Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story

Although the 1980 cult film Caddyshack is now a beloved antiestablishment comedy, its path to the screen was a bumpy one. As in cocaine bumps. Cocaine "seemed to be the fuel that kept the film running," writes Entertainment Weekly film critic Chris Nashawaty. Most of the cast and crew were friends, having worked together at National Lampoon magazine, Second City, Saturday Night Live or Animal House. But camaraderie turned into competition and "curdled into a toxic stew of bitter compromises, bruised feelings, and bare-knuckle power plays," writes Nashawaty. "The drugs certainly hadn't helped."

First-time director and (co-screenwriter) Harold Ramis was often revising the script hours before scenes were to be filmed--or tossing out pages and encouraging his cast to improvise. Bill Murray ad-libbed his entire performance, playing a character not in the script. Improvisations by Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase added laughs but left the film so disjointed that the producers had to add $500,000 to the budget for reshoots. (The animatronic gopher that ties the film together wasn't added until reshoots.)

Nashawaty's entertaining and insightful book is filled with deliciously juicy gossip and bad behavior. There is poignancy, however, in detailing producer and co-screenwriter Douglas Kenney's increasing depression and accelerated drug use. Kenney died at age 33, a month after the film was released. Nashawaty's interviews with Murray, Chase, Ramis, producer Jon Peters and the film's supporting cast (including Michael O'Keefe and Peter Berkrot) add a freshness and intimacy to his well-researched salute to a troubled production that became an iconic comedy classic. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

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