I Am Spartacus! by Kirk Douglas
Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist

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From Kirk Douglas, Hollywood royalty and bestselling author of The Ragman’s Son and My Stroke of Luck, comes the candid story of the making of Spartacus, the blockbuster film that broke the blacklist
One of the world’s most iconic movie stars, Kirk Douglas has distinguished himself as a producer, philanthropist, and author of ten works of fiction and memoir. Now, more than fifty years after the release of his enduring epic Spartacus, Douglas reveals the riveting drama behind the making of the legendary gladiator film. Douglas began producing the movie in the midst of the politically charged era when Hollywood’s moguls refused to hire anyone accused of Communist sympathies. In a risky move, Douglas chose Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted screenwriter, to write Spartacus. Trumbo was one of the “Unfriendly Ten,” men who had gone to prison rather than testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee about their political affiliations. Douglas’s source material was already a hot property, as the novel Spartacus was written by Howard Fast while he was in jail for defying HUAC. With the financial future of his young family at stake, Douglas plunged into a tumultuous production both on- and off-screen. As both producer and star of the film, he faced explosive moments with young director Stanley Kubrick, struggles with a leading lady, and negotiations with giant personalities, including Sir Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, and Lew Wasserman. Writing from his heart and from his own meticulously researched archives, Kirk Douglas, at ninety-five, looks back at his audacious decisions. He made the most expensive film of its era—but more importantly, his moral courage in giving public credit to Trumbo effectively ended the notorious Hollywood blacklist. A master storyteller, Douglas paints a vivid and often humorous portrait in I Am Spartacus! The book is enhanced by newly discovered period photography of the stars and filmmakers both on and off the set.

About Kirk Douglas

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Kirk Douglas is a renowned actor whose work on and off the screen has been rewarded by three Academy Award nominations, an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and the Medal of Freedom. Through his production company, Bryna, Douglas has produced acclaimed films such as The Vikings, Lonely Are the Brave, Paths of Glory, and Seven Days in May. He has penned ten novels and memoirs, including The Ragman’s Son (1988). His 1960 epic, Spartacus, based on the Howard Fast novel of the same name, is credited with helping to end the practice of blacklisting film professionals who had refused to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee. Douglas appeared in some-ninety movies before retiring from film acting in 2004.     In 2009, he starred in an autobiographical one-man show called Before I Forget at the Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles. Douglas maintains an active life in Beverly Hills and Montecito, where he resides with his beloved wife Anne.
Published June 12, 2012 by Open Road Media. 242 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for I Am Spartacus!

Los Angeles Review of Books

Kirk Douglas's company, Bryna, produced the film and Douglas is listed as Executive Producer in the credits but Edward Lewis has stated that he (Lewis) hired Trumbo and that Kirk Douglas also did not personally enlist Lawrence Oliver, Charles Laughton, and Peter Ustinov to appear in the film.

Nov 08 2012 | Read Full Review of I Am Spartacus!: Making a Fil...

TCPalm / AP

Not unlike Spartacus deciding whether to risk everything by leading a slave revolt in ancient Rome, Douglas debated whether to give Trumbo his screenwriting credit even if Universal might pull the plug on the movie.

Aug 05 2012 | Read Full Review of I Am Spartacus!: Making a Fil...

Lehigh Valley Live

Douglas is admirable not just because he's still writing at 95 — this is his 10th book — and pushing back against a speech-impairing stroke he sustained in 1996.

Jul 02 2012 | Read Full Review of I Am Spartacus!: Making a Fil...

Islington Tribute

I did enjoy learning, apart from the duties of slave women, how Crassus (aka Sir Laurence Olivier), the general credited with crushing Spartacus, met his own grisly end: the Persians cut off his head and used it as a theatrical prop.

Feb 11 2010 | Read Full Review of I Am Spartacus!: Making a Fil...


November 8th, 2012 reset - + MOST HOLLYWOOD MEMOIRS, barely worth writing about or discussing, sell simply because a celebrity (ostensibly) wrote them.

Nov 08 2012 | Read Full Review of I Am Spartacus!: Making a Fil...

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