Read Goldwyn by A. Scott Berg Free Online
Book Title: Goldwyn|
The author of the book: A. Scott Berg
Edition: Riverhead Books
Date of issue: October 1st 1998
ISBN 13: 9781573227230
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1152 times
Reader ratings: 3.1
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 423 KB
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A. Scott Berg knows how to write a compelling story, and for that he should be commended. I don't know that I could have done such a fair job with telling the life story of Samuel Goldwyn, because as a reader I disliked him intensely throughout the narrative - I can't imagine how I would have felt if I'd been the one doing the research. I can honestly say I might have abandoned the project. Thank goodness he stuck with it, because it is a must-read for anyone interested in the beginnings of the Hollywood Machine, and in how the studios each landed where they did. The web is tangled almost beyond imagining, but Berg does better than most at separating the strands for us.
Goldwyn did indeed take risks, and offered quality productions, but in many cases (with exceptions, of course), good productions seemed to have happened in spite of him rather than because of him. Every day of production on his finest films consisted of screaming matches between Goldwyn and whatever patsy he chose for the day. An overgrown, petulant child, he ranted, raged and reneged his way through decades of Hollywood history. The man even stole the last half of his name from early business partners.
Given that this book was released in 1988, and the research started a long time before that, Berg got to speak with many of Goldwyn's contemporaries, and they offered very interesting takes on their dealings with him. Reading through the acknowledgements to these people, most of whom are now no longer with us, is like reading a who's who of film.
I stand in admiration of Goldwyn's children, Sam Jr. and Ruth, for reading what must have been a truly painful manuscript and not asking for it to be changed to make their father look like a nicer person.
The fact-checking here is not perfect. Berg writes that after Roscoe Arbuckle's scandal in 1921, he never appeared before a camera again before dying in obscurity in 1933. This is simply not true, and was easily determined even when Berg was doing his research back in the 1970s and 1980s. The unfortunate consequence of such a basic error is that I spent the rest of the book wondering what else was incorrect.
The bottom line? I love most Goldwyn films, and I always will. Up in Arms, Enchantment, The Best Years of Our Lives - so many favorites. Thanks to Scott Berg, I now have a better idea of the producer behind the films. I can't yet decide if that's a good thing or not, because it turns out that he's not someone I would have wanted to spend five minutes with in real life.
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