- Hardcover: 608 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (April 19, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743204816
- ISBN-13: 978-0743204811
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 79 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 19, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Anyone who's heard one of the legions of tales about obstinate Hollywood founding father Mayer's tyranny over his stars (and the entire studio system) won't be surprised to learn Mayer grew up selling scrap machinery in the eastern Canadian port town of Saint John: "Junk dealing itself made [Mayer] endlessly resourceful and opportunistic," Eyman (Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford) writes in this meticulous and engaging biography. But because Mayer (1885–1957) was a Russian Jew selling scrap metal and was looked down upon by many, he developed his "almost feral belligerence" early on. That ruthlessness may explain his unprecedented consolidation of power once he arrived in Los Angeles in 1918, but not his genius for packaging and selling the nascent and suspicious medium of film to audiences. Mayer's maudlin sentimentality about American values and the virtues of family life (despite major womanizing) surfaced in most of the films he oversaw at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer—and in what he did to get them made. Mayer's "mania for quality" drove MGM to the top of Hollywood's studio system, while his melodramatic fainting spells and crying jags would frequently induce fellow executives or stars to relent. Eyman's extensive knowledge of old Hollywood, his scrupulous research and his refusal to indict the often-pilloried Mayer make this biography an often revelatory delight. Agent, Fran Collin. (May)
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"Lion of Hollywood is compulsive reading as well as thoroughly enjoyable. There is so much that is new, so much that surprised me."
-- Kevin Brownlow, author of The Parade's Gone By...
"Scott Eyman has accomplished the near impossible -- he's taken Louis B. Mayer, the comic goblin of so many Hollywood histories, and restored him to his rightful place as one of the great business executives of the twentieth century. Laughable no more, Mayer is a fascinating amalgam of vision, chutzpa, cunning, and sheer genius."
-- James Curtis, author of W. C. Fields and James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters
Top customer reviews
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The book is written chronologically but sometimes goes back and forth in time and throws out stories that seem to be ill fitting in the sections of the book where we find them.
Still if you're a movie fan and want to learn about one significant piece of the Hollywood pie it's worth the read.
While the book primarily is devoted to telling the story of how Mayer went from dealing in scrap metal to running the classiest movie studio in Hollywood (o.k., Culver City) and then describing Mayer's eventual fall from grace, a wide cast of characters fills out Mayer's story. This book relates commonly circulated stories as well as some new ones. However, Eyman meticulously has researched his subject and allows his readers to draw their own conclusions by evaluating the validity of some of these stories which would be considered questionable.
Eyman also provides his reader with an exacting description of the dynamics that came into play while Mayer was running a large movie studio as well as the dynamics within his own family.
The list of those people Eyman interviewed while writing this book is mind-boggling. Many of his interviewees have died since he began this book which makes a lot of the information provided in this book even more significant.
This book was long overdue and I am glad the author took this project on while there were still enough people alive who could provide first hand information about the subject.
I am hoping that I don't have to wait too long for Mr. Eyman's next book.
Most recent customer reviews
supported a wife and three children by dealing in scrap metal in the street.Read more