Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox

Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox

Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox

Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox

Excerpt

For thirty years I have been "presenting" to the public the princes, dukes and barons of our industrial feudalism. As a rule I have "presented" them under the guise of fiction. Sometimes my critics have said "Good melodrama" and sometimes "Bad melodrama," but always they have agreed that "Sinclair exaggerates." Learned book reviewers in Siam and Tasmania declare: "Such things are impossible." Living as far away as it is possible to get on this earth, they still feel safe in asserting: "America cannot be like that."

So this time I am presenting a living man. This time I am telling a story which happened in New York City less than three years ago. This time there are names, places, recent dates and an appendix full of documents and court records. This time even Siam and Tasmania will have to admit that "America is like that"; for no melodrama that I have been able to invent in my thirty years of inventing has been more packed with crimes and betrayals, perils and escapes, than the story of William Fox. No thriller among the 750 feature pictures which Fox himself produced during twenty-five years as a producer was ever so perfectly constructed, with its humble hero battling his way to power, its polished villains, conspirators of high estate, each with a carnation in his buttonhole; its complications of intrigue, its mysteries, some of them never solved to this day, its cruel suffering and its grand climax--the hero escaping with the greater part of his fortune, and the villains dragged down to ruin by the judgment of an implacable Providence.

A couple of months ago I had the honor of being invited to the home of a Hollywood author; one of those new-style authors of the screen-world who could not think of writing for less than $2,000 a week, and who live in Moorish palaces on hilltops, and have Negro servants in swallow-tail coats to serve you calavo salad and caviar sandwiches and liquids enough to float a battleship. The company fell to discussing the state of America, and I explained that when I started muckraking thirty years ago, the significant phenomenon had been the eliminating of the little . . .

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