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Enemies, A Love Story

The oral history of Siskel and Ebert

by Josh Schollmeyer

Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, and Gene Siskel, film critic for the Chicago Tribune, started out as newspaper enemies, each one trying to bludgeon the other in print with pointed barbs or exclusive interviews with Hollywood royalty.  The competition continued when someone had the bright idea to put the two of them together on television to critique the coming attractions.  

In the process of becoming legendary, they also came to know and love each other while continuing to put a stick in the eye.  

This is their funny and engaging story, as told by scores of people who were involved with them and their show over the years.  In the end they stood tallest when they stood together.


Robert Duffer, The Examiner:

“I started at the back of “Enemies, A Love Story: The oral history of Siskel and Ebert.” The piece was broken down into digestible paragraph-long quotes from 36 industry insiders, from New York Times film critic and the last host of At The Movies, A.O. Scott, to make-up artists, to Thea Flaum, the original producer of the show at WTTW in 1976. I didn’t read linearly, though it’s structured that way. I followed my own questions, flipping back and forth in movie-title chapters such as “Fight Club”, “Misery”, and “Everyone Says I love You.”

“Hours later I couldn’t sleep because the writer, Josh Schollmeyer, who is the executive editor at Playboy, had just created one of the most innovative and arresting approaches to his subjects and the form that I can recall reading. I say this without hyperbole: it’s the finest piece of feature writing I’ve read in years.”

Robert Feder, Time Out Chicago:

“Filling one-quarter of the magazine’s total space is a brilliant, 25,000-word account of the epic relationship between film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. Enemies, A Love Story: The oral history of Siskel and Ebert was written by Josh Schollmeyer, an executive editor at Playboy, who spent more than year conducting nearly 50 interviews, poring over tapes and transcripts, and unearthing new insights into the most intriguing and influential partnership Chicago has ever produced.

“Although neither the late Siskel nor the speech-deprived Ebert spoke to Schollmeyer, their voices resonate throughout the piece in scores of illuminating footnotes and annotations. Even the main photograph is a stunner — a never-before published shot of Gene and Roger butting heads — by the great Victor Skrebneski.”

Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune:

“The Chicagoan’s centerpiece is "Enemies, A Love Story," detailing the relationship between Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. Author Josh Schollmeyer (also one of the magazine's executive editors) interviewed who knows how many people to get the three dozen voices (mine included) that make up this compelling and revelatory oral history.”

Enemies, A Love Story details:

ISBN: 9781937853259

Words: 25,462

Pages: 56

Read a sample of  Enemies, A Love Story >>

Tags:  Gene Siskel - Roger Ebert - film critics - movie reviews