INSIDE WARNER BROS. 1935-1951 by Rudy Behlmer


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A must-read for movie buffs, an absorbing, unique collection of letters, memos, telegrams and notes to and from the Warner Bros. front office during the studio's most creative period; by the author of MEMO from David O. Selznick. This record of story and production memos was unearthed from file boxes in the studio's basement. Here are the production notes on The Adventures of Robin Hood, Dark Victory, The Maltese Falcon, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Casablanca, High Sierra, The Sea Hawk, The Fountainhead, The Big Sleep, Johnny Belinda, A Streetcar Named Desire and many others. With each we follow what remains of script revisions, reactions to shooting and viewing of dailies or rushes, long, detailed carpings about scripts and contracts by actors such as Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Paul Muni, Edward G. Robinson and George Raft, studio heads' urgings upon directors such as John Huston and William Wyler, lectures from the Breen Office to studio heads such as Jack Warner, Hal Wallis and producer Jerry Wald about morals and salacious content in scripts, and much more. Outstanding are the pages about The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, with brilliancies by director Elia Kazan and reasonably outraged letters from Tennessee Williams. Also first-rate is the correspondence between John Huston and B. Traven, pleased but cautious author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and their combined analysis of Huston's script. Revealing as a study of commercial filmmaking in the heyday of the studio system, and as entertaining as a good flick.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Viking