8 June, 2020
BOOK NAME: ZANUCK; THE RISE AND FALL OF HOLLYWOOD’S LAST TYCOON.
AUTHOR: LEONARD MOSLEY.
If non fictions, especially, biographical books are indispensable in the motivation and growth of up comers then, ZANUCK; THE RISE AND FALL OF HOLLYWOOD’S LAST TYCOON is one of the front liners in the genre.
The book narrates the true life story of a gifted Idealist and writer who turned movie tycoon in Hollywood’s most glorious years. His film career spanned for almost five decades which is considered one of the longest in the industry till date. At 25, he was making $5000 a week, a time when most employees were comfortable with $50 dollars a week. This was in the 1920s during the formative years of Warner brother film studio. Having a lot of money and attaining the height of the head of productions in Warner brothers studio changed his life in a tremendous way. He experimented on the movies he wished to produce and also became successful with the girls. But when he felt used by the Warner brothers, he resigned out of anger.
48 hours after his resignation, he got a call from his friend, Prince Mike Romanoff who asked if he could come to breakfast at a nearby restaurant in Hollywood. When he got there, he found the well known movie impresario Joseph Schenk waiting for him at the table. Schenk waved a piece of paper in the air for him. The piece of paper was a check for $100,000, to work with him. This was 1933. Such amount of money is valued to worth at least twenty times as much as today. Not only did the deal later change the nature of the movie industry, the deal led to partnership and formation of one of today’s most outstanding film studios, 20th Century-Fox.
Who would have written such Biographical master piece other than the British journalist, Biographer and novelist, Leonard Mosley. His work as a film journalist in Hollywood allowed him to explore and pen down the mind blowing true life-story of Darryl F Zanuck.
Excluding the prologue, the first chapter digs into the circumstances that led to Zanuck’s birth. How Zanuck hated his father because he was a weakling and when he turned to his mother for love and succor, he faced his greatest disappointment when she abandoned him to live with another man who beat and exploited her. This nightmare went on to affect Zanuck’s perception towards women and life in general as seen in the further chapters of the book. He felt women were not to be trusted, rather, they were weak and sentimental creatures meant to be sexed. This perception became more evident in his glorious years in the film industry and he was at that time considered one of the most successful “Cocks men” in Hollywood. This action was a perfect reminder by Leonard Mosley as how ones child hood experiences could alter ones perception towards life even to old age and with lots of money and influence.
The emotional part of the book comes up again as how the respected idealist, writer and film mogul began to experience a wave of failure in the 5th decade of his career. This was not only because he was getting old, but because his promiscuous lifestyle led him into the arms of pretty upcoming actresses which blinded his sense of judgment. The big president of 20th Century-Fox was now found wallowing in alcohol and hanging around French hotels to keep up with his obsession for desperate wannabe actresses. Producing slapstick movies which made low or no impact among cinema goers unlike before.
The evoking biographical book is indeed a must read for every person in the creative industry. A must read for every business person, film buff and true life story lover who wish to be fired up by a true life story of an achiever. A reader will be exposed to the following realities in the book;
*The power of talent in a man’s life.
*The importance of persistence and hard work.
*The psychological impact of broken marriages to the future of children.
The book will take a star rate of nine out of ten, basically, for the writer’s realistic, emotional and motivational approach.