Writers in Hollywood, 1915-1951

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9780060162313: Writers in Hollywood, 1915-1951

An informative study of the lives and contributions to the movie business of the many, and sometimes distinguished, writers who stood out of the limelight in Hollywood and rarely received fair credit. Amongst them were Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Aldous Huxley and Nathaniel West.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Hamilton (In Search of J. D. Salinger ) fails largely in his purpose to equate the work of often overlooked film scripters to the contributions of famous directors. The book opens with promise, telling about writers hired to subtitle early silents and pioneers like Anita Loos who sold original stories to the studios. But the chapters thereafter dwell on certain films per se rather than on the writers. There are, moreover, errors: In The Best Years of Our Lives , the veteran's hands were blown off, not, as Hamilton has it, his arms; the Nazi in Lifeboat amputated the American's torn leg, not his arm. It is another surprise to read here of Garbo's "frozen eyes, mid-European or muscular mid-Bronx" speech ( Queen Christina ). In later sections the author covers such developments as censorship, the founding of the Screen Writers Guild and the competing Screen Playwrights, fights for credits between collaborators--for example, Orson Welles vs. Herman Mankiewicz(Citizen Kane )--and the House UnAmerican Activities Commitee hearings. The book ends in 1951 with the imprisonment of the Hollywood Ten for defying HUAC. Film buffs will find the book disappointing.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Promising a new view of movie history--through the eyes of its screenwriters--Hamilton instead has produced a pastiche of tales: about successful screenwriters (Anita Loos, Dalton Trumbo), successful novelists who failed as screenwriters (Fitzgerald, Faulkner), blacklisted writers (the Hollywood Ten), and frustrated screenwriters (Ben Hecht, Herman J. Mankiewicz). Anyone who has perused a smattering of film histories will be familiar with most of this material, and even though the author attempts to sort out several writer controversies, e.g., who wrote Citizen Kane , there's not much focus and precious little new insight here.
-Thomas Wiener, formerly with "American Film," Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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