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Hollywood

Star Wars sandcrawler set at Chott Al Jerrid, Tunisia, 1976. Courtesy of Lucas Film Ltd.

Soundstage Tunisia

The future of Tunisia’s film industry—like that of the country itself—is uncertain. Filmmakers prefer stability in their working conditions, and the instability triggered by the revolution has threatened a once reliable industry, which over a generation has evolved its own cultural significance.

Illustration by Anna Schuleit Haber

Holding

This is how it is with my mind, heading out over the ocean, tipping one way so I see only water, shades of blue and green and cloud-shadow slate; tipping the other, all sky and complication of cloud. Ruckus of glinting refracted light. Some days, just empty gray, in both directions.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Schreiber

Dehn (pronounced “Dane”) resurrected or reinvented at least three genres given up for dead at the time: the British mystery, the Shakespeare adaptation, and the spy film. He understood a thing or two about espionage, having taught and then practiced it with distinction during World War II. Yet the hundredth anniversary of Dehn’s birth has passed without the merest hiccup of notice.

E-book editions of Budd Schulberg’s work were released in 2012 by Open Road Media.

Budd Schulberg: An Appreciation

As a young man, just out of school, he was embracing The Red and the Black as well as Man’s Fate and many other Communist-inflected books, and he hoped to use film-making to make the world a more fair and equitable place. At the time, in his mind, socialism figured into that formula, to a degree.

Winter 2013: Classic Hollywood

Notes From the Dream Factory

From the eclipsed icons of silent film to the stars of Bollywood, from the set of a breakout, made-for-tv movie to how the publicity game is played, from Walt Disney’s Snow White to Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, we have tried to provide an insightful glimpse at how screenwriters, illustrators, actors, stunt persons, producers, directors, and crews bring words and images to life on the silver screen.

The Rules of the Game

While the primary objectives of the publicity game endure—achieve fame; maintain fame; profit from fame—the rules have changed. The transformation of the studio system, the subsequent transition to “freelance” Hollywood labor, and the rise of digital technologies have fundamentally altered both basic and advanced strategies for “winning” the publicity game.

 

Hal Needham takes a smoke break at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Famous for his death-defying feats, Needham was an industry pioneer who broke more than fifty-six bones while becoming the highest-paid stuntman in the world.

Falling for the Stars

Donaldson is a professional stuntman, the guy who doubles for brand-name stars too valuable to a production to do the real stunts, despite what many of them like to claim. The car hit. The high fall. The naked burn. With the right team and preparation, he’ll do almost anything so long as he gets to return to his quiet ranch house in the canyon country north of Los Angeles, and no one is lurking in the bushes with a camera.

Satan’s School for Girls, first day of shooting, including schedules for actors and actresses, June 19, 1973. (Courtesy of Chip Hayes)

Satan’s School of Cinema

During the production process, the collective known as “the crew” is the heart and soul of a film, whether it’s a $300 million blockbuster, a low-budget TV movie, or just another episode of a TV series. Working on set with a talented crew is like being inside a magic act.

Sessue Hayakawa, circa 1929. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Silent Dreams

Minter was pushed into theater by her mother, Charlotte Shelby, who could have been the model for the stereotype of the pushy stage parent. Shelby controlled her daughter’s career—lying about her daughter’s birth date to skirt age restrictions for actors; moving Minter, her sister, and grandmother from Louisiana first to New York and then to Hollywood; pushing her into one project after another and then collecting all the paychecks. 

The Malin House (Chemosphere), built in 1961. (Ken Hively. © 2011. Los Angeles Times. Used with permission.)

If You Were Cool, Rich, or Bad Enough to Live Here, You’d Be Home

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I found myself energized by the city’s aesthetic extremes and, upon watching Brian de Palma’s Body Double, quickly sought out John Lautner’s Chemosphere house, arguably the film’s most pivotal character: an octagonal pod-like home with a 360° view, thrust above the hills on a single pole plunged deep into a steep, sloping lot. 

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