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on February 27, 2006
This is a terribly funny and telling documentary. Mr. Dunne, who had a considerable reputation and experience as a screenwriter, somehow convinced the powers at Twentieth Century Fox to give him carte blanche and complete access to every peculiar nook and sneaky cranny at the studio. Sitting in on major meetings with the Zanucks,writers, producers, agents, stars, attending gala openings and hanging about sets, Dunne was the ultimate fly-on-the-wall. The movies in production during the year (1967)he spent soaking up this rarified atmosphere included "Dr. Doolittle," "Star," and "Hello Dolly," which means we get great dish on Rex Harrison, Barbra Streisand, Anthony Newley, Gene Kelly and Walter Matthau, to name only a few.

The stories are told in a droll, straight-ahead manner, which makes the gags even funnier. One can scarcely believe the kinds of things that Hollywood Heavies utter, apparently unashamed and on a fairly regular basis.

For the record, Mr. Dunne, also the author of a number of first-rate novels, was the late husband of writer Joan Didion, whose current memoir about dealing with his death - "The Year of Magical Thinking" - is deservedly at the top of the charts these days.
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on April 14, 2004
Absolutely brilliant-people in Hollywood still refer to "AD" (After Dunne), and you know a book like this won't happen again. The attitude is "Where you find clowns there is usually a circus", and the level of amaturism on display here is astounding. The best section has to be the one on the making of the legendary flop "Dr. Dolittle"-you are there as they read the disastrous preview cards. A $18 million investment is on the line, and all the producer's girlfriend can think of is stealing a silver tray from a restaurant and what dress to wear for the premiere. Hilarious, and still required reading at film study courses today.
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on June 30, 2015
One of the best ever depictions of a movie studio in action. The author was given full access to what went on at Twentieth Century Fox, and uses his literary skills to fine advantage to give a full view of the successes and (especially) the failures of those in charge. Written with great insight and humor.
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on September 6, 2015
Best book ever written about the workings of a studio. Mid sixties and covers Planet of the Apes, Doctor Dolittle and some great TV from Irwin Allen. I doubt anyone will be given access like this again.
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on July 13, 2006
Although a little dated (originally written circa 1969) this is still one of the great inside stories about what goes on (or more precisely did go on) in the old Hollywood. Written about the time that the old studio system finally collapsed, it collects some great anecdotes for film buffs. Besides, it is well written.
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on September 8, 2013
I'd heard so much about this classic book that I was disappointed reading it. So much more dirt has been exposed about the films and studio he discusses that the book now sounds complimentary to the studio and the film Dr. Doolittle that was destroying it. The actual shooting of Dr. Doolittle was much worse than is described, Rex Harrison was a terrible, arrogant, racist drunk, and everyone involved in Dunne's narrative were so much more cruel and dumb that the book, 35 years after it was first published ,seems benign.
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on January 3, 2011
Unlike the other reviewers here, I thought the book (considering when it was written) is a bit of tame, high-level overview of the studio workings. I didn't find it boring, nor did I find it to be a great page-turner. I would have preferred a more in-depth review of the studio workings. However, it was interesting to read the names from the past and the TV shows that were described...Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea...and the movies...Dr. Doolittle, Planet of the Apes...and more. I did find the parts on how Richard Zanuck decided which movies would get made and which ones didn't to be interesting - pretty much a gut feeling and a whim. I think this book is only for diehard studio fans and not the casual reader of Hollywood history.
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on December 3, 1998
I loved the author's great storytelling of the crazy ways decisions were made by brilliant people, based on their gut instincts, experience and few facts. Dated, but great background to help explain why decisions are still made in crazy ways in Hollywood. Easy and fun reading about the Zanucks and their cohorts.
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on December 4, 1998
Excellent, casual writing style. Great stories of the Zanucks and others, their gut-based and fact-less decision making and egos. An easy read on that quick plane trip from Hollywood to your Napa hideaway.
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on August 3, 2013
I loved the Doctor Dolittle books when I was a child, but I had no desire to see the Hollywood musical based on it when it came out in 1967. Although I'd loved movie musicals like Annie Get Your Gun and Singin' in the Rain even before I'd started reading Doctor Dolittle, books, I knew any I saw in 1967 would be, somehow, lifeless.
Why did the Hollywood musical more or less die out as an art form after 1960? That question is one of the things The Studio touches on, although it doesn't focus on it. It's more about the business end of Hollywood, and its concentration on the Doctor Dolittle musical seems fortuitous-- it's just what happened to be on the table when Dunne got the ok to write the book. But I wish it could have been more about the artistic reasons for the Doctor Dolittle musical's failure, because that's more important than its business failure.
It would be an oversimplified cliche to say that the Hollywood musical failed as art because it became more of a business, but there may be some truth in it. Dunne's book certainly doesn't unearth much artistic motivation, although he doesn't seem to be looking for it. It's a good, deadpan satire of Hollywood businessmen, but it could have been more. Not that the businessmen were all that bad. Dunne seems to have rather liked most of them, and, compared to today's industry, there was a kind of innocent generosity in their willingness to spend 18 million dollars on a movie about a man who loved animals so much he learned to talk with them. When an animal appears in a movie today, chances are that the plot calls for people to kill it in some nasty way, or vice versa.
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