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Both brothers were exceptionally talented. Herman writing the screenplay for the best film ever made.Joe for many films that remain classics.The author does an excellent job of melding these two fascinating careers and lives together
I don't read many Hollywood biographies, but I love the good ones because of the insights they give you into creative men and women who inhabited a world most of us will never enter. That's what a serious biography should do, and this book about two brothers--one troubled but likable, the other troubled and not so likable who are important figures in the history of films--is absorbing from the get-go. It's well-written and insightful, keeps its eye on the ball in spite of what must have been a labyrinthine amount of research, and doesn't pass judgment on its two difficult subjects. Highly recommended.
I was fortunate to see Citizen Kane on its first release when I was an 11-year-old. What an enthralling experience! Nine years later I was equally captivated by All About Eve. So it was a delight indeed to read about the gestation and execution of these terrific films and the life and times of the brilliant brothers Mankiewicz. Author Sydney Stern has done an excellent job of bringing the siblings to life, and I read her book, in huge gulps, with delight. What an entertaining, incident-filled saga. It's a pity that a great read was marred by many obvious typos.
Last month I was watching TCM my favorite channel when Ben Mankiewicz introduced Sydney Stern to his audience. She is the author of this new book on the two brothers who made a major impact on Hollywood history. The brothers were sons of a distinguished Ph.D father who taught in several colleges in New York and Los Angeles . Frank (1897-1953) became a reporter and covered Broadway. He graduated high in his class at Columbia University. Frank was a member of the famous Algonquin Roundtable and was friends which such literary luminaries as George S. Kauffman, Ben Hecht, Robert Benchley, Marc Connelly and many more. He relocated in Hollywood and became a valued screenwriter. Frank co-wrote the screenplay for Citizen Kane winning a screenwriting Oscar with his cowriter Orson Welles. Frank liked to drink, gamble and womanize although he remained married to Sara for over sixty years. He was an alcoholic known for his wit who died too young. Younger brother Joe (1911-1993) followed in his brother's footsteps. He became a famous producer at MGM and bedded such stars as Joan Crawford, Loretta Young, Gene Tierney and more. He was twice married. He won several Oscars for his work and produced such classics as A Letter to Three Wives, All About Eve, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Cleopatra. He too loved to drink, gamble, womanize and sail boats. Both the brothers were intellectuals who enjoyed reading and studying politics. They represent a vanished Hollywood studio system. The author has produced a beautiful book filled with period photos of the colorful era when the brothers were at their creative peak of wit, humor and a clever writing style. This is one of the best Hollywood books I have read in quite a while. If you love the movies this book will entertain and enlighten you!
Beautifully researched view of two Hollywood legends. It is an incisive portrait of the brothers Joe and Herman, with their sharp wits, formidable intellects, and who thrived in a nascent industry rife with sexual temptation and power plays.
The author takes you through the worlds of two of Hollywood’s seminal and largely unsung geniuses and plumbs the depths of their psychology with affectionate care. The Mankiewicz brothers' studio battles are bittersweet, but recognizable to any but the most successful writers of the oeuvre. One wishes that Joe Mankiewicz lived during the seventies, when auteurs like Altman, Coppola, Scorsese, etc. could shine outside the studio system. Alas, there was no Tisch school or Sundance institute in his day. But arguably, he blazed a trail through the studios for the writer/ directors who followed. Great read!
Very well documented account of Joe and Herman Mankiewicz from birth. Excellent insight into Hollywood from the silent era forward. Enjoyed the inside stories involving Herman on Citizen Kane and Joe going from writer to producer to director on some of Hollywood’s most honored films like All About Eve, Letter To Three Wives and his fights with studios and guilds for screen credit