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Hollywood Rat Race Paperback – January 6, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Advice on achieving silver-screen immortality from an unlikely source, this kitschy and catty portrait of Tinseltown isn't likely to win any new fans for Wood, the writer, director and producer of what is generally agreed to be the worst movie ever made, Plan 9 from Outer Space. Wood offers tips on how to be discovered in Hollywood (you won't, stay at home); how to achieve stardom (become a character actor the likes of Jonathan Hale, Jane Darnell, Addison Richards and a seemingly endless list of other Hollywood nobodies of the 1950s); how to elude the casting couch (or at least, how to distinguish, and sleep with, legitimate producers rather than "phonies"); and how to comport oneself in debtor's court. This somewhat entertaining glimpse of Hollywood's sleazy side won't disillusion those who think of Wood as an inept writerAhis work is filled with mindless clich?s ("You're only as good as your last picture!")Aand numerous, even obsessive, references to fluffy white angora sweaters (true to Tim Burton's recent portrayal). The irony of Wood's authorship of this manual (unpublished until this printing) during the 1960s, one of the bleaker times in his career, will be apparent to all readersAas will Wood's understandable bitterness as he spews out unending invective against the "phonies" who take advantage of young, angora sweater-wearing talent. While this brief book isn't quite bad enough to rank with Woods's most distinctive creations, dedicated fans will find it a howler.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
The King of the Really Bad Movies reveals the secrets of his, well, successsomewhat inadvertently. Wood is best known as the writer, director, and producer of such instant trash-can liners as Bride of the Monster, That Sinister Urge, Plan 9 from Outer Space, and the never-to-be-forgotten (or forgiven) Glen or Glenda? (a.k.a. ``I Changed My Sex''). The subject of an affectionate Tim Burton film that bore his name, Wood was nothing if not persistent in his desire to crack the walls of the Hollywood palace. In this previously unpublished effort, he outlines for all would-be actors and actresses the pitfalls that await them when they go west in search of the cinematic El Dorado. And it is truly a worm's-eye view. Wood manages the singular feat of simultaneously depicting the film industry as a kind of hard-earned nirvana and a cesspool of greasy-handed lechers, quick-buck artists, and con men. He does so in a tortured prose that will be familiar to anyone who has seen one of his films, littered with solecisms, bordering on a kind of hysterical incoherence. (``They never error in their delivery of lines. . . .''; ``But the guy had such a dynamic veneer. . . .,'' to offer two choice examples.) If there is a finite supply of exclamation marks in the world, this book will deplete it. As a period piece that includes advice on cheap hotels at which to stay, it has a certain stupid charm. But if you weren't suffering from ``irony fatigue'' before, the publication of this curiosity will send you over the edge. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Top customer reviews
It's Ed Wood's world and he's calling the shots, no matter how off-target they are.
Like the rest of Wood's output, it works best on its own premises, and shouldn't be compared to others work.
I recommend it, especially if you're an Ed Wood fan.
Ed Wood, Jr was a unique individual, most famous for directing films so bad they were good. Hence his reputation as the king of camp.
Hollywood Rat Race continues the Ed Wood tradition. If one wanted to be cruel about it, the following descriptive terms could be applied to book and author: clueless, sophomoric, completely unselfaware, verging on delusional.
But isn't it better to be kind? How about terms like: a bit naive, unselfconscious, nostalgic for the old magic of tinseltown.
This obviously unedited "How To" manuscript reveals Ed Wood to be an enthusiastic lover of all things Hollywood, an eternal optimist and a loyal friend. He extended much kindness to Bela Lugosi and other film artists whose careers had seen better days.
It's a short read, only 138 pages, and the writing is less than professional. Nevertheless, I think you'll find Hollywood Rat Race to be oddly heartwarming.