The Candy Men: The Rollicking Life and Times of the Notorious Novel Candy Hardcover – May 7, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
- Publisher : Arcade Publishing; 1st edition (May 7, 2004)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 388 pages
- ISBN-10 : 155970604X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1559706049
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.38 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,106,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Candy's strange trip--from initial conception, to completion, and eventual condemnation--is stylishly told, warts-and-all, in THE CANDY MEN via the letters of its main players as they conspire, debate, vilify, and argue with each other over the course of several years. This is engrossing and hilarious stuff at times, petty and mean-spirited at others, as 'he said/she said' type arguments rise and fall over authorship, ownership, division of labor, and (of course) division of money.
In THE CANDY MEN, Nile Southern (son of Terry) comes clean about the making of the ultimate dirty book. "Good grief, it's Daddy!" indeed.
_Candy_ was originally the brainchild of Terry Southern, a young writer who had a healthy interest in attractive and generous girls he met in Paris and Greenwich Village. Southern had started the novel, but had gotten more interested in writing another one, _The Magic Christian_. In 1957, missing his deadlines with his Parisian publisher Maurice Girodias, he began sharing bits of it by letter with his beat pal Mason Hoffenberg, who joined in authorship. The idea of the novel had been sold to Girodias to be part of his DB (Dirty Book) catalogue within the Olympia Press. He specialized in pornography that could be sold to English-speaking tourists. He commissioned _Candy_ as he had many other novels, for a one-time payment of a few hundred dollars, paid in fractions as he received the chapters. Like some of its illustrious Olympia Press predecessors (including _Lolita_, _Candy_, released in 1958, was more than mass-production porn. When it came to republication in America, Girodias wanted his slice of profits. Distrust set in, and even paranoia from Hoffenberg, and a decade of claims, counter-claims, and hurt followed. Southern went into the movies, with some large successes, like co-authorship of _Dr. Strangelove_. He said farewell to much of bohemian life and to his junkie companions. Hoffenberg became obsessed with his fair share of _Candy_, and with the lack of attention to him as coauthor while Southern continued to write and remain in the press. Girodias scratched for anything he could salvage, since his publishing house descended into bankruptcy.
Putnam eventually published in hardcover in 1964, with the peculiar stipulation that it would be freed from obligation to pay the authors if a pirated edition came out. Not one pirated edition, but seven from California alone, came out, some in time to benefit from Putnam's extensive publicity. Pirates used the Olympia edition word-for-word, because it had the cloudy European copyright, and each bragged that they followed the original text. The pirates and Putnam made money, as did the lawyers, but the three principals wound up with a meager $9,000 to divide among themselves, the "bitter and paltry spoils from a dissatisfying war," as Nile Southern says. The book was supposed to be unfilmable, but that has never stopped Hollywood; in 1968, _Candy_ the movie was released, to terrible reviews. Low on actual titillation, it made money, largely due to a cast including Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Walter Matthau, Charles Aznavour, Ringo Starr, and James Coburn. It has since come out on DVD as a kitschy curiosity. The novel was put out in a handsome edition for the Book-of-the-Month Club. So _Candy_ the book lives happily ever after, and remains amusing although far less shocking than when it first came out. The three principals, however, did not live happily, at least in part due to the Candy fights, and all died in relative obscurity. _The Candy Men_ thus turns out to be a sad book with lots of funny stories about how a really funny book came into being. Anyone who values _Candy_ will be fascinated with this complicated biography of the novel.
The reader feels sorry for the actress Ewa Aulin, who took the role of Candy and you would have think she'd have been prepared for anything, but it seems from Nile Southern's descriptions she was abused by Marlon Brando and had a nervous breakdown due to this abuse and the producers crassly decided to keep her going by stabilizing her with a pharmacopia of drugs. Unfortunately Nile Southern treats this affair as though it were part of the rollicking story of his dad and Uncle Mason scamming the courts. But it leaves a sour taste in one's mouth.