THE FIFTY YEAR DECLINE AND FALL OF HOLLYWOOD by Ezra Goodman

THE FIFTY YEAR DECLINE AND FALL OF HOLLYWOOD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is, unquestionably, a controversial book. Ezra Goodman, who for 20 years has worked as a publicist, Hollywood columnist and motion picture critic (for Time magazine and the Los Angeles Daily News) believes that since the era of the silent film, which in his view, represented a pinnacle of cinematic artistry, movies have been systematically debased and devaluated by a corrupt and shoddy group of merchants more devoted to ""industry"" than art. The book is, to a certain extent, a personal history of the movies and is devoted in great part to Goodman's excoriations of press agentry, movie reviewing, gossip columnists, Hollywood's businessmen producers, the phoney ""star"" system, the fan magazines, and like so many other ex-Time writers and reporters he has his share of complaints about Time's approach to the news. There are more villains than heroes in Goodman's book. He has only scorn for men like Louis B. Mayer, Stanley Kramer, Dore Schary, Walter Wanger, Jerry Wald, Walt Disney and most denizens of the ""front office"". He reserves praise for those generally considered the great names of film -- Mack Sennet, D. W. Griffith, Chaplin, directors like Von Stroheim, Eisenstein, de Sica, Fellini, Michael Curtiz, early Hitchcock, but he finds little on-screen individuality in John Huston, Billy Wilder, George Stevens or Fred Zinnemann. What will be the future of the motion picture? Hollywood, he feels has had its day, partly due to the increasing discrimination of the U.S. movie-goer and partly due to T.V. But the movies will continue ""to enchant and enthrall many millions"" so long as there remain individual, unfettered film artists with imagination. Goodman writes with a good deal of verve and wit but ironically, his book very likely will be read not for his serious comments on film-making but for his revelations and/or denunciations of Hollywood's celebrities.

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 1960
Publisher: Simon & Schuster