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February 9, 2016 9:05 AM   Subscribe

 
> The Los Angeles District Attorney was super chummy with Mayer and his right-hand man, Eddie Mannix, a studio fixer whose preferred method of shutting people up was to hit them with his car.

Huh. So the Coens could have made a version of Hail, Caesar! that hewed closer to Blood Simple or No Country.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:19 AM on February 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


The story of Patricia Douglas is really, really grim. Just a little glimmer at the very end, that the reporter met her and could share the truth right before she died, but still terrible. You just feel like what's even the point, there's no end or limit to human cruelty, and there's no turning back the clock.
posted by Frowner at 9:26 AM on February 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, Eddie Mannix was a motherfucker and in no way cute, so I do raise an eyebrow at the use of that name.
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on February 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Huh. So the Coens could have made a version of Hail, Caesar! that hewed closer to Blood Simple or No Country.

Eddie Mannix appears in another film, Hollywoodland, played by the late great Bob Hoskins. He comes off as less troubled Catholic fixer than mob boss in the film, which investigates the longstanding rumor that Mannix had George Reeves, the actor who played Superman, murdered.
posted by maxsparber at 9:31 AM on February 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


The always great You Must Remember This podcast just concluded a series on MGM, which contains a surprising amount of rage inducing motherfuckery for such a bland studio. Mannix and Mayer feature prominently in that.
posted by Artw at 9:41 AM on February 9, 2016 [14 favorites]


When it became clear Sammy Davis, Jr. was dating Kim Novak, Cohn tried to get his mob buddies to break Davis’s legs.

Hmmm...Was this when Sammy was part of Sinatra's Rat Pack? 'Cause, I bet Frankie's mob buddies were bigger than Harry's mob buddies.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:09 AM on February 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


I always thought the record industry was a cesspool of humanity but Mayer & Mannix take it up a notch. Woody Allen should have added another level of hell just for them in Deconstructing Harry.
posted by Ber at 10:12 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


The original London West End version of the musical "A Day in Hollywood, a Night in the Ukraine" had a really great song about what assholes the golden age studio heads were and the stupid crap they used to get up to. Unfortunately that song got cut on the way to Broadway (the whole revue-style first act got rewritten from scratch) so it's not on the original cast album and I can't find it online. I'll keep looking.
posted by w0mbat at 10:17 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow, this is fascinating. I saw an excellent play in New York recently called "Guards at the Taj" about the way that great and beautiful artistic endeavors - like film, or architecture - can destroy the lives of the ordinary people involved in them, and how oppressive systems are often tied up and replicated within the creation process. Something you don't normally think about when you consider art.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:31 AM on February 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


Huh. So the Coens could have made a version of Hail, Caesar! that hewed closer to Blood Simple or No Country.


With some of these individuals, they could have made a version of Singing In The Rain that hewed closer to Blood Simple or No Country.



Robert Walker, who starts drinking a lot. A lot. Like “Judy Garland Is Concerned You’re Drinking Too Much” a lot.

Heh.

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:18 AM on February 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I knew some of this, but it's handy to have a list. Popes next?

It seems a little unfair to blame Hughes for nuclear test fallout - unless he arranged the location deliberately because he thought it would cut down on the residuals, or out of some twisted sense of curiosity.
posted by Devonian at 12:24 PM on February 9, 2016


It seems a little unfair to blame Hughes for nuclear test fallout

Yes, but it was worth it for the "his movie gave people cancer" line.
posted by hat_eater at 1:59 PM on February 9, 2016


Arguably Hughes was lied to about the risk, and in her autobio Dory Previn said he never stopped feeling guilty about it (also about helping develop the atomic bomb via ToolCo)

Most of the really good Hughes stuff I didn't include cause it's so unverifiable* but like the David Bacon case Where the involvement of Hilter's favorite singer is the least interesting than it or Walter Wagner , who wasn't a studio head, but did shoot a guy in the dick in a mistaken jealous rage.

Like so many things become more clear when you realize the MOUNTAINS of amphetamines being tossed back. They put a book out of Selznick's memes and they're just pure, uncut Cocaine Thoughts

*like the gay sex yacht.
posted by The Whelk at 2:19 PM on February 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


If you liked this list, boy have I got a podcast for you! The last season, with its particular focus on the rise and fall of MGM, contained detailed versions of a lot of these stories.

Edit: Artw beat me to it!
posted by montag2k at 2:59 PM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I used that a lot and cite it in the article BUT I also love and used the Secret History of Hollywood podcast which is like, exhaustively detailed and each epuside is 3 hours long. I love it so much.
posted by The Whelk at 3:07 PM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Popes next?

For that, you want E.R. Chamberlin's classic The Bad Popes.
posted by BWA at 4:00 PM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


No Disney?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:05 PM on February 9, 2016


"I don't have ulcers; I give them." Harry Cohn
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:07 PM on February 9, 2016


The love to hate it Broadway TV show Smash had a number about Zanuck - he was very flamboyant, the source of ta lot of the big cigar, three martinis, meetings in the sauna, chasing starlets around the desk stereotypes that 70s movies loved to indulge in.
posted by The Whelk at 5:16 PM on February 9, 2016


Can I just say how refreshing it is to read an article where the word 'mogul' appears without the words 'billionaire', 'real estate' or 'Donald'.
posted by verstegan at 5:39 AM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also! New story from a friend. The classic WB shorts are 6 minutes long because that was the minimum limit for how short something could be and still considered a "short feature" by ruling bodies and Jack Warner was sure as hell not gonna let them be a minute longer. Cartoons are expensive.
posted by The Whelk at 11:18 PM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Where I heard that story, it was from Chuck Amuck, Chuck Jones' autobiography, and it was Leon Schlesinger, who ran Termite Terrace at the time, who made the decree. Schlesinger was a piece of work himself, but not quite on movie mogul scale.
posted by JHarris at 6:16 PM on February 11, 2016


(Of course, I could be mistaken. It's been over ten years since I read Chuck Amuck.)
posted by JHarris at 7:58 PM on February 11, 2016


If nothing else, Leon Schlesinge did like, sit on a prop throne during the viewings of new cartoons and was the basis for Daffy Duck. The "hey boys where you'd get that crazy accent." story.
posted by The Whelk at 8:02 PM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


RKO Pictures in 1952 [part 2] [part 3]
The most important events at RKO in 1952—a year in which the studio released films from Nicholas Ray, Josef von Sternberg, Howard Hawks, Fritz Lang, and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger—had nothing to do with cinema. Instead, studio chief Howard Hughes spent that year of the blacklist transforming RKO into a club to swing at Communists, before selling the entire company to capitalists so pure they crossed the line into organized crime. By year’s end, the studio had played an integral part in ceding Hollywood power to Washington, with consequences that would define the next decade in film. RKO’s films were almost an afterthought.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:43 AM on February 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


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