A Youth in Babylon: Confessions of a Trash-Film King

David Friedman, Author, Don DeNevi, Author Prometheus Books $26.95 (355p) ISBN 978-0-87975-608-6
As one might expect, ``trash'' filmmaker Friedman's memoir, written with freelancer DeNevi, has about as much subtlety as a Las Vegas bump-and-grind. In this entertaining, self-indulgent confession, he chronicles his entry into show biz as a press agent for ``educational'' sex-hygiene reels, to his later work as creator/promotor of smuttier, more gruesome celluloid fare including Boin-n-g! and Blood Feast . Adventures with exploitation-movie producers such as Herschell Lewis and Kroger Babb are recounted, as are promotion schemes; we're told about the investments and brainstorms behind low-budget productions and see the huckster's talent for turning censorship boycotts into publicity hype. Though Friedman is often condescending and macho, he proves himself here to be resourceful; and his enchantment with the carney tradition is infectious, making even the book's unrelenting, ring-masteresque alliterations (``circulating salesmen of cinema sleaze'') bearable. ``America's Most Notorious Carpetbagger of Cinemadom'' gleefully proves H. L. Mencken's axiom: ``Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.'' Photos not seen by PW . 40,000 first printing; $40,000 ad/promo. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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