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The Ivan Moffat File: Life Among the…
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The Ivan Moffat File: Life Among the Beautiful and Damned in London,…

by Gavin Lambert

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375422471, Hardcover)

Here is a fascinating portrait of Hollywood screenwriter Ivan Moffat, whose lonely, aristocratic childhood led to a precociously fashionable and sensual life in London’s High Bohemia in the late 1930s, service in director George Stevens’s World War II film documentary unit, and membership in Hollywood’s dazzling postwar expatriate community.

Moffat’s grandfather, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, was one of the most celebrated actors of his day, producing and starring in everything from Richard II to Pygmalion on the London stage and founding the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His mother, Iris Tree, was a well-known poet-actress-adventuress whose circle included British bluebloods Nancy Cunard and Diana Cooper, and Bloomsburyites Carrington, Lytton Strachey, and Augustus John. Ivan’s photographer father, Curtis Moffat, came from a well-connected New York family, studied with Man Ray, and had an audacious showroom that focused on Moderne furniture and lighting, some of which he designed himself. But Ivan Moffat’s extraordinary pedigree was only the foundation upon which he built his own equally extraordinary and surprisingly active personal life, populated by the leading artists and personalities of his day—from Aldous Huxley and Dylan Thomas to Preston Sturges, Charlie Chaplin, Billy Wilder, and David Selznick.

In 1943 Moffat enlisted in the army and was assigned to Stevens’s unit, started by Eisenhower, which covered the last stage of World War II, from D-day to the fall of Berlin and the liberation of the concentration camps. After the war, Stevens invited Moffat to become an associate producer for his new Hollywood company. Moffat’s unofficial credits on the screenplays for A Place in the Sun and Shane and his co-writing credit on Giant led to a successful screenwriting career, and at the same time he became a leading social figure in Hollywood. Moffat had affairs with many women—from a waitress to a duchess, from a stripper to a movie star. The most serious affair of his life was probably with the
novelist Caroline Blackwood.

At the center of The Ivan Moffat File is the elegantly written autobiography that Moffat was working on at the time of his death in 2002, to which Gavin Lambert adds never-before-seen letters, interviews, and screenplays, as well as many anecdotes and his own memories of Moffat. The result is a re-creation of the life of this unique figure, flamboyant and mysterious.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:38 -0400)

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