Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Foreword

Eric Sherman

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pp. ix-x

Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Raison d'Etre

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pp. xiii-xiv

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1. Moment of Decision

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pp. 1-8

In July 19271 made a decision that was to determine the course of the rest of my life. I had written a play with James Larwood, a former classmate at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, from which I had graduated two years before. Confident that we had created the potential of a success...

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2. Unknown Territory

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pp. 9-21

If Atlanta was a step up from Vienna, New York was a quantum leap. The moment I arrived, I knew that the tempo of my body and mind were destined to change; it would have to if I wanted to survive in the midst of this incredible mass of aggressive humanity. Its drive and energy...

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3. Meeting Hedda

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pp. 22-36

I completed my dramatization of Class Reunion and took it to Frieda Fishbein, who now had an office on Broadway and had a young lady named Hedda Comoro working for her. Hedda seemed bright and efficient. She was also attractive, had a trim figure, dressed smartly, and was...

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4. Hollywood—First Time

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pp. 37-46

The lazy sunshine of southern California, its palm trees, and the odor of orange and lemon blossoms drifting through the clean, dry air were immediately seductive. The tension of New York seemed to dissolve and melt away. A languid relaxation such as I had not felt since leaving the...

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5. Moving Left

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pp. 47-66

Not only was the closing of Judgement Day disappointing, because we thought it was an important play, but furthermore, finding another job was not easy. The theater was at an all-time low, and acting jobs were scarce...

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6. Hollywood—Second Time

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pp. 67-84

The lazy sunshine of southern California, its palm trees, and the odor of orange and lemon blossoms drifting through the clean, dry air were immediately seductive. The tension of New York seemed to dissolve and melt away. A languid relaxation such as I had not felt since leaving...

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7. Moving Up

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pp. 85-105

After Dr. X was released and I told my friend, Abem Finkle, that I was still being paid only $250 a week, he suggested that I talk to Mike Levee, his agent and Paul Muni's. Levee also represented Greer Garson, Joan Crawford, Claude Rains, and several other big names. When I explained...

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8. The Hard Way

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pp. 106-118

During the final week of my directing All through the Night, Jerry Wald came by the set one morning, obviously keyed up, and hastily told me that the rushes were good. He was about to leave, when I stopped him. I could sense that he was excited about something else. When I prodded...

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9. Bette Davis

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pp. 119-133

If you are successful in a certain type of endeavor, you are, especially in Hollywood, automatically thought of when a related project turns up. Type casting is the guideline for every job. Thus, after The Hard Way and Lupino's glowing reviews, my image changed. I was no longer just a director...

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10. In Our Time

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pp. 134-150

In Our Time was based on an original idea of Jerry Wald's as developed by Ellis St. Joseph. The title was an ironic comment on Chamberlain's statement that he was compromising with Hitler and the Nazis only to buy "peace in our time." It was about an English girl (Ida Lupino) who...

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11. Midway

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pp. 151-162

After the heavy going of Mr. Skeffington, I wanted a change—something that would be fun to direct and provide laughter for an audience. It turned out to be Pillow to Post, a screenplay written by Charles Hoffman, to be produced by Alex Gottlieb. The story was about a young lady whose...

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12. Errol Flynn

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pp. 163-175

With the completion of The Unfaithful and my new contract, I took a few weeks off to relax at home with Hedda and Hedwin and the recent addition to our family, my son, Eric, who was born June 29, 1947. We had hoped for a boy and felt doubly blessed because he seemed to be a...

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13. London

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pp. 176-194

Big sets, crowds, costumes, sword fights, stunts, and the palace intrigues of Don Juan had preoccupied me for months, and I longed for a simple story that explored only the human condition. I remembered that the studio still owned The Hasty Heart, a play they had bought months before...

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14. Joan Crawford

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pp. 195-218

She was the ultimate star—magnetic and glamorous. She had won an Academy Award for her performance in Mildred Pierce and had replaced Bette Davis as Warner's number one female. I had never thought of her as a great actress, but she was certainly talented and had a vivid personality...

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15. Freelancing

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pp. 219-242

It was the first time in fifteen years that I had been unemployed. I felt a touch of insecurity, but after a few days at home, being able to sleep late, becoming friendly again with Hedda, playing with the children, catching up on back reading, and doing a few neglected chores, I began...

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16. Red Scare

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pp. 243-266

While waiting for MCA to come up with a job offer, being anxious to work and make a good film after the two profitable but mediocre projects I had recently done, I went through my memory file of stories that I liked but had not yet made. I recalled Ghost of a Chance. It had been...

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17. Back to Warner's

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pp. 267-288

Before discussing a return to Warner's, I felt that I had a moral obligation to talk with Harry Cohn. He had bought Walk with the Devil for me, and I had agreed to prepare the screenplay gratis. If a definite job was offered me at Warner's, I thought Cohn would not object if I took it as long as I...

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18. Twilight Years

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pp. 289-297

The challenge of episodic television, to bring to life in a few minutes a dramatic situation that will grab and hold an audience for an hour, was stimulating. As skillful as I thought I had become in directing films, I still learned from doing television. The small screen dictates a minimum...

Postscript

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pp. 298-305

Filmography

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pp. 306-314

Index

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pp. 315-330

Image plates

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