Mischief in the Sun: The Making and Unmaking of The Loved One


In 1946 Evelyn Waugh travelled to Hollywood to discuss with MGM executives the possibility of developing one or more novels into films. The trip allowed Waugh to escape from personal and professional impasses that had resulted in a long-standing case of writers' block, benefitting his career as a novelist more than his career in film. In Hollywood, he discovered not only an eccentric group of expatriates and some odd, if less colorful Americans, but also, in Forest Law Memorial Park, "a deep mine of literary gold." He returned to England to write "The Loved One," a book based on the Los Angeles trip, reviving his reputation among the critics, who had disliked "Brideshead Revisited," his previous effort. Back in Hollywood more than a decade later, MGM, with the help of a team of writers that included Luis Bunuel and Terry Southern, turned the book into a movie. While the movie was a critical failure, this production reveals a great deal about the weakness of the Hollywood system and the pop-culture fringes of the Black Humor school. Davis relied heavily on the Evelyn Waugh collection at the University of Texas-Austin and from the Motion Picture Academy Library for material for the book. In the past 20 years he has written or edited more than nine books about Waugh.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Troy, NY
Publication year:
  • 1999


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