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Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B Mayer



By: Scott Eyman(Author)

Language: English

Genre: Music, Stage & Screen

Publisher: Robson Books Ltd (1 Jun. 2005)

Format: pdf doc docx mobi djvu epub ibooks (*An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.)

The original title of the book: Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B Mayer

'Lion of Hollywood' is the definitive biography of Louis B Mayer, the chief of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - MGM - the biggest and most successful film studio of Hollywood's Golden Age. An immigrant from tsarist Russia, Mayer began in the film business as an exhibitor but soon migrated to where the action and the power were, Hollywood. Through sheer force of energy and foresight, he turned his own modest studio into MGM, where he became the most powerful man in Hollywood, bending the film business to his will. He made legendary films, including the fabulous MGM musicals, and he made iconic stars: Garbo, Gable, Garland and dozens of others. Whilst publicly promoting family values to America, he used his influence to place federal judges on the bench, pay off elected officials, cover up his stars' indiscretions, and on occasion, arrange marriages for gay stars. Mayer rose from his impoverished childhood to become at one time the highest-paid executive in America. Despite his power and money, Mayer suffered some significant losses. He was estranged from his daughter Edie and divorced his wife, ending his life alienated from most of his family. His chief assistant, Irving Thalberg, was his closest business partner, but they quarreled frequently, and Thalberg's early death left Mayer without his most trusted associate. As Mayer grew older, his politics became increasingly reactionary, and he found himself politically isolated within Hollywood's small conservative community. 'Lion of Hollywood' is a three-dimensional biography of a figure often caricatured and vilified as the paragon of the studio system. Mayer could be arrogant and tyrannical, but under his leadership MGM made such unforgettable films as 'The Big Parade', 'Ninotchka', 'The Wizard of Oz', 'Meet Me in St. Louis' and 'An American in Paris'.

""Lion of Hollywood" is compulsive reading as well as thoroughly enjoyable. There is so much that is new, so much that surprised me."-- Kevin Brownlow, author of "The Parade's Gone By..."

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  • By Ivanushka on 11 April 2006

    I read this book on holiday and finished it in only three days. It is packed full of fascinating detail not only on Mayer himself but also on MGM and Hollywood in its golden age. My only slight criticism is that sometimes it does get a little bogged down in anecdotes that slow up the story - something that was the not in the case with Eyman's superb biography of Mary Pickford. Still, a very enjoyable book though. Highly recommended.

  • By gustavus on 31 July 2014

    What a curious fellow Scott Eyman is - he does seem to know a good bit about the movies, but he doesn't seem to have much taste or understanding concerning them. His prejudices are as marked as they are bizarre, and he also has peculiar enthusiasms, as this large book shows. No other biographer has ever liked Louis B. Mayer as much, nor enthused so volubly over L.B.'s long ascendancy at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. For Eyman, it is simply indisputable that M-G-M was the greatest of the Hollywood studios, that the films it produced were not only the most lavish and starry, but the best, and that the architect of all this wonderfulness was dear old Louis. Sharing the praise is not for Scott - indeed, he is quite savage about certain Metro luminaries, in particular Vincente Minnelli, about whom he speaks with such distaste that one rather assumes there was some personal animosity. Directors do not seem to impress him much at all, in fact, he seems to think it was the notorious "committee" method of film-making which old L.B. favoured which led to all those great films. Now, as anyone who has sat through the films of the Mayer years will know, there was an incredible amount of drivel put out by the studio in that time, with only certain of the musicals produced by Arthur Freed (one of Mayer's few friends, and the only producer whom he invariably allowed to do things in his own way) achieving a high artistic standard. It might even be argued that the studio's output got a good deal more interesting after Mayer was ousted in 1951, although there were still plenty of poor movies. Scott will have none of this - Dore Schary, Mayer's replacement, is depicted as an out-and-out villain and hypocrite, and post-Mayer successes at the studio are dismissed as flukes. Eyman is quite willing to print dubious information from unreliable sources if it goes along with his absurd central thesis. There is, to be fair, quite a lot of interesting stuff in this book, but it is fundamentally flawed in conception as well as philistine and shallow, and its facilely hagiographic tone is all the more grating when coupled with such patronising dismissals of real talents.

  • By Conor Murphy on 30 March 2010

    Typical of Eyman this comes accross as slightly hagiogarphical. He does refer to Mayer's dark side, but never delves that far. Instead we get a picture of a man who loved people more then power. Is that the real man?

  • By mavis on 18 September 2012

    This book was came quickley it was just what i wanted i have no complaints i would buy again and recommend to other people no complaints from me well done..

  • By Mr. A. W. Bainbridge on 18 May 2015

    The story of the man behind the glory years of MGM Hollywoods biggest dream factoryA must read if you love old Hollywood stories

  • By Zapp_Branigan on 3 April 2012

    Superb biography, one of the best cinema biography's I've ever read. Eyman details Mayers early life, entry into the film industry and rise to the top in full and interesting detail. Into this he also weaves the history of Hollywood and MGM as a studio, including Mayer's sometimes fractious relationship with Irving Thalberg. A must for anyone wanting to know about this giant of film history.

  • By NickG on 28 August 2016

    This book is the best biography of Louis Mayer that I have read so far. Filled with comments from those who knew him (and either loved or hated him) it presents many the many facets of Mayer's larger-than-life personality and allows the reader to make up their own mind as to whether he was a cuddly uncle or a manic ego. Personally I was won over to him because of his kindness to old silent stars who had fallen on hard times (Mayer employed them as extras at MGM). He never forgot a kindness - mind you he never forgot a slight either!

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