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Edmund Goulding's Dark Victory: Hollywood's Genius Bad Boy
     

Edmund Goulding's Dark Victory: Hollywood's Genius Bad Boy

by Matthew Kennedy, Kevin Brownlow (Foreword by)
 

Edmund Goulding’s Dark Victory: Hollywood’s Genius Bad Boy is the first biography ever written about this eccentric genius of early-twentieth-century filmmaking. Goulding (1891–1959) was by turns a writer, producer, composer, and actor, but it is as a director that he made an indelible impression. He is most remembered today as the

Overview

Edmund Goulding’s Dark Victory: Hollywood’s Genius Bad Boy is the first biography ever written about this eccentric genius of early-twentieth-century filmmaking. Goulding (1891–1959) was by turns a writer, producer, composer, and actor, but it is as a director that he made an indelible impression. He is most remembered today as the director of Grand Hotel, the great Event Movie of the Depression. At the dawn of sound, he wrote the story for the Academy Award–winning musical The Broadway Melody and collaborated memorably with Gloria Swanson and Joseph Kennedy for The Trespasser. He excelled at anti-war drama (White Banners, The Dawn Patrol, We Are Not Alone), fantastic Bette Davis weepies (Dark Victory, The Old Maid, The Great Lie), lilting romantic dramas (The Constant Nymph, Claudia), big-budget literary adaptations (The Razor’s Edge), and even film noir (Nightmare Alley). The London-born Goulding was a complicated and contradictory man whose notorious orgies, bisexuality, drinking, and drug addictions were whispered about in Hollywood for years. Yet his well-crafted plots and compelling characters set a new standard in American cinema and had a profound influence on the future of filmmaking.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In a world where film buffs can choose from among 15 biographies and critical studies of John Ford and an equal number devoted to George Cukor, a book about the life and work of Edmund Goulding, the underrated and multitalented director of, among others, Grand Hotel, The Dawn Patrol, and the Bette Davis weepies The Old Maid, The Great Lie, and Dark Victory, is long overdue....Matthew Kennedy, who teaches anthropology at City College of San Francisco and film history at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has balanced scholarship with spice, unveiling the dark (alcoholism, drug-taking, and orgies) as well as the victories in the bisexual filmmaker's life. Goulding's brief marriage to tubercular dancer Marjorie Moss (Louise Brooks said he 'filled the last three years of her life with beauty') is intriguing, in a De-Lovely way. His sordid side helps to explain his anomalous noir masterpiece Nightmare Alley, starring Tyrone Power, whose sleek beauty was just beginning to crumple around the edges: Now we know just how a guy could sink so low."—San Francisco Weekly

Edmund Goulding’s Dark Victory provides a welcome look at a man whose career deserves reexamination.”—Silent Era Film Books

Library Journal
Perhaps one of the most highly regarded of the great Hollywood directors in his own time, Edmund Goulding has been largely forgotten. His greatest films (e.g., Grand Hotel) are still widely honored, but few people remember that he directed them. A possible reason for his obscurity is that, much like his contemporary, George Cukor (My Fair Lady), he was regarded as a mere "women's" director; he successfully worked with, and was admired by, such notoriously difficult actresses as Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, and Bette Davis. Kennedy (anthropology, City Coll. of San Francisco) has gone a long way toward rescuing Goulding from obscurity by writing what is apparently the first full-length biography. Goulding was born in England, where he acted before setting off for Hollywood; there, he impressed most people with his talent and became a successful scenario writer before he entered directing. A sybaritic and unashamed bisexual, he gave wild, lavish parties and continued directing almost until his death in 1959, though his most productive period had ended more than a decade earlier. Although his style is a bit pedestrian, Kennedy has performed a long-overdue service for an unfairly forgotten talent. Recommended for all cinema collections.-Roy Liebman, California State Univ. Lib., Los Angeles Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299197704
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
08/28/2004
Edition description:
1
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Kennedy teaches anthropology at City College of San Francisco and film history at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has written for numerous publications and is author of Marie Dressler.

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