STUDIO by Thomas Maremaa


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First the good news: Maremaa writes with some degree of style and a high degree of authority about the inner workings of today's Hollywood--dominated by TV (""the favorite child""), locked into last year's trends, youth-crazy and leisureplastic. Now the bad news: this is supposed to be a novel, and it ain't. The familiar autobiographical musings of narrator Tony Schwartz, a hit-hungry ""dependent"" producer at The Studio (unnamed but obviously Paramount), don't make it a novel. Nor do his occasional pseudo-lyrical sex reports (""I went, she went, I, she, she, I. . ."")--or his proclaimed angst about wearing ""Golden Handcuffs"" (money in exchange for creative soul). And the quasi-plot is strictly quasi: Tony develops a property called Studio (his story, his production) about a Taxi Driver-type psycho who holds a film studio hostage; we're asked to believe that the finished film (a long synopsis is unreadable) turns out to be a huge hit starring Robert De Niro and an unknown overnight sensation named Jacqueline. What's more, it's ""a statement about power and control and the horrible need to perpetuate illusion in America."" Lines like that, along with the old ""dream factory"" shtick, indicate that T. Schwartz and T. Maremaa are more enmeshed in the Hollywood veneer than they'd like to think. Likewise the incessant, unilluminating namedropping--some barely veiled attacks, mostly just the ""Dustin Hoffman? I like Dusty a lot"" school of design. Out of the 200+ pages here, about 25 are totally absorbing, the ones without any pretense to fiction. Just about the length and depth of a nice solid short piece of magazine journalism.

Pub Date: June 9th, 1978
Publisher: Morrow