Hollywood's legendary script doctor Robert Towne won an Oscar for writing Chinatown and polished films from The Godfather to Armageddon; now he helms Without Limits, a film bio of an Olympic runner

What impressed Sanger was that Towne "had real style as a director, and was absolutely as relentless about images as words." During the racing scenes, Hall never thought the film would cut together; Lambert, who came onto the movie during postproduction, says that some of the crew found it hard to grasp that Towne's shots were based on emotional principles. But by the end, they got it--and the audience gets it.

Bowerman's eulogy for Pre ends the film. He says that Pre persuaded him that "the real purpose of running isn't to win a race--it's to test the limits of the human heart." It so perfectly sums up what we've seen that it carries no trace of sap or pretentiousness. We tear up from the shock of recognition.

Lambert says they played with diverse ways of handling Pre's memorial service before deciding the simplest was the best--keeping the camera trained on Sutherland's restrained yet spellbinding delivery of Bowerman's eulogy. It's also the most honest tactic: Unlike the guests at a wedding, people at a funeral or memorial service don't dart around to look at other people crying.

Conrad Hall says that when "Robert sees something happen with actors or the camera or from any venue of the production, he responds like a lost soul who's just found the truth." Hall echoes the maxim that Towne says he learned from Mark Twain: as Towne remembers it, "When in doubt, tell the truth."

Robert Towne's Without Limits is scheduled to open in Phoenix in October.


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