Death of the Moguls: The End of Classical Hollywood

By Wheeler Winston Dixon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
The Postwar Collapse

In 1946, the movies—as an industry—had their biggest year, reflecting Americans’ desire for escapism from the events just concluded. The war had been a long one, truly global and on a scale hitherto unimaginable, with more than sixty million deaths. The development of the atomic bomb and its use on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had brought the war to a brutal end the year before; now, for the first time in history, humankind could destroy an entire city with the push of a button. With the end of the war in Europe came revelations of the German concentration camps, leading to the Nuremburg tribunals. Our former ally, the Soviet Union, was in the midst of enslaving Eastern Europe; no one, it seemed, could be trusted. During the war, a nonstop succession of flag-waving war films and escapist musicals and comedies had kept the public entertained during the long, wearying hours of the day. Now, everyone wanted to forget the war and get on with their lives.

Women, newly accustomed to being part of the workforce in defense plants and disinclined to return to kitchen duty, rebelled against a resumption of prewar patriarchal values. Men, confused by this new threat to their familial dominion, sought escape at the movies, in pool halls, in sports venues, and in VFW lodges as divorce rates reached record levels. The old order had been turned upside down, and things would never be the same in the little white house with the picket fence. As a

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Death of the Moguls: The End of Classical Hollywood
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Prologue 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Postwar Collapse 12
  • Chapter 2 - White Fang at Columbia 36
  • Chapter 3 - Z for Zanuck 65
  • Chapter 4 - Mayer’s Mgm 88
  • Chapter 5 - Zukor and Paramount 113
  • Chapter 6 - The Major Minors 136
  • Chapter 7 - Universal Goes Corporate 168
  • Chapter 8 - That’s All, Folks- Jack Warner’s Lost Kingdom 192
  • Works Cited and Consulted 225
  • Index 231
  • About the Author 249
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