Hearst over Hollywood: Power, Passion, and Propaganda in the Movies

By Louis Pizzitola | Go to book overview
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16
Hollywood Isolationist
1940–1947

The evidence before us leads inevitably to the conclusion
that the film Citizen Kane is nothing more than an extension
of the Communist Party's campaign to smear one of its most
effective and consistent opponents in the United States.

FBI report on Orson Welles


SCAPEGOATS

Indications of Hearst's omnipresence in Hollywood at the start of the 1940s can be found in two of the most famous novels of the period, Aldous Huxley's After Many a Summer Dies the Swan (1939) and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon, which was written in 1939 and published posthumously in 1941. Jo Stoyte, a central character in Huxley's book, is a dour millionaire who owns a myriad of corporations and properties, including a cemetery in Beverly Hills that resembles an amusement park. High on the bluff is Stoyte's skyscraper castle, constructed “out of pure fun and wantonness” and housing a zoo, a chapel, an indoor swimming pool, secret vaults, and artwork by Rubens, Vermeer, and El Greco. Like Hearst, Stoyte is fascinated by experiments in longevity and the promise of reincarnation, often telling others that “God is love; there is no death.” Stoyte's mistress, Virginia Maunciple, is some forty years his junior. She is a Catholic, like Marion Davies, who regularly attends mass, and she is also fond of “getting tight with the boys.” Her Hollywood girlfriends work at a Germanic-sounding film company called “Cosmopolis-Perlmutter Studios.”

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