had such fun with
this project: watching the film, twice, re-reading parts of Bob
Gottlieb's memoir Avid Reader, conducting the interview,
editing it, and then right afterwards, going out for a walk and
listening to it. I hope your experience with the listening part is
as "delightful" as mine was.