Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan
History Of Hollywood
Century Of Greed, Corruption And Scandal Behind The Movies
by Kieron Connolly
The author is a graduate in film studies and a journalist. He has written a good summary about Hollywood and has many conclusions to offer. But one stands out: Harvey Weinstein is not the only one. Powerful figures in Hollywood have been exploiting the less powerful for their own sexual gratification and it has been happening from the start. Hollywood has given us some great films over the decades. But it is also a place of excess: excess of power, excess of money and excess of sex and drugs.
The author describes Charlie Chaplin's insatiable appetite for young women. But as long as he was bringing in the money, no one seemed to mind.
Except the victims, of course.
Was Fatty Arbuckle guilty of rape? The question seems almost irrelevant given the extent of exploitation going on at the time. When film legends were accused of rape, they were usually not found guilty. In the fantasy world that was Hollywood, some were kings and some were victims. Anita Page, an actress who achieved stardom in the final years of the silent era, claimed that the powerful movie mogul Irving Thalberg destroyed her carreer after she refused to sleep with him.
Among the many accusations that Weinstein faced was that he objectified women. But Hollywood does that. Marilyn Monroe famously held her skirt down as the wind blew it up. Sharon Stone went one step further forty years later. But at least they were acting in movies. The author describes how Eva Longoria and Anne Hathaway turned up at film events apparently without underwear: "the wardrobe malfunction certainly made headline news..." Good publicity, perhaps, for some but surely sending the wrong message. But that's Hollywood.
From the very start, Hollywood has attracted the mentally fragile. There was the suicide of Lupe Velez and so many others. So many stars have died young from an excess of drugs and alcohol. Marilyn Monroe was described as "neurotic beyond description" and "retreating further and further from reality" by Hollywood insiders. Apart from trying to hide her sexuality, MGM fed Judy Garland a cocktail of pills to help deal with her mental health. By 1940, she was an amphetamine addict. She died in 1969 from a barbiturate overdose. Another child star, Elizabeth Taylor, was also addicted to drugs. From Olive Thomas to Natalie Wood to Don Simpson, Hollywood deaths have been disturbing. The author also documents cases of rape and murder.
When Joan Fontaine was eighteen years old, she was "reprimanded for being ungracious" towards wealthy men intent on sexually exploiting her. Drew Barrymore was "drinking alcohol at 11, smoking marijuana at 12 and snorting cocaine at 13." Nicholas Ray had an affair with sixteen year old Natalie Wood. Gloria Graham, one of his wives, had an affair with her own step-son who was thirteen at the time.
Given its past history, one might expect Hollywood to clean up. But no, it is too entrenched in its idea of freedom. The author does not mention it but it is simply not possible to be both pro-life and a celebrity powerhouse in Hollywood. Same goes for supporters of traditional marriage. When Ellen Page announced she was gay, they cheered. When she announced she was a man, they cheered again. Who would dare do anything else?
The enemies of Christ want to destroy Christianity, not by logical argument but by moral corruption. And, as this book demonstrates so clearly, Hollywood has been doing that for decades.