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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hollywood Novel
I highly recommend "What Makes Sammy Run" for anyone who is an aspiring actor or filmmaker. This novel is an interesting look at the early entertainment business. Reading about Sammy Glick as he pursues success in show business is a real eye-opener. And things have not changed all that much these days. The movers and the shakers in the biz still behave in a similar...
Published on October 21, 2004 by Donna Grayson

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Relic
Do superior cunning and ambition make the superior man? Does the cream always rise to the top, or more often than not, is it the unscrupulous opportunist at the pinnacle of the heap? Good questions as the basis for a novel, and in "What Makes Sammy Run?", Budd Schulberg does his level best to answer them.

Unfortunately, when the answer comes, it is a trite...
Published 18 months ago by Peter Baklava


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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hollywood Novel, October 21, 2004
By 
Donna Grayson "Donna G. Grayson" (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: What Makes Sammy Run? (Paperback)
I highly recommend "What Makes Sammy Run" for anyone who is an aspiring actor or filmmaker. This novel is an interesting look at the early entertainment business. Reading about Sammy Glick as he pursues success in show business is a real eye-opener. And things have not changed all that much these days. The movers and the shakers in the biz still behave in a similar manner. This is an interesting book to learn about what really makes the Entertainment Industry tick. Even though this novel takes place in the 1930s, it is still a great learning tool for today. And it is also a great look into history. This book is a great Hollywood classic.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story, more than just a tale of Hollywood., February 3, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: What Makes Sammy Run? (Paperback)
A lot of the buzz on this book seems to be because of the backstage Hollywood setting, but Sammy Glick would have been a predator in any environment he was loosened upon. Schulbergs portrayal of the New York newspaper trade as well as the early tinsletown where Sammy prowls is insightful and witty, but the great force of the book is always What Makes Sammy Run? After reading this you will begin to recognize the Sammy Glicks in the world around you, and the question may haunt you sixty years after it was first asked.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Makes Sammy Run, January 18, 2007
By 
R.P. (Miami, Fl) - See all my reviews
This review is from: What Makes Sammy Run? (Paperback)
This book is a real experience. Even though it was written decades ago, it is timeless because its characters are timeless. Everybody has known a "Sammy" in his lifetime. A real beautifully written classic.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now this is a classic, March 22, 2007
By 
Readers Reader (Sayreville, New Jersey) - See all my reviews
This review is from: What Makes Sammy Run? (Paperback)
Most "classics" have a bad reputation. They are praised to high heaven in textbooks and literary publications...and force-fed to students in literature classes. But this book is as fresh, hilarious and biting as if it were written this season. It moves at a brisk pace and holds you to the end. What a REAL classic should be.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOUGHT ON THE RECOMMENDATION OF BETTE DAVIS, April 13, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: What Makes Sammy Run? (Paperback)
She was being interviewed by Dick Cavett and described this as the definitive insider's view of the Hollywood's darker nature: So you know it is an honest take. F.Scott Fitzgerald's recommendation is noted on the front cover: So you know it is well written. Written in the 1940's it created quite the explosion back then. Dorothy Parker also recommends it: So you know it is devilishly clever. Now I know why Martin Short named his Hollywood gossip columnist character Jiminy Glick.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely amusing read..., September 18, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: What Makes Sammy Run? (Paperback)
And sixty years later, Hollywood functions exactly the same! Awful, suspiciously familiar movies unleashed from the offices of the Mediocre! Set in the 1930's, Schulberg's book helps us imagine the original Shangri-la of Material Dreams -- wonderful, cosmopolitan L.A. and Southern California before the cataclysm.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Relic, June 15, 2013
By 
Peter Baklava (Charles City, Iowa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: What Makes Sammy Run? (Paperback)
Do superior cunning and ambition make the superior man? Does the cream always rise to the top, or more often than not, is it the unscrupulous opportunist at the pinnacle of the heap? Good questions as the basis for a novel, and in "What Makes Sammy Run?", Budd Schulberg does his level best to answer them.

Unfortunately, when the answer comes, it is a trite psychoanalysis of the mean streets of Sammy's childhood. And since Sammy Glick's ruthlessness is reduced to banality, he becomes too small a villain to sustain the novel, and it fails.

As a character study, "Sammy" was very bold for 1941. There is frank language, and a refreshing honesty about sexuality that was unusual for the time. Still, that language (and particularly the slang speech) is straight out of Damon Runyon, and it really seems dated today.

Budd Schulberg was an excellent screenwriter. His credits included "A Face in the Crowd" and "On the Waterfront". "Sammy" could also have made a good period movie, but it was shunned because of issues of ethnicity. If it had been a movie, the part of protagonist Al Mannheim could easily have gone to William Holden, who played a very similar character (savvy, but beaten and world-weary writer) in "Sunset Boulevard". The part of Kit Sargent would also have been a plum, because she was a finely drawn, forward-looking and strong female character.

Schulberg was hauled before HUAC in 1951 because of "What Makes Sammy Run", but there are no Communist messages in the book. The final line about "a way of life that used to pay dividends" is just a parting shot at the sort of corrupt operator that Sammy Glick represented. No, it is more likely that Schulberg ran afoul of Joe McCarthy because his book was very irritating to powerful people.

Was Schulberg some kind of foil for Ayn Rand? Well, he had the same ethnic backround, but his politics were definitely of the opposite slate. But "Sammy" was published two years before "The Fountainhead", and more than a decade before "Atlas Shrugged".

One line stands out as a curiosity. Schulberg writes, in Kit's voice, "I've named it Glick's Lagoon, because it's the last stronghold of individualism". Did Rand, writing in "Atlas Shrugged", name her last stronghold "Galt's Gulch" in response to Schulberg? A book like "What Makes Sammy Run?" would certainly have chafed her sensibilities. There is a possibility that Schulberg updated his book with revisions after 1957, and inserted the phrase, but that seems unlikely.

The final verdict on "What Makes Sammy Run?" is that it is an interesting social study, and relic of the mid-20th century. To be relevant as a movie script today, it would have to be reworked extensively to be able to reach the level of Robert Altman's "The Player". As a book, it also fell short of Nathaniel West's study of Hollywood, "The Day of the Locust"--which I believe did make it to the big screen in the hands of John Schlesinger.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, July 20, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: What Makes Sammy Run? (Paperback)
THE BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME ! Powerful, Gripping, a tale of the Psychotic Workaholic against the backdrop of Hollywood in the 40's can easily relate to The Street of the 80's and Silicon Valley of the 90's. If you read only one book for the rest of your life....This Is It !
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 101 Ways To Suceed In Hollywood-- but is it right??, August 7, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: What Makes Sammy Run? (Paperback)
Budd Schulberg, screenwriter of "On The Waterfront",
wrote this timeless classic on the wheelings and dealings of Hollywood
back in the early 1950s. The tale is told by the cynical, wannabe
screenwriter Al Manhiem, as he indulges us on the successes of young
Sammy Glick. Despite the book's age, many facts about the studio
system still remain true: the ousting of grand studio executives by young blood,
the street smart back stabbing means to sell screenplays, plagarism,
and the philosophy of the Hollywood marriage (there's no love in it, it's
just to keep an upstanding image). Sammy Glick, a poor but ambitious newspaper copy boy climbs the ladder from
Hollywood screenwriter to Hollywood mogul without any concern for his fellow man.
Manhiem's biting personality on the Hollywood system of redtape is quite typical of
many screenwriters' views today. This book is truly the Great Gatsby of Hollywood, though instead of a dying life, we
find that it is the soul that truly has the great possiblity of dying in Tinsel Town.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a classic - please buy it, July 1, 2008
By 
This review is from: What Makes Sammy Run? (Paperback)
The book, What Makes Sammy Run? has such wit - about screenwriters in 1930s Hollywood, which created a controversy back in 1941 when it was published. Every producer, actor, writer was looking over their shoulder wondering if he or she was in the book, albeit fictionalized with another name and so forth. Budd Schulberg, the author, is still alive, at 94.
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What Makes Sammy Run?
What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg (Paperback - December 6, 1993)
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