Mad As Hell

Mad As Hell

by Shaun Considine
     
 

That Paddy Chayefsky was the greatest writer ever to emerge from television's fabled "Golden Age" is unquestionable. But that his work for television, theatre, and film firmly places him alongside his most heralded contemporaries - Arthur Miller, William Inge, and Tennessee Williams - is the compelling thesis of Mad as Hell: The Life and Work of Paddy Chayefsky by… See more details below

Overview

That Paddy Chayefsky was the greatest writer ever to emerge from television's fabled "Golden Age" is unquestionable. But that his work for television, theatre, and film firmly places him alongside his most heralded contemporaries - Arthur Miller, William Inge, and Tennessee Williams - is the compelling thesis of Mad as Hell: The Life and Work of Paddy Chayefsky by Shaun Considine. In Considine's exhaustively researched biography of Chayefsky, we examine the formative roots of the only individual screenwriter ever to win three Academy Awards (for Marty, The Hospital, and Network). From his boyhood in the Bronx to his tumultuous years in Hollywood, Chayefsky emerges here as an ambitious man, devoted in his friendships, hesitant and shy in romance, yet fierce and exacting as a creative force. His genius for capturing the American vernacular elicited classic performances by such legends as Bette Davis, Kim Stanley, and George C. Scott, and his larger-than-life personality garnered him close relationships with such varied notables as Laurence Olivier, Elizabeth Taylor, Kim Novak, Bob Fosse, and playwright Herb Gardner. And for each friendship there also seemed to be a fight: Chayefsky's vengeful brawl with Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, his tempestuous struggles with Edward G. Robinson, Burt Lancaster, Zero Mostel, and Ken Russell, and his politically charged hatred for Vanessa Redgrave are just a few of the conflicts detailed here. Throughout his fifty-eight years, Paddy Chayefsky was a man in search of understanding - of both himself and his changing world. Unhappily, a sense of fulfillment and of his own identity would remain beyond his grasp until his final days. His hopeful optimism in the 1950s evolved into a resolutely skeptical view of contemporary life, as he confronted in his scripts the military, the medical and television industries, and even man's relationship to God. In Mad as Hell, Shaun Considine gives us, at last, a full picture of a unique latte

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Considine ( Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud ) has written an engrossing and lively biography of the late screenwriter, the only one to win three Oscars--for Marty, Hospital and Network . Chayefsky (1923-1981) also wrote the screenplays for other notable films, such as Altered States , the hallucinatory melodrama that made William Hurt famous, as well as Broadway comedies and dramas. Yet he got his start writing for TV-- Marty originated as a one-hour episode of ``Philco Television Playhouse''--and the chapters detailing the early days of the medium are particularly engrossing. Chayefsky--initially the ``poet of the streets'' whose Marty reflected his profound insecurity--worked with such personalities as Bob Fosse, Marilyn Monroe, Zero Mostel, Tyrone Guthrie and Ken Russell. Considine's characterization of his subject as a man split in two is facile; he plays off ``Paddy''--scrappy, Bronx-bred--with ``Sidney''--devout, artistic, intellectual. Nonetheless, the ups and downs of Chayefsky's varied career make for consistently entertaining reading. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Considine, who wrote the best-selling Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud , offers an anecdote-packed life of the screenwriter who won Oscars for Marty , Network , and Hospital .
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Chayefsky is probably best remembered for his OscarR-winning script for the film Network (1976). He also won Academy AwardsR for two other scripts, The Hospital (1971) and Marty (1955), wrote two successful Broadway plays, and is generally regarded as the best writer during television's ``golden age of drama'' in the early 1950s. Considine's thesis is that Chayefsky was a schizophrenic, split between the boisterous, antagonistic ``Paddy'' and the sensitive, serious ``Sidney'' (Chayefsky's real name). Chayefsky's son, his oldest brother, and many of his friends cooperated with Considine in the writing of this very well-researched book. Recommended for most libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/94.]-John Smothers, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan, N.J.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780595120291
Publisher:
iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/01/2000
Pages:
452
Sales rank:
901,740
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.01(d)

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