Backstory 2: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1940s and 1950s

Patrick McGilligan, Author University of California Press $34.95 (417p) ISBN 978-0-520-07169-8
Fourteen Hollywood screenwriters relive the 1940s and '50s--an era of political turmoil, massive studio layoffs and rising aesthetic production values--in these sparkling interviews, a sequel to Backstory. Arthur Laurents asserts that the blacklist made ``Hollywood what it is today, cardboard people running around on Styrofoam.'' Ben Maddow, blacklisted in 1952, speaks out for the first time about his role as HUAC cooperative witness. Walter Reisch reminisces about working with Darryl Zanuck, Louis B. Mayer and Ernst Lubitsch. Leigh Brackett, who adapted Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep to the screen, calls that novel ``a confusing book.'' Other interviewees include Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Garson Kanin, fantasist Curt Siodmak, Philip Yordan and Dorothy Kingsley. This treasure trove is an irresistible mix of film lore, behind-the-scenes history, gossip and shoptalk. Photos. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Paperback - 356 pages - 978-0-520-20908-4
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