Cover image for Edmund Goulding's dark victory : Hollywood's genius bad boy
Edmund Goulding's dark victory : Hollywood's genius bad boy
Kennedy, Matthew, 1957-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Madison : University of Wisconsin Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xx, 331 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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PN1998.3.G68 K46 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"Edmund Goulding s Dark Victory: Hollywood s Genius Bad Boy" is the first biography ever written about this eccentric genius of early-twentieth-century filmmaking. Goulding (1891 1959) was by turns a writer, producer, composer, and actor, but it is as a director that he made an indelible impression. He is most remembered today as the director of "Grand Hotel," the great Event Movie of the Depression. At the dawn of sound, he wrote the story for the Academy Award winning musical "The Broadway Melody "and collaborated memorably with Gloria Swanson and Joseph Kennedy for "The Trespasser." He excelled at anti-war drama ("White Banners," "The Dawn Patrol," "We Are Not Alone"), fantastic Bette Davis weepies ("Dark Victory," "The Old Maid," "The Great Lie"), lilting romantic dramas ("The Constant Nymph," "Claudia"), big-budget literary adaptations ("The Razor s Edge"), and even film noir ("Nightmare Alley"). The London-born Goulding was a complicated and contradictory man whose notorious orgies, bisexuality, drinking, and drug addictions were whispered about in Hollywood for years. Yet his well-crafted plots and compelling characters set a new standard in American cinema and had a profound influence on the future of filmmaking."

Author Notes

Matthew Kennedy teaches anthropology at City College of San Francisco and film history at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Perhaps one of the most highly regarded of the great Hollywood directors in his own time, Edmund Goulding has been largely forgotten. His greatest films (e.g., Grand Hotel) are still widely honored, but few people remember that he directed them. A possible reason for his obscurity is that, much like his contemporary, George Cukor (My Fair Lady), he was regarded as a mere "women's" director; he successfully worked with, and was admired by, such notoriously difficult actresses as Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, and Bette Davis. Kennedy (anthropology, City Coll. of San Francisco) has gone a long way toward rescuing Goulding from obscurity by writing what is apparently the first full-length biography. Goulding was born in England, where he acted before setting off for Hollywood; there, he impressed most people with his talent and became a successful scenario writer before he entered directing. A sybaritic and unashamed bisexual, he gave wild, lavish parties and continued directing almost until his death in 1959, though his most productive period had ended more than a decade earlier. Although his style is a bit pedestrian, Kennedy has performed a long-overdue service for an unfairly forgotten talent. Recommended for all cinema collections.-Roy Liebman, California State Univ. Lib., Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Kevin Brownlow
Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. x
Forewordp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
1 The Butcher's Boyp. 3
2 Home in Americap. 16
3 A Natty Directorp. 40
4 "An Inconceivable Vaudeville Is Now Being Born!"p. 58
5 Hits and Missesp. 76
6 The Lion Tamerp. 107
7 Exilep. 131
8 Men and Womenp. 162
9 The Greatest Yearp. 178
10 Health, Money, and Warp. 197
11 Where Do the Searchers Go?p. 220
12 A Masterpiece of Compromisep. 241
13 On the Rocksp. 253
14 A Quiet Finishp. 275
Notes and Sourcesp. 287
Filmographyp. 297
Stageographyp. 314
Select Bibliographyp. 316
Indexp. 320