You've read it more than once: Hollywood in the days of the Big Picture and the Big Studio and the Big-little man at the top, here called H. P. Koenig, H. P. for short--or possibly L. B. for Mayer. The studio is called Magna, and the era's the once-golden Forties, right after the death of H. P.'s protege-geniusdirector-crown prince (Thalberg?). David Cole is imported as the new possibility--he's a director from New York--and before very long he's bucking H. P. who (like Mayer) breaks those he makes. Now Cole is told to destroy fading star Lora Lindsay; she helps out by killing herself. Then he's to do a Biblical, Via Dolorosa, using the very difficult Christopher Swift, who can only be shot the four hours a day that he's on a heroin lift. Nonetheless, Cole comes through, and the pic looks like millions until H. P., determined to sell it as a block booking, brings the whole house of cracked cards down with him. You know the route--excess footage and footprints from Grauman's Chinese to Forest Lawn--and you know the readership for whom it's commercially auteured.