HOLLYWOOD DIRECTORS: 1914-1940 by Richard Koszarski


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Most of us have neither the time nor the inclination to leaf through old copies of Photoplay Magazine or The Moving Picture World. Richard Koszarski has done this for us, compiling 50 articles written by ""the great directors of Hollywood's golden age""--from The Birth of a Nation to Citizen Kane--and supplying a short introduction to each. Many of his selections are informative and amusing; others are neither. Taken together, they never really seem to jell. The reader must glean tidbits here and there and try to relate them as best he can. At times one wishes he had been more selective. There is an article by William de Mille (brother of Cecil B.) which, as Koszarski himself points out, ""tells us nothing about his films."" Why include it then? Many of the selections cry out for a judicious application of blue pencil (they have all evidently been reprinted in their entirety): An article by the co-director of King Kong turns out to be largely a travelogue on Bedouins in Syria. There are some charming moments, though: Harold Lloyd's account of how he finally got past the guard at the studio gate and broke into moving pictures; George Cukor's description of working with Hepburn (""She can be, if given the chance. . . .an artistic bully."") Koszarski's knowledge of film history and his enthusiasm for his subject matter are evident. His prefatory remarks are always illuminating; too often they are more interesting than the selections they introduce.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press