Monday, May 13, 2013

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Last Novel - A Review

. . .and a Mini-Liebster. Have you ever wondered what the studio life was like for someone working there in the 1920s and 1930s, when cinema was young?

The Last Tycoon

The Last Tycoon, F. S. Fitzgerald, cover for Penguin Canada

In this interesting tale of Hollywood during the 'reign of producers' in the late 1930s, F. Scott Fitzgerald shows us the behind-the-scene life of the producers, the stars and their circling firmament of support people in the film industry: writers, actors and extras, technical wizards in production and the executive (money) of the studios. Fitzgerald spent the second half of the 1930s in Hollywood employed by MGM, working on commercial short stories, and scripts while penning his final novel, published as The Last Tycoon. Originally, the title for the movie was The Love of the Last Tycoon.

Cecilia Brady, the daughter of one of the film producers relates what she sees and what she guesses. As a narrator, she has an ideal vantage point, bringing to the story her insider's interpretation of the events and the people living the 'Hollywood' studio life.

In the beginning of the story, Cecilia introduces us to the main characters, Stahr, herself, her father, and the writers. These are the 'regulars' around the studio, the focus of the novel, however, is on Monroe Stahr, a producer of the Golden Age variety, who took an interest other than monetary, in the quality of the movies he was producing.

Then, Stahr meets the One. She looks like his beloved dead wife, Minna. He finds her after much searching, she exists on the outer edges, not a member of the film industry. Their mini-story uplifts the last half of the book that Fitzgerald completed.

At this point, the manuscript stops with the untimely death of Fitzgerald. The synopsis he left behind is used to show the reader what he had planned to do with the end of the novel. A letter indicates he considered serializing the novel, something many authors are considering in today's world. Fitzgerald wanted to show the industry in all its glory, but also to reveal some of the shoddiness beneath.

Fitzgerald gave us a semi-realistic look at a fantasy business. I liked this book, and the main character, Monroe Stahr. You might like it, too.

***And Now, for something completely different. . .

The MINI-Liebster

The lovely Suze included me on her list of bloggers for the Liebster Award and since it was Mother's Day, I decided to do a mini-version.

Thanks to Suze, an award I can't refuse. Why? Go look at the distinguished company listed at Suze's place, 'Sublimininal Coffee', after you've finished reading here.

For a quick run down of the rules for the Liebster Award, and to use the badge if you'd like to, please click here.

One unknown thing about me?

I've had three close calls with extreme danger, all auto related.

In a car accident with 3 friends in my teens, I was a passenger. My side of the car narrowly missed a tree when our rear fender was winged by a drunk driver running the light. Our car spun in a circle and up an embankment towards the tree.

As a kid, the way I usually walked to the corner store was down the sidewalk on the main road. On this day, I walked the back way which was a little cooler (in the US south in the muggy summer). Just a whim. On my way back I saw a lot of people in front of one of the houses next to ours, and went to see what the problem was. A car had run up onto the front sidewalk crashing into the utility pole.

Another car accident: riding in hubs sports car years ago, we stopped behind a car turning, but the car behind us didn't see us until too late.  We could hear the screeching tires and braced ourselves for the impact. (one of those moments when you feel like Wiley Coyote). We were the filling in the sandwich of cars. Evasive action helped.

I hope there's no pattern forming here. . .


Liebster Mini-questions:

Where are you living now? Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

What book are you reading now?
Two books, Roland Yoeman's 'The Bear with Two Shadows' and 'Three Spirit Knight'.

Greatest struggle as a writer? The administration part. My creative half rebels.


I don't usually do Two-for-One Posts, so I apologize for the length. Hope you have time to comment.

Have you read this novel by Fitzgerald? Do you like books about the Hollywood industry and the background of movies?

Thanks for dropping by if you came here from the Liebster List and please continue checking out the other blogs on Suze's list.


References: The Author, The Fitzgerald Suze's Blog