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Twentieth Century's fox : Darryl F. Zanuck and the culture of Hollywood

Author: George Frederick Custen
Publisher: New York, NY : BasicBooks, ©1997.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
In this major new biography, George F. Custen illuminates Zanuck's evolution into one of the most influential producers in American film. He explains what set him apart from rivals Irving Thalberg and David O. Selznick, how he developed the gritty realism that came to redefine motion pictures, and how he brilliantly predicted and capitalized on changing public tastes.
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Genre/Form: Biographies
Biography
Named Person: Darryl Francis Zanuck; Darryl Francis Zanuck; Darryl Francis Zanuck; Darryl Francis Zanuck
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: George Frederick Custen
ISBN: 046507619X 9780465076192 0465076203 9780465076208
OCLC Number: 37246820
Description: xii, 435 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: Introduction: The mark of Zanuck --
Part One: Foundations. Excavating Zanuck ; Zanuck the writer ; "The hardest-working little guy" : Zanuck at Warner Brothers ; "The talking thing" : The safe entertainment of The Jazz Singer --
Part Two: Innovations. Dreaming of the actual world : Transforming Warner Brothers' style ; A criminal talent ; 1933 : struggles, artistic and fiscal ; Twentieth Century--and after --
Part Three: The age of Zanuck. "The smiling face of a baby" : Shirley Temple, movies and memory ; "The only way I know how to produce" ; "The glittering robes of entertainment" ; Seeing red and getting religion ... in CinemaScope.
Responsibility: George F. Custen.
More information:

Abstract:

In this major new biography, George F. Custen illuminates Zanuck's evolution into one of the most influential producers in American film. He explains what set him apart from rivals Irving Thalberg and David O. Selznick, how he developed the gritty realism that came to redefine motion pictures, and how he brilliantly predicted and capitalized on changing public tastes.

Twentieth Century's Fox tells the whole story - from Zanuck's boyhood to his tumultuous years with the feuding Warners, his battles with the censors and with his own actors, and the legendary acting-out of scenes during story conferences in his famous green office. Along the way, Custen treats us to inside stories about actors such as Edward G. Robinson, Gregory Peck, and Marilyn Monroe. In never-before-published story conference notes, telegrams, and surprisingly candid anecdotes, he reveals how - more than any producer before or since - this diminutive, enigmatic fellow from Wahoo, Nebraska, changed the way we look at film.

"Spanning four decades and more than a thousand films, the creative output of Darryl F. Zanuck was astonishing and unparalleled. With The Jazz Singer he supervised the innovation of film sound. With The Public Enemy and Little Caesar he reinvented the gangster film. With 42nd Street he reinvigorated the musical. He set the standard for film biography with pictures such as Young Mr. Lincoln and The Story of Alexander Graham Bell. He innovated CinemaScope. And he molded the star images of James Cagney, Shirley Temple, Tyrone Power, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, and Rin Tin Tin. In this major new biography, George F. Custen illuminates Zanuck's evolution into one of the most influential producers in American film. He explains what set him apart from rivals Irving Thalberg and David O. Selznick, how he developed the gritty realism that came to redefine motion pictures, and how he brilliantly predicted and capitalized on changing public tastes. Zanuck was a man of enormous energy and eccentricity, commanding his studio with a sawed-off polo mallet. Dozens of his memorable films--including I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, The Grapes of Wrath, Gentleman's Agreement, All About Eve, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and The Robe--have come to represent the era in which they were made. Hard-boiled or nostalgic, historical or pure Hollywood, Zanuck's films and Zanuck himself have become legends of the cinema. But what exactly was this producer's contribution to the films he made? How did he rise from being a writer of silent serials to become head of production at Warner Brothers by his mid-twenties, and then to form his own studio, Twentieth Century-Fox, at age thirty-three? Twentieth Century's Fox tells the whole story--from Zanuck's boyhood to his tumultuous years with the feuding Warners, his battles with the censors and with his own actors, and the legendary acting-out of scenes during story conferences in his famous green office. Along the way, Custen treats us to inside stories about actors such as Edward G. Robinson, Gregory Peck, and Marilyn Monroe. In never-before-published story conference notes, telegrams, and surprisingly candid anecdotes, he reveals how--more than any producer before or since--this diminutive, enigmatic fellow from Wahoo, Nebraska, changed the way we look at film. Custen highlights the studio as the context of production. Zanuck's ability to shape the producer's role and the organizational style during the golden years of the studio system--with its own peculiar methods, clearly delineated rules, and pecking order--was the crucible out of which he forged a unique vision of American film and American culture."--Jacket.

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