The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood

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The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood
Title The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood
Author
Publisher Flatiron Books
Release DateFebruary 4, 2020
Category History
Total Pages 399 pages
ISBN B07QSPPLQQ
Book Rating 4.4 out of 5 from 551 reviews
Language EN, ES, BE, DA ,DE , NL and FR
Book Review & Summary:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Fifth Avenue, Five A.M. and Fosse comes the revelatory account of the making of a modern American masterpiece Chinatown is the Holy Grail of 1970s cinema. Its twist ending is the most notorious in American film and its closing line of dialogue the most haunting. Here for the first time is the incredible true story of its making. In Sam Wasson's telling, it becomes the defining story of the most colorful characters in the most colorful period of Hollywood history. Here is Jack Nicholson at the height of his powers, as compelling a movie star as there has ever been, embarking on his great, doomed love affair with Anjelica Huston. Here is director Roman Polanski, both predator and prey, haunted by the savage death of his wife, returning to Los Angeles, the scene of the crime, where the seeds of his own self-destruction are quickly planted. Here is the fevered dealmaking of "The Kid" Robert Evans, the most consummate of producers. Here too is Robert Towne's fabled script, widely considered the greatest original screenplay ever written. Wasson for the first time peels off layers of myth to provide the true account of its creation. Looming over the story of this classic movie is the imminent eclipse of the '70s filmmaker-friendly studios as they gave way to the corporate Hollywood we know today. In telling that larger story, The Big Goodbye will take its place alongside classics like Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and The Devil's Candy as one of the great movie-world books ever written. Praise for Sam Wasson: "Wasson is a canny chronicler of old Hollywood and its outsize personalities...More than that, he understands that style matters, and, like his subjects, he has a flair for it." - The New Yorker "Sam Wasson is a fabulous social historian because he finds meaning in situations and stories that would otherwise be forgotten if he didn't sleuth them out, lovingly." - Hilton Als

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Fifth Avenue, Five A.M. and Fosse comes the revelatory account of the making of a modern American masterpiece Chinatown is the Holy Grail of 1970s cinema. Its twist ending is the most notorious in American film and its closing line of dialogue the most haunting. Here for the first time is the incredible true story of its making. In Sam Wasson's telling, it becomes the defining story of the most colorful characters in the most colorful period of Hollywood history. Here is Jack Nicholson at the height of his powers, as compelling a movie star as there has ever been, embarking on his great, doomed love affair with Anjelica Huston. Here is director Roman Polanski, both predator and prey, haunted by the savage death of his wife, returning to Los Angeles, the scene of the crime, where the seeds of his own self-destruction are quickly planted. Here is the fevered dealmaking of "The Kid" Robert Evans, the most consummate of producers. Here too is Robert Towne's fabled script, widely considered the greatest original screenplay ever written. Wasson for the first time peels off layers of myth to provide the true account of its creation. Looming over the story of this classic movie is the imminent eclipse of the '70s filmmaker-friendly studios as they gave way to the corporate Hollywood we know today. In telling that larger story, The Big Goodbye will take its place alongside classics like Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and The Devil's Candy as one of the great movie-world books ever written. Praise for Sam Wasson: "Wasson is a canny chronicler of old Hollywood and its outsize personalities...More than that, he understands that style matters, and, like his subjects, he has a flair for it." - The New Yorker "Sam Wasson is a fabulous social historian because he finds meaning in situations and stories that would otherwise be forgotten if he didn't sleuth them out, lovingly." - Hilton Als

The Big Goodbye by Sam Wasson

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'A multifaceted dissection of the infamous noir film ... good reading for any American cinema buff' Kirkus Chinatown is the Holy Grail of 1970s cinema. Its ending is the most notorious in American film and its closing line of dialogue the most haunting. Here for the first time is the incredible true story of its making. In Sam Wasson's telling, it becomes the defining story of its most colorful characters. Here is Jack Nicholson at the height of his powers, embarking on his great, doomed love affair with Anjelica Huston. Here is director Roman Polanski, both predator and prey, haunted by the savage murder of his wife, returning to Los Angeles, where the seeds of his own self-destruction are quickly planted. Here is the fevered deal-making of "The Kid" Robert Evans, the most consummate of producers. Here too is Robert Towne's fabled script, widely considered the greatest original screenplay ever written. Wasson for the first time peels off layers of myth to provide the true account of its creation. Looming over the story of this classic movie is the imminent eclipse of the '70s filmmaker-friendly studios as they gave way to the corporate Hollywood we know today.

Fosse by Sam Wasson

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Now the FX limited series Fosse/Verdon starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams with Lin-Manuel Miranda executive producing. “Wasson is a smart and savvy reporter, and his book abounds with colorful firsthand tales.” — Janet Maslin, New York Times “Fascinating . . . Wasson has taken complete control of his subject.” — Wall Street Journal The only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year, Bob Fosse revolutionized nearly every facet of American entertainment. His signature style would influence generations of performing artists. Yet in spite of Fosse’s innumerable—including Cabaret, Pippin, All That Jazz, and Chicago, one of the longest-running Broadway musicals ever—his offstage life was shadowed by deep wounds and insatiable appetites. To craft this richly detailed account, best-selling author Sam Wasson has drawn on a wealth of unpublished material and hundreds of sources: friends, enemies, lovers, and collaborators, many of them speaking publicly about Fosse for the first time. With propulsive energy and stylish prose, Fosse is the definitive biography of one of Broadway and Hollywood’s most complex and dynamic icons. “Spellbinding.” —Entertainment Weekly “Impeccably researched.” —Vanity Fair An NPR Best Book of the Year

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Film and television director Barry Sonnenfeld's outrageous and hilarious memoir traces his idiosyncratic upbringing in New York City, his breaking into film as a cinematographer with the Coen brothers, and his unexpected career as the director behind such huge film franchises as The Addams Family and Men in Black, and beloved work like Get Shorty, Pushing Daises, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Barry Sonnenfeld's philosophy is, "Regret the Past. Fear the Present. Dread the Future." Told in his unmistakable voice, Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother is a laugh-out-loud memoir about coming of age. Constantly threatened with suicide by his over-protective mother, disillusioned by the father he worshiped, and abused by a demonic relative, Sonnenfeld somehow went on to become one of Hollywood's most successful producers and directors. Written with poignant insight and real-life irony, the book follows Sonnenfeld from childhood as a French horn player through graduate film school at NYU, where he developed his talent for cinematography. His first job after graduating was shooting nine feature length pornos in nine days. From that humble entrée, he went on to form a friendship with the Coen Brothers, launching his career shooting their first three films. Though Sonnenfeld had no ambition to direct, Scott Rudin convinced him to be the director of The Addams Family. It was a successful career move. He went on to direct many more films and television shows. Will Smith once joked that he wanted to take Sonnenfeld to Philadelphia public schools and say, "If this guy could end up as a successful film director on big budget films, anyone can." This book is a fascinating and hilarious roadmap for anyone who thinks they can't succeed in life because of a rough beginning.

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Paul Mazursky’s nearly twenty films as writer/director represent Hollywood’s most sustained comic expression of the 1970s and 1980s. But they have not been given their due, perhaps because Mazursky’s films—both sincere and ridiculous, realistic and romantic—are pure emotion. This makes films like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, An Unmarried Woman, and Enemies, A Love Story difficult to classify, but that’s what makes a human comedy human. In the first ever book-length examination of one of America’s most important and least appreciated filmmakers, Sam Wasson sits down with Mazursky himself to talk about his movies and how he makes them. Going over Mazursky’s oeuvre one film at a time, interviewer and interviewee delve into the director’s life in and out of Hollywood, laughing, talking, and above all else, feeling—like Mazursky’s people always do. The book includes a filmography and never-before-seen photos.

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What do images of the body, which recent poets and filmmakers have given us, tell us about ourselves, about the way we think and about the culture in which we live? In his new book A Body of Vision, R. Bruce Elder situates contemporary poetic and cinematic body images in their cultural context. Elder examines how recent artists have tried to recognize and to convey primordial forms of experiences. He proposes the daring thesis that in their efforts to do so, artists have resorted to gnostic models of consciousness. He argues that the attempt to convey these primordial modes of awareness demands a different conception of artistic meaning from any of those that currently dominate contemporary critical discussion. By reworking theories and speech in highly original ways, Elder formulates this new conception. The works of Brakhage, Artaud, Schneeman, Cohen and others lie naked under Elder’s razor-sharp dissecting knife and he exposes the essence of their work, cutting deeply into the themes and theses from which the works are derived. His remarks on the gaps in contemporary critical practices will likely become the focus of much debate.

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Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (Biography) A Hollywood love story, a Hollywood memoir, a dual biography of two of Hollywood’s most famous figures, whose golden lives were lived at the center of Hollywood’s golden age, written by their daughter, an acclaimed writer and producer. Fay Wray was most famous as the woman—the blonde in a diaphanous gown—who captured the heart of the mighty King Kong, the twenty-five-foot, sixty-ton gorilla, as he placed her, nestled in his eight-foot hand, on the ledge of the 102-story Empire State Building, putting Wray at the height of New York’s skyline and cinematic immortality. Wray starred in more than 120 pictures opposite Hollywood's biggest stars—Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper (The Legion of the Condemned, The First Kiss, The Texan, One Sunday Afternoon), Clark Gable, William Powell, and Charles Boyer; from cowboy stars Hoot Gibson and Art Accord to Ronald Colman (The Unholy Garden), Claude Rains, Ralph Richardson, and Melvyn Douglas. She was directed by the masters of the age, from Fred Niblo, Erich von Stroheim (The Wedding March), and Mauritz Stiller (The Street of Sin) to Leo McCarey, William Wyler, Gregory La Cava, “Wild Bill” William Wellman, Merian C. Cooper (The Four Feathers, King Kong), Josef von Sternberg (Thunderbolt), Dorothy Arzner (Behind the Make-Up), Frank Capra (Dirigible), Michael Curtiz (Doctor X), Raoul Walsh (The Bowery), and Vincente Minnelli. The book’s—and Wray’s—counterpart: Robert Riskin, considered one of the greatest screenwriters of all time. Academy Award–winning writer (nominated for five), producer, ten-year-long collaborator with Frank Capra on such pictures as American Madness, It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Lost Horizon, and Meet John Doe, hailed by many, among them F. Scott Fitzgerald, as “among the best screenwriters in the business.” Riskin wrote women characters who were smart, ornery, sexy, always resilient, as he perfected what took full shape in It Happened One Night, the Riskin character, male or female—breezy, self-made, streetwise, optimistic, with a sense of humor that is subtle and sure. Fay Wray and Robert Riskin lived large lives, finding each other after establishing their artistic selves and after each had had many romantic attachments—Wray, an eleven-year-long difficult marriage and a fraught affair with Clifford Odets, and Riskin, a series of romances with, among others, Carole Lombard, Glenda Farrell, and Loretta Young. Here are Wray’s and Riskin’s lives, their work, their fairy-tale marriage that ended so tragically. Here are their dual, quintessential American lives, ultimately and blissfully intertwined.

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Total Pages 336
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This is the tale of how Canada's high northern wilderness was brought into civilization's fold through a frail network of wires laboriously strung between poles and trees for hundreds of desolate miles. The Yukon Telegraph started in 1897, when gold was discovered in the Yukon and the government needed a faster way to communicate with its remote northern territory. The isolated residents, too, wanted a more reliable connection with the outside world. Bill Miller takes readers from the line's conception in 1899 to its abandonment in 1952 through to its status today and its potential for future generations, focusing on the colourful people who lived and worked in the area. His account, enhanced by extensive research and engaging storytelling, reveals a fascinating fragment of Canada's rich history.

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

Title The Long Goodbye
Author Raymond Chandler
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Total Pages 379
ISBN 9780394757681
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An encounter with a drunk brings both adventure and trouble to a cynical middle-aged private detective

Made Men by Glenn Kenny

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Author Glenn Kenny
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Release Date 2020-09-15
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Total Pages 186
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Book Summary:

For the thirtieth anniversary of its premiere comes the vivid and immersive history behind Martin Scorsese’s signature film Goodfellas, hailed by critics as the greatest mob movie ever made. When Goodfellas first hit the theatres in 1990, a classic was born. Few could anticipate the unparalleled influence it would have on pop culture, one that would inspire future filmmakers and redefine the gangster picture as we know it today. From the rush of grotesque violence in the opening scene to the iconic hilarity of Joe Pesci’s endlessly quoted “Funny how?” shtick, it’s little wonder the film is widely regarded as a mainstay in contemporary cinema. In the first ever behind-the-scenes story of Goodfellas, film critic Glenn Kenny chronicles the making and afterlife of the film that introduced America to the real modern gangster—brutal, ruthless, yet darkly appealing, the villain we can’t get enough of. Featuring interviews with the film’s major players, including Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, Made Men shines a light on the lives and stories wrapped up in the Goodfellas universe, and why its enduring legacy is still essential to charting the trajectory of American culture thirty years later.

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Author Bruce Wagner
Publisher Simon and Schuster
Release Date 2007-11-01
Category Fiction
Total Pages 480
ISBN 1416591397
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Book Summary:

Bud Wiggins dreamed of achieving fame as a screenwriter. He almost made it. Instead, he finds himself free-falling through a world of hallucinatory absurdity, low comedy, and epic degradation. A Hollywood bottom-feeder who moonlights as a limo driver to pay the bills, both tormented and vicariously aroused by his contact with the industry's elite, Mr. Wiggins bears poignant, paranoid witness to the horror and hysteria that are by-products of "the Business." His phantasmagoric saga, by turns picaresque, pornographic, and poetic, Force Majeure is the first of a projected quartet called "Scriptures" that will chronicle the misadventures and transcendental fall and rise -- comic, tragic, and tragicosmic -- of Bud Wiggins, Quixote of Babylon.

The Big Picture by Ben Fritz

Title The Big Picture
Author Ben Fritz
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date 2018-03-06
Category Business & Economics
Total Pages 304
ISBN 9780544789760
Language English, Spanish, and French
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A chronicle of the massive transformation in Hollywood since the turn of the century and the huge changes yet to come, drawing on interviews with key players, as well as documents from the 2014 Sony hack

Born To Be Wild by Seth Cagin

Title Born to be Wild
Author Seth Cagin
Publisher Social Issues Resources Series
Release Date 1994
Category Performing Arts
Total Pages 236
ISBN IND:30000044446122
Language English, Spanish, and French
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In the late sixties, Establishment Hollywood was jarred awake by the smash box-office popularity of Bonnie & Clyde, 2001: A Space Odyssey, & Easy Rider--maverick films that spoke to a vast new audience of young moviegoers. The film industry reacted with an all-out effort to court sixties youth by making anti-establishment movies filled with strong social commentary. Provocative films such as The Graduate, Medium Cool, M*A*S*H, A Clockwork Orange, Woodstock, Alice's Restaurant, The Strawberry Statement, & Billy Jack strayed far from the mainstream, yet defined the shape & essence of American cinema for the next decade. BORN TO BE WILD is both a narrative & critical history of this era. It tells how Hollywood addressed such issues as violence, campus revolt, sexual liberation, Watergate & the Vietnam War & how audacious young filmmakers in chronicling an age told the story of a generation. (Originally published by Harper & Row in 1984 as HOLLYWOOD FILMS OF THE 70s. "Intelligent...sensitive...crammed with welcome information."--The New York Times). Distributed by Baker & Taylor, Ingram & Brodart. Order direct from Coyote Press, an imprint of SIRS, Inc., P. O. Box 2348, Boca Raton, FL 33427-2348. Phone (800) 232-7477. FAX (407) 994-4704. Published by: Coyote.

Title The Kid Stays in the Picture
Author Robert Evans
Publisher Phoenix Books, Inc.
Release Date 2006-01-01
Category Biography & Autobiography
Total Pages 462
ISBN 9781597775250
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

The motion picture producer describes his early career as an actor, liasons with actresses, rise to powerful studio executive, time in a mental institution, drug use, loss of status in Hollywood, and rise back to power.

We Own This City by Justin Fenton

Title We Own This City
Author Justin Fenton
Publisher Random House
Release Date 2021
Category Law
Total Pages 352
ISBN 9780593133668
Language English, Spanish, and French
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"Baltimore, 2015. Riots were erupting across the city as citizens demanded justice for Freddie Gray, a twenty-five-year old black man who had died while in police custody. At the same time, drug and violent crime were surging, and that year, Baltimore would reach its deadliest year in over two decades: 342 homicides in a city of six hundred thousand people. Under intense scrutiny--and a federal investigation over Gray's death--the Baltimore police department turned to a rank-and-file hero, Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, and his elite unit, the Gun Trace Task Force, to help get guns and drugs off the street. And yet, despite intense scrutiny, what The New York Times would call "one of the most startling police corruption scandals in a generation" was unfolding. Entrusted with fixing the city's drug crisis, Jenkins and his posse of corrupt cops were instead stealing from its citizens--skimming from the drug busts they made, pocketing thousands in cash found in private homes, and planting fake evidence to throw Internal Affairs off their scent. Their brazen crime spree would go unchecked for years, and would result in countless wrongful convictions, the death of an innocent person--and the mysterious death of one implicated cop, who was shot in the head just one day before he was scheduled to testify against the Force. Award-winning investigative journalist Justin Fenton has been relentlessly exposing the scandal since 2017, conducting hundreds of interviews and poring over thousands of court documents. The result is an astounding feat of reportage about a rogue police unit, and the American city they held hostage"--

The Star Machine by Jeanine Basinger

Title The Star Machine
Author Jeanine Basinger
Publisher Vintage
Release Date 2009
Category Performing Arts
Total Pages 586
ISBN 9780307388759
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

An entertaining compilation of Hollywood lore, trivia, and analysis provides a close-up look at the golden era of filmmaking and the creation of stars at the height of the studio system, from the 1930s to the 1950s, explaining how the star machine worked, the grooming of actors, and the careers of such actors as Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, Lana Turner, and others. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.

Chasing The Light by Oliver Stone

Title Chasing the Light
Author Oliver Stone
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date 2020-07-21
Category Biography & Autobiography
Total Pages 368
ISBN 9780358345664
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

An intimate memoir by the controversial, Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Oliver Stone Before moving to Los Angeles and the international success of Platoon in 1986, Oliver Stone had been wounded as an infantryman in Vietnam, and spent years writing unproduced scripts while working odd jobs in Manhattan. Stone, now 73, recounts those formative years with in-the-moment details of the highs and lows: meetings with Al Pacino over Stone’s early scripts; the harrowing demon of cocaine addiction; the failure of his first feature; his risky on-the-ground research of Miami drug cartels for Scarface; and much more. Chasing the Light is a true insider’s guide to Hollywood’s razor-edged years of upheaval in the 1970s and ’80s with untold stories of decade-defining films from the man behind the camera.

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