"It's the Pictures That Got Small": Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood's Golden Age.pdf
Golden Age Hollywood screenwriter Charles Brackett was an extremely observant and perceptive chronicler of the entertainment industry during its most exciting years. He is best remembered as the writing partner of director Billy Wilder, who once referred to the pair as "the happiest couple in Hollywood," collaborating on such classics as The Lost Weekend (1945) and Sunset Blvd (1950). In this annotated collection of writings taken from dozens of Brackett's unpublished diaries, leading film historian Anthony Slide clarifies Brackett's critical contribution to Wilder's films and Hollywood history while enriching our knowledge of Wilder's achievements in writing, direction, and style. Brackett's diaries re-create the initial meetings of the talent responsible for Ninotchka (1939), Hold Back the Dawn (1941), Ball of Fire (1941), The Major and the Minor (1942), Five Graves to Cairo (1943), The Lost Weekend, and Sunset Blvd, recounting the breakthrough and breakdowns that ultimately forced these collaborators to part ways. Brackett was also a producer, served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Screen Writers Guild, was a drama critic for the New Yorker, and became a member of the exclusive literary club, the Algonquin Round Table. Slide gives readers a rare, front row seat to the Golden Age dealings of Paramount, Universal, MGM, and RKO and the innovations of legendary theater and literary figures, such as Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontanne, Edna Ferber, and Dorothy Parker. Through Brackett's witty, keen perspective, the political and creative intrigue at the heart of Hollywood's most significant films come alive, and readers will recognize their reach in the Hollywood industry today.
Charles Brackett was an outstanding writer and producer of his era. Like him, I have served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and also like him, I had had a long association with Billy Wilder. I am therefore delighted that Charlie's diaries are being published, providing us with his unique insight into Billy and Hollywood's golden age. -- Walter Mirisch Reading Brackett's diary entries is like stepping into a time machine. It provides a vivid and valuable account of day-to-day life in the heyday of Hollywood's studio system -- and a bittersweet chronicle of his volatile relationship with Billy Wilder. I couldn't put the book down. -- Leonard Maltin
Anthony Slide is the author or editor of more than two hundred books on the history of popular entertainment. He has served as both associate archivist of the American Film Institute and as resident film historian of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His most recent publications include Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses; Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazines: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers; and Hollywood Unknowns: A History of Extras, Bit Players, and Stand-Ins.
AcknowledgmentsForeword by Jim MooreIntroduction by Anthony SlideThe Diaries193219331934193519361937193819391940194119421943194419451946194719481949Leading Names and Subjects in the DiariesNotes for IntroductionIndex