The Golden West
Hollywood StoriesBook - 2005
In the spring of 1937, Daniel Fuchs, twenty-seven years old and the author of three acclaimed novels of Brooklyn tenement life, came to Hollywood to bang out a treatment of one of his short stories. His thirteen-week contract turned into a permanent residence-and a lifelong love affair. "Writing for the movies was fine," he would later recall, "the freedom and fun, the hard work," but even finer were the movies themselves-team-built, mass-market miracles, "brisk and full of urgent meaning." Finest of all were the people-hustling producers, inscrutable directors, cracker-jack screenwriters, and charismatic stars-their virtues and flaws and egos and disappointments all visible in high relief "because the sunlight over everything was so clear and brilliant." Fuchs worked with the best: Warners and Metro and RKO, Wilder and Huston and Joe Pasternak, William Faulkner and Irwin Shaw, Raft and Cagney and Doris Day. He spent his days crafting screenplays, but off the lot he continued to write prose, mainly stories for The New Yorker and Collier's and "Letters from Hollywood" for Commentary. The Golden West collects, for the first time, the best of Fuchs's writings about the movie business, from a novice screenwriter's anxious diaries (1937-38) to a fifty-year veteran's mellow memoirs (1989). The centerpiece of the book is "West of the Rockies," a haunting short novel, set in the late 1950s, about a half-mad woman, immature and incapable, who is, almost despite herself, a star, "a quantity indefinable, ephemeral, everlastingly elusive-Hollywood's chief stock in trade." It is also a bitter portrait of the star's agent, a grifter who is tempted to use her and her weaknesses to his own ends. Fuchs loved Hollywood, but his affection didn't blind him to the town's Babylon aspect: he never blinked when depicting the conniving and the treachery, the dysfunction and the waste. He saw life as it is, gold and tinsel both, and described it without falling into easy sentiment or condescending laughter. He is the Bellow of the Brown Derby, the Chekhov of the back lot. Book jacket.
Publisher: Boston : David R. Godine, Publisher, 2005
Edition: 1st ed
Branch Call Number: FICTION Fuchs
Characteristics: xiv, 256 p. ; 24 cm