THE POWER AND THE GLITTER: The Hollywood Hollywood by Ronald Brownstein

THE POWER AND THE GLITTER: The Hollywood Hollywood

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A deft wide-angle combination of journalism (more than 300 interviews) and his. tory, chronicling the uneasy embrace between the capital of power and the capital of glamour. According to Brownstein, a national political correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood's political involvement began, ironically enough, with conservative "mogul politics"--"hard, shrewd, autocratic, and, above all, coercive." Its most shameless practitioner was MGM boss L.B. Mayer, who enlisted press lord William Randolph Hearst behind Herbert Hoover's 1928 Presidential campaign, but unwittingly inspired left-wing union activity and liberal activism with his arm-twisting tactics and propaganda blitz against Upton Sinclair, the radical Democratic candidate for governor of California in 1934. Brownstein then examines the liberal mobilization for FDR, the fractious Democratic-communist alliance that crumbled with the cold war and blacklists, and the Stevenson-Eisenhower campaigns before hitting his stride with the star-crossed friendship between Frank Sinatra and JFK, "the pivotal moment" in the Washington-Hollywood relationship. Also detailed are the behind-the-scenes fund-raising efforts of 1960's studio heads Lew Wasserman and Arthur Krim, as well as the visible roles played by "actor-vists" Paul Newman, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Shirley MacLaine, and Warren Beatty. Respectfully yet not uncritically, Brownstein shows how, anxious to repudiate former screen star Ronald Reagan, liberal Hollywood is now as ready to jump on soapboxes as to scorn cash-needy pols who don't meet standards of ideological purity. Adroit and sharp-eyed, but crying out for more detail on Reagan's leap into the political spotlight, for stronger satiric jabs at Tinseltown's radical chic, and for more careful copyediting (e.g., Reagan's The Killers is not a western).

Pub Date: Jan. 18th, 1990
ISBN: 394-56938-5
Publisher: Pantheon
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