HYPE AND GLORY by William Goldman


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Imagine! To be asked to judge both the Cannes Film Festival and the Miss America Pageant--and in the same year (1988)! What a thrill for screenwriter (The Princess Bride), novelist (The Marathon Man), and memoirist (Adventures in the Screen Trade) Goldman--and what a great excuse for a book that turns out just like the Events themselves: slick, breathless, funny, and ballooned up by high spirits and plenty of hot air. The hot air is omnipresent: stick a pin in these pages and they'd deflate by half--not only because of Goldman's whipped-prose style of single, sentence paragraphs, but because of his numerous airy--and entertaining--personal digressions. Before he gets to Cannes, for example, he spends four pages on the trouble he had getting tuxedo studs for his shirt, and another 17 on his problems arising from flying without a visa. Once at Cannes, however, the emphasis shifts from Goldman to the world about him, and we pick up some rather worn, rather dazzled-eyed insider's tips on the festival and moviemaking: that stars now huddle in hotels rather than brave the public's feeding frenzy; that even so, Cannes runs on glamour, ""the greatest special effect in movies""; that the Cannes jury hates to double-award a film, which is why that year Clint Eastwood didn't win best director for Bird--all this fluffed up with anecdotal memories of Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman, and other celebs. Fresher, naughtier lowdown is offered in Goldman's shorter account of the Miss America Pageant, an easy target that he delights in mocking--fantasizing about this contestant, lightly smirking at that one--even as he shares the soapy melodrama of its countdown: by his dissatisfied judging, ""Miss Piggy won the crown."" High-gloss tabloid journalism, enjoyable but inconsequential.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1990
Publisher: Villard/Random House