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Hollywood by Garson Kanin
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Hollywood (1967)

by Garson Kanin

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1062175,260 (3.46)None
Hilarious, audacious, poignant, scandalous, breathtaking, this book is everything--and more than--its name implies. From his own adventures there, Garson Kanin has drawn the material for a witty, wise, and dazzling panorama of this magical place. Kanin arrived in Hollywood at the age of 24, brought from New York at the bidding of the great producer Samuel Goldwyn "to learn the business." As the man who would become one of our most celebrated writer-directors now describes it, "I checked into the Goldwyn Studios on Monday morning and Alice in Wonderland was a piker." It was 1937, one of Hollywood's golden years, when it seemed that just about anything could happen. Looking back now over a career as full of drama, excitement, and glamour as any fabled movie extravaganza, Kanin tells us what actually did take place. With him we explore the inside workings of the industry--the tempestuous and often comical story conferences, the contract negotiations, the front-office conflicts. But artistry is not forgotten, as revealed by tantalizing glimpses of such stars as Carole Lombard, John Barrymore, Greta Garbo, and Marilyn Monroe. There are off-screen appearances by Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx; backlot tales of success and failure for Charles Laughton, Ingrid Bergman, Judy Holliday, and Ginger Rogers; fond remembrances of movie pioneer Carl Laemmle; thoughtful appreciations of fellow filmmakers Billy Wilder and René Clair; surprise introductions to Hollywood's secret people, especially the enticing Mae and her Pleasure Palace; and fascinating, seldom-captured views of powerful men who shaped the industry--Harry Cohn, Darryl F. Zanuck, and the extraordinary Sam Goldwyn, whose career encompassed the full span of American filmmaking from its virtual beginnings to the 1960s. This is an incomparable display of talent, ambition, and skill, sketched in all its absorbing detail with Kanin's inimitable style and charm.--Adapted from dust jacket.… (more)

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I've heard of Garson Kanin, having done quite a bit of movie research over the years. I didn't know a lot about him personally so this sounded like a good way to get some information on him as well as on all the people he has encountered through the years in movies and theatre.

It is an amazing list of who's who: Samuel Goldwyn, Cole Porter, Marilyn Monroe, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Carole Lombard, Clark Gable, Rodgers and Hart (and Hammerstein), Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and the list goes on and on and on.

A lot of the story revolves around Goldwyn, the man who gave Kanin his start in the movies and drove him from wanting to be a director to becoming a writer. ( )
  bookswoman | Jul 3, 2015 |
kanin. memoir. as funny writing about his own life as he is writing with love about his beloved friends specer tracy and katharine hepburn ... and writing dialogue for fictional characters. a brilliant writer all the way around. a fascinating life.
  msteketee | Aug 17, 2009 |
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