CIty of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940's
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In 1939, fifty million Americans went to the movies every week, Louis B. Mayer was the highest-paid man in the country, and Hollywood produced 530 feature films a year. One decade and five thousand movies later, the studios were faltering. The 1940s became the decade of Hollywood's decline: anticommunist hysteria excommunicated some of its best talent, while a 1948 antitrust consent decree ended many of the business practices that had made the studio system so profitable.
In this masterful work of cultural history, the legendary Otto Friedrich tells the story of Hollywood's heyday and decline in a vivid narrative featuring an all-star cast of the actors, writers, musicians, composers, producers, directors, racketeers, labor leaders, journalists, and politicians who played major parts in the movie capital during the turbulent decade from World War II to the Korean War.
Friedrich draws on sources from celebrity biographies to trade-union history, mingling lively gossip with analysis of Hollywood's seedier business dealings and telling the stories of legendary movies such as Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, and All About Eve.
A classic portrait of a special place in a special time, City of Nets gives us a singular behind-the-scenes glimpse into a bygone era that still captivates our imaginations.
directions. “We even uprooted wildflowers and greenery to prevent the harsh landscape from becoming ‘pretty’ for the technicolor camera,” Wood recalled. Miss Bergman was enchanted. “It was so primitive and romantic up there among the stars and the high peaks before the winter snows cut off the whole region . . .” she said. “I sat and laughed on the set. Looking at Gary Cooper, it was so wonderful.” In her diary, she noted: “What was wrong was that my happiness showed on the screen. I was far too
dethroned, as most of them eventually were, they seemed surprised, baffled, hurt. Even in their heyday, however, they were continually being surprised. Louis B. Mayer, for example, saw little future for any actor with the protruding ears of Clark Gable; he opposed one of Gable’s first great triumphs, Mutiny on the Bounty, because he thought the public would never approve of a rebel as a hero. He even rejected a proposal to help finance Mickey Mouse, on the ground that, as he told Walt Disney,
Selznick immediately began sending out memoranda in all directions. Yet every night, when the young executive returned home, his father would put him to bed. “Regardless of the hour . . .” Irene Selznick recalled, “Pop would read with his ear cocked for David’s return, whereupon he would descend to cover David up, stretched out on the couch in his study, instantly asleep. After an hour or two Pop would lead his comatose boy gently to his bed and undress him.” Louis B. Mayer warned his younger
He wanted that decision made by the authority who allowed all this mess to happen.” The coin came down heads, indicating that Marlowe should let the girl go her own way, even to her death. She started toward the door. He started to stop her. She pulled a gun on him and laughed. Then a burst from one of the gangsters’ machine guns, fired more or less at random, drilled through the door and killed her. But Hawks didn’t use Chandler’s ending. Too complicated, perhaps. In the final version, which had
that had led Dreiser to communism. Charlie Chaplin then recited one of Dreiser’s poems, which Mrs. Dreiser later had inscribed on a plaque at the grave: Oh, space! Change! Toward which we run So gladly, Or from which we retreat In terror— Yet that promises to bear us In itself Forever. Oh, what is this That knows the road I came? Then he was buried in an expensive lot in the Whispering Pines section. It was not far from the grave where Tom Mix lay, still wearing the belt buckle