I have purchased other books written by Michael freedland and enjoy his biogs of Hollywood personalities.He has interviewed so many of the personalities involved and so is at a great advantage.However much of the chapter on the Warner Brothers is a potted version of his earlier book on them.Also i have to report that there are a large number of factual errors.Some minor such as saying that it was Metronome rather than Metrotone newsreel;saying that only the last reel of Wizard of Oz was in colour whereas it was all in colour except the first and last reels;thjat warners wanted George Raft for duke Mantee role whereas they actually wanted Edward G Robinson.However the biggest howler is the claim that Jack warner produced "Wilson" whereas it was made by Darryl Zannuck at 20th Fox.Surprising to find so many errors in this book.
Something I share with a lot of my quite 'well read' friends is a loudly claimed distain for current tabloid celebrity culture ,yet scratch the surface and we're almost all enthralled by tales from the golden age of Hollywood, gossip and all. I can't agree with most of the low ratings given by other reviewers. It's a very good introduction to these very successful yet flawed and driven men It also provides a good back drop to the milieu they inhabited. I'm sure there are more weighty biographies about each individual as well as more considered books on the studio system but I found it both accessible and informative. I certainly did not think it was clumsily written, as other reviewers have stated. Freedland also wrote another very good, concise book: one on McCarthyism in the film industry , called 'Witch Hunt in Hollywood'
This book achieved what I had wanted in giving a thumbnail sketch of the the Great Hollywood producers but is modestly written and in part is just a series of anecdotes...a great shame the author didn't try to draw some conclusions as to the reasons for success behind each Mogul and studio.I also expected a more in depth look at the financing of the studios and the films...similarly more about actor's contracts would have coloured the page.This book does nothing more than list than the studios and offer background without ever going further than that.An opportunity missed!!!!
I totally agree with this review. I wish I had read it before I bought the book. Freedland makes factual errors that are indeed glaring, including one about the extraordinarily unique Radio City Music Hall in New York (my native city). The quality of the writing is at best mediocre; the chapter on Harry Cohn an embarrassment.