Mr. Wilder and Me

Highbridge Audio. Sept. 2022. 8:10 hrs. ISBN 9781696608398. $19.99. F
Coe (Middle England) reveals the mind of a legendary director at the sunset of his career, witnessed by his fictional narrator at the dawn of hers. Calista “Cal” Frangopoulou hasn’t written a film score in over a decade, and as her own life transitions from active motherhood to empty nest, she remembers her part in bringing Billy Wilder’s 1978 film Fedora to the screen. Though the real-life Cal never existed, Wilder and cowriter I.A.L. Diamond did shoot that film on location in Greece. Inserting naive Cal as their interpreter creates a credible, frequently funny perspective on the collaborators’ relationship and penultimate project. Narrator Kristen Atherton inhabits Cal’s character as both 50- and 20-something, rallying in middle age against personal stagnation and feeling her way through youthful meetings and partings, always inspired by “Mr. Wilder’s” genius. Atherton uses accent and affect to distinguish the Austrian American director and his international circle of friends, cast, and crew across multiple time periods for an overall easy-to-follow, immersive performance that leaves listeners ready for a watch (or rewatch) of Some Like It Hot, Double Indemnity, or any of Wilder’s masterpieces.
VERDICT Coe’s fans will be delighted; a perfect choice for all cinephiles.
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