A film by Tom Donahue
89 minutes, documentary, color, English, 2013
Casting By places the spotlight on one of filmmaking's unsung heroes – the casting director – and takes us on a journey through 50 years of Hollywood history from an entirely new perspective.
Pioneers like Marion Dougherty and Lynn Stalmaster were iconoclasts whose exquisite taste and gut instincts helped to put the final nail in the coffin of the old studio system and usher in the 'New Hollywood' with movies like Midnight Cowboy, The Graduate, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Bonnie and Clyde. In the process they launching the careers of James Dean, Robert Duvall, Warren Beatty, Gene Hackman, Glenn Close, John Travolta, Jeff Bridges, Bette Midler and countless other iconic actors.
In this illuminating documentary, directors and actors including Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Diane Lane, Jon Voight, Bette Midler and John Travolta share stories and memories from their early careers, all interwoven with rarely seen clips as well as scenes from classics like The Sting, Goodfellas, Annie Hall, The Great Escape and West Side Story.
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"CRITIC'S PICK! This delightful documentary shows that Dougherty may have single-handedly created a filmmaking craft and then made it indispensable. Later, with Lynn Stalmaster, Dougherty brought this casting approach to meet the fresh needs of a film industry emerging from the collapse of the old studio system. It's amazing how many actors of the 'American New Wave' got their start thanks to those two, and we get to see these performers, then and now." - The Village Voice
"Jam-packed with evocative film clips, archival footage and interviews with a who's who of actors and filmmakers, 'Casting By' makes a compelling case for a Hollywood-gone-by when gut instincts, risk-taking and a dark-horse mentality could trump corporate meddling and box office slavishness. Good stuff!" - Los Angeles Times
"Highly entertaining! An illuminating close-up on a vital cog in the moviemaking machine and a fresh perspective on key episodes in the birth of the New Hollywood. It's thrilling to gain insight into how these iconic movies came together." - The Hollywood Reporter
"Delicious insider tales of the making of some of your favorite films enrich this wonderfully informative and entertaining doc about casting directors. Enthralling!" - Film Journal
"Donahue's access is nothing short of awesome - it begins to feel as if there's nobody he can't get on camera - as is his capacity for pulling together archival material. Distinguished by remarkable film clips, particularly some from TV's first golden age, and a formidable talking-heads roster, 'Casting By' recounts in lively fashion the development of this little-understood craft." - Variety
"Outstanding! 'Casting By' would be valuable just for the interview footage with Dougherty and Stalmaster, but they're just part of the reason the documentary is so good. This is clearly a labor of love. It must have been in the works an awfully long time...but it was worth waiting for." - Leonard Maltin