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Jim McBride Edit Profile
McBride attended New York University.
McBride came to fame in the late 1960s with his first film, David Holzman’s Diary, which concerns a young movie fan’s efforts to stabilize his life by filming it and, in effect, produce a cinematic diary. Holzman believes that by filming his own activities he will realize a degree of self-knowledge that will otherwise elude him. But the sequences he films fail to elevate his self-awareness. Rather, they serve as further evidence of his growing madness. Indeed, the monomaniacal persistence with which Holzman vainly pursues his film-making endeavor is symptomatic of his instability.
Although David Holzman’s Diary has come to be recognized as a classic independent—even avant-garde—film, it hardly produced a ripple within the United States’ profit-driven movie business. And although McBride managed to continue as a filmmaker after completing David Holzman's Diary, his other early efforts, including My Girlfriend's Wedding, Glen and Randa, and Hot Times, are even less well known.
After completing Hot Times in 1974, nine years passed before McBride returned to commercial film-making with Breathless, an overtly Americanized adaptation of French master Jean-Luc Godard’s New Wave classic from the late 1950s.
After making Breathless, McBride served as director of The Big Easy, a thriller written by Daniel Petrie Jr. and Jack Baran about corruption among law enforcement officials in the city of New Orleans. Largely on the strength of the considerable sexual rapport between lead performers Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin, The Big Easy brought McBride a greater measure of recognition as a capable, if somewhat iconoclastic, filmmaker.
McBride next wrote (with Jack Baran) and directed Great Balls of Fire, which featured Dennis Quaid as Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock-and-roll pianist and singer who enjoyed particular prominence in the 1950s before he became notorious for marrying his thirteen-year-old cousin.
In the years that have passed since the release of Great Balls of Fire, McBride has continued working, but his ensuing films have not realized similar mainstream play. He directed the made-for-television thrillers Blood Ties and The Wrong Man and both wrote and directed the European thriller Uncovered. Perhaps most notable among these later films is The Wrong Man, an atmospheric, sexually charged suspense drama in which an American in Mexico is implicated in a crime and finds himself tracked by the police there.
McBride was married to Fern Dalman from 1966 to 1968. He married Treisi Tainan in 1982.