Death of the Moguls: The End of Classical Hollywood

By Wheeler Winston Dixon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
White Fang at Columbia

In the mid-1940s, Harry Cohn was sailing on his yacht, the Jobella, with the distinguished film director Rouben Mamoulian, whose many credits included Queen Christina (1933), Ninotchka (1939), and The Mark of Zorro (1940), as his guest. Gradually, as the two men relaxed, the talk turned from business matters to uncharacteristic introspection— uncharacteristic, at least, for Cohn, who seldom let anyone see any weakness in his character. As the two men sipped drinks, Cohn suddenly demanded of Mamoulian, “You’re an intelligent man; will you answer me a question?” Startled by Cohn’s directness, Mamoulian agreed. “What happens to us after we die?” queried Cohn, much to the director’s amazement. Though nominally Jewish, Harry Cohn had never been much of a religious man, in either his business or personal life.

Composing himself, Mamoulian responded: “Well, there are various beliefs. Some people believe that death is the end of everything; some believe life goes on.” “What do you think?” Cohn demanded. “My personal feeling is that there is another life,” Mamoulian said quietly. Harry Cohn wasn’t satisfied. “What proof can you give me?” Mamoulian shrugged. “I can only say that between the two hypotheses, I prefer to believe that there is a link between this life and the next. It makes more sense than the theory that we are in something that is just temporary. People who suffer in this life can expect a better life next time.” Cohn remained unconvinced.

-36-

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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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