Showman: the life of David O. Selznick
David O. Selznick, the legendary producer and maker of Gone With the Wind, is brilliantly portrayed in this full-scale biography by the first writer to be given complete access to Selznick's voluminous and revealing papers - everything from script notes, production reports, and contract memos, to letters rich in intrigue, gambling accounts, and financial records. No other Hollywood giant ever had so much to say; no other was brave and reckless enough to leave so much on the record. Selznick was the most charming, best-read, most insanely workaholic (and most easily diverted), most talented, arrogant, hopeful, amorous, insecure, and self-destructive of all the geniuses of American moviemaking. His story is the history of the picture business, from immigrant nerve to cafe society. It is, as well, the story of the chronic romantic who married first the princess of the kingdom (Irene, daughter of Louis B. Mayer) and then a young beauty - Jennifer Jones - whom he made a princess. Around him was a cast of vivid supporting players: his father, Lewis J., who made and lost fortunes in silent films; his two brothers - Myron, a pioneering (and boozing) agent, and Howard, whose mental condition overshadowed the rest of the family; Irene, David's scourge and his last comfort, as well as the person who taught him about power in Hollywood; Jock Whitney, fabulously rich, a great friend to David, and crazy about the movies; George Cukor; Alfred Hitchcock; Orson Welles; Vivien Leigh; Alexander Korda; William Paley; Ben Hecht; and John Huston. We see Selznick making such films as What Price Hollywood?, King Kong, David Copperfield, A Star is Born, Rebecca, Since You Went Away, Spellbound, Duel in the Sun, Portrait of Jennie, The Third Man, and A Farewell to Arms. And we are given the fullest possible account of the chaos, good fortune, folly, and glory of the making of Gone With the Wind. This superb biography uncovers the private lives and business maneuverings of Hollywood as no other book has done. It chronicles the Golden Age as seen from deep inside the gold mine and from behind locked doors where the spoils were divided, filched, or gambled away. In its rich sense of the wonders, ironies, and delusions inherent in "showmanship," this is a book about America in this century, turning from reality toward the glamour, the legend - the fantasy - of the movies.
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SHOWMAN: The Life of David O. SelznickUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
Brilliant, immense life of the producer of Gone With the Wind, smartly done by film-historian/novelist Thomson (Silver Light, 1990, etc.). Thomson has done stunning research for this labor, and ... Read full review
Showman: the life of David O. SelznickUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Selznick, producer of such notable films as Gone with the Wind (1939) and A Star Is Born (1937) , was a protean and complex man. Much about this self-destructive yet brilliant egotist can be ... Read full review
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