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A Youth in Babylon: Confessions of a Trash-Film King Paperback – August 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As one might expect, "trash" filmmaker Friedman's memoir, written with freelancer DeNevi, has about as much subtlety as a Las Vegas bump-and-grind. In this entertaining, self-indulgent confession, he chronicles his entry into show biz as a press agent for "educational" sex-hygiene reels, to his later work as creator/promotor of smuttier, more gruesome celluloid fare including Boin-n-g! and Blood Feast . Adventures with exploitation-movie producers such as Herschell Lewis and Kroger Babb are recounted, as are promotion schemes; we're told about the investments and brainstorms behind low-budget productions and see the huckster's talent for turning censorship boycotts into publicity hype. Though Friedman is often condescending and macho, he proves himself here to be resourceful; and his enchantment with the carney tradition is infectious, making even the book's unrelenting, ring-masteresque alliterations ("circulating salesmen of cinema sleaze") bearable. "America's Most Notorious Carpetbagger of Cinemadom" gleefully proves H. L. Mencken's axiom: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." Photos not seen by PW . 40,000 first printing; $40,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 355 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573922366
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573922364
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,600,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You can't help but love this book if you have any appreciation for trashy cinema and exploitation. Friedman lays out his whole life story and then some, giving a hilarious insight into the birth of low budget and sleaze cinema in the US. As another reviewer noted, it is impossible to tell what percentage of tales in the book are fact. Nevertheless it makes for a great read on a neglected area of modern culture, as well as providing a fascinating profile of a very interesting character!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mike Boas on August 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
David Friedman made his mark on exploitation cinema in the 50s and 60s with partner H.G. Lewis, but his roots go back to roadshowing and carnivals. His stories about Kroger Babb and the 40 Thieves are priceless. The book is kind of all over the place structurally, but it's worth reading.

I had the opportunity to talk to H.G. Lewis recently about Friedman and Babb recently -- check out the MAD DOG MOVIES Podcast #7 to hear more!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Make Them Look on February 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
How factual is A Youth In Babylon? Considering Friedman is one of film's sweetest talking showmen, that's hard to say. But you're not going to get a first-hand account of working with Kroger Babb and H. G. Lewis, no matter how puffed up it may sound, anywhere else. In the end, like any well delivered Elliott Forbes routine, you'll feel inspired! It may be bull, but it's still quite entertaining.
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