Sunday, November 03, 2013

A fine column by Dick Lochte about famous novelists in Hollywood

Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), American nov

For about ten years I wrote a column with the unimaginative but totally accurate title Book Notes for the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Heady days? Well, maybe. Definitely busy, doing the odd interview,  keeping track of thousands of books, authors, movie adaptations of lit works, local signings, national trends, etc. etc.
I collected the columns, as I have everything I’ve ever written, pasting them in scrapbooks as neatly and obsessively as if I were stalking my creative self. Among the yellowing pages are a few items that may still have some vague, lingering currency. For example, herewith, a column from March 14, 1976,  “Literati in Lotus Land.”
Hollywood’s version of Fitzgerald’s good year.
Fitzgerald, Faulkner and West, according to Dardis, signed on for films strictly for the loot. But, of  the five writers profiled, only Agee was able to achieve a truly happy, creative  screenwriting experience, and this was while working on “The African Queen.”
But if the others’ influence on Hollywood was negligible, Hollywood’s influence on them resulted in such achievements as “The Last Tycoon,” “The Day of the Locust” and “A Fable.”
Not a total loss, certainly.
Looking back on this stunted reportage, I’m unable to recall if Dardis purposely left Agee’s work on “The Night of the Hunter” out of the happy experience category or if, in my zeal to meet a deadline, I failed to list it, too, as a happy experience. It certainly must have been a creative one.
The column also reminded of something that happened during my first screenwriting venture with Henry Hathaway in Europe. (See earlier blog entry, Burning Daylight, Henry Hathaway and Me). Like Nero Wolfe, Henry didn’t believe in talking about business while at table. But he did like to talk. So, in the course of breakfasts, lunches and dinners, he kept me entertained with show biz stories about folks like John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock,  Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne. One evening he mentioned William Faulkner.
“I gave him the idea for his  book,” Henry said, “the one that got the Pulitzer Prize, ‘A Fable.’”

for the rest go here:

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