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on 11 April 2006
I read this book on holiday and finished it in only three days. It is packed full of fascinating detail not only on Mayer himself but also on MGM and Hollywood in its golden age. My only slight criticism is that sometimes it does get a little bogged down in anecdotes that slow up the story - something that was the not in the case with Eyman's superb biography of Mary Pickford. Still, a very enjoyable book though. Highly recommended.
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on 31 July 2014
What a curious fellow Scott Eyman is - he does seem to know a good bit about the movies, but he doesn't seem to have much taste or understanding concerning them. His prejudices are as marked as they are bizarre, and he also has peculiar enthusiasms, as this large book shows. No other biographer has ever liked Louis B. Mayer as much, nor enthused so volubly over L.B.'s long ascendancy at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. For Eyman, it is simply indisputable that M-G-M was the greatest of the Hollywood studios, that the films it produced were not only the most lavish and starry, but the best, and that the architect of all this wonderfulness was dear old Louis. Sharing the praise is not for Scott - indeed, he is quite savage about certain Metro luminaries, in particular Vincente Minnelli, about whom he speaks with such distaste that one rather assumes there was some personal animosity. Directors do not seem to impress him much at all, in fact, he seems to think it was the notorious "committee" method of film-making which old L.B. favoured which led to all those great films. Now, as anyone who has sat through the films of the Mayer years will know, there was an incredible amount of drivel put out by the studio in that time, with only certain of the musicals produced by Arthur Freed (one of Mayer's few friends, and the only producer whom he invariably allowed to do things in his own way) achieving a high artistic standard. It might even be argued that the studio's output got a good deal more interesting after Mayer was ousted in 1951, although there were still plenty of poor movies. Scott will have none of this - Dore Schary, Mayer's replacement, is depicted as an out-and-out villain and hypocrite, and post-Mayer successes at the studio are dismissed as flukes. Eyman is quite willing to print dubious information from unreliable sources if it goes along with his absurd central thesis. There is, to be fair, quite a lot of interesting stuff in this book, but it is fundamentally flawed in conception as well as philistine and shallow, and its facilely hagiographic tone is all the more grating when coupled with such patronising dismissals of real talents.
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on 3 April 2012
Superb biography, one of the best cinema biography's I've ever read. Eyman details Mayers early life, entry into the film industry and rise to the top in full and interesting detail. Into this he also weaves the history of Hollywood and MGM as a studio, including Mayer's sometimes fractious relationship with Irving Thalberg. A must for anyone wanting to know about this giant of film history.
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on 30 March 2010
Typical of Eyman this comes accross as slightly hagiogarphical. He does refer to Mayer's dark side, but never delves that far. Instead we get a picture of a man who loved people more then power. Is that the real man?
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on 18 September 2012
This book was came quickley it was just what i wanted i have no complaints i would buy again and recommend to other people no complaints from me well done..
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on 18 May 2015
The story of the man behind the glory years of MGM Hollywoods biggest dream factory
A must read if you love old Hollywood stories
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