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Bleak Hotel: The Hollywood Saga of the White Hotel [Hardcover]

D. M. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2008
The story goes that it was Barbra Streisand who started it off ... Someone remarked to her at a party that she ought to look for an intelligent, demanding role, and suggested The White Hotel ... Bernardo Bertolucci told me, years later, Streisand had invited him to her Hollywood mansion to discuss the film over dinner. Gold dinner service - butler - the works. She said, `Bernardo, there's just one thing bothering me: how are we going to deal with all the sex?' `Well, Barbra, I have this idea for glass fibre optics to enter the woman's vagina.' A moment's silence, the: `Let me show you the house.' And she never spoke of The White Hotel to him again.

Chronicling the futile and relentless attempt to translate his iconic novel, The White Hotel (1981) into a Hollywood movie, Bleak Hotel is a gripping story of frustration, hope and ultimately, of indifference to both the machinations of the film industry, and the legal maelstrom that surrounds it. More big names have been attached to the making of this non-movie than any glittering, cameo-littered outing in Hollywood's history, from its greatest producers and directors to Hollywood's brightest stars and starlets and still the film remains in the imagination. His account is interwoven with colourful and moving tales of his personal life, involving tangled love relationships and the pain of bereavement.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Quartet Books (1 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0704371456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0704371453
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,119,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Disastrous Triumph 6 Dec 2008
'Bleak Hotel' is a compelling piece of autobiography by D.M. Thomas, mainly concentrating on Hollywood's failure to film his literary masterpiece 'The White Hotel' but also incorporating the parallel strand of his private life. Essentially 'Bleak Hotel' relates how two attractive trickster-producers, Geisler and Roberbdeau, persuade Thomas and his agent that they are the men to make the 'White Hotel' into the greatest movie of all time. Their aptitude and enthusiasm corrals a flock of famous names who initially express delight at their participation in the project, but later mysteriously disappear or abruptly opt out. Is this because they distrust the producers or is the script too bizarre and daring? But whenever the shooting almost gets underway, the venture is disrupted by broken love affairs, outbreaks of war, lack of funds and finally an appalling, interminable wrangle in which the whole venture disappears under a morass of legislation. The anecdotes of film stars and directors that strew this remarkably composed narrative are a revelation in themselves, but D.M. Thomas has pulled off the difficult trick of not only satisfying the reader who is a movie buff, but also personally involving him in the tragic yet fascinating details of his own disrupted personal life during the long span (27 years) of being 'in production'. His trials and traumas connect and rebound against the gargantuan failure of the movie and the terrible things taking place on the historic stage, such as 9/11. By sheer deftness and psychological subtlety, he manages to produce a literary triumph out of a filmic failure, and the comparison with Nathaniel West and other writers who have traced the crack in the American Dream is by no means exaggerated.
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