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A classic look at Hollywood and the American film industry by The New Yorker`s Lillian Ross, and named one of the Top 100 Works of U.S. Journalism of the Twentieth Century.
Lillian Ross worked at The New Yorker for more than half a century, and might be described not only as an outstanding practitioner of modern long-form journalism but also as one of its inventors. Picture, originally published in 1952, is her most celebrated piece of reportage, a closely observed and completely absorbing story of how studio politics and misguided commercialism turn a promising movie into an all-around disaster. The charismatic and hard-bitten director and actor John Huston is at the center of the book, determined to make Stephen Crane`s The Red Badge of Courage--one of the great and defining works of American literature, the first modern war novel, a book whose vivid imagistic style invites the description of cinematic--into a movie that is worthy of it. At first all goes well, as Huston shoots and puts together a two-hour film that is, he feels, the best he`s ever made. Then the studio bosses step in and the audience previews begin, conferences are held, and the movie is taken out of Huston`s hands, cut down by a third, and finally released--with results that please no one and certainly not the public: It was an expensive flop. In Picture, which Charlie Chaplin aptly described as "brilliant and sagacious," Ross is a gadfly on the wall taking note of the operations of a system designed to crank out mediocrity.
Steven Jay Schneider
Ian Haydn Smith
Maria Pramaggiore, T
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