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Tinseltown di William Mann
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Tinseltown (edizione 2014)

di William Mann (Autore)

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
3131766,058 (3.65)17
Hollywood chronicler William J. Mann draws on a rich host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to unpack the story of the enigmatic William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, and the diverse cast that surrounded him before he was murdered in 1922-- including three beautiful, ambitious actresses, the ruthless founder of Paramount locked in a struggle for control of the film industry, a grasping stage mother, a devoted valet, and a gang of two-bit thugs, any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet.… (altro)
Utente:graphianixie
Titolo:Tinseltown
Autori:William Mann (Autore)
Info:Harper (2014), Edition: First Ed, 480 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
Voto:1/2
Etichette:History, Hollywood, Crime, box 43

Informazioni sull'opera

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood di William J. Mann

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» Vedi le 17 citazioni

Moderately entertaining though I'm not sold on its academic standards. For a nonfiction book, the phrase "no doubt", followed by an unsubstantiated supposition, occurred a disturbing number of times. Literally dozens of times. Also, the author would say something like "the fact is, Ms. Smith would have recognized Mr. Jones had he been there". Ummm that's not, strictly speaking, a fact. But like I said it was fairly interesting, and the book was rather well written. ( )
  usuallee | Oct 7, 2021 |
Tinseltown: Murder, Madness and Morphine at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann is a 2014 Harper publication.

An unsolved murder will always pique my interest. Toss in an old Hollywood setting with lots of famous names, history, and scandal and I’m sold.

The murder of William Desmond Taylor has fascinated true crime aficionados for ages. Taylor, a film director, was murdered in 1922 with a small caliber pistol. His death caused a media frenzy at the time, but to this day, the case remains officially unsolved.

The author takes readers through the various battles Hollywood fought with the moralists who waged war against the movies and the actors who starred in them, highlighting scandals- such as the Fatty Arbuckle trials, which does give readers an idea of the climate in Hollywood in and around the time of Taylor’s death.

It takes a good long while to really get to the meat of the tale, for the book to finally narrow the scope to focus on Taylor’s murder, which is, I think, what readers are most interesting in.

To set the stage, the author examines all the suspects and theories that have been investigated or reported on, as well as what the police were thinking at the time.

While I realize the author was attempting to widen the net and create a book, not only about the titillating murder of Taylor, a man with many secrets, but to examine the entire movie industry, the key players in the tale, and to expose the drug use, power plays, and various scandals in this era in Hollywood.

Unfortunately, this proves to be too ambitious of an undertaking, in my opinion. The organization, despite the obvious research, is extremely poor. While I do enjoy history, especially about old Hollywood, I struggled to remain interested in this book. It is very dry reading, and the portions I was most interested in didn’t take shape until the last quarter of the book. The book is in desperate need of some significant trimming.

That said, the conclusion is quite riveting- and surprising- as it seemed nearly every suspect named had a motive, but there was never enough evidence to arrest any of them. Some of the theories tossed about were quite absurd, which often happens in a high- profile case, and one in which the press wished to steer the investigation a certain way, speculating outside the realm of hard facts in order to sensationalize the case. Despite their best efforts, though, the evidence didn’t back up their conjectures.

Although the author uncovered a stunning story that could solve the case, after all this time, there was really no way to prove the validity of the information. The author’s case, based on and the information he gathered, is as plausible as any other presented in this book and I am inclined to agree it makes sense- but, it couldn't be proved after all this time, and that is why the case is still listed as unsolved.

While this case is interesting, this book was bogged down with too much boring information, seriously slowing down the momentum, tempting this reader to skim over large sections to get to the good parts. Once the murder of Taylor became the primary topic, the writing tightened up and things certainly did become quite interesting. I am glad I learned who the probable murderer was, so it wasn’t a total loss.

3 stars ( )
  gpangel | Dec 2, 2020 |
If I never see the word "clew" again, it'll be too soon. Solid book, but that yanked me out of it every single time I saw it.
Pretty dry, lots of speculation, but I enjoyed learning about Hollywood's history. ( )
  SSBranham | Sep 17, 2020 |
3.5 stars ( )
  the_lirazel | Apr 6, 2020 |
With such a great title I was really expecting to be totally absorbed in a fascinating murder mystery bathed in the glamour of the fledgling movie industry. This was obviously a meticulously researched book, unfortunately it was also a boring, muddled mess. Neither the victim William Desmond Taylor, nor the murder itself was all that interesting, and in fact took up surprisingly little of the book.

The rest of the time was spent on the activities of seemingly every person Billy Taylor ever met, longwinded explanations of studio politics and movie distribution channels, attempts at censorship, etc. People who are obsessed with the William Desmond Taylor murder (according to the book, there are legions of them) may have found more to like here.

I listened to the audio CD in my car, and honestly Christopher Lane is the only reason I made it through the whole thing (14 seemingly endless CDs.) He is the perfect narrator, his voice is soothing, cultured and delightful to listen to. I was usually so bored with the actual contents of the book that I sort of zoned out and just let his voice wash over me. Occasionally, some particularly boring passage would penetrate my brain and I would shriek, "Who cares?!! What does this have to do with anything?!"

Finally in the very last chapter, the author presents his theory of the solution to the murder. My reaction was, "Okay." It wasn't really surprising and seemed believable enough. But it was highly theoretical, impossible to prove, and certainly not worth the time it took to get there. ( )
  AngeH | Jan 2, 2020 |
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There's something wrong at Hollywood
The cause, O let us seek!
There's something wrong at Hollywood
No scandal yet this week.
—Louisville (Ky) Times, February 22, 1922
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For my father, William H. Mann, 1925–2013
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Hollywood chronicler William J. Mann draws on a rich host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to unpack the story of the enigmatic William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, and the diverse cast that surrounded him before he was murdered in 1922-- including three beautiful, ambitious actresses, the ruthless founder of Paramount locked in a struggle for control of the film industry, a grasping stage mother, a devoted valet, and a gang of two-bit thugs, any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet.

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