by John W. Cones, Esq.

Please wait while this loads

Copyright 1997 by John W. Cones All Rights Reserved
No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any manner--graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information
and retrieval systems--without written permission of the author.


ISBN: 1-890341-10-X

Printed in the United States of America

Rivas Canyon Press
11734 Wilshire Blvd., C-505
Los Angeles, CA 90025




Chapter 1--Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers

Chapter 2--More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies

Chapter 3--Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda

Chapter 4--Who Really Controls Hollywood

Chapter 5--Legacy of the Hollywood Empire

Chapter 6--Economic and Human Losses

Chapter 7--Murder, Suicide and Other Forms of Hollywood Death

Chapter 8--Some Speculation About Motivation

Chapter 9--Why It All Matters

Chapter 10--Movies Influence People

Chapter 11--The Medium and Its Ideas

Selected Bibliography

About the Author

Other Books by the Same Author


This book is dedicated to all of the African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, German Americans, Italian Americans, women, gays/lesbians, Christians, Muslims, Arabs and Arab-Americans, White Southerners and others who have been victimized by Hollywood employment discrimination and patterns of bias on the screen for some 100 years.


In the summer of 1992, a rather remarkable but little noticed series of coincidental events occurred: four separate film industry-related professionals (a film critic, a litigating attorney, a journalist and a securities/entertainment attorney), working independently of each other (each approaching his task from his own unique perspective as two individuals and one pair) published three separate books that were extremely critical of the U.S. film industry. All three books agreed on at least two important points, while still disagreeing on one or two other issues. These authors agreed that (1) motion pictures play an important role in society (they are more than mere entertainment) and (2) there are serious problems with the U.S. film industry. All four authors were also very critical of the way in which the film industry is operated today and critical of the results in terms of the motion pictures produced and distributed. These authors appeared to disagree about (or at least some were hesitant to honestly discuss) the question of who is primarily responsible for these problems and the question of how to remedy the situation.

A fourth book that was also somewhat critical of the U.S. film industry, was published in 1993 but, again, was written without benefit of the three previous works since it was already at the publisher's when the other books came out. That was David Prindle's Risky Business--The Political Economy of Hollywood (see brief description below),

In their book Fatal Subtraction--How Hollywood Really Does Business, Los Angeles litigating attorney Pierce O'Donnell (along with co-author Dennis McDougal of the Los Angeles Times) provided a detailed review of the Buchwald v. Paramount lawsuit during which Pierce O'Donnell represented the plaintiff writer and producer against the major studio/distributor Paramount. In addition to points (1) and (2) above, the Fatal Subtraction book and subsequent magazine articles about the same lawsuit, furnished a fairly good look at the way in which at least one major studio/distributor handles its financial relationship with the creative community. The book also states that the other studios conduct their business in the same or similar manner, and goes on to offer that an " . . . elite group of two dozen white males . . . " are primarily responsible for the industry's problems. Finally the O'Donnell/McDougal book makes some broad suggestions to the effect that a number of institutions and people should become involved in remedying the situation including Congress, the U.S. Justice Department, the President, the Federal Trade Commission, the talent guilds and the movie-going public. Unfortunately, little else is offered in the way of specific remedies.

In Michael Medved's Hollywood vs America--Popular Culture and the War on Traditional Values, film critic Medved basically made four points: (1) motion pictures are important, (2) Hollywood has been turning out a lot of trash of late, (3) the fault lies with a secularist Hollywood creative community and possibly the foreign and domestic international corporate conglomerates who own the major studio/distributors and (4) the way to get Hollywood back on track is to (a) get the Hollywood establishment to publicly acknowledge its obligation to accept reasonable standards for its own activities, (b) let Hollywood know how the

public feels, (c) change the values of the people who shape our popular culture, (i.e., persuade Hollywood to alter its underlying attitudes) and (d) infiltrate Hollywood with more religious filmmakers who can produce new movies that reflect more traditional values. Thus, this critic of specific films has also evolved into a film industry critic.

My own 1992 book offering, Film Finance and Distribution--A Dictionary of Terms (Silman-James Press), first provides the definitions of some 3,600 terms relating to film finance and distribution, provides some examples of how those terms are used in the industry and then goes on to express some of the same criticism of the film industry in commentary appended to many of the definitions. At the time the dictionary was being prepared there were no other books on the market that were as blatantly critical of the overall film industry as the Medved and O'Donnell/McDougal books turned out to be and the dictionary/commentary format was considered to be a convenient way to both contribute to a higher level of understanding of film finance and distribution topics among those working in the industry, while at the same time, showing how financial control in the industry is inextricably intertwined with creative control. Thus, my book explained why many of the problems complained about in the Medved and O'Donnell/McDougal books actually come about as a result of the financial controls of the film industry exercised by the major studio/distributors. My dictionary also discusses certain more controversial issues of concern to both myself and others in the industry through commentary related to specifically defined terms.

Prindle's 1993 book, Risky Business--The Political Economy of Hollywood also provides some useful analysis relating to Hollywood politics, economics and sociology. This current study of Hollywood (What's Really Going on in Hollywood) will comment on the Prindle, Medved, O'Donnell/McDougal books, at length, agreeing with those authors on some issues while disagreeing on others. In addition, some 145 other books (plus articles) relating to the film industry have been reviewed in preparation for the writing of this book and observations from those writings have been incorporated herein. Thus, this writing has evolved into a review of the literature of the industry, and utilizes the observations of other writers to either confirm the underlying research of this book and my ten years of experience as a practicing securities/entertainment attorney in Los Angeles, or to serve as a point of departure on matters of disagreement.

Although there appears to be a tendency for the so-called Hollywood insiders and others who have special knowledge and information about what is really going on in Hollywood to keep quiet, occasionally, someone does step forward to offer limited, but valuable criticism of the business side of the film industry and how that relates to the films that are available to be seen by mass audiences. An honor roll of some of those who have not been intimidated by the Hollywood power structure and who have come forward in recent years to write about their own perspective on the corruption in Hollywood should include Dan Moldea, Kenneth Anger, Pierce O'Donnell, Dennis McDougal, Steven Bach, William Cash, Steven Sills, David McClintick, Michael Medved and Terry Pristin. These are the few who have not kept quiet. Aside from the many quotes included in this book and attributed to such authors and others, the balance of the statements made are my own and represent my opinion only.

Literature of the Industry and Original Research--As already stated, this book and its companion volumes on Hollywood take a critical look at the film industry, thus attempting to review and critically analyze much of the literature regarding the business and legal aspects of this important field. This series of books are not intended to focus on original research, although a limited amount of such research is reported. Expressed in its simplest terms, what this book seeks to accomplish is to combine a review of the literature of the film industry with the experience of a working professional in that industry while comparing the views expressed in those books and articles with personal impressions and the impressions of others. This book then attempts to draw certain conclusions regarding important issues based on that variety of perspectives, recognizing that such conclusions are not unassailable, simply the honest expression of personal opinions, offered at a minimum to stimulate further research, writing and discussion. In addition, however, this book attempts to go beyond where most of the other writers on the film industry have gone with respect to the question of who is responsible for the current circumstances of the industry. The companion volume (Motion Picture Industry Reform), also seeks to go beyond these other offerings with respect to what remedies ought to be applied.

Thomas Schatz " . . . and others have called attention to the questionable value of only using oral histories in constructing a chronicle of Hollywood that will explain its films. Anecdotal histories--gripping in the telling and listening--often suffer from what Schatz calls 'selective recollection.'" Similarly, Gabler notes that the memoirs of writers--often the least powerful creative figures during the studio era--are 'history by retribution.' Hollywood writers in their writings that recall the production heads of studios finally get a chance to create a history that favors them by writing it themselves." Custen also warns that "[m]emoirs and interviews must be balanced with other forms of data, where possible, to avoid becoming part of the public relations machinery that Hollywood puts out." This book and its companion volumes are not oral histories or memoirs, thus to that extent, may serve to help balance the huge number of such books that have been published in the past.

On some points, Custen admitted that he was " . . . forced to use secondary material and, interestingly, material often not deemed officially appropriate for serious academic study, like Kenneth Anger's hugely entertaining Hollywood Babylon (1975)." On the other hand, Custen, points out that "[o]ften only in such non-mainstream media sources can banished or taboo behavior be chronicled at all." Thus, Custen concludes that "[a]cademic standards of proof can be as repressive as the culture they seek to illuminate." Even worse, so-called academic standards and other factors severely limit the scope of the inquiry, particularly with regard to the film industry. In addition, as Myrdal Gunnar suggests, "[f]ull objectivity . . . is an ideal toward which we are constantly striving, but which we can never reach. The social scientist, too, is part of the culture in which he lives, and he never succeeds in freeing himself entirely from dependence on the dominant preconceptions and biases of his environment."

In addition to the more contemporary books about Hollywood noted above that came out in the summer of 1992, the earlier work by anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker (Hollywood The Dream Factory), adds a contrasting perspective from a different era. Dr. Powdermaker studied and wrote about Hollywood in the late '40s. She suggested that the " . . . choice of the social scientist is between being aware of his values and making them explicit, or being unaware and letting the reader get them by inference. It seems more scientific to openly present the values, which can then be rejected by a reader if he chooses, than to have them hidden and implicit." Powdermaker " . . . spent a year in Hollywood, from July 1946 to August 1947 . . . " Her " . . . hypothesis was that the social system in which (movies) . . . are made significantly influences their content and meaning." Powdermaker readily admits that her " . . . hypothesis is hardly original . . . (in that) [a]ll art, whether popular, folk or fine, is conditioned by its particular history and system of production."

Powdermaker herself reported that she had " . . . no desire . . . to find a job in the movie industry or to become a part of it . . . " In other words, she " . . . had no ax to grind . . . " She interviewed a sampling of " . . . approximately three hundred people . . . representative of the various functional groups such as producers, writers, directors, actors and so on (including) . . . the very successful, the medium successful and the unsuccessful." Powdermaker also states that since " . . . political opinions may influence attitudes, the sample also cut across left, right and center groups." Powdermaker made appointments with people she was to interview by getting others in the industry to vouch for her and provide an introduction. She did not identify the persons interviewed by name. Her interviews were conducted in a casual manner and she took no notes during the interview.

Powdermaker's book tried " . . . to explain in nontechnical language how the social system underlying the production of movies influences them." Her " . . . questions were concerned with what aspects of the system of production and which individuals most influenced movies. The answers were found in a study of the locus of power and its exercise, in the taboos which circumscribe all production, in the values as represented in goals, in historical and economic factors and in the introduction of new technology and new ideas with resulting conflicts between old and new." Powdermaker felt the relationships between various parties involved in filmmaking were extremely important and that " . . . the key ones were those of producer-writer, director-actor, and of all with the front office." "Related problems of distribution and exhibition are discussed only incidentally, since the study was focused on production in Hollywood." Powdermaker's observations relating to the movie industry of the 1940s, are contrasted in this work with more current observations. Enjoy!


This work grew out of the observed frustration of film industry critics who have chosen to criticize specific Hollywood movies over the years only to be rebuffed by the false logic and overly simplistic studio arguments that such films reflect the real world and that moviegoers vote with their pocket books. After all, if it can be shown that there are consistent patterns to the choices Hollywood studio executives make with respect to the movies produced and released and the specific content of those movies, it becomes obvious that Hollywood is selectively portraying reality and that moviegoers only have limited options among all of the possibilities that could be portrayed on the silver screen (i.e., their votes do not really count, or only count in a limited way).

The first three chapters of this book summarize and provide an overview of the contents of three companion volumes all relating to Hollywood movie patterns of bias (Patterns of Bias in Motion Picture Content, A Study in Motion Picture Propaganda, Motion Picture Biographies–The Hollywood Spin on Historical Figures). This book and its companion volumes differ from other studies touching on the same topic. Whereas most books considering the subject of bias in motion pictures focus on the treatment of a single ethnic, religious, cultural, racial or other readily identifiable interest group in our diverse society, this study attempts to provide an overview of such bias. The underlying assumption is that once the patterns of bias in motion picture content are demonstrated, it then becomes easier to identify the source of the bias and to explain why such bias exists. This more comprehensive patterns of bias approach is also more useful when remedies are considered, since no single interest group offended by Hollywood with its movie portrayals has yet been able to effectively persuade Hollywood to substantially alter such portrayals over a long period of time. To the extent that some slight change has been brought about, due to the temporary pressure of a particular group or the gradual evolution of cultural sensibilities, Hollywood has merely substituted another equally offensive pattern of bias for the previous portrayals.

The studies reported here also attempt to avoid redundancy by providing only summary coverage in the areas that have been fairly adequately studied, (e.g., treatment of African-Americans, Hispanics, women, etc.), while placing a greater emphasis on subjects that have not been adequately covered (e.g., bias directed toward Whites from the South). In addition, in order to avoid the creation of a book that is too lengthy to digest, the entire text of the section on anti-Nazi movies has been omitted, since there appears to be no question that Hollywood's all-time favorite villain is the Nazi.

This study of Hollywood patterns of bias in motion picture content (including negative portrayals, bias in biopics and favored themes) is directly related to the material presented in the subsequent chapter "Who Really Controls Hollywood", since movies, to a large extent, tend to mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers. These chapters considered together demonstrate quite clearly that the Hollywood-based U.S. motion picture industry is controlled by a single, very narrowly-defined interest group. It further concludes that it is inappropriate for any such group to control a significant medium for the communication of ideas in a society that is as diverse as that in the U.S., particularly a supposed democratic society, based on a free marketplace of ideas.

Another book in this series on Hollywood, How the Movie Wars Were Won catalogs discusses a variety of business practices and other techniques used by the Hollywood control group to gain and maintain its dominance over the U.S. film industry for the past 90 years. The book concludes that many of such business practices are unfair, unethical, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory, and in some case, illegal. A closely related volume entitled The Feature Film Distribution Deal (published by Southern Illinois University Press) critically analyzes the single most important film industry agreement and shows how the Hollywood major studio/distributors have abused their excessive power in the film industry marketplace to contractually exploit producers, directors, writers, actors, actresses, investors and others through documents that can only be characterized as contracts of adhesion, filled with unconscionable provisions.

Another of the books in this series, Motion Picture Industry Reform takes a serious look at various approaches to instigating significant and long-term reform in the way the motion picture industry operates. It specifically promotes a policy designed to insure equal and fair opportunities for persons of all races, religions, ethnicity, cultures, nations or regions of origin, sexual preferences and so forth to tell their cultural stories through this important communications medium, the feature-length motion picture.

The research underlying this work ultimately occupied 2,222 pages of text. The material was originally divided into nine books (Patterns of Bias in Motion Picture Content, Motion Picture Biographies, A Study in Motion Picture Propaganda, How the Movie Wars Were Won, Who Really Controls Hollywood, Politics, Movies and the Role of Government, Hollywood Corruption, Legacy of the Hollywood Empire and Motion Picture Industry Reform). However, this current title (What's Really Going On In Hollywood) provides an overview of five of those books by excerpting the summaries and conclusions of those works, while omitting the detailed notes relating to specific films. Anyone interested in reviewing any of the original nine titles with the more complete presentation of the basic research may obtain copies through the author/publisher.


Chapter 1


The " . . . taste, good or bad, of the men (and women) who make the movies will be inevitably stamped on them and will break through all rules and taboos."

Hortense Powdermaker

One of the underlying theses of this work is that to a large extent, movies mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers, not to an absolute degree, but as a general rule. As George Custen pointed out in connection with his study of biopics, "[a]lthough the cinematic lives of the famous take place in locations the world over, and are set in time periods covering over two thousand years, they inevitably reflect the values of the world of the Hollywood studio and their personnel . . . " Hortense Powdermaker agreed, saying that the " . . . taste, good or bad, of the men (and women) who make the movies will be inevitably stamped on them and will break through all rules and taboos."

Powdermaker went on to say that "[m]uch of the producer's power is similar to that of the front-office executive. Both tend to project onto the movies their own personalities, their ideas of love and sex, their attitude to mankind, and their 'solutions' to social problems." In addition, Powdermaker says that the producer also " . . . usually picks able, skilled authors who share his (or her) interests."

"The personalities of the men who sit in the front office are of interest . . . because their own natures influence the content of the movies . . . it is the executives (and film producers) who have the greatest power to stamp the movies with their personal daydreams and fantasies . . . the tendency of executives to see the movie audience in their own image results in a rather high correlation between the executives' personalty and their opinions of the audience . . . power concentrated in the hands of one man or a few becomes personalized . . . In Hollywood . . . the man (or woman) who sits in the front office sets the tone of the whole studio, influencing and shaping attitudes and behavior of everyone in it; even more important, he leaves his stamp on the movie."

In other words, regardless of whether the " . . . executive reads or listens, acts singly or with others, he usually projects his own taste onto the public." The " . . . important decisions on scripts are conditioned by the taste, judgment and personality of executives. Decisions about casting and cutting or on shooting a picture on location or in the studio, on the production's budget, and the settlement of disputes which may arise between any of the important people involved in the movie are likewise the responsibility of the production executive." Of course, all of the above decisions made by a film's producer and/or its supervising studio executive will inevitably have creative effects on the ultimate film.

Thus, one of the less than desirable direct results of a film industry dominated by a small group of men who share similar backgrounds (see the chapter on "Who Really Controls Hollywood" below) is a likely bias in the content of the movies. For example, as Pristin points out, the practice of nepotism " . . . is at least partly responsible for Hollywood's insularity, narrow perspective and largely homogeneous work force." Pristin goes on to say that the " . . . industry has long been criticized for employing relatively few women, blacks and other minorities, especially in its upper ranks. More diversity among management personnel would likely lead to a more interesting mix of movies . . . " It may thus be accurately stated, that economic control of the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry cannot be separated from creative control of the films produced and released.

As noted earlier, Powdermaker also states that "'Hollywood is no mirrorlike reflection of our society, which is characterized by a large number of conflicting patterns of behavior and values.' Instead, Hollywood had emphasized some of those values to the exclusion of others." Also, as noted earlier, in talking about Hollywood's politically liberal slant, David Prindle says " . . . it is not Hollywood's willingness to embrace national problems in movies and on television that is disturbing. It is the relentless one-dimensional viewpoint that dominates the films and television that come out of the industry."

The present studio dominated system also allows certain insider filmmakers or filmmakers with insider backing to pursue their own hidden agendas (i.e., plans of things to be done or intentions that are not apparent or divulged). Filmmakers make movies for many reasons. Making money, becoming famous, earning the respect of professional peers, providing entertainment and communicating important ideas would seem to be high on anyone's list of the typical reasons why movies are made, although the order of importance certainly may differ amongst individuals. The feature film, as a communications medium, with its large screen, color technology, special effects, lighting techniques, exquisite photography, incredible sound, excellent talent on and off the screen, is also, without question, one of the most effective forms of communicating ideas that the world has yet devised. It would indeed be naive for anyone to assume that the communication of ideas is not an important motive for any serious filmmaker or filmmaking concern. A feature film also affords a unique opportunity for those who control or dominate the process of decision-making as to which movies or ideas are included in motion pictures, to insert such ideas or select and actively promote the movies which best express the views held by those same decision-makers.

This book serves to collect and furnish some of the available evidence which points toward the answers to two fundamental questions about the American motion picture industry: (1) Is the control exercised by the Hollywood control group reflected in the kinds and content of the motion pictures produced and released? and (2) Do American movies adequately reflect the nation's multi-cultural diversity or do they reflect a consistent pattern of bias in favor of those who control Hollywood and against those who do not control Hollywood? Because of the inherent difficulties in assembling an objective panel and reviewing enough movies that have been produced and released over a sufficient period of time to constitute an adequate sampling of negative and positive portrayals of various ethnic, religious, racial, gender, sexual preference and cultural groups in American motion pictures this report is based on a different approach and a less formal study of the above questions. Hopefully this effort will stimulate interest in this overall approach to the study of patterns of bias in motion picture content and lead to further studies using more formal methodologies.

As stated earlier, there appears to be substantial evidence that the Hollywood control group does in fact consistently portray itself in a more positive manner while consistently portraying other populations in a negative manner (see the discussion of this phenomenon in the chapter "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda"). The various ethnic, cultural, religious and racial groups that have publicly complained about the portrayal of their members in movies are listed below. A significant number and variety of ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual preference and racial groups within the American multi-cultural society have bitterly complained over the years about how Hollywood's mainstream movies have consistently portrayed them in a negative or stereotypical manner and about unequal employment opportunities in the film industry. A sampling of these complaints are set forth below in a mostly chronological order within each subject category.

Hollywood movies have consistently exhibited certain specific patterns of bias with respect to the people and places portrayed. Some of such patterns of bias have been consistently negative and others, consistently positive. Michael Medved's book Hollywood vs. America vigorously, and in most instances, correctly, criticized Hollywood for attacking religion, assaulting the family, using excessive foul language, being addicted to violence, being hostile to heroes and for bashing America and its government agencies.

In fact, it was quite instructive to see President Clinton in April of 1995, following the Oklahoma City bombing, attacking the conservative radio talk show hosts for bashing America and its government, when Hollywood motion pictures have been doing the same thing for years, through, an even more effective communications medium (i.e., the feature-length motion picture). As an example, we have to look long and hard to find a movie portrayal of a current CIA or FBI agent that is sympathetic. We also have to look long and hard to find a movie portrayal of a politician or government official that is not negative. But, in a rather transparent attempt to use one of our nation's greatest tragedies for political gain, Clinton did not choose to criticize the Hollywood establishment for its America-bashing, but instead chose to criticize the political right and their talk show cronies.

In other words, if anyone, including the President is going to make the argument that ideas espoused on talk shows contribute to an environment in which domestic terrorist attacks actually occur, no one could possibly assume that the communication of similar ideas or others through film are any less responsible for contributing to the creation of that same environment. Instead of pointing the finger of blame toward one side or the other of the political spectrum, both should be held responsible.

In any case, the forms of Hollywood bias in motion pictures criticized by Medved are not reiterated here. The focus in this book is on other Hollywood patterns of bias, that are equally, if not more damaging to society, patterns of bias that were either overlooked or simply not addressed by Medved.

The material that follows relating to the resulting patterns of movie bias serves to demonstrate two additional results of the situation in which the control of Hollywood resides in the hands of a narrowly defined interest group: (1) it demonstrates how such control affects the kind of movies we see and (2) having seen these results (and moving in the opposite direction with respect to cause and effect), it provides additional support for the contention made in the later chapter entitled "Who Really Controls Hollywood", that Hollywood is, in fact, controlled by a small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious; a narrowly-defined group that is either making the kinds of movies its members want to see, and sometimes producing movies it is being pressured into making by various segments of the broader so-called "Jewish community".

As reported in that chapter, the history of the upper level management of the major studio/distributors that have dominated the American motion picture industry during the 20th century reveals relatively few examples of such positions being held by African-Americans, Latinos, women and others besides the previously identified Hollywood insider group. Gays, of course, present a special problem for analysis in that during most of that century, gay men were not likely to be openly gay. Thus, it is extremely difficult to determine whether there were some so-called "closet gays" in upper level management film industry positions who simply chose not to fight for positive portrayals of gays in movies for fear of revealing their own sexual orientation. Other than that possibility, the nearly 100 year history of Hollywood management suggests a positive correlation between who does not control Hollywood and who is consistently portrayed in a negative or stereotypical manner in American motion pictures. If movies, to a great extent, mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers, then it is possible to learn a great deal about movie makers by observing who and what things or places are consistently negatively or stereotypically portrayed in their movies.

For purposes of this book, the term negative portrayals refers to the unfavorable or stereotypical depiction of someone or something in a motion picture. The underlying assumption is that it is absolutely wrong for the motion picture industry to consistently portray any particular group of persons in a negative or stereotypical manner in its feature films and in fact, such consistent portrayals actually rise to the level of private propaganda, since the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry is, after all, in private hands. Be that as it may, the studies reported in this series of books on Hollywood and the work of others in this regard indicate that there are clear biases expressed in movies released by U.S. filmmakers.

One of those informal studies was conducted several times during the eight years prior to the publication of this book during lectures on topics relating to "Film Finance", "The Business and Legal Aspects of Film Distribution", "The Relationship Between Economic and Creative Control in the American Motion Picture Industry"and "Motion Picture Industry Reform" under the sponsorship of the USC School of Cinema-TV, the American Film Institute, the USC Cinema-TV Alumni Association, the UCLA (graduate level) Independent Producer's Program, the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management Entertainment Section, UCLA Extension, IFP/West, Cinewomen and other film industry groups. The people attending such lectures represented an international cross-section of film industry professionals and other persons interested in careers in the film industry who are also avid moviegoers. Informal surveys of such classes were undertaken from time to time, asking the question: "Based on the movies you have seen during the past ten year period, what racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, sexual preference, regional and/or gender groups have been consistently portrayed in MPAA movies in a negative or stereotypical manner? These informal survey results consistently included the following groups or subjects:

American Indians
American Institutions
Asian Americans
Bi-Cultural Couples
Middle Class
White Southerners
White Supremacists

Such informal surveys again suggest that there is a positive correlation between the groups who publicly complain from time to time (see discussion below) about being portrayed in American

movies in a negative manner, and those groups perceived by a cross-section of moviegoers to be consistently negatively or stereotypically portrayed in American movies.

The literature of the industry also provides additional evidence of these same patterns of bias in our movies. Where applicable, references from industry literature are included in the study below. Further, this study is based on thousands of reviews of motion pictures covering the entire period of the existence of the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry, as those reviews appear in several publications including Steven Scheuer's Movies on TV and Videocassette Halliwell's Film Guide Mick Martin and Marsha Porter's Video Movie Guide 1989 and Roger Ebert's Video Companion (1994 Edition). In other words, the movies used as the basis of this study were not specifically selected for that purpose. Rather, the study primarily relies on the selections of several readily available books containing thousands of movie reviews and the authors of those books are not in any way connected to this study.

Race-Based Portrayals

Several of Hollywood's most blatant patterns of bias fall within the categories of race, ethnicity and/or national origin. Included in this group are negative and/or stereotypical portrayals of Arabs and Arab-Americans, Asians and Asian-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, African-Americans, along with Native Americans.

Arabs and Arab-Americans
--Arabs and Arab-Americans have often complained about being negatively or stereotypically portrayed in American movies, an obvious pattern of bias virtually ignored by Medved in his important work Hollywood vs. America.

Considering a more narrowly-defined population, Hollywood historian George MacDonald Fraser reported in 1989 that based on his studies, Hollywood movies about ancient Egypt " . . . have helped to fix in the public mind the idea of old Egypt as a cult-ridden, curse-stricken land of mystery given over to embalming, necrolatry, interbreeding, and the worship of gods with animal heads."

Patrick Robertson reported the very next year (1990), that "[w]hile the greasy, knife-toting Mexican, the shuffling, wide-eyed Negro and the perfidious American Indian have been discarded as offensive stereotypes, there is no such constraint on depicting Arabs as oily and oversexed or shifty-eyed and violent.

In addition, Nicholas Kaldi, is a U.S.-based Iraqi who makes his living playing terrorists, but he deplores the racial typecasting. "There are other kinds of Arabs in the world', he said in a 1990 interview with the Washington Post. 'I would like to think that some day there will be an Arab role out there for me that would be an honest portrayal.'"




The negative and stereotypical portrayals of Arabs in Hollywood movies has been a consistent feature of American films for many years. The study, for which the results are summarized below, covered 81 Hollywood movies featuring Arabs during the 73 year period from 1921 through 1994. The study demonstrates that in sum, Hollywood, throughout its history, has consistently portrayed Arabs as evil, barbaric, oversexed, depraved, villainous, shifty, possessed, hostile, fanatical, criminal, mystical, wicked and crazed. Arabs have also been portrayed as thieves, shady, kidnappers, enemies, mysterious, murderers, assassins, terrorists, blood-thirsty, saboteurs, extremists, cult-ridden, curse-stricken, oily, shifty-eyed, violent and as idiots. Also, based on this study, it would appear that Arabs in general are, in more modern times, most commonly portrayed in Hollywood films as terrorists.

This review of Hollywood movies involving Arab characters clearly demonstrates that the U.S. film community consistently portrays Arabs in a stereotypical or negative manner and that little or no effort has been made by Hollywood filmmakers to balance their portrayals of Arabs with positive portrayals in the same movies or a similar number of positive portrayals in other movies. Thus, the overall presentation of Arabs in American movies is clearly one sided, clearly negative, and propagandistic to that extent. There is nothing more unethical in the extreme than to see a specific population such as that small group of Jewish males of a European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious (i.e., the Hollywood control group), using the power of the moving image in American motion pictures to consistently portray some of their long suffering arch enemies in a negative manner, thus, in effect seeking to brainwash the American and world publics with a very powerful form of propaganda.

As 1995 got underway, and the tragic Oklahoma City bomb blast occurred, many news commentators and others were quick to point an accusatory finger at Middle East terrorists and Muslim Fundamentalists. One Arab-American spokesman, when asked why people in the U.S. were so quick to lay blame on Arabs, included in his response a short list of recent Hollywood movies that included negative portrayals of such persons. Much of our nation's population, including political leaders and the press, had been seduced by Hollywood propaganda.

Asians and Asian-Americans--
Asian-American groups have also protested from time to time about their portrayals in Hollywood movies, and rightly so. As noted by Koppes and Black, in Hollywood Goes to War, Hollywood's anti-Japanese films of World War II, were often " . . . blatantly racist . . . " Such films featured the "stab-in-the-back" thesis, equated Japan's acts with "gangsterism on an international scale", depicted the Japanese as "brutal and treacherous", sadistically cruel, blood-lusting, fanatic, fiendish and diabolical. In the meantime, the Chinese were portrayed as silly, giggling, ridiculous buffoons.

In addition, recent Hollywood movies have continued the negative and stereotypical portrayal of Asians and Asian-Americans. The overall record reflects that Hollywood's portraits of Asians consistently includes depicting such persons as enemies, cold, calculating, ruthless, aggressive, criminal, slave owners and as conspiring businessmen.



Although, only a small number of Hollywood movies feature Asians or Asian-Americans at all, it is the consistently negative and stereotypical portrayals that create the problem. Seldom have Hollywood movies provided more positive portrayals of Asians.

Hispanics and Latinos
--Hollywood movies about " . . . the Latino experience in America seem ineluctably tied to despair, whether rooted in the lives of East Coast Cubans, and 'Newyoricans,' of West Coast Chicanos, or of other groups in other places . . . " according to Entertainment Weekly's Ty Burr. Burr continues by saying that the " . . . link between such disparate films as the fablelike The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, the shimmeringly tragic El Norte, the worshipful La Bamba, and the cautionary Crossover Dreams lies in their knowledge of assimilation's paradox: that you can live the American dream only by losing your cultural soul."

The Hollywood movies reviewed in the study providing support for the conclusions reported here consistently portrayed Hispanics/Latinos in a negative or stereotypical manner. These people were portrayed as drug traffickers, in despair, kidnapers, mean, macho, scraggly, violent, cynical, gang members, tire slashers, prison inmates and as racists.

Such a pattern of bias appears to be a direct result of the systematic exclusion of Hispanic/Latinos from positions of authority in the Hollywood power structure (see "Who Really Controls Hollywood"). After all, if there were more Hispanic/Latinos in decision-making positions at the studios, surely it would follow that more films would include better informed and more sensitive portrayals of such populations. This explains why widespread employment discrimination in Hollywood contributes to a narrowly focused perspective represented in Hollywood films.

--Eddie Murphy's " . . . moral outrage about the treatment of blacks in the motion picture industry led to two remarkable protests. At the 1988 Academy Awards show, Eddie was the presenter for Best Picture . . . he delivered an unscheduled, rambling diatribe against the Hollywood establishment. An angry Eddie announced to shocked viewers that he almost did not show because 'they haven't recognized black people in motion pictures,' only three blacks have won Oscars in over sixty years. At this rate (Eddie said) 'we ain't due until 2004.' A year earlier, Eddie had refused to pose for Paramount's seventy-fifth anniversary group photo of the studio's great stars . . . " because he thought there would be no other blacks in the photo. Actually there was one other, Lou Gossett, Jr., although that is clearly not enough to suggest that Eddie Murphy's original sentiment was in error.

Of course, Hollywood has a long history of portraying African-Americans in a negative or stereotypical manner, pre-dating World War II. The federal government's Office of War Information, reported during the war that one of the " . . . most serious home-front problem[s] . . . " with respect to film during WWII, related to " . . . the portrayal of blacks . . . " The OWI said, " . . . Hollywood found it difficult to abandon its time-worn demeaning portrayals of blacks."

As screenwriter Dalton Trumbo stated, the " . . . movies made 'tarts of the Negro's daughters, crap shooters of his sons, obsequious Uncle Toms of his fathers, superstitious and grotesque crones of his mothers, strutting peacocks of his successful men, psalm-singing mountebanks of his priests, and Barnum and Bailey side-shows of his religion' . . . In an analysis of the depiction of blacks in wartime movies in 1943, (OWI's Bureau of Motion Pictures) . . . concluded that 'in general, Negroes are presented as basically different from other people, as taking no relevant part in the life of the nation, as offering nothing, contributing nothing, expecting nothing.' Blacks appeared in 23 percent of the films released in 1942 and early 1943 and were shown as 'clearly inferior' in 82 percent of them . . . The biased portrayals undermined black war morale at home and hurt America's image

abroad." "A Columbia University study in 1945 found that of 100 black appearances in wartime films, 75 perpetuated old stereotypes, 13 were neutral, and only 12 were positive."

In 1963 " . . . the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) . . . threw the full strength of its national organization into the fight against racial bias in movies with threats of mass demonstrations and economic and legal offensives." Unfortunately, the effort had little lasting effect.

As recently as 1991, former Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander told a U.S. Senate panel probing the problems of black males in 1991 that "[n]egative images of blacks are fed by portrayals of blacks in movies, television and elsewhere . . . " Also, in 1991, the Coalition Against Media Racism in America issued a statement that [the movies] . . . Jungle Fever and . . . Boyz n the Hood are among the features targeted for a boycott called by [that] . . . coalition of diverse mainstream black groups . . . [who claimed that] films perpetuate black stereotypes . . . " Of course, the claim is accurate, but it takes more than protest by a single group to influence Hollywood.

In an interview appearing in the Josephson Institute's Ethics magazine (1993) Dr. Prothnow-Stith stated:

"I think that when you are only using characters of color, black or Hispanic, to depict negative influences or stereotypical influences, when you fail to use [them] to represent everyday characters you are contributing to an over-burdened situation, a group overburdened with stereotyped images . . . There's a willingness to portray the negativeness in an 'other' whether that person is 'other' by race or by gender. The danger in that is you make me and my community more of an 'other' for the rest of America."

Dr. Prothnow-Stith went on to state that " . . . as an African-American Protestant, I was particularly offended by the genre of movies that made buffoons of black preachers. Knowing the black church as critical to liberation in this country, knowing black preachers who run the gamut, including intellectual people, I was offended by this kind of regular portrayal." Dr. Prothnow-Stith went on to get at the heart of the problem by pointing out: " . . . I never saw a movie where a rabbi was a buffoon character."

Native Americans
--Although a few somewhat more sympathetic portrayals in movies have occurred in recent years, American Indians have long been victims of the Hollywood stereotype, although more recently they have simply been ignored. By 1964, Marlon Brando was making appearances at protests on behalf of American Indians. In 1973, when he won the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Vito Corleone, he " . . . sent an Indian woman named Sacheen Littlefeather to reject the award, saying he could not accept it 'because of the treatment of American Indians in the motion picture industry, on TV, in the movie reruns and the recent happenings at Wounded Knee.'"

There has been a recent change in the depictions of American Indians on screen. As George Fraser points out, a " . . . stranger with no knowledge of U. S. history save what he got from films . . . would be puzzled at the change in status of the Indians, from the perpetual enemy, a mixture of noble savages and murderin' red varmints, into oppressed and cheated defenders of a precious culture--the conflicting images are all true, but the fashionable viewpoint has changed."

On the other hand, even as recently as 1992, native American spokesperson Russell Means, in an Entertainment Weekly article, criticized Hollywood's depiction of Native Americans, from the films of the '40s to The Last of the Mohicans (released in 1992). In the same article, Means said the " . . . educational system of the dominant culture doesn't let our children know that American Indians existed in the 20th century." He went on to say that "[t]here's a danger in letting Hollywood define us." Of course, there is a danger in letting any narrowly defined interest group use a powerful communications medium to define any of us over a long period of time.

Sexual Stereotypes

Hollywood movies also have a tendency to exhibit consistent biases relating to sexual stereotypes. Two of the most blatant include the industry's treatment of women and its portrayals of gays and lesbians.

--Women have not fared much better than other minorities in the male dominated U.S. film industry. According to novelist Meg Wolitzer, "[m]ovies that address the complex emotional lives of girls are rare . . . " In actress Michelle Pfeiffer's speech at the Women in Film awards ceremony (1993) she ". . . took aim at Hollywood for movies in which women were 'sold' to men, like Pretty Woman (1990), Mad Dog and Glory (1993), and Indecent Proposal (1993)".

Academic, Elisabeth Joyce, in her study of violent women in recent movies concludes that such examples underline a depressing paradox: ". . . that women of violence may appear in films and may on first look seem to be harbingers of a new social order which accepts women as equals in the power game, or which in fact presents the patriarchy as giving way to female power, but which in reality only reaffirm the patriarchy and put women in their secondary place in the social order, a place which is in further reintrenchment."

Thus, with all of the progress for women in the rest of U.S. society, Hollywood still seems to be well behind the curve. Hollywood portrayals of women in recent years have included the silent, submissive and untrustworthy females. In addition, women have been portrayed as being on the sidelines, for sale and as the sexual harasser.

--Gays and lesbians have also been victimized by consistent negative and stereotypical portrayals in American films. In 1987, Vito Russo points out in his book about homosexuality in American movies (The Celluloid Closet), nothing is ". . . more imbedded in industry culture than a belief that the public would never accept a gay hero. "For most of its history, therefore, the screen entertainment industry pretended homosexuals did not exist; when they did appear, they were portrayed as harmless buffoons or as murderers, murder victims, or suicides."

Also in 1991, gay activists were so outraged by the negative portrayals in Basic Instinct that they marched near the location shoot in San Francisco. They failed to stop the filming of the Tri-Star feature (starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone). "Protesters charge[d] it portrays lesbians in a negative light." Jessea Greenman, co-chair of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation/San Francisco Bay Area said Basic Instinct was a film ". . . in which all the lesbian and bisexual women are portrayed as potentially homicidal . . . " "This film is just one in a series of films which have defamed us," said Ellen Carton executive director of GLAAD/New York. "The lesbian and gay community is angry at Hollywood and tired of being consistently portrayed inaccurately." Homosexual activists planned and implemented ". . . a peaceful yet powerful demonstration . . . "at the 64th annual Academy Awards presentation ". . . to show their disgust with Hollywood's alleged hateful portrayal of gays in movies."

Variety's Michael Fleming wrote in March of 1992: "If gay groups were upset by Basic Instinct, wait till they see a scene from Columbia's Mo' Money, starring Damon Wayans . . . In the movie scene . . . Wayans tries to pass a bad credit card. He escapes scrutiny by mimicking an effeminate character . . . " In August of that same year (1992), Premiere magazine subscriber (and/or reader) William Stosine responded to an earlier Michael Douglas article in the same magazine. Stosine stated: "As a gay man, I'd like to respond to Michael Douglas' question about why gays are so upset by Basic Instinct. Douglas asks: 'Should WASPS be the only villains?' Of course not. It's a matter of balance. The fact is that gays [as presented in movies] are never anything but villains and buffoons, and we're sick of it. It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out that constant negative portrayals of gays in the media result in homophobic attitudes in real life." Once again, constant negative portrayals of any segments of our diverse society in our mass media will tend to result in negative attitudes directed toward those same populations.

It then safe to say that, as a general rule, movies mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers. The prejudices of the Hollywood filmmakers, as a rule, view gays as bitchy, lonely, jealous, murderous, angry and gloomy. They are also sometimes presented as effeminate and harmless buffoons, but also as child molesters, murder victims, suicides, potentially homicidal and villains. Lesbians have been portrayed in a similar stereotypical manner, except for the substitution of masculine for effeminate, while in still other movies they have been delesbianized altogether.

Until the Hollywood establishment stops systematically excluding gays and lesbians from positions of authority in the Hollywood power structure, and more gays and lesbians are allowed to green-light production financing and determine which films are to be released, we are not likely to see any significant change in the number of films that provide more accurate and positive portrayals of such persons. In addition, until such developments occur, movie audiences are not likely to see more overall balance in the portrayals of gays and lesbians in mainstream cinema. These same observations are also true with respect to the consistent Hollywood bias towards women.

Religious Bias

--Contemporary Hollywood motion pictures also clearly portray a general anti-religious slant, although early films took a more supportive approach. As Neal Gabler points out in his book An Empire of Their Own, ". . . the Jewish immigrants who founded the film business wanted more than wealth and power: they felt a powerful craving for acceptance as mainstream Americans . . . With this goal in mind, the films of Hollywood's Golden Era invariably portrayed clergymen in a sympathetic light . . . " In more recent years however, ". . . Hollywood has swung to the opposite extreme--presenting a view of the clergy that is every bit as one-sided in its cynicism and hostility as the old treatment may have been idealized . . . "

Although, some have suggested that a drastic change occurred in Hollywood following the final demise of the Production Code in 1968, this author's review of Hollywood films about religion indicate that prior to 1968, at least two parallel approaches to religious topics were represented, one sympathetic to mainstream religious beliefs (although limited to Old Testament biblical stories), the other antagonistic. The thing that appears to have changed, is that after 1968, the films that are antagonistic to religion clearly predominate.

This analysis of Hollywood films with religious themes or characters reveals that in the last four decades Hollywood has portrayed Christians as sexually rigid, devil worshipping cultists, talking to God, disturbed, hypocritical, fanatical, psychotic, dishonest, murder suspects, Bible quoting Nazis, slick hucksters, fake spiritualists, Bible pushers, deranged preachers, obsessed, Catholic schoolboys running amok, Adam & Eve as pawns in a game between God and Satan, an unbalanced nun accused of killing her newborn infant, dumb, manipulative, phony, outlaws, neurotic, mentally unbalanced, unscrupulous, destructive, foul mouthed, fraudulent and as miracle fabricators. Few, if any, positive portrayals of Christians were found in Hollywood films released in the last four decades.

In any case, even though Michael Medved holds himself out as a very religious person (specifically an Orthodox Jew), and this author is more like the members of the Hollywood control group with respect to the "not very religious" attribute, we still agree that Hollywood films have in recent years been consistently anti-religious. As Medved points out, "[t]he movie industry has ignored the success of films that look favorably on faith with the same sort of self-destructive stubbornness that has led to its continued sponsorship of antireligious-message movies." Of course, this is occurring at a time when the Hollywood establishment still contends that movies are merely "entertainment".

Others besides Medved and myself have expressed similar concerns about anti-religious movies. In the Josephson Institute's Ethics publication, Media & Values founding editor Elizabeth Thoman said: "My concern would be, what is left out, rather than what is shown. Why is normal religious practice left out of entertainment media? The only thing that religion gets are those perverted kinds of strange images with Madonna pushing the envelope, somebody who's very dissatisfied."

Medved, however, also states that "[i]n addition to the obvious antipathy to various forms of Christianity displayed in so many recent movies, Hollywood has also attempted some significant jabs at Judaism . . . however, the ridicule of the rabbis has been less intense than the negativity that is injected into the caricatures of Christian clergy." It would appear (based primarily on analysis of the Roger Ebert and Steven Scheuer reviews included in the study supporting this work) that there is a significantly greater disparity between the number of negative portrayals of Christians and Jews in Hollywood movies, than Medved would admit. In addition, there appear to be many more positive portrayals of Jewish film characters than Christians in Hollywood films (see "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda"). On this issue, Dr. Prothnow-Stith states that "[t]here should be an issue of fairness considered . . . For instance, If I'm Jewish and I'm willing to make fun of this Baptist preacher, would I be as willing to make fun of a rabbi?" In present day Hollywood (and in the Hollywood that has existed for nearly 90 years), apparently not.

Again, it is a basic issue of fairness and access to equal opportunities in a so-called free, democratic society. The contention being made here is that, even if some segments of our society are not saying what we would like for them to say, it is not in the national interest to stand by and allow any single or narrowly defined interest group to prevent the important messages of others from being communicated through a significant communications medium such as film. All segments of our society deserve an equal opportunity to tell their stories through film.

Anti-WASP Films--Since, from a religious perspective, the American South is predominantly Christian-Protestant and of white Anglo-Saxon heritage, the entire body of the films used as the basis the study summarized below for providing negative or stereotypical portrayals of people, places and things from the South can also be fairly considered anti-WASP films. Hollywood films, also more specifically portray a more general anti-WASP sentiment (i.e., the WASPs portrayed are not from the South). No attempt has been made for purposes of this publication to quantify those many negative portrayals.

Of course, it would be even more offensive if a study of Hollywood movies demonstrated that an industry controlled by a small group of politically liberal, not very religious Jewish males of European heritage (see "Who Really Controls Hollywood") consistently portrayed WASPs in a negative manner, although, clearly in the case of WASP film characters generally, there are at least some positive portrayals to balance the overall presentation, whereas the Hollywood anti-South bias seems much more consistently negative (see "Regional Prejudice: Hollywood's Rape of the South" below).

Bad Guys From the Political Right

Considering the repetition of Hollywood character portrayals from a political perspective, it is quite apparent that another of the most consistent patterns of Hollywood movie bias comes in the form of the villain from the extreme right of the political spectrum. Seldom does Hollywood portray its movie villains as political liberals.

The Overly Popular Nazi Villain
--There is also no question that the all-time champion villain for American movies since the '30s is the Nazi, and this alone tells us a great deal about who controls Hollywood. American films dealing with the Nazi threat during the years from 1934 through 1941 (prior to the U.S. entry into World War II) are considered in the chapter "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda". Some 33 anti-Nazi films are considered there. Another 241 anti-Nazi movies were identified by this study, having been released from 1942 through 1994. On average, Hollywood released nearly 5 anti-Nazi films a year during this latter 52 year period. Although, this study did not go so far as to quantify the results, it would appear that more Hollywood films have featured the Nazis as villains more than all other films focusing on other World War II enemies of the U.S., considered together. The appearances of Nazis as villains in American-made motion pictures seem to far outdistance the appearances of any other consistently negatively portrayed human population. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Michael Medved made little or no comment regarding this clear Hollywood bias, which has, over the years, risen to the level of movie propaganda.

Even though we might all agree that Nazis are appropriate movie villains, the concern expressed here centers on the fact that if a narrowly defined interest group that happens to control Hollywood is allowed to obsessively portray its most despicable enemies through a disproportionate number of movies showing them as villains, then all other groups that have any interest in portraying someone else as a movie villain are arbitrarily prevented from doing so. Thus, the proliferation of Nazi villains in Hollywood films, not only confirms the priorities and biases of the Hollywood film community, it precludes others from telling their important stories through films that are available to be seen by large segments of the American and world publics.

As noted above, it may also be true that there have been more so-called anti-Nazi films produced or released for consumption by the American public than films about all of the other U.S. war-time enemies put together. If that were true, such a result, would once again suggest that those who control the American film apparatus, do in fact use their power and discretion to create and offer negative portrayals of the enemy most feared or hated by the filmmaking community itself. In any case, none of these references to movies that portray an anti-Nazi point of view or provide a sympathetic portrayal of Jews is intended to discredit the perspective portrayed, but only to illustrate that the excessive number of such movies support the contention of this book that clear patterns of bias exist in Hollywood films and that too many movies reflecting such views have been produced or distributed by the U.S. film industry to the exclusion of movies that could have been made by other groups within our society, who also have important stories to tell through this significant communications medium. This pattern of bias, in fact reflects the rather arrogant contention that the perspective of this small group of these politically liberal, not very religious Jewish males of European heritage is more important that the perspective of others in our society, and thus deserves more attention in the movies.

Again, this book does not argue that anti-Nazi films should not have been made. Nor does this book argue that Nazis should not be portrayed as villains. Anyone who makes such a suggestion, either has not read this book (and/or the underlying research), or is merely trying to discredit the book by spreading malicious untruths. This book, instead, argues that the proliferation of anti-Nazi and other themes of particular interest to that small group of politically liberal, not very religious Jewish males with a European heritage who control Hollywood, has crowded out other movie themes that relate important stories, just as important to other racial, cultural, religious, ethnic or regional groups in America, who ought to have an equal opportunity to tell their stories to the rest of the world. In other words, that small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who are (generally speaking) politically liberal and not very religious, should not be allowed to foreclose the opportunities of other interest groups like African-Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish women, Hispanic and Latinos, Asian-Americans, Arab-Americans, White Southerners, Christians, Muslims, political conservatives, etc. in our diverse society from portraying their villains in motion pictures that are seen by mainstream America and the rest of the world.

The Anti-German Spillover--Of course, one of the problems with an American film industry churning out so many anti-Nazi movies is that the negative feelings for Nazis may spill over into a more generalized negative feeling about Germans in general. There seems to be some evidence to indicate that such a more generalized prejudicial spillover has already occurred in the movies. A couple of recent examples illustrate the point. For example, Die Hard (1988) featured a villainous " . . . multinational group, led by a German named Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) (who) . . . thinks he is superior to the riff-raff he has to associate with." Also, even more recently, Alan Parker's The Road to Wellville (Columbia Pictures-1994), while on the surface, a " . . . satire of health fanaticism in turn-of-the-century America . . . ", contained numerous negative references to the Germans.

In addition, the 1994 TriStar film release Legends of the Fall was " . . . set during the early 20th century . . . " The story " . . . focuses on the three sons of retired calvary officer William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins) . . . " who " . . . left the military at issue with government treatment of plains Indians." The film includes an important segment portraying the horror of World War I and fighting against the German enemy. Much of the rest of the movie dealt with the effects of that war experience on the lives of a U.S. family.

Thus, Hollywood's strong anti-Nazi prejudice appears to have evolved into a more generalized anti-German prejudice, which illustrates the problem with prejudice of all kinds. In all likelihood, there are lot of Germans today who are very tired of seeing American movies showing German villains, regardless of whether they are Nazis or not, partly because such a pattern of bias is morally wrong and partly because, before long, the viewers of this kind of consistent propaganda begin to see all Germans as villains.

Fascism, Totalitarianism and Repressive Dictatorships--
After the flurry of anti-Fascist and propagandistic motion pictures relating to the Spanish Civil War, (see "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda"), Hollywood films have continued to warn against the threat of fascism, totalitarianism and repressive dictatorships, even though, as Hortense Powdermaker reported, the Hollywood establishment itself is operated in a totalitarian manner.

It would be interesting to determine why an industry that operates in such a fascistic manner could make so many anti-fascistic films? On the other hand, maybe the filmmakers themselves are actually trying to say something about the system within which they must function.

The Continuing Attack: Neo-Nazi/Fascists, White Supremacists and the Klan--In addition to the long series of anti-Nazi and anti-fascist motion pictures, the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry also routinely churns out films that negatively portray neo-Nazis, neo-fascists, white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan.

Once again, this reported conclusion based on an analysis of Hollywood films and pointing out that such movies commonly use white supremacists as villains is not included as any form of argument that they should not be cast as villains, only that if they are used as villains, so should extremists of all other religious, cultural, ethnic and racial groups. If the Hollywood-based U.S. movie industry takes the position that only the white race has extremists on its fringe, then that movie industry itself is racist.

Part of the danger of the anti-Nazi, anti-Fascist and anti-White Supremacist movies that is of concern is that the underlying prejudice against such hate mongering can so easily and appears to have in fact, evolved into a broader anti-neo-Nazi, anti-German, anti White Supremacist, anti-Ku Klux Klan, anti-redneck and finally, anti-Southern mentality in the movie industry (see discussion of movies about the South below), all of which tends to stir prejudice based on stereotypes in our contemporary society and lay the groundwork for a form of regional discrimination in the U.S. that is encouraged by the powerful communications medium, the Hollywood motion picture. It would appear, in fact, that the people who are making these movies are more prejudice than most of the people portrayed. Interestingly enough, the Ku Klux Klan has had chapters in states other than in the American South (e.g., Kansas, California, Oregon, Ohio, Indiana, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania), while the vast majority of Hollywood films portraying the Klan are centered in the Southern states.

Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with portraying neo-Nazis and others on the political right as movie villains, so long as the film industry also portrays extremists on all other sides of the political spectrum as villains from time to time. Otherwise, Hollywood's liberal bias is being converted into political propaganda and that is far afield from "entertainment". There is also nothing wrong with portraying Southerners as movie villains, so long as some Southerners are portrayed in a positive manner either in the same movie or in other movies during the period. The problem with the Hollywood's consistent portrayal of those on the political right and Southerners, however, (as can be seen further from the discussion below) is that their portrayals in Hollywood movies have been consistently negative and/or stereotypical. Such a pattern of bias might be more acceptable if all interest groups in our society had an equal and fair opportunity to tell their important cultural stories on the screen, but such opportunities simply do not exist (see How the Movie Wars Were Won and the book version of Who Really Controls Hollywood).

Regional Prejudice: Hollywood's Rape of the South

Hollywood films appear to consistently project a pro-bi-coastal prejudice and an anti-regional prejudice against the Mid-West and the South. As an example, negative portrayals of the American South in Hollywood films are particularly offensive and often include the negative or stereotypical portrayals of people, places or things in the Southern U.S. from Texas to Florida. Such portrayals appear to be the result of a form of regional stereotyping, based on the regional prejudice of the filmmakers themselves. The Hollywood film moguls (read bigots) must feel that prejudice based on pre-conceived notions about a group of people from a particular region of the country, is more acceptable that prejudice based on pre-conceived notions about people of a certain race, religion, ethnic group or culture. But in reality, there is no substantial difference. Michael Medved also shows no interest in this blatant Hollywood bias which again, appears to be based on a widespread Hollywood prejudice against people, places and things of the American South.

The 20's and '30s--The negative or stereotypical Hollywood portrayals of the South also started early. Of the 13 Southern film portrayals in the 20's and 30's reported in the movie review publications utilized for this study the most prominent themes in order of appearance included kids in the South (4), life on the river (4), and Southern Belles (2). In addition, the following four themes were offered in one film each during this period: family life, poor sharecropper, Southern prison, hillbillies (family feud) and wandering printer.

The 1940s--In the '40s, the sources used for this study reported 25 films about the American South. The most common themes included Texans of one sort of another (6), individuals associated with farming (4), political corruption (3), family feuds (2) and the mentally ill (2). Other themes appearing in one movie each during this decade included oil field roughnecks, outlaws, racial discrimination, ruthless Southern industrialists, the Southern family and more Southern Belles.

The 1950s--The 43 films about the South released in the '50s and reported in the sources used for this study continued several common themes. Texans were generally portrayed as cowboys or oil tycoons. Southern families were decadent or feudin'. Other Southerners were portrayed as criminals, mentally ill, moonshiners, murderers, yokels, drunkards, gamblers, Ku Klux Klan members, poor farmers, politically corrupt and racist soldiers.

The 1960s--As the '60s decade began, racism became the new favorite Hollywood theme for films about the South. At least 5 films of the decade featured this issue. Next in order, Hollywood films about the South focused on Texans (portrayed as dim witted, small town, cowboys or millionaires), Confederate soldiers and related topics (4), hick and hillbillies (4), Cajun troublemakers (2) and tyrannical landowners.

The 1970s--Some 86 Hollywood movies of the '70s primarily portrayed the American South as a region of racists (8), moonshine runners (7), criminals (7) and murderers (5). Texans (8) were portrayed as cowboys, criminals, lovin' girls, football players, millionaires, crazy, silly and from small towns. Other stereotypical Hollywood portrayals of the decade included Southern Sheriffs (4), slaves and slave owners (3), more small town folk (3), dumb and eccentric people, country music lovers, back woods monsters, demented families, deprived or mistreated blacks in the South, confederates, family feuds and kids from the South who were either orphaned or jumping off a river bridge.

The 1980s--During the '80s decade, Hollywood produced or released even more films with characters and stories from the American South. Unfortunately, the old negative and stereotypical portrayals continued to be even more common. Southerners were once again most often portrayed as murderers (8), country music lovers (6), being from small towns (6), flawed lawmen (5), criminals, other than murderers (4), racists (4) cagey Cajuns (3), eccentrics (3), hillbillies (3), members of the Ku Klux Klan (3), oil field workers (3), rednecks, strippers and prostitutes, prejudiced individuals or slaves. The Texas subgroup (8) were portrayed as irresponsible parents, high-rollers, crude, lonely and in despair, as thieves, cowboys, being from small towns and unjust.

Based on this review of Hollywood movies about the South, it may be accurate to report that never in the history of the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry, has a movie been produced or released by a major studio/distributor that portrayed a White Anglo-Saxon male from the South, set in a contemporary urban environment in the South, as a hero, without serious character flaws. Is the Hollywood failure to provide positive movie role models for the white youth of the South a mere oversight, coincidence or natural result of the prejudices held by the specific subset of politically liberal, not very religious Jewish males of European heritage who control Hollywood?

The Early 1990s--In the early years of the 1990s decade, Hollywood's favorite target in the American South appears to be the Southern subgroup, the Texans. They are specifically portrayed in 7 films as inhabitants of dreary small towns, football crazy, cowgirls, evil fathers, the "lowest form of human life", lifelong losers and aimless. Other Southerners were portrayed as criminals (5), racists (4) and leaving the South for other more desirable places (4). Southern women are portrayed as simple, backwoods, discontented or stuck in drab marriages with a domineering white-trash husband. The rest of the 44 films reviewed (and portraying recurring characters) presented Southerners as eccentrics, murderers, dumb, Ku Klux Klan members, odd-ball characters and poor.

As can be seen from the fairly comprehensive overview of Hollywood movies that formed the basis for this study about the American South, the Hollywood movie southern stereotype typically involves "tyrannical" fathers and uncles, "eccentric" mothers, "demented" hillbillies, moonshiners, corrupt sheriffs and racist rednecks. Specific Texas stereotypes involve cowboys, millionaires and oil field roughnecks.

It would appear from the review of motion pictures summarized above that the Hollywood-based U.S. industry has for the past nearly 90 years systematically engaged in the malicious defamation of an entire region of our country, the American South. Much as Michael Medved argues that the film industry is losing potential revenues from a major segment of an overlooked potential moviegoing audience by focusing on vulgar, crude, bizarre, sexually explicit, violent movies, a similar argument can be made that motion picture revenues in the South, including Texas are less than they would be if there was more balance in the movie industry portrayals of people and places in the South. It is safe to say that a lot of people in the South simply do not go to see modern Hollywood movies because they consider them silly and quite often insulting or offensive.

A total of 251 movies are included in this specific survey of Hollywood movies featuring the American South. As it turns out, only 29 of them (12%) were directed by directors from the South. Fifty-five (55) of these movies (22%) were directed by directors from the state of New York alone. Sixty-five (65) others (26%) were directed by directors from other Northern states besides New York. Sixty-nine (69 or 27%) were directed by foreign directors and another 33 (13%) were directed by directors from the American West. In all, 88% of these films about people, places and things of the American South, were directed by non-Southerners. This may help explain why so many of them present negative and/or stereotypical portrayals of these subjects.

Consider the multiple levels of arrogance involved in a filmmaking community, controlled by a small group of politically liberal, not very religious Jewish males of a European heritage (see "Who Really Controls Hollywood"), that consistently turns out films portraying the people, places and things in the South in a negative or stereotypical manner. There is an initial level of arrogance and supposed "superiority" involved in the moralistic judgment made in deciding that it is ok for one cultural group to consistently be critical of another. There is a second level of arrogance in assuming that other regions of the country cannot provide an approximate equal number of the settings for some of these negative or stereotypical portrayals of local populations. There is a third level of arrogance in controlling the film industry to the exclusion of other cultural groups, thus preventing the other cultural groups (including people from the South) from providing a more accurate or alternative depiction of themselves on the screen. And there is a fourth level of arrogance involved in the proposition that the people of the South are so stupid that they will continue to pay money to see such films, money which in turn allows the Hollywood filmmakers to continue to spread this kind of negative propaganda.

It appears quite clear from the record set forth above (and at "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda") that the people who control the U.S. film industry are very much into including messages that promote tolerance, whenever tolerance might affect them, but promoting "hate" whenever their movies have anything to do with people, places and things from the South. Based on such an observation, it would be fair to label the people who control Hollywood as "hatemongers" and "bigots".

The fact that some of these films providing negative or stereotypical portrayals of people, places and things of the American South are based on the works of Southern writers is also irrelevant. The relevant consideration here is who has the power to determine what movies are made and the content of those movies, and how has that power been exercised for the nearly 100 year history of the U.S. film industry. If, for example, there are 100 writers from the Southern region of the country writing about the South and fifty of them provide negative and stereotypical portrayals of people, places and things in the South, but the Hollywood moviemakers choose almost all of their movies from this group of fifty negative writers, as opposed to the group that provides more positive portrayals, what difference does it make, that the literary works on which the movies are based were written by someone from the South? This logical argument relating to the contributors to such film projects also applies to all of the other patterns of bias exhibited by Hollywood movies.

Another aspect of the problem with the American film industry is that it seems to make a lot of movies about racism generally (as opposed to other equally important issues), and racism in the South, specifically, the cumulative effect of which is to falsely suggest that most of the racism directed toward Blacks in this country is geographically centered in the southern United States. At the same time, prejudice, racism and discrimination directed toward Blacks and others pervades the very industry that produces and releases these accusatory movies. The situation is so bad that the U.S. film industry may be one of the most racist industries in America, and of course, what makes the situation even worse, is that the film industry produces a product that is effected by the beliefs of those filmmakers.

Confirmation of this blatant prejudice may be revealed simply by asking the question: How many Hollywood films during the last ten years have portrayed white males in the cities of Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas or San Antonio, or any of the other vibrant cities in the South as anything other than redneck jerks? Obviously, not very many, because (1) most Hollywood films about the South are set in the rural South and (2) because most of the white people portrayed are presented as ignorant, prejudice local yokels. Another variation on that question, the answer to which tends to corroborate the premise that the U.S. film industry consistently produces and distributes movies exhibiting such a regional prejudice, is: What and how many major studio/distributor releases in the past ten years have featured a positive portrayal of an urban, contemporary, white Anglo-Saxon Southern male? The answer again is, very few indeed, if any.

Here is an example of the potential harm from regional prejudice. In 1986, some eleven years after the so-called Malibu Mafia launched the Energy Action Committee, the lobbying organization Hollywood liberals used " . . . to battle big oil in the legislative wars over energy policy . . . " the OPEC oil countries arbitrarily decided to flood the world oil markets with cheap oil, at prices so low, domestic oil producers here in the U.S. could not compete. The U.S. Congress then had an opportunity to step in and protect our domestic oil industry (with tariff supports), from the anti-competitive and predatory actions of this foreign cartel. It basically came to a vote of the non-oil producing states against the oil-producing states (essentially a regional industry primarily based in the South).

It is the contention of this book that the kind of regional prejudice fostered by the movie industry's pattern of bias (i.e, its consistent negative or stereotypical portrayals of people, places and things of the American South), and the well-financed lobbying activities of the Malibu Mafia, may


have contributed to the 1986 Congressional decision not to provide support for the domestic oil industry when threatened by the economic attack of the OPEC oil cartel. As a result of that crucial Congressional decision (very possibly based on the same kind of regional prejudice regularly spewed forth through Hollywood movies), hundreds of oil industry related companies in the South went out of business, thousands of people working in affected jobs were out of work, homes were lost, real estate values suffered significantly, savings and loans and banks suffered losses and an entire region of the country suffered through a severe economic recession.

There may, of course, be no way of knowing for certain whether regional prejudice played a part in that decision, but in the Congressional debates themselves, which were carried live on cable television, you could easily see that the regional interests of the country were being debated, not the national interest. At the very least, such an incident highlights the critical importance for Congress not to allow an important communications medium like the U.S. film industry to be controlled by people who consistently provide negative portrayals of any segment of our population. After all, in addition to the potential for psychological damages, such consistent negative portrayals may ultimately affect the economic interests of the region or group being victimized. And, as can be seen from the above example, adversely affecting the economic interests of a region destroys jobs, careers, fortunes and lives. Further, of course, if a region of the country can be victimized by this sort of Hollywood propaganda, what is to stop such propaganda from being turned on other segments of our diverse population? Of course, this book provides persuasive evidence that other segments of our population have already been targeted (also see "Motion Picture Biographies" and "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda").

As Paul Johnson wrote in his 1987 book A History of the Jews, "Germany could not be judged by Nazi anti-Semitism, any more than France by its Terror, Protestantism by the Ku-Klux-Klan or, for that matter, 'the Jews by their parvenus'." In addition, the American South cannot fairly be judged by the racist attitudes of just some of the people who live there, cannot be fairly judged by the many negative movie portrayals of Southern country-folk and cannot be fairly judged by the Hollywood movie portrayals of "tyrannical" fathers and uncles, "eccentric" mothers, "demented" hillbillies, moonshiners, corrupt sheriffs, racist rednecks, cowboys, millionaires or oil field roughnecks. There is much more to the American South than what Hollywood wants the world to see. Thus, this book is an argument for extending the common Hollywood movie theme of tolerance to the real world, including Hollywood itself.

If the roles were reversed (i.e., a small group of white males from the South had been able to gain control of the U.S.-based film industry through the use of anti-competitive business practices, historical accident or otherwise, and had established its headquarters in Atlanta, instead of Los Angeles, then proceeded to produce and distribute movies that portrayed American Jews in a consistently negative or stereotypical manner for nearly 90 years), the country might be and should be rightfully outraged. The country should also be equally outraged by what has actually been offered by the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry, certainly with respect to its consistent defamation of the American South.



Other Negative Portrayals in Hollywood Films

The above listing and discussion is not intended to be exhaustive nor does it include all groups that have complained about being consistently negatively or stereotypically portrayed by the American film industry (or about the related lack of equal employment opportunity at all levels of the film industry). Other identifiable populations voicing complaints from time to time with regard to their portrayals in Hollywood movies include Muslims, Italian-Americans, German-Americans, Irish-Americans, Gypsies, the deaf and hard of hearing and the elderly. Also, we rarely see any Mormons working in the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry, nor many films about Mormons. Practitioners of the Voodoo religion are also consistently portrayed as villains in Hollywood movies, along with most forms of religions that are considered by the Hollywood community to be cults.

In addition to serving as a brief history of those groups that have recently complained about biased movies and their negative or stereotypical portrayals in American movies, this review also tells us which groups of people view themselves as "outsiders" or the "disenfranchised" in relation to the Hollywood power structure. Thus, this listing tells us quite clearly, who does not control Hollywood, and helps to predict the results of the analysis in "Who Really Controls Hollywood". For surely, if any of these groups controlled Hollywood, they would choose to portray themselves in a more positive light in motion pictures from time to time and provide more equal employment opportunities for members of their respective groups. Further, we see again that creative control in Hollywood cannot be separated from economic control, after all, the top studio executives ultimately make the decision as to which movies are produced and released for viewing by most moviegoers, and these same executives exercise considerable contractual control over the producer, director, screenwriter, script, actors, actresses, budget, running time and MPAA rating, all of which affect the creative result.

Many of the business practices (primarily distributor business practices) discussed in this book's companion volumes How the Movie Wars Were Won and The Feature Film Distribution Deal contribute to the major studio/distributors' control and dominance of the motion picture industry. That control in turn gives the major studio/distributors the power to make whatever movies they want and to communicate through such movies whatever ideas they choose. In addition, the control of the major studio/distributors excludes large segments of our multi-cultural society from meaningful participation in the movie-making process and results in the consistent portrayal of many of these same "outsider" interest groups in a negative or stereotypical manner.

Movie critic Roger Ebert comments on the problem of movie villains saying that "[m]ovies like The Fourth War (1990) are a reminder that Hollywood is running low on dependable villains. The Nazis were always reliable, but World War II ended forty-five years ago. Now the cold War is winding down, and just when Lethal Weapon 2 introduced South African diplomats as the bad buys, de Klerk came along to make that approach unpredictable. Drug dealers are wearing out their welcome. Bad cops are a cliche'. Suggestions?"

Yes, the portrayals of movie bad guys should be distributed more evenly among all populations within our society. It may be unreasonable, however, to expect the presently configured power structure in Hollywood to engage in such a re-distribution of portrayals. Thus, it may be necessary to take further steps to alter that power structure. Another planned companion volume to this book Motion Picture Industry Reform contains numerous suggestions along those lines. Included are detailed discussions of the following possibilities, among others: (1) the creation of a national coalition to monitor and publicize on an annual basis, the patterns of bias contained in Hollywood films; (2) the creation of a national political action group designed to tell the truth about what is really going on in Hollywood to the general public, the press and our representatives in Congress, (particularly with respect to employment discrimination and anti-competitive business practices) so as to bring about reasonable reforms to permit all interest groups a fair opportunity to tell their important cultural stories through this significant medium for the communication of ideas; (3) the bringing of a class-action lawsuit by all net and gross profit participants against the major studio/distributors for cheating them out of their fair share of the upside economic potential of their own films, with the related result that the creative control of such participants is severely weakened; (4) the organization of a national boycott (including participants from all groups that are consistently portrayed in Hollywood movies in a negative or stereotypical manner) of all feature length motion pictures distributed by the major studio/distributors, until more diversity is brought about in the top level studio executive positions and throughout the industry, as well as more diversity in the portrayals in Hollywood films; (5) creation of a Film Industry Research Institute for the purpose of continuing critical studies of who controls Hollywood and how that control relates to the moves produced and released; and (6) a class action law suit against all of the major studio/distributors on behalf of all those groups consistently portrayed in a negative or stereotypical manner and based on defamation. Hollywood is too powerful for a limited boycott of one or two offensive films by a single interest group to be effective. Finally, on the novel side for possible remedies, it would only seem fair that a regional organization such as a Chamber of Commerce of the South might be able to bring a class action lawsuit against the major studio/distributors for defamation of the entire region.

Of course, it is also important to keep in mind that offensive negative portrayals or stereotypical movie portrayals do not always rise to the level of a movie villains (i.e., a person, place or thing can be portrayed in a movie in a negative manner without that person, place or thing having to serve as the movie's villain) or even as a lead character. It would also be quite natural to ask: "If all of these groups have been consistently portrayed in a negative or stereotypical manner all of these years, what group or groups in our diverse society have benefited from positive Hollywood film portrayals?" That question is treated separately in the chapter entitled "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda".

As we have seen, in recent years, numerous interest groups in the U.S. have vigorously complained about being consistently portrayed in a negative or stereotypical manner in Hollywood films, but such complaints have been effectively ignored by the all-powerful, vertically integrated, distributor-dominated MPAA companies. Quite often, as in this case, where power is concentrated in the hands of a few, such power breeds arrogance. As noted above, these complaining outsider groups include women, the elderly, African-Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Arabs and Arab-Americans, Asians and Asian-Americans, Italian-Americans, German-Americans, White Southerners, gay/lesbians, Christians and others. Unfortunately, it is very likely that the consistent portrayal of negative stereotypes in U.S.-made movies contributes to prejudice. Prejudice in turn contributes to discrimination and discrimination often leads to conflict. Thus, in all probability, the U.S. motion picture industry has, over the years, become a contributing factor and potential cause of unnecessary conflict within our diverse society.

Chapter 2


"In their projection of biography onto a world map, Hollywood created a distorted view of accomplishment . . . "

George Custen

Patterns of bias similar to those revealed in the previous chapter appear in Hollywood movie presentations of historical figures. The results of the study reported in this chapter provides followup to an earlier review of movie biopics conducted by Professor George Custen. Whereas his study of biopics ended with films in the '60s, this more comprehensive study carries the topic through into the mid '90s.

Analysis of this body of films, the Hollywood biopics, considers the geographic setting for such films, the occupations portrayed, time and sex biases, ideology, historical accuracy and the race, culture and ethnicity of the biopic subjects. In some instances, the conclusions of the author of the earlier work in this area (George Custen's Bio/Pics) are compared with those of the more contemporary study. In other instances, this later study places an emphasis on different issues which are critical in gaining an understanding of the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry.

Geography--As Custen points out, "[i]n their projection of biography onto a world map, Hollywood created a distorted view of accomplishment that sustained an image of history that . . . made it appear that entire domains of achievement had been invented by Americans . . . " Custen's study of biopics, which only surveyed the genre through the middle of the century, reveals that "[t]wo-thirds of all biopics are either about Americans or set in America . . . " and "[a]fter the United States, Europe appears to be the center of the biographical universe, with 22 percent of films set there." As Custen pointed out for his study, if " . . . the American and European totals (are combined) . . . 89 percent of all famous people are either American or European . . . Asia and Africa account for only 3 percent of all biopics (in Custen's study) . . . "

Custen's study also revealed that " . . . America's (former) . . . rival, the U.S.S.R., as well as uncolonized Asia . . . " were "[n]oticeably under-represented . . . " Custin points out that these " . . . enormous voids represent a kind of cinematic equivalent to isolationism, a willful ignoring of entire nations whose ethnicity, race, ideology, or, dangerously, all three prevented them from gaining the credentials needed for entering biography land." In Custen's study "[f]ilms set in Japan and China (less than 1 percent) take place either in the long ago past (The Adventures of Marco Polo), or present Asian nationals as outmoded resisters to the voice of American modernity . . . "

The weighted geographic distribution appears to have continued (and even increased) in more contemporary biopics. This later study of Hollywood biopics (continued through the mid-1990s) reveals that the films focusing on American subjects were far greater in number than any other country or continent. There were 324 Hollywood biopics with American subjects in this study. The next significant level of subjects came from Europe (101), and considering the European heritage of many of those in the Hollywood film community, that is not surprising. After all, movies tend to a large extent to mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers. The American and European subjects combined (from the more recent expanded study) account for slightly more than 95% of the biopics, an increase of 6% over Custen's results.

The next highest number of subjects from an area of the world (in the more recent expanded study) was the Middle East with 9 films and then Australia and Asia with 3 each. Biopic subjects from Africa and India were featured in 2 films per country. There were also only 2 films featuring subjects from our nearest neighbor to the south, Mexico. There was only one Hollywood biopic featuring a subject from Greece. None of the biopics focused on a subject from our nearest neighbor to the north, Canada. There were also none from any of the Central or South American countries. Hollywood completely ignored these countries in their biopics.

Occupations--As Custen reports the " . . . great man as a tragic or grand royal figure or the famous statesman, popular before World War II (was) . . . replaced by the great man as a giant of some branch of the entertainment industry. While military figures and gangsters would be honored equally with biopics, particularly during the 1950s, the era of the biopic of the statesman vanished with the close of the war." Custen reported that " . . . by weighting the universe of fame so that it is numerically biased in favor of fame in the performing or creative fields, the movies justify their own system, lending credibility to idols of consumption rather than idols of production. In short, the dominance of performer biopics is a grand justification for the legitimacy of popular entertainment."

Leo Lowenthal observed similar tendencies in his 1944 study of magazine biographies. In seeking to discern in magazines, biographical patterns over time, Lowenthal noted " . . . a shift both in the subjects of biography and in the explanations proffered for why a particular life was meritorious. His content analysis of 1,003 issues of Collier's and The Saturday Evening Post, covering sixteen sample years, found that while magazines of the first decades of the century had focused their attention on the biographies of what he called 'idols of production' (captains of industry, the military, and other members of conventional ruling elites), later magazines, inspired by the new media, radio and the motion picture, chose to highlight what Lowenthal called 'idols of consumption.' In this change from idols of production to idols of consumption, he detected a shift in American values and a shift in the morality lessons--'lessons of history'--that readers might derive from these magazines. Power through the making of the world had been replaced by power through ownership of its coveted items." "Lowenthal shared (with others of his day, including Theodore Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and Max Horkheimer) a fearful contempt for the products of the mass media, which according to his view, increasingly manipulated audience members into an authoritarian view of history . . . 'corrupting the educational conscience by delivering goods which bear an educational trademark but are not the genuine article . . . '"

Continuing to reflect the interests of Hollywood filmmakers, the more recent expanded biopic study also revealed that the most common occupation for biopic subjects was people in the entertainment field, including actors, actresses, singers, musicians and composers. There were 130 (29%) of those. The next most common occupation favored by Hollywood was the criminal/gangster/outlaw at 50 (11%), thus the criminal/gangster/outlaw biopic has now surpassed the military hero. In some instances the gangsters and entertainers were also involved with each other. The criminal/gangster/outlaw and entertainer biopics combined accounted for 40% of all occupations portrayed in Hollywood motion picture biographies covering an 82 year period. This unusual combination raises interesting questions about Hollywood's interests.

The next favorite Hollywood biopic topic was the Western. There were 38 of those, including the 7 of the Custen study that could easily be identified as Westerns from their titles only (see footnote). Also, 6 of these Western biopics focused on Indian subjects. Then there were 30 athletes (7%) featured in the biopics (20–white; 6--black; 1–Indian; 1--woman; and 2--horses). Unfortunately, there were no American women athletes honored with Hollywood biopics throughout the period covered. Also, on this lower end of the numerical spectrum, there were 25 military heroes (6%), 24 royalty (5%), 22 politicians or government leaders, 18 writers (including poets and playwrights), 14 religious leaders, 8 biopic subjects from law enforcement, 8 aviators, 7 businessmen, 7 dentists and doctors, 6 spies, 6 journalist/reporters, 5 inventors, 5 scientists, 4 artist/painters, 4 ambassador/diplomats, 4 nurses, 3 explorers, 1 banker, 1 teacher and 1 Supreme Court Justice represented.

Men vs Women--In Custen's study of studio biopics he discovered that there " . . . are almost two and a half times as many male biographies as females. Moreover, the bulk of female biographies are of entertainers and paramours." Custen noted that " . . . in general, the distribution of power in society is mirrored by the distribution and limitation of the lives women are allowed to depict." Custen's study showed that " . . . men have numeric superiority in twelve careers (while) . . . films on women dominate only four areas. After paramour and educator, they are royalty and medical . . . " The biography of the " . . . single famous woman accounts for only one-quarter (25.8%) of all biopics (in Custen's study) . . . men alone account for 65 percent of all biographies, more than twice the number of biopics than women . . . " "One might also add that . . . three categories--entertainer, royalty, paramour--make the female the object of a male gaze."

Those trends were altered even more in favor of men in the more contemporary study, which revealed that 83% of the subjects were male and only 17% were female. Even though the mistress, entertainer, Royalty and nurse categories dominated among women in the later study, other occupational fields like writer, poet, intern, governess, athlete, orphanage founder, gangster, scientist, aviator, were included along with peasant girl, wife and groupie. The continuing trend of male dominance in Hollywood biopics re-confirms the continuation of male dominance at the key decision-making levels in the Hollywood studios.

Time Bias--Custen's study also revealed a "time bias" in Hollywood biopics. He reported that " . . . 59 percent of all films set in the United States take place in the twentieth century, 39 percent in the nineteenth century, and only 2 percent in the seventeenth century. This is in contrast to Europe, where only 8.5 percent of all films are set in the twentieth century." As Custen reports, " . . . biographies of those before the Renaissance are rare indeed (4 percent), and limited to charismatic biblical figures or Egyptian or Greek royalty." "More than 80 percent of all entertainment biopics . . . " in Custen's study " . . . are set in the eighty years between 1880 and 1960. Of these entertainer biopics, almost a third are about vaudevillians . . . "

Custen determined that if the subject of the biopic spoke German, chances are that such a person " . . . lived in the nineteenth century (the 'good' Germany) and composed music (Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss) or were a scientist (Erlich), or a humanitarian entrepreneur whose fondest wish was for 'one world' (Julius Reuter)." On the other hand, if the subject of the biopic was French, such a person " . . . lived in the nineteenth century, or (was) . . . either an intensely romantic eighteenth-century female (Madame Du Barry, Marie Antoniette, etc.) or an intensely political writer (Zola), statesman, and military figure (Napoleon), or, in the case of Louis Pasteur, a man dedicated almost equally to the advancement of science and the honor of France."

In addition, Both the Zola and Ehrlich biographies dealt with anti-Semitism. Paul Ehrlich, the scientist " . . . who discovered a treatment for syphilis, was consciously selected as a subject for a biopic (Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet) because he was both German and a Jew. As Warners story editor Finally McDermid explained to Will Hays (who was concerned with the explicitness of the


'syphilis' angle in Ehrlich), 'the reason for picking Ehrlich as a protagonist had very little to do with syphilis and its cure. Ehrlich happened to be a great humanitarian and a German Jew'."

Ideology--Political orientation is one of the areas that cannot always be ascertained by a review of a film's synopsis. For example, there were only 23 readily identifiable political liberals in the expanded sample of biopics. Even so, the liberals significantly outnumbered the political conservatives, since their were only 4 of the latter. The portrayal of the major political parties of U.S. Presidents was much closer, with 7 biopics of Democratic presidents and 6 of Republicans, although only one of the Republican presidents was in office in the last forty years (Eisenhower 1952-1960).

The Soviet Union, and its overall absence from Custen's study of studio biopics " . . . cannot easily be explained (as racist) . . . Here, the barrier to representation is ideological . . . with studio heads being even more afraid of Communism than they were of the threat of the Nazis. Thus, 'Russia' (represented in eight films of Custen's study) had to mean pre-revolutionary Russia . . . The incredible cinematic possibilities available in the Russian Revolution are of course, off-limits to the virulently anti-Communist industry . . . Moreover, many of the early movie moguls were immigrants from Russian or Eastern Europe, where as Jews, they were subject to a variety of forms of discrimination and persecution."

Of course, the film industry was not as "virulently anti-Communist" as Custen would suggest since it is well-known that many Communists worked in the industry (primarily as writers, actors and directors) before the anti-communist purges in the 1950s. In addition, the studio house-cleanings came only after the studio heads began to fear that the public furor over communists might negatively impact the amount of money that could be earned at the box office with their movies. In other words, it would be more accurate to say that many on the creative side of the film industry were Communists or sympathetic, whereas the studio heads themselves were either anti-Communist or simply pragmatic.

Custen further suggests, however, that many forces militated " . . . against producing any biopic of a Communist or totalitarian leader. Although ideological censorship may seem to be the most obvious explanation for these absences . . . " there are other reasons. For example, a " . . . substantial number of biopics explain famous people with reference to their families, their neighborhood or home roots, their education and friends. Such humanizing touches might render the lives of these charismatic but forbidden lives emphatic, perhaps even providing social explanations for their 'evil' behavior that might seem to excuse it . . . Being masters at propaganda, Hollywood realized that the normal biopic treatment simply could not be used for these (Communist) figures." Of course, the Hollywood decision-makers have had no similar hesitation in providing "social explanations" for the "evil behavior" of the many criminals, gangsters and outlaws they have chosen to portray in their biopics and other films.

Historical Accuracy--Few if any of the biopics in Custen's or this more recent and broader study can be considered historically accurate. Part of the reason for that, of course, was the attitude of the studio executives. Darryl Zanuck, for example, expressed his belief in a memo dated July 28, 1936 that historical inaccuracies in biopics do not " . . . cause any trouble." For example, he said, in the biopic 'Rothschild' he " . . . made Rothschild (from the Jewish banking family) an English Baron and there never was a Rothschild a Baron." Zanuck went on to say that he " . . . had the King of England give (Rothschild) . . . the honor, and that at this time there was no King of England as the king was in the insane asylum . . . "


Hayden White also noted that "[n]o history, visual or verbal, 'mirrors' all or even the greater parts of the events or scenes of which it purports to be an account . . . " In addition, Daniel Leab points out, that "[t]ruth, accuracy, and a proper respect for history . . . have been routinely subordinated to the need for dramatic effect and even the whims of filmmakers."

On the other hand, in the sample of 100 biopics Custen used for " . . . content analysis, 90 percent . . . were prefaced by a written, spoken introduction . . . that asserted the truth status of the narrative that was about to unfold." Despite such blatantly false Hollywood promotional claims, the various reviews of Hollywood biopics commonly state that a given film is only "loosely based" on the truth, or that it is "fictionalized", "unhistorical", "romanticized" or only "moderately truthful". Thus, there appears to have been a significant difference between the film industry's marketing claims with respect to the historical accuracy of its biopics and what actually is portrayed on the screen, a difference that may rise to the level of irresponsible misrepresentations, and a difference that appears to carry over to the film industry's advertising of its other movies as well (see discussion of "The World's Greatest PR Machine" in How the Movie Wars Were Won).

In addition, this consistent historical inaccuracy in motion picture biographies raises even more questions about why the patterns of Hollywood bias toward the subjects chosen exists. After all, if the moviemakers are free to substantially fictionalize, almost anyone's life story could be made of interest to moviegoers (i.e., commercial). In other words, any attempt by Hollywood decision-makers to explain that certain subjects were not chosen for biopic treatment because there was nothing of interest to the typical moviegoer in the proposed subject's background, can now be recognized for exactly what it is: Hollywood rationalization and double talk!

Custen ultimately concluded that " . . . Hollywood biography is to history what Caesar's Palace is to architectural history: an enormous, engaging distortion, which after a time convinces us of its own kind of authenticity. Hollywood biographies are real not because they are believable. Rather, one must treat them as real because despite the obvious distortions ranging from the minor to the outright camp, Hollywood films are believed to be real by many viewers." "The biographical film (the 'biopic') routinely integrates disparate historical episodes of selected individual lives into a nearly monochromatic 'Hollywood view of history' . . . These films build a pattern of narrative that is selective in its attention to profession, differential in the role it assigns to gender, and limited in its historical settings."

As stated earlier in this work, "movies mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers". Similarly, Custen pointed out that the biopics of his study appear to be " . . . in-house reflections of the community of producers . . . " that made them. For example, he cites the relationship between Jewish performer George Jessel's background as a vaudeville performer and his " . . . production of six biographies for Zanuck at Fox . . . all (of which) placed vaudeville at the center of the universe . . . " Custen also observed that the studio biopics " . . . are the product of institutional pressures that located authority in the hands of one or more powerful figures whose world view was . . . remarkably narrow . . . " and that " . . . the producers of (the Hollywood biopics) . . . often filtered the content of a great life through the sieve of their own experiences, values, and personalities." In any case, the " . . . studios tried to control, through various means, the attempts of others to shape their making of history. They accomplished this--in part for reasons of efficiency, in part for ideological purposes . . . " The more current and extended study of the Hollywood biopics suggests that these phenomena of rewriting history and attempting to control moviegoers' views of history continue without significant change.

In addition to historical inaccuracy (in the extreme in some cases), there are at least two other aspects of the Hollywood biopics which stand out, as this body of films are reviewed: (1) quite commonly Hollywood tends to place a great deal of emphasis on the subject's romantic involvements, regardless of how significant such relationships were to the individual in real life, and (2) many of the subjects are relatively obscure or little known individuals. One further characteristic of the Hollywood biopic, as with other films produced by entities in the U.S. film capital, is the involvement of a disproportionate number of producers, directors, writers, actors and actresses of Jewish heritage, adding further support for the contention that a movie industry controlled by a small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious (who also routinely engage in nepotism, favoritism, cronyism, blacklisting and other forms of discrimination), do tend to favor those who share their religious/cultural background and routinely deny opportunities to those who do not (see the following chapter on "Who Really Controls Hollywood" and the companion volume entitled How the Movie Wars Were Won).

Race, Culture and Ethnicity--In Custen's study of biopics there were only twelve films (4%) made about non-white North Americans. "Only two professions, athlete and professional entertainer, are associated with black Americans, representing in a simplistic way many people's perceptions of the limited careers open to blacks. Native Americans are represented largely as defeated warriors, victims of superior white military strength." Although, this more contemporary study reveals a few more biopics featuring favorable portrayals of Indians (6 biopics focused on American Indians), only 16 biopics in total featured African-Americans and only 5 of those portrayed African-Americans who were not athletes or entertainers. In addition, there were no other U.S. Hispanic/Latino subjects honored other than the one entertainer featured in La Bamba (1987). To put this in perspective, (to graphically illustrate whose lives are worthy of a biopic) there were more Hollywood biopics of criminals, gangsters and outlaws (51) than for all American Indians, African-Americans and Hispanic/Latinos put together. This one component of Hollywood's bias is a national disgrace!

In contrast, and continuing to mirror the makeup of Hollywood, the biopics from 1912 to 1994 included at least 53 (12%) Jewish subjects (a conservative estimate, since no person in this study is identified as being Jewish or having a Jewish heritage without published authority such as Lyman, Friedman, Katz, Erens, Dinnerstein, Gabler, Lacey, Johnson, etc.). Another 32 biopics (7%) included significant roles played by Jewish characters. In addition, 27 of the biopics in the contemporary study contained subjects which may be fairly characterized as "Jewish heroes" (i.e., non-Jews who took significant actions that favored Jewish interests), while another 12 of these biopics may be characterized as films featuring Jewish "enemies" (i.e., negative portrayals of people who were considered hostile toward Jews). Thus, a total of 124 (28%) of the biopics in the contemporary study featured Jewish subjects, Jews in significant roles, "Jewish heroes" or Jewish "enemies".

Also, in contrast to the above record, only 26 people from the American South were featured in Hollywood biopics and they were mostly portrayed in a negative manner, as gangsters, outlaws or stereotypical country-western entertainers. Thus, this study of Hollywood biopics further confirms a significant Hollywood prejudice towards persons from the American South as well as other religious, ethnic, cultural, racial or regional groups arbitrarily excluded from the Hollywood insiders club [the persons who control Hollywood and share a common background (i.e., Jewish males of European heritage who are politically liberal and not very religious)].

Looking at the participation of persons of Jewish heritage in the creation of these biopics, we see a similar pattern. At least 65 (15%) of the Hollywood biopics in the more contemporary study were directed by directors of Jewish heritage. Actors or actresses of Jewish heritage appeared in 119 or 27%. Producers of Jewish heritage produced some 72 or 16% of these films and at least 46 or 10% of the biopics were based on scripts written by writers of Jewish heritage. In total, 269 of the 443 Hollywood biopics in this more contemporary and broader study (61%) involved the efforts of creative persons of Jewish heritage. Again, this 61% figure does not count Jewish studio executives, composers, editors, cinematographers or others of Jewish background not listed above who may have participated in the creation of these films. Also, this study does not go so far as to do so, but if the films with Jewish creative elements were to be combined with the biopics featuring Jewish subjects, significant roles for Jewish characters, "Jewish heroes" and Jewish "enemies", the applicable percentage of the entire body of Hollywood biopics with significant Jewish elements would likely reach into the 70 percentage range, an incredibly disproportionate number for an industry supposedly based on merit. This observed phenomenon confirms that Hollywood is not a merit system, not a level playing field and not a free market at all.

As can be seen from the analysis of the background of the filmmakers of the biopics discussed above, in many instances, some combination of multiple participants (i.e, studio executives, producers, directors, screenwriters, actors and/or actresses) shared a Jewish background. Under such circumstances, no credible person could seriously assert that such instances could actually result in a true free market system, unhindered by powerful anti-competitive forces (see How the Movie Wars Were Won and The Feature Film Distribution Deal).

After working through this material relating to motion picture biographies, it seems clear that the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry is actually a privately controlled culture promotion machine, at least inadvertently supported by U.S. federal policy and the financial contributions of the mass movie-going public that has been duped into believing that movies are merely entertainment, when in fact, Hollywood movies taken as a whole, and because of their consistent patterns of bias over time, actually rise to the level of special interest propaganda.

In other words, it appears to be quite clear that the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry has always been (and continues to be) controlled by a small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious (see "Who Really Controls Hollywood") Among other things, this control group has engaged in extensive nepotism, favoritism and cronyism, in addition to reciprocal preferences, primarily based on the Jewish heritage of the beneficiaries of those forms of discrimination (see How the Movie Wars Were Won). In addition, it is clear that as a result of that control, Hollywood movies have consistently portrayed people, places and things associated with the Jewish culture in a more favorable manner, while at the same time, consistently portraying people, places and things that are not Jewish in a more negative manner, and because of its consistency over time, this pattern of bias rises to the level of propaganda, in fact, a privately-controlled culture promotion machine.

Of course, others have been forewarned that following the publication of this book, there is a very good chance that some uninformed individuals may step forward and make the accusation that its contents are anti-Semitic. Aside from being an entirely false accusation without any evidentiary basis, the truth of the matter is, that the circumstances of Hollywood were created by others. This book and the other works cited herein, are primarily reports of observations, along with descriptions of the circumstances that actually exist in Hollywood. In other words, such writers are merely the messengers who are describing the real-life factual circumstances created by others. It may be, on the other hand, that this presentation has been more honest than most of the other writings about Hollywood in the past and more accurate (or more specific) than others in many of the reported observations. Neither the additional level of honesty nor the increased accuracy or specificity, however, can form a reasonable basis for a charge of anti-Semitism.

This book has merely attempted to discuss and make reasonable judgments based on the facts relating to who controls Hollywood and how that control reveals itself with respect to who gets to participate in the making of Hollywood movies, which movies get made and the content of those movies; all circumstances controlled by third parties, and circumstances that have merely been observed and reported here with more honesty and accuracy. If anyone disagrees with the truth about Hollywood as presented here, let them step forward with unassailable facts to support their position, not stoop to feeble name-calling.

As the 100th year anniversary of the film industry comes and goes, it is time that this privately controlled culture-promotion machine be dismantled, so that all segments of this nation's multi-cultural society have an equal opportunity to tell their important cultural stories through this significant medium for the communication of ideas. After all, it is also clear that regardless of who controls Hollywood and with what results, it is absolutely inappropriate in our multi-cultural society for any readily identifiable interest group (whether the group identity is based on ethnicity, culture, religion, race, class or otherwise) to be allowed to dominate or control this, or any other important communications medium. Diversity is the key.

Chapter 3


"American popular culture today is less an ornament of American democracy than a threat to this democracy."

Irving Kristol

Additional motion picture patterns of bias appear in the form of the favored themes and subjects of Hollywood films. Such patterns of bias rise to the level of propaganda. This initial discussion incorporates the comments of many of our best thinkers on propaganda, generally. Others of the comments quoted here apply to the particular communications medium of primary concern to this book (i.e., feature film). The effect of the combination is to provide a context within which motion picture propaganda can be discussed and analyzed.

Some Thoughts on Propaganda--Albert Schweitzer was once quoted as saying that the " . . . organized political, social and religious associations of our time are at work to induce individual man not to arrive at his convictions by his own thinking but to take as his own, such convictions as they keep ready-made for him." This book and the underlying studies supporting the conclusions reported in the chapters entitled "Who Really Controls Hollywood", "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies" and "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" provide cumulative evidence in support of the assertion that the institution of Hollywood as controlled by the major studio/distributors is also at work to induce individuals not to arrive at their convictions by their own thinking but to take as their own, such convictions as Hollywood keeps ready-made for them. In other words, Hollywood movies, taken as a whole, represent the systematic propagation of information reflecting the views and interests of those people who control the medium. And of course, the most dangerous propaganda is that which we do not realize is propaganda, and propagandist feature films disguised as entertainment follow that maxim exceedingly well.

Walter Lippmann (speaking about democratic governments and public policy generally) observed that in any society, the insider group tends to feel that "[t]he public must be put in its place . . . so that we may live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd . . . If they cannot be subdued by force . . . " Lippmann says the insiders assert that " . . . their thoughts must be efficiently controlled; lacking coercive force, authority can only turn to indoctrination to achieve the essential ends . . . " Thus, as Koppes and Black report, "[s]ome view . . . propaganda as a positive alternative to coercion of the population."

Propaganda is defined as the dissemination of ideas, facts or allegations with the expressed intent of furthering one's cause or of damaging an opposing cause. It is the " . . . systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those people advocating such a doctrine or cause."

As Robert Merton observes, "[m]ass persuasion is not manipulative when it provides access to the pertinent facts; it is manipulative when the appeal to sentiment is used to the exclusion of pertinent information." Of course, that is exactly what Hollywood films tend to do, " . . . appeal to sentiment . . . " to the exclusion of a great deal of " . . . pertinent information."



MIT professor Noam Chomsky further explains that a " . . . principle familiar to propagandists is that the doctrines to be instilled in the target audience should not be articulated: that would only expose them to reflection, inquiry, and, very likely, ridicule. The proper procedure is to drill them home by constantly presupposing them, so that they become the very condition for discourse." Numerous false doctrines about the U.S. film industry are routinely circulated as "presuppositions" by the "mouth-piece" of the MPAA, Jack Valenti. On certain issues relating to the film business, Valenti is the chief propagandist of the major studio distributors (see discussions at "The Worlds Greatest PR Machine" and "Myth and Misinformation" in this book's companion volume How the Movie Wars Were Won). Other doctrines or beliefs are routinely and consistently set forth and pre-supposed truths in numerous Hollywood motion pictures (see "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" and "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies").

British author Alexander Cockburn admits to a rather negative view of what Hollywood has accomplished around the world:

"Sometimes the American film industry's mundane economic interests were clothed in exalted language, as when the head of Paramount told the New York Times in 1946, 'We, the industry, recognize the need for informing people in foreign lands about the things that have made America a great country, and we think we know how to put across the message of our democracy.' Of course, while mythology tells us that this message was conveyed through the irresistibly combined charm of American stars, stories and production values, it has actually been force-fed to the world through the careful engineering of taste, ruthless commercial clout, arm-twisting by the U.S. departments of Commerce and State, threats of reverse trade embargoes and other such heavy artillery."

In the late '80s, producer David Puttnam said: "In short, cinema is propaganda. Benign or malign, social or anti-social, the factual nature of its responsibility cannot be avoided." Puttnam also told Bill Moyers in 1989, that "[e]very single movie has within it an element of propaganda . . . " Also writing in the late '80s, film historian George MacDonald Frazer wrote that every " . . . generation is brainwashed, and brainwashes itself . . . " All films, according to Frazer, " . . . may be regarded as a sort of propaganda . . . There is not necessarily anything sinister about this; the most telling propaganda is not that which is manufactured by the mischievous, but that which the author genuinely accepts himself . . . Film-makers' outlooks, incidentally, can be eccentric . . . "

In addition, contemporary writer, director, producer, Reginald Hudlin (House Party and Boomerang) says: "Blacks need to see a greater diversity of images . . . It is both healthy and entertaining to see black people as they actually are. That may not be necessarily all peaches and cream, but if you make good art, if you tell the truth and the character, whether he's a doctor or a pimp, is a fully dimensional human being, then that's the most successful propaganda you can make." Also, Michael Medved, writing as recently as 1992, stated that "[m]ost (film) projects are designed . . . to reach a mass audience--though even such commercial ventures are often marred by shocking or propagandistic elements that have been incongruously imbedded within the material."

Finally, Koppes and Black contend that "[a]ccess to information is crucial to democratic citizenship; hence Americans have usually regarded propaganda, with its connotations of tainted information, with suspicion." That is why, of course, that much of the Hollywood insider community would want us to believe that their films are not propagandistic and that only governments disseminate propaganda. On the other hand, actress Bette Midler at least admits that " . . . movies are like propaganda. They are like instruction . . . " she says, " . . . like messages, and


you can't be vague about what you are saying. If you don't have a vision, you are just acting someone else's point of view."

Early Film Propaganda--In any case, as early as 1898, " . . . during the Spanish-American War (the Vitagraph Company) . . . produced Tearing Down the Spanish Flag . . . " described by the Katz Film Encyclopedia as " . . . probably the world's first propaganda film . . . During WWI, (James Stuart Blackton) directed and produced a series of patriotic propaganda films, the most famous of which, and which he also wrote, was The Battle Cry of Peace--A Call to Arms Against War (1915), based on a hypothetical attack on New York City by a foreign invader."

Thus, film " . . . became an instrument of propaganda in its early years. Lenin considered film 'the most important art,' and popes, presidents, and press agents concurred. During World War I American films such as The Beast of Berlin and My Four Years in Germany touched off anti-German riots in some cities. D.W. Griffith turned his masterful touch to Allied propaganda with Hearts of the World, starring Lillian Gish, in 1918. The Soviet Union had its propaganda masterpieces such as Sergei Eisenstein's Potemkin while Nazi Germany could boast of Leni Riefenstah's Triumph of the Will. In any consideration of propaganda, film took a leading role."

The Griffith propaganda film Hearts of the World was made in partnership with Adolph Zukor. The film " . . . netted a quick profit at the box office and helped ease Griffith's financial burdens." Griffith's The Girl Who Stayed At Home (1919) was also " . . . intended as a propaganda piece to help the U.S. government popularize the idea of the selective draft." Actor Karl Dane (Karl Daen) came to Hollywood from Copenhagen during WWI and " . . . impersonated Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg in three anti-German propaganda features of 1918-19." He also appeared as the " . . . tobacco-chewing doughboy in the WWI epic The Big Parade."

Some of the early Hollywood film moguls themselves recognized that movies can be propaganda. For example, Harry Warner, upon the advent of sound with motion pictures, actually stated: "We think of the film as the greatest of all the media for propaganda . . . (with sound, it) may even serve to eliminate war among the nations." Also, as noted above, certain foreign leaders recognized the essential nature of movies. Lenin, again " . . . intended that the cinema first and foremost should provide the new revolutionary regime with its most effective weapon of agitation, propaganda, and education."

During the 1930s the " . . . antagonism to propaganda was reinforced by the suspicion that British propaganda had helped maneuver the country into war in 1917." Also, during this period, according to Lester Friedman, " . . . most Hollywood film producers attempted to ignore events in Europe as much as possible, lest they be accused of edging America into the war. Once World War II was declared, however, Hollywood plunged headlong into the propaganda business, much to the delight of the supportive federal government." As can be seen, however, from the discussion below, Friedman's observations appear to be somewhat influenced by what he would like to believe "most Hollywood film producers" were supposedly doing, while omitting a reference to the fact that some Hollywood producers (as reported by Koppes and Black), were in fact doing exactly what Friedman suggests the majority was avoiding, (i.e., making movies designed to edge America into the war).

Fraser also states that "[i]t is common to suggest that films of the thirties, and especially of the forties, were vehicles of propaganda." But he appears to be a bit more honest than Friedman. Fraser reports: "Of course they were. The cinema was the most powerful propaganda medium in history . . . during the war it was employed to the full, as television documentaries are never tired of pointing out . . . we knew it was propaganda, and we were all for it . . . Does it ever occur to modern cinemagoers that Dirty Harry and Animal House and Full Metal Jacket and Kramer vs Kramer may be propaganda, too, whether their makers know it or not?" While Fraser admits that many films are propagandistic, he deftly avoided following up on his own earlier statement about films of the thirties and forties by limiting his propaganda label to film released "during the war". As noted below, his earlier statement about films in the thirties also being propaganda appears to be just as accurate. Even so, most spokespersons for the film industry have denied that such films were propagandistic. It would be more honest to admit that most films are propagandistic. Then, the discussion could move on toward just what point of view is being promoted through film, and whether the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry’s movies contain patterns of bias.

One contemporary author, an attorney and a somewhat famous television producer have finally been a bit more forthright about the essential nature of motion pictures. Author Ronald Brownstein (The Power and the Glitter) writing in 1992, reports that the" . . . emerging mindset in Hollywood . . . " reflects " . . . a mass attempt at organizing the industry for a mass public-education campaign . . . " Of course, that is nothing more than a blatant recognition of the truth, that the motion picture is one of the most effective forms of propaganda.

Also, Los Angeles attorney Bonnie Reiss and television producer Norman Lear have both created organizations (the Earth Communications Office and the Environmental Media Association, respectively) specifically for the purpose of insinuating " . . . environmental messages into television programs and movies . . . the two groups shared a common approach to political communications. Each was built on the belief that, through its dominant position in the culture, Hollywood can change political attitudes and personal behavior.

As the Lear' organization argued " . . . in a message to supporters, 'Films, television programs and music have a unique ability to infuse the popular culture with a particular message . . . the public transmission of private propaganda disguised as entertainment.'" In this single statement Hollywood liberal Norman Lear and his organization admitted what so many others in Hollywood have routinely denied: that films can influence behavior (Why else would it be important to "infuse the popular culture with a particular message?) and that movies are propaganda disguised as entertainment.

What follows is a presentation of the case supporting the assertion that a significant number of Hollywood films released prior to the U.S. entry into World War II, were in fact propagandistic, in that they were specifically either anti-fascist, anti-Nazi, anti-isolationist and/or pro-interventionist.

Hollywood Propaganda and World War II--The authors Clayton Koppes and Gregory Black published a book entitled Hollywood Goes to War which purported to be a record of how politics, profits and propaganda shaped World War II movies. The following analysis relies heavily on the research of Koppes and Black, but departs somewhat from their conclusions.

For example, Koppes and Black report, "[t]here was a nest of communists and fellow travelers in the film colony in the 1930s." On the other hand, these authors also state that "[b]ecause of the structure of the industry . . . they had virtually no chance to inject their politics into their products." This latter statements appears to be another case of writers protesting an allegation so strongly that their credibility is severely weakened, at least on this particular point. The history of Hollywood and its relationship with both the Production Code Administration headed by Joseph Breen and the Office of War Information's Motion Picture Bureau is replete with examples of the film industry manipulating the content of films to skirt around the explicit efforts of such offices to control or influence the content of films. How then can any writer make the claim that the studio executives could be 100% successful in preventing well disguised communist propaganda or other sympathetic messages from being included in a film when virtually no one can make such a claim

with regard to the kind of messages the Production Code Administration was trying to prevent or the kind of messages the Office of War Information wanted to see in the Hollywood movies?

Further, on some issues, during this period, the Communist position and the American liberal position was so similar as to be indistinguishable. In addition, the entire series of pro-Russian films produced by Hollywood during this period were filled with messages supported by the Communists. Thus, Koppes', statement that the Hollywood Communists " . . . had virtually no chance to inject their politics into their products . . . " cannot be taken seriously.

It would appear from the record presented by Koppes, Black and others, that Hollywood cooperated with the government before and during World War II when it was in Hollywood's own interest to do so. Thus, when the U.S. government wanted films favorable to the Soviet Union, the film industry gladly complied, but not necessarily because it was in the interest of the U.S. government. The more likely primary motivation appears to be that the people who controlled Hollywood wanted the U.S. to get along with the Soviet Union precisely at that moment in history (when the Soviets were fighting against Hitler). On the other hand, when the U.S. government wanted Hollywood to insert messages in its movies that would help the war effort, the Koppes/Black record verifies that Hollywood's cooperation (certainly in the early years) was dismal at best. In addition, its limited cooperation late in the war only came after a friend of Hollywood was appointed to the government liaison post and his stated objective was not to help the government achieve its aims, but instead to protect the industry. Furthermore, in the year or so before the U.S. entered the war, Hollywood again pursued its own agenda, by inserting anti-Fascist, anti-Nazi, anti-isolationist and/or pro-interventionist propaganda in its films, well before the U.S. government or a demonstrable majority of the American people were ready to support such positions.

It is clear that "[m]ost of Hollywood's efforts during the war centered around doing what it did best--entertaining people . . . " making money and promoting its own interests. In other words, Hollywood exploited the war for its own financial and ideological gain. The Hollywood PR machine, as represented in the writing of Lester Friedman, however, would like for us to believe that the Hollywood " . . . filmmakers added the element of ideological persuasion." According to this self-serving and revisionist view, Hollywood films of the period " . . . not only celebrated democratic virtues and goals for those at home and in allied countries, but they became two-hour furloughs for servicemen, powerful cinematic images depicting just what they were fighting to defend . . . " Again, according to Friedman, "[w]hat emerged from the war years was an acknowledgment of Hollywood's power and influence, forcing industry members and outsiders alike into an even greater awareness of film's impact on society." Of course, this is the same impact on society that many film industry leaders of today would choose to deny (i.e., today, they are claiming that movies do not influence human behavior).

Koppes and Black go on to suggest that the broader issue in Hollywood " . . . involves the question of who actually controls mass market images . . . " and he concludes that the " . . . studio chiefs retained control to the last cut . . . " although these authors contradict themselves by saying that in the case of Mission to Moscow, the film they label " . . . the most overtly political and most scandalous . . . owed its interpretation of events chiefly to Joseph Davies, not to a member of the Hollywood Ten . . . " or the studio bosses. Koppes and Black go on to say that " . . . Hollywood's brief love affair with the Russians was but a facet of a pervasive trend in the national mass media . . . It would have happened had there been not one communist in Hollywood; indeed, it occurred largely without them . . . The pro-Russian pictures are thus proof not that communist influence in the media was profound but rather that it was trivial. The studio heads, like their counterparts Henry Luce or William Randolph Hearst in the print media, established a position and had employees who willingly carried out their wishes. They were less concerned with giving the public what it wanted

(as the Hollywood adage went) than with giving the public what they thought it needed . . . "

This position, once again, illustrates the very essence of propaganda.

Again, it is the contention of this work that Koppes and Black are only partially right on these questions relating to studio executive control of movie messages. The top level studio executives did and still do have considerable influence over the messages contained in the movies their studios release, but there are so many people involved (writers, directors, producers, actors, actresses, etc.) and so many messages to deal with, it is naive to suggest that the studio executives then or now have the time, will, power, judgment or ability to eliminate all messages that are not in the public interest.

Further, the more important question with respect to the Hollywood Ten is not whether they actually succeeded in inserting pro-Communist messages in film, but whether it was reasonable for a Congressional sub-committee to investigate the possibility of that occurring, and of whether such activities might be a threat to the national security of the United States during a period of extremely high tension in international relations. The answer to that question as Koppes and Black would say is " . . . a clear yes!" Again, the Hollywood Ten were not punished for actually succeeding in what was presumed to be their goal, they were punished because they adopted outrageous conduct in the face of clear Congressional authority to investigate.

Koppes and Black continue by arguing that when " . . . the Cold War politics focused attention on the question of 'who collaborated with Russia,' the real answer was not some nest of traitors or fellow travelers, but 'almost everybody' . . . " and unfortunately, this too is somewhat of an exaggeration. It would be more fair for Koppes and Black team to say that a much broader group of people than a nest of traitors or fellow travelers collaborated with Russia during this period, but "everybody" or even "almost everybody" is much too broad.

Finally, Koppes and Black suggest that the " . . . media and the government might have limited themselves to explaining the circumstances that had made the tie with Russians necessary, praising the undeniable contribution they made to the victory over the Axis." It would appear that Koppes and Black would be on firmer ground if they suggested that the Hollywood Ten would have been better off if they had taken this more reasonable stance in their testimony before the Congressional committee instead of being belligerent. If, for example, they had emulated the very liberal Irving Thalberg, who testified before the committee with no subsequent damage to his career, it is possible that there would have been no Hollywood Ten and no controversy worthy of continued debate today.

Koppes and Black accurately suggest that the origin and outcome of the era of Soviet-American friendship should shed light on the postwar controversy over communist influence in the motion picture industry. To frame the issue narrowly they ask the question: "Did Communist Party members and sympathizers determine, or have a significant influence on, the content of films dealing with the Soviet Union?" Koppes and Black say the answer is " . . . a clear no." He points out that of " . . . the Hollywood Ten only John Howard Lawson worked on one of these (pro-Russian) movies."

On the other hand, Koppes and Black again fail to remember that the Hollywood Ten did not go to jail because they were Communists or because they wielded great influence in movies. They went to jail, and thus became the Hollywood Ten, because they were contemptuous of Congress' legitimate authority to investigate their influence on movies. Thus, trying to demonstrate that Communists were not involved in using U.S. films for propaganda purposes by citing the examples of the Hollywood Ten alone is quite inadequate. In addition, the insertion of Communist propaganda


may well have taken place in many other movies besides the so-called pro-Russian movies of 1943, thus suggesting that such an examination be limited to just those movies is also misleading.

In any case, this study (summarized here) concludes with regard to movies and propaganda during the era of World War II, that Hollywood clearly engaged in propagandistic efforts that were anti-fascist, anti-Nazi, anti-isolationist and/or pro-interventionist prior to U.S. entry into the war, clearly made propagandistic pro-Russian films during the war and certainly did not cooperate with the U.S. government during the war as much as some of the pro-Hollywood revisionist writers would lead us to believe. In addition, as demonstrated by the patterns of bias studies detailed below (and in this book's chapters on "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" and "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies"), Hollywood has continued to produce and distribute propagandistic movies following the war, but has merely shifted gears away from the struggle over government propaganda concerns and back to the private propaganda concerns of those who control the film industry. After all, patterns of bias consistently portrayed in a communications medium such as film are implicitly propagandistic.

Hollywood's Preferred Themes--Another study was conducted in an effort to determine which themes Hollywood seems to prefer in its movies (see A Study in Motion Picture Propaganda). The following patterns emerged: a general liberal political slant; a more specific liberal perspective with respect to environmental issues; huge gaps in Hollywood's coverage of historical events; blatant revisionism in the real-events covered; the racial, religious and other pleas for tolerance; more selective coverage of the reality of slavery; a fondness for immigrant stories, positive portrayals of immigrants and a preference for European immigrants over all others; and finally, pathological choices favoring violence, along with movies that glamorize criminals, gangsters, outlaws and the Mafia (for a more detailed analysis of such Hollywood preferences see A Study in Motion Picture Propaganda). It is once again, the contention of this book, that such preferences should not exist, and they would not exist if there was more diversity at all levels in the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry.

First Half Century of Jewish Portrayals--The analysis and discussion provided in this book's chapters entitled "Who Really Controls Hollywood", "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" and "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies", sets forth evidence that tends to show that the Hollywood control group has not been very sensitive (throughout its nearly 90-year reign over the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry), to the concerns of African-Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, women, gay/lesbians, Arabs or Arab-Americans, Asians or Asian-Americans, American Indians, White people from the American South and others, when it comes to the consistent negative or stereotypical portrayals of such populations in movies. Since the combined research of Neal Gabler, Terry Pristin, David Prindle, Patricia Erens and other writer/observers of the Hollywood scene, confirms that traditional Hollywood management still controls and dominates Hollywood, it then becomes materially relevant to consider the results of that control in terms of the kinds of movies produced and released by this control group, (e.g., are Jewish-themed movies actually being produced and released, in disproportionate numbers and do they tend to consistently portray Jewish issues and people in a more favorable manner than these other populations?)

The first half century of films portraying Jewish characters, stories, themes, sub-plots or issues does not appear to demonstrate any hesitation on the part of Hollywood filmmakers to provide such portrayals on the screen, as suggested by other writers. There only appears to have been a temporary emphasis shift in the '30s and '40s with respect to how obvious the ethnicity of Jews on the screen was, and that appears to have been primarily or, at least partially, instigated for business reasons (i.e., in an effort to preserve market share in European countries during the war years).


The Second Half Century of Jewish Movie Portrayals--This survey of Hollywood films (summarized here) depicting Jewish characters, stories, themes, sub-plots or issues confirms that the control of the U.S. film industry exercised by that small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious (see "Who Really Controls Hollywood"), has resulted in a disproportionate number of such films being presented through the medium of film. More stories are being told from or influenced by what might be termed Jewish perspectives and even though some portrayals of Jewish characters are negative, such portrayals are balanced by more positive portrayals of Jewish characters, at least more than the other groups considered earlier (the populations that have been consistently portrayed in a negative or stereotypical manner). Again, if the American motion picture industry was dominated by a different group of people, it is very likely that we would have been watching some very different movies over the years. Which is only to illustrate the point, that the American movie industry should not be dominated by any single or even a few racial, ethnic, religious, cultural or regional groups. The medium should be equally accessible to all, and in a democracy, it is essential that our government insure such access.

To continue the analysis relating to the background of directors begun with the films about the South (see "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers"), of the 383 films noted in the above referenced study in which the directors are identified, at least 153 (or some 40%) have a Jewish heritage. In "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers", only 251 movies were identified as movies about people, places or things from the American South, and of those films, only 29 of them (12%) were directed by directors from the South. These figures show a clear bias not only in favor of films featuring Jewish characters, stories, themes, sub-plots or issues, but a bias in favor of Jewish directors. In addition, however, some 61% (233) of the films in this Hollywood control group study featured actors or actresses with Jewish backgrounds, 25% (97) were produced by producers of Jewish heritage and 29% (112) of the scripts were written by screenwriters of Jewish ancestry.

And finally, the total number of films in the control group study with Jewish elements (i.e., either Jewish characters, stories, themes, sub-plots, issues, directors, producers, actors, actress or screenwriters) came to 301 of the 383 total, or nearly 80%. Of course, these calculations do not consider the number of such films that are based on novels, shorts stories and plays by Jewish authors or literary material controlled by Jewish-owned publishing companies. Nor does this study include the calculations relating to how many of the musical scores for such movies were contributed by composers of Jewish heritage. It also does not consider the facts relating to the extraordinary high percentage of major studio executives that have Jewish backgrounds (again, see "Who Really Controls Hollywood"). The inclusion of such additional factors would raise the total Jewish elements percentage in this body of work, to a figure much higher than the 80% reported above.

It is also appropriate to specifically point out, that in a series of books that allege and provide persuasive evidence that Hollywood is controlled by a small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious, and who have gained and maintain their control over the U.S. film business by unfair, unethical, anti-competitive, predatory, and, in some cases, illegal business practices, including rampant nepotism, favoritism, cronyism, blacklisting and other forms of discrimination, it is most relevant to then show that a disproportionate number of the producers, directors, writers, actors and actresses benefiting from that discrimination, also have a Jewish heritage. The above survey and this book's chapters on "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies" and "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" do just that.

Again, the category of Jewish stories, as used in this book, does not mean that the stories told are exclusively Jewish by their nature. It means that the U.S. film industry has chosen to tell such stories through Jewish themes, characters, through a Jewish perspective or by bringing in concerns of interest to many persons of Jewish heritage through sub-plots. The fact is that if a film industry controlled by Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious, consistently portrays some populations in a negative manner and their fellow Jews in a more positive manner, and this same film industry consistently tells more stories through film from a Jewish perspective, the effect is that the U.S. film industry becomes an instrument of propaganda for those Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious, and such persons are engaged in nothing more than blatant culture promotion, while, at the same time exhibiting culture contempt for all of the non-Jewish cultures represented by the Hollywood outsiders.

It would appear from this partial sampling of American films in recent years (see the companion volume A Study in Motion Picture Propaganda) that the industry controlled and/or dominated by traditional Hollywood management has not hesitated to tell stories relating to the Jewish experience through this important cultural communications and entertainment medium, the feature film. It would also appear from this survey that a significant number of movies have presented issues of concern to many Jews and that the Jewish characters themselves were generally portrayed in those movies in a positive manner (at least in a more positive manner than most other populations); while at the same time the Hollywood decision-makers were also producing and releasing a significant number of movies about many non-Jews that portrayed such persons in a consistently negative or stereotypical manner. It is important to remember that to the extent the group in control of Hollywood is able to produce and release the movies it wants, those groups that do not control Hollywood are, in many instances, precluded from producing and releasing the movies they would like to see on the screen.

As the chapter entitled "Who Really Controls Hollywood" concludes, Hollywood still appears to be controlled by a small group of Jewish males of Eastern European heritage who are (generally speaking) politically liberal and not very religious (the traditional Hollywood management). This chapter (and the underlying basis for its conclusions as reported in the companion volume A Study in Motion Picture Propaganda) confirms that such control is reflected in the kinds and content of the motion pictures produced and released. Thus, so-called mainstream American movies, do not appear to adequately reflect the nation's multi-cultural diversity, but instead appear to reflect a consistent pattern of bias in favor of those who control Hollywood and against those who do not control Hollywood.

If, on the other hand, Jewish males of European heritage who are politically liberal and not very religious choose to portray Jewish people in films in a somewhat negative manner, it may be fair to consider that an intra-cultural matter. But, if the people who control Hollywood (i.e., the Jewish males of European heritage who are politically liberal and not very religious) choose to portray non-Jews in their films, and such non-Jewish people are consistently portrayed in a negative or stereotypical manner, this seems, on the whole, to be much more offensive and intolerable.

It may also be fair to point out that the above described pattern of bias in American films in favor of Jewish stories, favorable Jewish character portrayals and the negative portrayals, suggests a strategy for desperate independent producers seeking to develop or produce films (i.e., that they may have more luck if they associate with a Jewish producer, hire a Jewish director, cast Jewish actors or actresses and/or tell a Jewish story or positively portray Jewish characters. There thus, seems to be some evidence, as set forth above, to suggest that such a phenomenon has in fact already occurred. On the other hand, this book may help to stimulate a needed adjustment in the marketplace with respect to who gets hired to work on films and the ideas turned into films.

In effect, what we currently have is a Hollywood-based U.S. film industry, whose major and most powerful entities (the major studio/distributors) are controlled by a small group-of Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious, and who commonly use other people's money, to hire a disproportionate number of Jewish producers, directors, screenwriters, actors and actresses (and often pay them excessive sums of money), to make films that tell a disproportionate number of Jewish stories and feature a disproportionate number of Jewish themes, sub-plots and/or characters; while at the same time, preventing other religious, ethnic, cultural, racial or regional groups in the U.S. from hiring producers, directors, screenwriters, actors or actresses from such other groups and telling a reasonable number of their important stories through film, or featuring a reasonable number of their preferred themes, sub-plots and/or characters on the screen.

Hollywood's Treatment of Other Religious Minorities--
In contrast to the portrayals of Jews in Hollywood films, other religious minorities in the U.S. are seldom portrayed in such films at all, although when they are they also seem to be portrayed favorably, as opposed to the Christian majority of the U.S. (see the earlier chapter "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" and the more detailed presentation on this subject in the companion volume Patterns of Bias in Motion Picture Content). It is difficult to find U.S. films that portray the Amish and Mormons, but those that provide such portrayals consistently do so in a positive manner. Among all religious minorities, the Quakers seem to be portrayed only slightly more often than the Amish and Mormons, and they too are commonly portrayed in a positive manner. This treatment would appear to reflect the commonality of interests with the majority of Hollywood filmmakers, (i.e., the Quaker's offer that


small group of Jewish males of European heritage who control Hollywood another opportunity to place themes of interest to the Hollywood filmmakers in films).

Significant portrayals in American movies of Islamic, Buddhist or Hinduist religious practices or practitioners is even more rare than those cited above of the Amish, Mormon and Quaker religions. All pale in comparison to the disproportionate attention paid to the religious and cultural aspects of Judaism in Hollywood films. On the other hand, when any of these religions other than Christianity are portrayed in Hollywood films, they are generally portrayed in a positive manner. Filmic portrayals of Christians and Christianity has consistently been negative in recent decades (see "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers"). Once again, when a particular religious/cultural group uses a powerful mass medium of communications to consistently portray themselves for many years in a more favorable light, while consistently portraying another religious/cultural group in a negative manner, such conduct rises to the level of propaganda.

Concluding Observations on Hollywood Movies and Propaganda--The fact that the movie preferences noted above do exist merely provides additional evidence that movies do in fact mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers and that in Hollywood, the people who make the important decisions about which movies are to be produced and distributed, who gets to work on those movies and the actual content of the scripts are in fact, that small group of Jewish males of European heritage who are politically liberal and not very religious as determined in the study set forth in this book's chapter entitled, "Who Really Controls Hollywood".

Some may make the argument that in the above discussed categories and in several others covered in this book, there are not enough movies to be representative. On the other hand, the answer to that argument is that is does not make any difference if a particular Hollywood pattern of bias only appears in a small number of movies, it is still a pattern of bias if there are not approximately an equal number of motion pictures that portray the subject group in the other alternative (i.e., positive vs. negative). Thus, instead of arguing that the sample is not adequate, such persons should accept the burden of stepping forward with a corresponding list of films that portray such persons more positively (for a listing of the actual movies used in the study see the earlier versions of the books upon which these summary chapters are based).

In addition, the movies included in this study were not pre-selected based on their content, they were included simply because they were reviewed by other authors in the several books relied on most heavily for the study: Steve H. Scheuer's Movies on TV and Videocassette, Robert Ebert's Video Companion, Mick Martin & Marsha Porter's Video Movie Guide, Lester D. Friedman's Jewish Image in American Film, Halliwell's Film Guide, Patricia Erens The Jew In American Cinema and Jay A. Brown's Rating the Movies, in addition to a more limited reliance on other sources such as trade paper reviews (see Bibliography).

Based on the study set forth in this book's chapter on "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" and the companion volume Patterns of Bias in Motion Picture Content, Hollywood appears to have an obsession with movies that express anti-Nazi, anti-German, anti-Fascist, anti-totalitarian, anti-right wing, anti-white supremacist, anti-Ku Klux Klan, anti-Southern, anti-government, anti-Republican, anti-conservative and anti-Christian themes, ironically mixed in with pleas for tolerance. The results of the study of films reported in this volume indicate that on the other hand, Hollywood also seems to be compelled to consistently portray Jewish characters, stories, themes, sub-plots or issues in a more favorable manner.



Another result of the recognition by filmmakers of the pattern of bias in films preferred by those who control the film industry, is that more films tend to repeat that same pattern of bias. In other words, if you are an actor, screenwriter, producer or director, and you were aware of the trends revealed in this book, such a person might very well chose to act in, write, produce or direct an anti-Nazi, anti-fascist, anti-religious, anti-Southern movie or anti-Christian movie, knowing that such a theme would very likely increase his or her chances of getting the film made. On the other hand, even if those of us living today accept that World War II and the Nazi treatment of the Jews were the most significant events in the history of mankind, it is the contention of this book that most people today, would rather move on to work toward a better world in the future through the expression of positive sentiments as opposed to the negative sentiments expressed by such movies, or at least by a more balanced combination of presentations and points of view.

At one point in her classic Hollywood interviews, Hortense Powdermaker was told that "[i]f the complaints from members of religious, professional, racial and national groups were all heeded, it would be impossible for Hollywood to make any picture with a villain in it." That blatantly false assertion, of course, is exactly what Hollywood would like for us to believe, and that Hollywood propaganda has been repeated many times since by spokes persons for the Hollywood establishment. A more realistic appraisal would assume that instead of movies without villains, which is really just a Hollywood smokescreen, the film industry's approach to villains should merely eliminate consistent patterns of bias. In other words, if the various racial, ethnic, cultural and religious groups that make up our multi-cultural society were treated more fairly in movies, there would be less reason for anyone to complain about an occasional negative or stereotypical portrayal. Further, since the defenders of the U.S. film industry are fond of pointing out that the many films that portray Jews in a favorable manner relate stories of universal application, it would also be at least hypothetically appropriate to reverse these blatant Hollywood patterns of bias and see how audiences would react to substituting Jewish characters in movies that have portrayed non-Jews in a negative manner, in films made by non-Jews and distributed by companies controlled by non-Jews, all of which also relate stories of "universal application". It is certain that some of the Hollywood establishment would cringe at such a thought.

As noted earlier and as this work clearly reveals, one of the apparent results of a U.S. film industry controlled by a small group of Jewish males of a European heritage who are politically liberal and not very religious, is that they tend to churn out more anti-Nazi, anti-Fascist, anti-religious and other movies exhibiting a recognizable pattern of bias, than would not be the case if the U.S. film industry was actually controlled by a more diverse group of owners, executives and agents who offered greater opportunities to a more diverse group of studio executives, agents, producers, writers, directors and actors.

In would thus appear from the above material and that presented in the underlying study in support of the chapter entitled "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers", as well as "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies", that Hollywood and its movies are not representative of the United States in a cultural, religious, ethnic, racial, regional or political sense. To the contrary, Hollywood movies appear to be more representative of the attitudes of the people who control Hollywood. Interestingly enough, a West German production entitled Fox and His Friends (1975) may provide invaluable assistance to audiences throughout the world in fully understanding what is really going on in Hollywood. The film provides an " . . . extremely bitter outlook on life, showing that even groups that are themselves discriminated against will cavalierly exploit others. After a poor, struggling homosexual comes into a small fortune, he's adopted as sort of a pet by an upwardly mobile gay man and his entourage, who know a good meal ticket when they see one." Steven Scheuer calls the film another of director Werner Fassbinder's " . . . cynical films on the economic miracle of postwar Germany." It is noteworthy that this film would come from Germany and that few, if any, films explicitly dealing with the theme of "discrimination by those who have been discriminated against" have been offered by Hollywood. Thus, Hollywood itself, appears to be one of contemporary society's most blatant examples of discrimination by those who have been discriminated against.

In addition, it is the contention of the book A Study in Motion Picture Propaganda (summarized here) that many of the Hollywood movie patterns of bias discussed, ultimately rise to the level of propaganda because they, in fact represent the dissemination of ideas, facts, allegations or opinions with the expressed intent of furthering a cause or perspective, or of damaging an opposing point of view. These films, as a whole, promote Jews, Jewishness and the Jewish culture while "damaging" other cultures. Since these films form a pattern in their repetitive portrayals (both negative and positive) of certain people, places and things, they also represent a " . . . systematic propagation of . . . information reflecting the views and interests of those people advocating such . . . " information. Thus, the patterns of bias identified here create their own form of movie propaganda.

If those of us who are not in positions of power in Hollywood had the power to make whatever movies we chose, it is certain that we could find some rather arrogant, obnoxious and greedy individuals right here in Hollywood to portray in a negative manner. And if we resorted to portraying those same people in a negative manner over a period of time through a number of movies, someone might conclude that we were using the movies as a form of propaganda directed against those people who were being consistently negatively portrayed. From the standpoint of "people getting along" in this country, such a practice would not be healthy. Someone might even conclude, quite reasonably, that our movie propaganda was divisive and despicable. That would be just as true for our movies as it is for the movies that have emanated from Hollywood during the past nearly 90 year history of the community's existence.

As David Prindle states: "[a] shrill, one-sided liberalism dominates (Hollywood's) . . . attempts to 'educate' the public about important issues. The good citizenship that compels activists to participate in the national dialogue ends by turning them into propagandists. American entertainment becomes a vehicle for conveying the ideas of a tiny and unrepresentative elite." Also, as Noam Chomsky points out, " . . . overwhelming domination of the means of expression ensures that these will be effective, and can be endlessly repeated with impunity, even if refuted . . . " To suggest that propaganda does not exist in films produced and released by the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry is thus, nonsense. Its propaganda is pervasive.

Prindle also says that " . . . because the entertainment media occupy such an important place in the national consciousness, it is disquieting that the people who create movies and television programs show so little diversity in their outlook. Most of us assume that ordinary people learn a great deal about life, love, business, and democracy from the entertainment media. If media products are purveying a one-sided ideology, their potential impact on our society and its politics is immense. If entertainment is conveying a species of disguised propaganda to a trusting public, then it is considerably more than a harmless diversion; it may even be dangerous." A U.S. movie industry controlled or dominated by any single or narrowly defined interest group that consistently portrays certain issues and people in negative or positive ways is engaging in propaganda and the battle for control of that significant medium of communication is extremely important to the future of the world.

The major studio/distributors would like for us to believe that they do not try to control this debate. But using the "free speech", "anti-Semitic", "censorship", "it's just entertainment", "parental responsibility" and "conspiracy" smokescreens (see discussions of these film industry arguments in How the Movie Wars Were Won), they have tipped their hands. Since Hollywood is controlled by a small group of Jewish males of European heritage who are politically liberal and not very religious, and (as conclusively demonstrated in this book's preceding chapters and the supporting detailed books) a disproportionate number of Hollywood movies provide positive portrayals of the Jewish people, religion and culture, along with liberal political positions, while at the same time providing a disproportionate number of Hollywood movies depicting negative portrayals of non-Jewish persons, Christians, White Southerners or conservative political issues, then it is quite fair to argue that many Hollywood movies represent nothing more than the private propaganda of this narrowly defined Hollywood control group.

Chapter 4


"The brazen arrogance of the powerful passes far beyond the imagination of ordinary mortals."

Noam Chomsky

A significant amount of criticism has been directed in recent years at "Hollywood" and its product the feature film. Some of this criticism relates to the kinds of movies that are being made. For example, Los Angeles entertainment attorney Mark Litwak, in his book Reel Power, stated:

"Movies that have something intelligent to say . . . are becoming increasingly rare. In their place moviegoers are served . . . movies that trade on sex and violence and have little redeeming social value . . . Filmmakers and studios make exploitation films when they can't think of anything meaningful to say."

Michael Medved, in his book Hollywood vs. America, went even further, saying:

" . . . tens of millions of Americans now see the entertainment industry as an all-powerful enemy, an alien force that assaults our most cherished values and corrupts our children. The dream factory has become the poison factory."

Other film industry critics, including George Lucas, express concern about the concentration of power in the hands of a few. Lucas described " . . . the state of the movie business as being 'much too narrow. There are too few gatekeepers,' (i.e., the six or seven major studios that keep commissioning movies from the same small number of players in the creative community."

Still others among the film industry critics, like attorney Pierce O'Donnell and journalist Dennis McDougal, dislike the way the Hollywood players conduct business. They say:

"The topsy-turvy amorality of Hollywood is a puzzle to outsiders. Everyone is expected to cover for everyone else. That's how it works. Drugs, whoring, gambling, cheating, assault . . . almost any kind of vice is tolerated in the pursuit of power and profit."

Another group of film industry critics find fault with the high costs of production and the slim chances (for most) of actually participating in the upside potential of their own films. For example, Los Angeles entertainment attorney Peter Dekom stated in a May-June, 1992 American Premiere article:

"On most profitable pictures, net profits are clearly meaningless . . . The studios have created a system in which virtually nobody who has anything to say about costs has any meaningful reward if the costs are brought under control."



In their magazine article "Profit Participation in the Motion Picture Industry", profit participation auditors Steven Sills and Ivan Axelrod estimated that:

" . . . the standard studio deal produces a profit to the participant in less than 5 percent of the pictures released today."

In his book, Risky Business--The Political Economy of Hollywood, David Prindle reports:

"Where power exists, it is likely to be misused--or at least the people over whom the power is exercised are likely to believe that it is being misused . . . Independents accuse the majors of being too lacking in vision to recognize the merit in their films (and therefore refusing to distribute them); or having distributed them, of marketing them incompetently so that they do not make money; or having distributed and marketed them well so that they generate a great deal of revenue, of cheating them out of their just share of the profits."

Writer William Cash, suggested in his 1992 article "Too Many Hoorays for Hollywood" that "[f]ilm-making has increasingly been reduced to instant visual gratification, backed by a heavy-muscle publicity machine that has the world's media fooled into believing that Hollywood executives and actors have some mystic hotline into the soul and values of society."

This book (and the series of companion volumes) initially assumes that if a variety of intelligent people such as those who authored the above quoted statements criticize an industry, the questions they raise ought to at least be further explored in good faith. Presuming for the moment, however, that the problems observed by the above cited commentators do exist, (a topic explored in other chapters of this book and in the companion volumes making up this series on Hollywood), then one of the important threshold questions becomes, and the one question addressed in this chapter is: "Who is responsible?" Thus, that is the focus of this chapter, restated in the form of the slightly reworded question: "Who really controls Hollywood?". This question has been raised before many times, but in the opinion of this author, it has never been answered honestly and accurately, with specificity. It seems that most people confronted with the question are afraid to deal with the truth.

According to Anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker, one characteristic of the film industry is that " . . . certain individuals have power to strongly influence (movies) . . . while others are relatively powerless." The analysis that follows will focus not only on the Hollywood entities, but also the individuals that wield power and control in Hollywood.

There are a number of different levels of analysis that can be applied to the question of "Who controls Hollywood?" First, however, it is important to provide some definition to the terms in question. The term "control" as used herein, means "to exercise restraining or directing influence over" something. In this case, the "something" is Hollywood, which in this country is somewhat synonymous with the U.S. film industry. Thus, "control" as used here does not mean, absolute control, but more or less a "significant influence", and we are interested in who exercises the most significant influence. When we talk about control we may also use the term power, after all, "power" is merely the possession of control or influence over others.

Also, as has been stated many times before, the term "Hollywood" does not refer to a geographical location, rather the "American motion picture industry", an industry which has come to be dominated by individuals and/or entities operating out of the Los Angeles city district called Hollywood and surrounding areas (including West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Burbank, Studio City, Brentwood, Culver City, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, etc). Thus, the question "Who controls Hollywood?" as expressed in this chapter and the associated book really means: "Who exercises the most significant influence over the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry today?"

Industry Segments and Professional Categories
--The first level of this inquiry focuses on the control exercised by various industry segments (distribution, production, exhibition, etc.) and individual categories of professionals, (writers, producers, directors, actors/actresses, agents, attorneys and studio executives). The two areas of discussion and analysis are combined because of the difficulty in separating such categories (e.g., separating individual producers from their production companies). Otherwise, the professional categories are considered in the order in which they ordinarily become involved with a feature film project, although there also may be considerable variety in that progression depending on the specific film.

The industry segment portion of this same inquiry relates to production, distribution, theatrical exhibition, home video, television networks and cable TV). The discussion then evolves into a brief analysis of the relationship of the vertically integrated major studio/distributors to industry segment control versus that of the various independent segments of the industry and continues with consideration of questions relating to the role of the large corporate conglomerates, and issues relating to corporate ownership versus control. This discussion also includes consideration of the big versus small business issues and domestic versus foreign control. Finally, within this segment of the discussion, the classic question of art versus commerce is reviewed. In addition, some discussion is included with regard to the influence of the moviegoing public on the motion picture industry.

Individual Attributes--Since there is a considerable amount of discussion in the industry literature regarding the so-called "insider" versus "outsider" struggle for control of Hollywood (throughout its nearly 100 year history), a third major level of inquiry relates to the individual attributes of the people who are in control positions in the film industry, (i.e., first with respect to what has been the result of the insider/outsider confrontations, then with respect to the male versus female question, and finally with respect to the specific racial, ethnic, cultural, religious and political attributes of the members of the control group.

Nature of Control--Finally, it is important to describe the kind of control with which we are most concerned. For purposes of this book, "control" relates to who determines which movies are made, who gets to work on those movies and who determines the actual content (generally and specifically) of those motion pictures. In addition, this book and its companion volumes How the Movie Wars Were Won, along with The Feature Film Distribution Deal are concerned with the control that determines how motion picture revenues are divided as between all of the individuals and entities making significant contributions to the process of financing, developing, producing, distributing and otherwise exploiting such motion pictures. After all, one of the main theses of this work is that creative control of movies cannot be separated from economic control of the industry. In other words, those who are making most of the money from movies increase their power to come back and make more movies. As we will see, that premise has significant implications for everyone who works in or studies the film industry, all of the moviegoing public and the rest of society.

Relationship of Control and Results--Some of the evidence which forms the basis for the answer to the question "Who controls Hollywood?" takes the form of examining the opposing side of the same question: "Who does not control Hollywood?" Some of the evidence which tends to suggest an answer to that question appears in this book's earlier chapters on "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers", "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies" and "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda". In other words, those chapters and the underlying research sets forth and provides support for the proposition that there are positive correlations between those who control Hollywood and their consistently more positive portrayals in Hollywood movies, as well as a positive correlation between those who do not control Hollywood and their consistent negative or stereotypical portrayals in Hollywood movies.

Studio Clarification--Also, for purposes of advance clarification, we must understand that some of the authors cited in the following pages refer to the distributor-dominated, vertically integrated major studio/distributors as "studios", while others may choose the label "majors". It is important that readers realize that these so-called major studio/distributors (the term preferred in this book ) are the same entities. They are vertically integrated in the sense that most (but not all) of them own physical studio facilities where films are produced, have affiliated production companies or divisions, function as film distributors throughout the world, and in some instances own theatres either in the U.S. or elsewhere. Thus, as used herein, the terms "studios", "majors" and "major studio/distributors" refer to the same vertically integrated, distributor-dominated film company organizations.

The Genesis of Films--One of the interesting phenomena observed in the film industry is that the impetus for a particular film project may come from any number of sources. For example, the idea for a movie may come from a studio executive, a screenwriter, a director, a producer, an actor or actress and any number of other people some of whom do not even work in the film industry. The next step in the process usually involves expressing that idea for a movie in some written form, (i.e., an outline, a synopsis, a treatment or a screenplay). Thus, while literally anyone can come up with an idea or a concept for a movie, not everyone can reduce that idea to a written form that has value and thus creates in others a desire to own the property. Further, having reduced the idea to a written form, not everyone has access to the people in the industry who can steer it through the process of making a movie. As we will see, the quality of the property does not always guarantee access to people with the power to make films happen. And, access to these people is carefully guarded by the so-called Hollywood insiders.

On the other hand, people who come up with an idea for a movie may be able to hire a writer to reduce the idea to treatment or script form, but that generally takes money. Thus, again, control tends to follow money. Control of a film project usually follows some ownership right and that ownership right, except in instances where a writer/producer comes up with the idea and writes the script, usually involves the option or purchase of a screenplay. If a screenwriter comes up with the idea for a movie and writes a screenplay on spec, the screenwriter controls that project, at least for awhile (i.e., until it is purchased by a producer, production company, studio or other individual or entity for purposes of development and/or production). The same would be true of a director or producer who hires a screenwriter to draft a screenplay. Ownership of the resulting screenplay would generally be held by the director or producer who hired the screenwriter, thus, control of the project resides with that owner, for a period of time, at least.

Civil War in Hollywood--As David Prindle points out, Hollywood " . . . is riven with quarrels: management versus labor, artists versus business people, and producers versus distributors, to name three perennial sources of civil war." The question addressed in the first part of this chapter relates to who among these civil (and not so civil) combatants has, at least for the moment, won the war. The analysis of that question will necessarily involve a review of many developments throughout the nearly 100 year history of the film industry (the discussion relating to how they won the war is presented in this book's companion volumes How The Movie Wars Were Won and The Feature Film Distribution Deal).




It's Still the Major Studio Executives
--After all of the above described analysis of control in Hollywood was performed, the final results demonstrate that among individuals, even though some are convinced that the top agents hold the cards in Hollywood, the consensus among various writers who have studied, observed or participated in the activities of the Hollywood community, for granting the "most powerful" label still goes to the top studio executives of the most successful major studio/distributors. Powdermaker observed as early as 1950 that the" . . . locus of power is in the front-office executives who control the artists . . . " And, Ronald Brownstein, writing as recently as 1992, also confirmed, that even though " . . . power began to diffuse in Hollywood after the Justice Department--reopening the antitrust suit temporarily settled in 1940--won judgments through the late 1940s requiring the studios to sever themselves from their theater chains, the moguls in 1952 remained the industry's dominant force." Of course, in many instances, today, the front-office executives that Powdermaker studied do not control the artists, the agents do. That is at the very heart of the debate.

Other than controlling stars, though, studios do still " . . . have the money, and . . . " according to screenwriter/author William Goldman " . . . that's always where the power lies." Kent agrees, saying, the " . . . companies are running Hollywood because the companies are where the money is, and money runs the business." There is also power associated with the ability to greenlight a movie. As Dawn Steel reveals, the " . . . green light to get a movie made is the highest power in Hollywood and can only come from the very top . . . " at the studios.

As Nicolas Kent explains, " . . . there are only two people who matter, the president of production and the studio boss." In addition, the " . . . prime responsibility of the man or woman who runs a studio is to choose what movies the studio will make each year." Not only to choose from the movie projects that are available but to create circumstances under which the best projects are offered to the studio. Thus, studio executives have a high level of control over decisions relating to which movies are greenlighted for production by a studio and which movies are selected for distribution. In addition, as Mark Litwak reports, within the studio, " . . . marketing and distribution executives have begun to dominate studio decision-making."

With respect to her job as vice president of production at Paramount, Dawn Steel said: "[m]y job was not only to find and develop movie ideas, but also to establish relationships with 'talent'--directors, writers, producers, actors--and their agents and lawyers. My job was to convince them to bring their ideas to me. Not to another studio, not to another executive, but to me." Dawn Steel makes it clear that the lower level studio executives do not have the power. She said that even " . . . if you are a vice president of production, you have no authority. You can't buy material, you can only advocate or influence." Although, there " . . . are . . . examples of readers being fired for refusing to change their coverage to support an executive's pet project . . . " few other than readers have to fear the lower-level studio executive.

Dawn Steel explained that when Barry Diller was at Paramount, he " . . . ran Paramount on an advocacy basis. At that point, the studio was making maybe fifteen movies a year." Dawn Steel said it was up to her " . . . to try to make at least two of those movies mine. But no one in the room wanted those movies to be mine. Nobody supported any ideas except his or her own." Clearly, though, as a significant source of development and production financing and through their various associated film element approval rights, the major studio/distributors are able to exercise a


considerable amount of power over film projects (see related discussions in How the Movie Wars Were Won and The Feature Film Distribution Deal).

In other words, since most of the development, production and distribution costs associated with most of the films released by the major studio/distributors are contributed by or are arranged through the efforts of the studio, and in turn the studios demand advance approval rights for each of such films' screenwriter, producer, director, lead actors, budget, running time and MPAA rating (at minimum), it is clear that the studios and their top executives have a great deal of power over which movies are made, who works on the movies and the content of those movies. It is also clear that they exercise more of such power over a larger body of films than the vast majority of others involved, including agents.

Even though there is a considerable amount of power involved, the higher level studio executive positions can be difficult. As David McClintick reports in his Indecent Exposure, " . . . studio presidencies were the most difficult jobs in Hollywood . . . " In addition, the Wall Street Journal quoted former Paramount and Universal chief executive Ned Tanen (shortly after he left Paramount in June of 1989) saying, "[i]t's a job that just eventually wears you down. You're constantly dealing with overpriced actors who aren't remotely worth what they're asking, out-of-control directors with inflated opinions of themselves and quixotic unions that don't face current realities." Tanen is also quoted in Nicolas Kent's book expressing the rather common sentiment that: "[n]ot a great many people want these (top studio) jobs anymore." On the other hand, Tanen is more likely talking about the people he knows, those people who are already top agents, attorneys or talent who like where they are in the system. Thus, what he is really saying is that not a lot of people who these insider's want to have the studio jobs actually want the studio jobs. The truth is that there are thousands of people would like to take a crack at being the head of a studio or the head of production but the people who get to recommend them exclude most of these out of hand, for what are very arbitrary reasons (i.e., they are not members of the Hollywood insider's group).

Before Dawn Steel got the job, when the studio's board was " . . . discussing who was going to fill the Columbia presidency, at the top of the list were " . . . the people who had already had the job of running a studio and succeeded (there was no one available). Then there would be people who had run a studio and failed (a couple of those people were available). There would be people who hadn't yet done the job, but who had had success as heads of production." After she was selected, Steel explained that " . . . one of my big jobs was to win talent back to Columbia--good directors, producers, writers and actors."

Screenwriter William Goldman makes the somewhat dubious claim that "[s]tudios rarely initiate projects anymore." If, on the other hand, he really means that studios rarely initiate most of the film projects that they actually end up releasing, he may be more on target. Even though studios still initiate plenty of projects with their development deals, in many instances those are not the projects that actually get produced or released. In that sense, actually initiating film projects has not been the primary objective of the major studio/distributors for many years. It is their more important goal to control the production and distribution of films and that can be done without actually initiating all or most of their own projects. As stated earlier, all kinds of people within and without the film industry, initiate film projects, but few have the resources to actually produce and distribute. Thus, the people who seek to initiate projects generally have to take their projects to the major studio/distributors one way or another, if they want most American moviegoers to see their effort.

Another way to compare the power of studio executives to say, talent agents, who seem to be the closest rivals, is to look again at the Premiere Magazine power list. Twenty-five studio executives are among the four year compilation of Premiere Magazine's annual power list reproduced in Christopher Reynolds' 1994 Hollywood Power Stats, whereas, only 14 agents were listed. Thus, again, it may be fair to observe that although a few agents are very powerful with respect to a small number of film projects, the highest level studio executives have a great deal of power with regard to an even larger body of motion pictures that are seen by the vast majority of moviegoers.

Of course, the power of the studio executive is somewhat diminished to the extent that a particular regime at a studio cannot stay in place for any significant length of time. Although " . . . it should be in the studio's interest to ensure that the movies made by the previous regime make money, often the new boss and the attendant minions have little enthusiasm when it is time to distribute and market those movies to the general public." "When a company changes leadership, the new landlords usually want their own people to run the show."

Frequent changes in management tend to make a studio weak. As Nicholas Kent points out, " . . . in the last ten or fifteen years studios have changed their management with great regularity whereas agencies have enjoyed more continuity." In addition, as independent producer Roger Corman reports, " . . . nowadays in the studio system . . . people, for purely political motives, will try to create a crisis or problem and then solve it so they look like heroes . . . " Powdermaker observed that same phenomenon some forty years earlier, saying " . . . many of the crises (in Hollywood) are unnecessary and artificially stimulated . . . " They are created to provide an advantage for someone involved.

Also, the power of the studio executive shifts once the go ahead is given to a particular film project. "Except for the most extraordinary circumstances . . . the only legitimate leverage the studio has after green-lighting the film is a veiled threat not to rehire the director or the producer in the future." Thus, once the studio's green-light has been given and funds are being expended, the studio executive's power is somewhat reduced with respect to the current project in relation to the producer or director. This is not entirely accurate either, since as a condition of providing the production money, and for promising to expend distribution funds in the future, the studio requires the producer and director to deliver the film specified in their agreement including the actors, the same script without significant deviation, for a certain running time and with a specified MPAA rating.

Some in the industry are suggesting that we may see a return to an even stronger studio. According to Paul Rosenfield, "[w]hat studios were until the '60s--a home base-is what agencies have become . . . " He predicts that the " . . . next possible shift (may be) . . . a return of the studio as home base, as seen in Disney's signing of Tom Hanks and Carol Burnett to Midler-like deals."

In any case, it is clear that the top level studio executives continue to have a high level of power over most of the film projects undertaken to be produced or financed by the studio, even though some of the top agents may be in a position, in certain instances, to influence the exercise of that power. With that in mind, it is important to examine more closely who these top level studio executives are and have been during the history of Hollywood.

Thus, we ask the question: Who are these studio executives? "Mostly, today, (according to William Goldman) they are (former) agents . . . " He reports that " . . . [a]gents become studio heads primarily for one reason: No one else will undertake the occupation . . . it's better then being an agent. There's more power and generally there's more money." Again, this really means that there are only a limited number of prospective studio executives within the ranks of that small group of Hollywood insider's who control such jobs. If the Hollywood insider's expanded their concept of who might do those jobs to include a more diverse group of people, again, there would be plenty of available and qualified individuals very interested in working as studio executives. On the other hand, they might not continue the tradition of reciprocal preferences amongst the Hollywood insiders, thus they are not generally considered.

The second part of the Goldman statement suggests there is more power being a studio executive and more money. Again, it depends on your perspective. If you are one of the top agents, you are probably making more money than many of the top studio executives and you probably have more power than most of the studio executives, at least with respect to the careers of your top clients and the limited number of film projects with which they are involved. So, the studio executive positions, more often than not, go to the mid-level agents many of whom got their jobs in the first place, because they were born with access to the ranks of the Hollywood insider's club. The issue of who these studio executives are will be examined more closely in the next section under the heading "Individual Attributes of the Hollywood Insider Group".

The Hollywood Insider Phenomenon--Still another level of analysis relating to the question of "Who controls Hollywood?" and the one that goes to the heart of the issue, is to examine the so-called Hollywood insider versus outsider phenomenon, and how such individuals (i.e., the insiders) are precisely defined. Hollywood has been regularly characterized in film industry literature (and pretty much appears to be) an insider's game, that is, a competitive industry viewed as a contest between rival factions and run by a restricted inner circle of people, admission into which is limited by arbitrary considerations. The dean of modern American journalism, Walter Lippmann, talked and wrote about insiders in his more general teachings about democracy, in which he warned about "insiders" who "serve the interest of private power . . . " These so-called "insiders" in the film industry are also sometimes referred to as being "members of the club". Although different people may use varying criteria for defining who or how many people are actually "members of the club", in a general sense these "club members" are the top level owner/executives of the major studio/distributors, along with a small group of the top producers, directors, agents and attorneys, along with a few actors and actresses.

Although he did not pursue the issue, Medved acknowledged the existence of the Hollywood insider/outsider dichotomy, saying the " . . . members of this enduring establishment display an almost tribal solidarity whenever their achievements or attitudes are attacked--or even questioned--by outsiders." Attorney Pierce O'Donnell similarly acknowledged the phenomenon, pointing out that they " . . . might seem like competitors, but studio brass were interchangeable. When outsiders threatened their comfortable arrangement, they circled the wagons. Their only true loyalty was to one another."

Michael Josephson of the non-profit Institute for the Advancement of Ethics expresses the insider/outsider conflict in terms of a class struggle, saying Hollywood is " . . . divided into two basic classes. 'There is the under-class who are just struggling to get a job . . . the successful class who compete only among each other . . . " Although not totally inaccurate, expressing the Hollywood insider/outsider conflict in terms of a class struggle is somewhat off the mark. Similarly, William Goldman expressed the concept as caste related, saying: "Hollywood has always been a caste-system town." Again, the caste characterization does not reach the fundamental issue of who really controls Hollywood. Entertainment attorney Peter Dekom expressed the insiders' attitude about outsiders in more predatory terms, saying: "Hollywood eats outsiders for breakfast." As with others before, however, Dekom does not add to our understanding of exactly who these Hollywood insiders are and he does not help us understand whether the business practices utilized to "eat" outsiders for breakfast are legitimate (see 337 Reported Business Practices of the Major Studio/Distributors).



Hollywood publicist Paul Rosenfield refers to the Hollywood insiders' group as "The Club" and he thought so much of their preeminence that he titled his 1992 book about Hollywood The Club Rules. Rosenfield specifically asserts that "the club" controls show business. In his words, the club " . . . which controls show business--is provocative because it's based not just on connections or power or style--but all of these together--and it prefers to remain private." Rosenfield further states that "Club traditions are very deeply rooted, the way traditions were in the Old Country--and they must be paid attention to." Rosenfield does not make it clear whether he is referring to a specific "old country" or a number of different European countries from which most of the Hollywood insider's can trace their ancestry, including Russia, Germany, Austria and Poland (see Ephraim Katz' Film Encyclopedia). Rosenfield, thus may be referring to the fact that most of the people in the Hollywood insider's club are direct descendants of fairly recent immigrants from Europe whose loyalty to their extended family or ethnicity is still dominant. Rosenfield also fails to systematically analyze the racial, ethnic, religious and/or cultural backgrounds of the club members.

Rosenfield does, however, go on to say that a person needs " . . . billions to buy . . . " his or her way into the Hollywood insider's club " . . . and even then it's iffy . . . more than anything else . . . " he states, " . . . you had to play by the rules." But, Rosenfield's concept of the insider's group that control's Hollywood is more expansive than most. He suggests, for example, that there are " . . . a thousand people floating around the top of this world--and they all know each other. They make money together, and sometimes they make magic--and almost always they protect each other. They are the club that controls show business--the attorneys, agents, talents, studio chiefs, and bankers--and they know who they are." The ten years of work in Hollywood and research that went into the writing of this book and the associated series on Hollywood, including the observations of others who have written about this phenomenon, make it clear that it is even more accurate to say that the U.S. motion picture industry is dominated by a small group of vertically integrated major studio/distributors and talent agencies, the vast majority of whose top executives and their associates are members of an insider's group who routinely move from company to company within that small group of major studio/distributors and agencies (see the discussion relating to the "Executive Shuffle or Musical Chairs" in the companion volume How the Movie Wars Were Won).

Rosenfield, for example, makes the claim in his book that certain movie stars are actually considered to be in "the club". On the other hand, he goes on to say, they are there for a reason, (i.e., " . . . every movie star in the club--and there aren't that many--is in the club because of sex (read "sexuality") . . . " In other words, he observes that " . . . stars . . . are part of the club machinery, the public part." Rosenfield thus, is admitting that the stars are involved with the Hollywood insider's club merely as window dressing. It thus appears, that stars are by definition not really members of "the club".

Lawyer and former Universal Pictures business affairs executive Rudy Petersdorf agrees that talent seldom gets into the Hollywood insider's club. He is quoted in Pierce O'Donnell and Dennis McDougal's book Fatal Subtraction as saying: " . . . talent can only move from one lower caste to a slightly higher caste. A select few get to be gross players, but they are still only talent. They never get into The Club. As soon as their box office draw diminishes, they descend back down the caste ladder . . . " Rosenfield also later admits that " . . . the club is comprised of more business people than creative people . . . " and suggests how unlikely it is that talent will actually be included in "The Club" by reporting on the attitude of club members toward talent. He states that " . . . these businessmen believe they are not going to be played with by the talent." In other words, the top studio executives and agents look on talent as something to exploit, and little more.



Although some may argue that the huge salaries per film being made to some actors and actresses suggests that talent has power, it must be remembered that such talent is represented by agents, lawyers, managers and accountants, many of whom are members of the Hollywood insider’s club, and who siphon off a significant amount of those huge salaries. Thus, it appears that the huge salaries are merely a mechanism for transferring the wealth from the major studio/distributors to others within the Hollywood insider community.

In any case, even though some writers and observers of Hollywood disagree as to exactly how many people are actually to be considered members of the Hollywood insider group, the existence of the insider phenomenon is well documented in the industry literature. Further efforts to more precisely define the characteristics of the members of this insider group that controls Hollywood will be discussed below.

Individual Attributes of the Hollywood Insiders

Men vs Women
--Women have long been recognized as one of the disenfranchised minorities in Hollywood. For example, in his book An Empire of Their Own, author Neal Gabler noted the scarcity of women in the studio's higher echelons during the industry's early years. David McClintick, writing about the Hollywood of the 1970s confirms it was dominated by men in that period, also. He said, " . . . Hollywood . . . was much like the Hollywood of old. It remained a highly oligarchical institution run by a handful of entrepreneurial businessmen . . . ." In fact, it took the industry nearly 75 years to permit the first woman president of production at a major studio. "Sherry Lansing (became) . . . the first woman president of production at Twentieth Century-Fox . . . or anywhere . . . (in) 1980." Then "Sherry Lansing (became), the first woman to run a studio (and), lasted just three years as president of Twentieth Century Fox."

Subsequently, the " . . . first half of 1989 was the season of Dawn Steel. Suddenly the first woman executive star since Sherry Lansing . . . " Dawn Steel was named President of Columbia in October of 1987. She had previously served as the head of production at Paramount. She was " . . . only the third woman to have a chance at (being head of production at a major studio). She was " . . . preceded by Sherry Lansing at Fox and Paula Weinstein at United Artists."

Although Dawn Steel and Sherry Lansing represent the highest level of achievement in the executive suites of the major studio/distributors, and two high level women executives in the nearly 100 year existence of the industry is not a good record at all, women have not fared much better in other segments of the film industry. Daily Variety reported in 1991 that " . . . only 11 of . . . 207 feature-film directing jobs (surveyed) went to females." In addition, Howard Rodman reported in 1989, that of " . . . the 170 members of the American Society of Cinematographers, exactly one is a women."

One or two brief success stories for women studio executives, are not sufficient to indicate a trend, even a trend that comes much too late. The highest level female who has truly been substantially involved in producing and directing a feature film to appear on the 1992 Entertainment Weekly annual list of the 101 most powerful people in entertainment was Barbara Streisand. But, she was only 48th on the list and actually comes from a singer/actress background. The two women who precede her on the list (Madonna at #10) is primarily a singer/dancer and Oprah Winfrey (at #11) has been a television talk show hostess).

The Christopher Reynold's four-year combined report on the Premiere Magazine annual entertainment industry power lists reveal that the highest ranking female studio executive was Sherry Lansing, who ranked 11th in '93, 83rd in '92, 73rd in '91 and 42nd in '90. No other female studio executive even appears on the list which covers four years and includes 153 names in all. Only 16 women are on this combined list and twelve of those are creative people (directors or performers). The other four include one agent, two independent producers and the madam of a Hollywood prostitution ring, which says quite a bit about the value placed on women in an industry dominated by men.

Thus, it appears clear that women have not fared well amongst the Hollywood "good ole' boys" when it comes to competing at the highest levels among the studio executives and in the top talent agencies, not because they cannot compete, but because they are simply not allowed to compete. Keep in mind that the top-level studio positions are where the power lies with respect to which movies get made, who gets to work on those movies and the content of those movies.

On the agency side, in late 1992, a half-dozen well paid female agents departed en masse from the well-known talent agency CAA. Premiere's Corie Brown wrote that in " . . . a town rife with appalling sexism, where women are judged the way the USDA grades lamb chops, the departure [of these women] . . . may seem relatively insignificant. But CAA stands as one of Hollywood's most influential institutions. This gender gap won't be solved overnight . . . " Brown wrote " . . . then again, neither will the just-us-guys attitude that keeps women on the periphery of power."

To further illustrate one of the subtle ways in which women and others are excluded from the inner circle of Hollywood, early in 1992, " . . . CAA encouraged its young male agents to join Peter Guber and his fellow power brokers on one of Guber's 'fishing' (read 'networking') trips to Cabo San Lucas. No women were invited." In other words, women executives in the film industry were arbitrarily excluded from an important industry networking opportunity. A similar "all-boys" excursion for studio and industry players, this time a rafting adventure down the Colorado River, was held in September of 1993. Meanwhile for the record, CAA's Michael Ovitz stated that the " . . . problem of not enough women in leadership positions in the entertainment industry is an industry-wide problem that has existed for too many years . . . "

Former studio executive Dawn Steel also ran up against the all-male recreational outing. She reports that " . . . Jeffrey (Katzenberg) organized a raft trip every year. It was all men; actors, writers and agents and directors--and these were always the most interesting men. One year Tom Cruise went. I was desperate. Forget the fact that enormous amounts of business got done on that trip, these guys had a ball! I kept saying, 'I want to go,' and Jeffrey would say, ' No girls. Noooo girls.' They never did let me go."

Variety's Peter Bart reported in his September 1992 article "Rules of the Club" on a seminar which " . . . brought together high-achievers among women in showbiz . . . [for a discussion] on how to deal with the 'boys' club in Hollywood." He reported in a true understated fashion that an " . . . overall impatience [exists] among women with their status in the entertainment community." (Also see the discussion relating to "Unequal Employment Opportunities" in the following chapter entitled "Legacy of the Hollywood Empire").

There are several sides to the opportunities for women question in Hollywood. The opportunities for women in the upper echelons of the major studios is just one, and clearly with respect to that one gauge of the progress of women, Hollywood has not performed well. (For a discussion of how women have fared in Hollywood on the creative side, again, see "Unequal Employment Opportunities" in "Legacy of the Hollywood Empire".)

Even so, if we recognize, as discussed earlier, that most of the power in Hollywood to effect the kinds of movies that are made, who works on those movies and the content of those movies, rests in the hands of the top studio executives, and in some instances with a few of the more powerful talent agencies, and very few of the top studio executives and top agents are women, then it must be safe to conclude that women are generally outsiders to the Hollywood insiders' group. Otherwise, such discrepancies would not exist. It is also then clear that the Hollywood insider's group is predominantly made up of men.

Political Leanings
--Both David Prindle and Ronald Brownstein confirm that the vast majority of people involved in Hollywood filmmaking at all levels are politically liberal. Brownstein writes in his book The Power and the Glitter--The Hollywood-Washington Connection, that in " . . . Hollywood, liberal politics began with the word. The coming of sound to motion pictures brought to California actors and especially screenwriters trained in the theater and immersed in the radical traditions of New York leftist politics . . . " Brownstein also points out that in Hollywood, there is a " . . . lack of stars willing to publicly embrace conservative causes . . . " a situation that not only reflects caution " . . . but also the community's political imbalance." The most visible Hollywood spokesman for conservative causes, Charlton Heston, admits that the " . . . Hollywood Community is probably as liberal as any community outside the university faculty . . . "

This general tendency toward political liberalism does not mean that there is no political support for conservative candidates among the studios or their executives. On the other hand, that support appears to be more politically expedient than an expression of personal political orientation. As Milton Sperling recalled, "[e]ven the Warner brothers hedged their bets . . . " Sperling states: " . . . I think Jack went the other way [and supported the GOP] in 1940 . . . It was a family decision: they wanted to have one foot in each camp." Nat Perrin also reports that " . . . [e]ven at Louis Mayer's MGM, the most conservative of studios, '[t]he writers were naturally more liberal . . . "

Brownstein further reports that back in more contemporary times (in the 1980s) no

" . . . group on the right sought to recruit the young stars; in fact, with the exception of Heston and the handful of other conservatives defending Reagan, the right was virtually invisible in Hollywood as the Brat Pack awakened to politics . . . almost all of the activist role models in the community were liberals--not only Fonda, but figures such as Mike Farrell, Warren Beatty, Robert Redford, and Ed Asner. The liberal attitudes of the young stars reflected, above all, the extent to which liberalism dominated the Hollywood artistic community."

As David Prindle reported in his 1993 book Risky Business-The Political Economy of Hollywood, "Hollywood's liberal political slant influences the sorts of stories its citizens want to tell and colors the way they interpret objections to those stories." Prindle goes on to say that " . . . it is not Hollywood's willingness to embrace national problems in movies and on television that is disturbing. It is the relentless one-dimensional viewpoint that dominates the films and television that come out of the industry." Thus, the available evidence supports the conclusion that the small group of men at the top in Hollywood, and others associated with them, are politically liberal (also see the discussion under the heading "Liberal Political Slant" in the earlier chapter entitled "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers").

Racial, Ethnic, Cultural and Religious Considerations

Secular vs Religious Community--Most of the sources of information on Hollywood listed in the bibliography for this book do not even discuss whether the community's studio executives and others are very active in churches or synagogues. According to Medved, however, the men who run Hollywood, do not appear to be very religious. Since Medved also holds himself out as a very religious person of Jewish faith, it is quite likely that he would be aware of the religious tendencies of much of the close-knit Hollywood community. In addition, however, Medved points out that the " . . . best available study of the industry establishment (for 'Public Opinion', 1983) shows that 93 percent of (the entertainment community) . . . attend no religious services of any kind . . . " Further, the patterns of bias exhibited in Hollywood motion pictures also support the thesis that Hollywood filmmakers, as a general rule, are not actively involved in organized religion (see the chapter entitled "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" and the companion volume Patterns

of Bias in Motion Picture Content
. Thus, without conflicting evidence to the contrary, it is safe to conclude that as a general rule, the men who control Hollywood are not very religious.

Dominance of White Males--As recently as the summer of 1992, Los Angeles litigating attorney Pierce O'Donnell raised the question of the racial characteristics of the men who control Hollywood when he described the contemporary management of the U.S. film industry, in his Beverly Hills Bar Journal article "Killing the Golden Goose: Hollywood's Death Wish" (without consideration of religious or cultural affinities) by stating that "[a]n elite clique of two dozen white males manage the major studios and control virtually all of the movies distributed in the United States."

Prindle reports similar observations relating to the racial characteristics of those who control the U.S. film industry saying " . . . Hollywood is largely peopled by young white males. Surveys conducted by various organizations in the late 1980s documented that the industry's work force barely begins to reflect the ethnic and gender composition of American society."

Lawyer and former Universal Pictures business affairs executive Rudy Petersdorf echoed these observations in Fatal Subtraction saying: "[s]tudios are like a secret club. Their whole raison d'etre is to perpetuate the privileged, luxurious lifestyle of a select few white males . . . They don't care about the stockholders . . . They don't care about the talent. And they don't care about the quality of the movies. They want to perpetuate their power and huge incomes. So when a studio head falls from grace, he never falls far from the trough. He gets an independent production deal or gets hired by another studio. He is still a member of The Club."

O'Donnell and McDougal later reiterated in the same article cited above that "[f]or the most part, ultimate power in Hollywood rests with an exclusive group--The Club-of two dozen white males, too many of whom have little or no taste, are not intellectually curious or well read, do not see many movies, and seldom watch plays. Almost none have been filmmakers, writers or directors; instead, Club members are self-selected from the ranks of law firms, talent agencies, television networks, and other studios." Without raising the more specific issues of religious or cultural heritage, and notwithstanding the arbitrariness and irrelevance of placing a precise number on the size of Hollywood's inner circle, O'Donnell and McDougal are clearly critical of the way the U.S. film industry is run and places the primary blame directly on that small group of "white males".

O'Donnell and McDougal further observe in their 1992 book Fatal Attraction that

" . . . a fired studio boss usually lands on his feet--either at another studio, his own production company or a talent agency. It is one big happy Club . . . " they say, again making reference to the fact that membership in that club is " . . . reserved almost exclusively for white males." The O'Donnell/McDougal writing team go on to say that "[b]y their bad taste, lack of creativity, biases, and anti-competitive business practices, many studio executives have abused the public trust . . . "

In another variation on the same statement by McDougal and O'Donnell, the pair report that a " . . . handful of greedy men with often questionable talent ran the movie business like a private emirate . . . They were members of a loosely knit club who moved in and out of studio hierarchies, made mega-bomb movies and still bounced back, never seeming to lose a paycheck in the process. They held all the power, scratched each other's backs and operated the industry at the expense of others, hiding their lucrative dealings behind a cloak of accounting and contractual secrecy that rarely saw the antiseptic light of a public trial." The reference to "others" in the phrase "at the expense of others", refers to the corporate shareholders of the major studios, all net profit participants including actors, actresses, writers, producers, directors and outside investors, and even gross profit

participants considering the prospects for thievery inherent in the settlement transaction (see the related discussions in How the Movie Wars Were Won and The Feature Film Distribution Deal).

O'Donnell and McDougal continued by saying that this " . . . Hollywood executives club surfaced as a group from time to time: during Hollywood charity dinners, labor negotiations with the guilds, Beverly Hills bar mitzvahs, (which is as close as the McDougal/O'Donnell team come to suggesting a religious/cultural heritage for the group) Motion Picture Association of America meetings and celebrity funerals. Most of the time, however, the studio cabal remained an informal network with one overriding credo: Don't rock the boat. All of that was popular knowledge in the film business, but no writer or producer or actor or director had been able to break the system's grip for almost a century because everyone who made movies was genuinely afraid of the old Hollywood adage: if you buck the system, you'll never work in this town again."

In addition, director Spike Lee actually had to "shame" Oscar-winning director Norman Jewison " . . . into backing out . . . " as the director for Malcolm X " . . . on the grounds that this crucial biography should be directed by an African-American . . . " The film subsequently " . . . went $5 million over budget . . . (and the) [c]ompletion bond company took control of the production . . . " Lee said that's when he learned " . . . how little power African Americans have in Hollywood." Lee then solicited "[c]ontributions from black celebrities (which) helped (him) . . . carry on until the studio reluctantly let him finish the film his way."

Thus, it appears that McDougal, O'Donnell, Petersdorf, Prindle and Lee are all correct in asserting that Hollywood is dominated by a small group of white males. And it also appears to be true (as reported by Prindle, Brownstein, Heston and Medved) that the individuals who make up this group of white males are politically liberal. In addition, as Medved and Public Opinion observe, the members of the Hollywood insiders' club are not very religious. Unfortunately, that is not the whole story with respect to the specific characteristics of the Hollywood insiders' club that are relevant to the kinds of movies we see, and to limit the analysis of such characteristics to gender, race, political orientation and level of interest or involvement with religion is to engage in what is referred to in the securities field as a material omission. In other words, anyone who limits their analysis to only these factors have either negligently or maliciously engaged in the expression of a partial truth, by leaving out important information, that is relevant to a real understanding of who controls Hollywood and why.

Hollywood's Religious/Cultural Heritage--Throughout the entire nearly 100 year history of the American film industry, there has been an ongoing economic, philosophical, cultural and religious battle raging over the film industry. As Neal Gabler reports:

"In 1908 the (Edison) Trust (the original equipment manufacturers and producers) had a virtual monopoly on the movies. By 1912 the Independents had gobbled half the market and were closing in on a monopoly of their own . . . (members of Edison's Trust) . . . misinterpreted what was at stake. They never seemed to understand that they were engaged in much more than an economic battle to determine who would control the profits of the . . . film industry; their battle was also generational, cultural, philosophical, even, in some ways, religious. The Trust's members were primarily older white Anglo-Saxon Protestants who had entered the film industry in its infancy by inventing, bankrolling, or tinkering with movie hardware: cameras and projectors . . . The Independents (of that time) . . . were largely ethnics, Jews and Catholics who had entered the industry by opening and operating theaters."



Paul Johnson also writes in his 1987 book, A History of the Jews:

"At first the Jews were not involved on the inventive and creative side. They owned the nickelodeons, the arcades, the theatres. Most of the processes and early shorts were made by American-born Protestants. An exception was Sigmun Lublin, operating from . . . Philadelphia . . . when the theatre-owners began to go into production, to make the shorts their immigrant patrons wanted, Lublin joined with the other patent-owners to form the giant Patent Company, and extract full dues out of the movie-makers. It was then that the Jews led the industry on a new Exodus, from the 'Egypt' of the Wasp-dominated north-east, to the promised land of California. Los Angeles had sun, easy laws, and a quick escape into Mexico from the Patent Company lawyers . . . There were more than one hundred small production firms in 1912. They were quickly amalgamated into eight big ones. Of these, Universal, Twentieth-Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Brothers, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia were essentially Jewish creations, and Jews played a major role in the other two, United Artists and RKO Radio Pictures."

Clayton Koppes and Gregory Black express a similar view in their book Hollywood Goes to War:

"Most of the early film makers were American Protestants, and their production facilities were located in the East and Midwest. From the early 1910s to early 1920s a geographic, economic, and ethnic shift was underway . . . Within a few years the industry expanded and reorganized, and the 'Big Eight' companies came to dominate the industry, these dominant corporations created a vertically-integrated industry--in this case, they controlled the entire process from casting and production through distribution (wholesaling) and exhibition (retailing). The Big Eight reaped 95 percent of all motion picture rentals in the U.S. in the late 1930s. Their control over theater chains, particularly the all-important first-run urban houses which determined a picture's future, was critical. Although the Big Eight owned only 2,800 of the 17,000 theaters in the country, that figure included 80 percent of the metropolitan first-run houses, and all exhibition in cities of more than 1,000,000 population . . . Independent exhibitors had to book the majors' pictures on a virtual take-it-or-leave-it basis, and independent producers could be frozen out if they did not cooperate with the majors . . . The men who guided the industry in its transition to big business were mostly Jewish theater owners . . . "

Koppes and Black also support the thesis that the kind of movies produced and released by these film organizations dominated by Jewish males of European heritage were different than what might have been expected from their Protestant predecessors. Once established in Hollywood, these authors say, the movie moguls created and legitimated " . . . a blend of conspicuous consumption, new morals, and personal gratification that helped undermine the Eastern-dominated, WASP Victorian culture." Jill Robin goes so far as to say that Hollywood--the American Dream--is a Jewish idea. In a sense, (she observes) it's a Jewish revenge on America."

As Gabler points out, " . . . one of the reasons Jews . . . were able to gain a foothold (in the movie business was because) Big money (in America at the time), gentile money, viewed the movies suspiciously--economically, as a fad; morally, as potential embarrassments . . . (as early as) February 1906 . . . reformers had already begun castigating the movies for their deleterious effects, particularly on children. The contents of the movies supposedly undermined moral values (though the real

complaint may have been that the movies existed outside the sphere of middle- and upper-class control) . . . "

Gabler also reports that the " . . . original Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America . . . was founded and for more than thirty years operated by Eastern European Jews . . . The much-vaunted 'studio system,' which provided a prodigious supply of films during the movies' heyday, was supervised by a second generation of Jews . . . the storefront theaters of the late teens were transformed into the movie palaces of the twenties by Jewish exhibitors . . . The most powerful talent agencies were run by Jews. Jewish lawyers transacted most of the industry's business . . . Above all, Jews produced the movies."

Carl Laemmle " . . . who had failed to scale even the lower reaches of American industry . . . presided over a considerable domain (of theatres in the early 1900s)--one built on outsiders and on the culturally disenfranchised like himself. And these would be his troops in the war that followed when the Jews would take over the movie industry for good." In the early teens a struggle for power at Universal developed between Laemmle and a " . . . producer named Pat Powers . . . when one faction came to examine the corporate ledgers, the other faction had them tossed out the window to an accomplice below. At one point Laemmle even dispatched a group of thugs to seize the studio of a member of the rival faction. The ensuing battle was so brutal that the police had to be summoned to stop it. But when the dust settled in 1915, Laemmle was firmly in control of Universal . . . From this point, (according to Gabler) the Jews would control the movies."

Joel Kotkin, author of the 1993 book Tribes--How Race, Religion and Identity Determine Success in the New Global Economy, also provides an analysis of the early U.S. film industry which is similar to Gabler's. "By the 1930s . . . " Kotkin reports, " . . . Jewish domination of the movie business was palpable. They controlled six of the eight largest studios and according to a 1936 study, accounted for almost two thirds of all the major producers. Jews also accounted for a large portion of the agents, and, often working under Anglicized names, many of the actors as well."

Has Control Shifted?--Gabler also seems to suggest, however, that in the '50s a shift in who controls Hollywood occurred. He points out, for example, that in " . . . 1927, when Paramount was riding high and (the Jewish film mogul Adolph Zukor) . . . was in control, twelve of the nineteen directors on the company's board were Jewish. In 1953 two of ten were, and virtually none of the board members were movie men. The financiers and industrialists--the genteel to which the movie Jews had always aspired--had moved in." Gabler seems to suggest that a shift in who controls Hollywood occurred, at least for this one major studio/distributor, in the '50s. Kotkin also seems to suggest that there has been some kind of a change with respect to the issue of "control" in the contemporary U.S. motion picture industry but he fails to quantify that change and only states that "[t]oday . . . Jewish direct control of the studios [is] greatly reduced . . . "

On the other hand, Patricia Erens, states that during the period of the Motion Picture Project (1947-1967) " . . . most production heads were Jewish . . . " In addition, Lester Friedman, writing about the U.S. film industry in the '70s, did not agree that a significant shift in control of the movies had occurred at that time. He asserted that, "Jews had ruled the movie industry during the heyday of the vast studio empires . . . " and then goes on to point out that " . . . they maintained their positions of authority throughout the seventies." Friedman continued by reporting that "[o]ne of the most significant trends in movie-making during the seventies was that the impetus to make pictures came from a variety of sources, not just from the large companies that now owned the studios. Agents, for example, became powerful figures in Hollywood . . . Six of the decade's top production chiefs were ex-agents: David Begelman (Columbia), Mike Medavoy (Orion), Alan Ladd, Jr. (Fox), Ned Tanen (Universal), Martin Elfand (Warners), and Richard Shepard (MGM). Another three--Daniel Melnick (Columbia), Mike Eisner (Paramount), Barry Diller (Paramount)--came from television production. Of these nine executives . . . " Friedman reports, " . . . six were Jewish (Tanen, Begelman, Elfand, Melnick, Eisner, Diller), continuing the tradition of highly placed Jews within the industry."

Also looking at the Hollywood of the '70s, we can report that Alan Ladd, Jr., who was the son of Alan Ladd, the actor, and had been a talent agent and independent producer before joining " . . . 20th Century-Fox in 1973 . . . was put in charge of the studio's feature production the following year." That was such a significant event in Hollywood that it prompted Peter Bart to reveal that Alan Ladd, Jr " . . . was one of the few non-Jews ever to become a head of production." Interestingly enough, Stephen Farber and Marc Green write that the " . . . strongest influence on Laddie's (Alan Ladd, Jr.'s) career was probably neither of his natural parents, but rather his stepmother, Alan Ladd's second wife, a former starlet and agent named Sue Carol." Sue Carol's real name was Evelyn Lederer. And, Evelyn Lederer was the daughter of a Jewish merchant. Thus, even for some of the non-Jewish studio executives, it appears that their connections or relationships with Hollywood Jews help make it possible for them to rise up through the ranks. Also, it is revealing to note that Ladd's appointment occurred in 1973, some 60 years after the original small group of Jewish males of European heritage came to dominate Hollywood.

David McClintick, also writing about Hollywood of the '70s reports that in a conversation with Alan Hirschfield regarding the possibility of finding someone to buy out or dilute Board Chairman Herbert Allen's controlling interest in Columbia during the Begelman affair (1977), Alan Adler (a Columbia staff attorney) said:

"It would have to be somebody big--somebody willing and able to spend two hundred fifty million or three hundred million, which is what this company is worth on the open market. It would have to be somebody outside the business; the Justice Department won't let anybody in the business buy us. It would have to be somebody willing to be in business with a bunch of Jews; that eliminates a lot of Waspy companies. It would take somebody with the nerve and sophistication and stomach to fight the Allens. A big pocketbook and a strong stomach, that's what it would take. There aren't that many candidates around."

Thus, even though Columbia staff attorney Alan Adler tended to over-generalize a bit about who controls Hollywood (assuming he is accurately quoted by McClintick), at the very least, he seems to be providing additional support for the contention, (or, at minimum, he was not stating anything inconsistent with the premise) that the U.S. film industry was still controlled in the 1970s by a small group of Jewish males of European heritage. On the other hand, Adler did not go on to make the important distinction between the so-called Hollywood Jews and the many other Jews in the U.S. and around the world, most of whom are not affiliated with the U.S. film industry in any way.

Moving into the '80s, David McClintick wrote in 1983 that " . . . the men who vie for power in Hollywood today are the direct cultural and psychological descendants of the men who founded and ran Hollywood from the early 1900s until the fifties, men whom Irving Howe has called 'the dozen or so Yiddish-speaking (individuals) . . . who built enormous movie studios [and] satisfied the world's hunger for fantasy, [men who were] bored with sitting in classrooms, too lively for routine jobs, and clever in the ways of the world." As recent as 1984, Patricia Erens reported that "[a]s in the old Hollywood, today's producers and writers are predominantly of Jewish backgrounds whether or not they are practicing Jews."




Thus, what seemed to Gabler to be a shift in control, was in reality, merely a method for those who control Hollywood to obtain additional financing from outside sources. In other words, the corporate structure, allows strong, traditional Hollywood management to bring in additional corporate funding from shareholders, who do not actually control the operation of the corporation, unless they have both a majority of the votes on the board of directors of the corporation and the desire to assert their will over that of present management. When Gabler talks about the fact that the non-Jewish board members, were not "movie men", that also means those board members are not likely to be taking a very active role in running the company. Management is thus left to the so-called traditional Hollywood management, who still, by and large were Jewish males of European heritage (see discussion in How the Movie Wars Were Won relating to "The Ever Present Threat of the Studio Executive Mass Exodus"). Thus, Gabler's perceived shift in control has turned out to be illusory.

Control of Hollywood Today--In a more contemporary setting, as the '90s were underway, University of Texas at Austin professor David Prindle conducted a study and wrote a paper on Hollywood Liberalism (1991). Although ancillary to his main theme, the Prindle paper confirmed that " . . . a large proportion of the people [in the film industry are] of

Jewish background."

Also, writing about a more contemporary Hollywood (in 1992), Paul Rosenfield gets rather specific in describing the type of people who are members of the contemporary Hollywood insiders club that controls Hollywood. He states that " . . . club members are more alike than they are unalike: Most of them are white males, forty or older, Jewish for the most part, heterosexual for the most part, usually fathers, of shorter-than-average height--and they tend to go to bed early. (Usually in Pacific Palisades, north of Sunset, or in the Beverly Hills blocks of Maple or Elm, south of Sunset.)" Later in the same book, Rosenfield states that the Hollywood insiders ' club is really " . . . a small Jewish community . . . "

Joel Kotkin, also writing in 1992, said that "[w]hile movies are no longer, strictly speaking, a 'Jewish' industry, the role of Jews within Hollywood and the related entertainment field remains pervasive. Although virtually all the studios have been bought out by public corporations, foreign investors and individual financiers, most of them non-Jewish, complaints about strong Jewish influence in the industry still crop up, from as diverse sources as Italian film mogul Giancarlo Parretti to black film director Spike Lee and elements of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Although not in control of the media and the arts, as some anti-Semites suggest, Jews clearly possess a disproportionate influence in movies . . . " Kotkin then goes on to point out that "[b]y 1990 the Jewish population in Los Angeles . . . had expanded . . . to some 600,000 . . . " and in " . . . this environment, Jewish performers, producers and other artists are part of a larger community, whose professional base extends well beyond Hollywood."

Additional clues to the control of Hollywood in the contemporary period, come from Los Angeles Times reporter Terry Pristin, who, writing in 1993, adds that "[things haven't changed since the days of Selznick . . . " (one of the original Jewish movie moguls) in that "[i]t helps to have an uncle--or a father, brother or aunt--in the business." Thus, it is logical to assume (as these many observations attest and without convincing evidence to the contrary) that a specific sub-set of Jewish males still controls and dominates the American motion picture industry today. In fact, reporter Pristin states in the Times article that " . . . people in the movie business have always given preference to their relatives or the relatives of their friends. In an industry built by Jews from Eastern Europe . . . " Pristin states " . . . this kind of favoritism has always seemed natural."



Furthermore, in a book published in 1993, which incorporates the 1991 paper referred to above, Prindle again reports that "Hollywood contains a much higher percentage of Jews than does American society as a whole. Hollywood was virtually founded by Jews . . . and its important decision making positions have been dominated by them ever since." Also, according to Prindle, "[a]ll of today's studio heads (this was in the early '90s) are Jewish."

Thus, the writings of Neal Gabler, Joel Kotkin, Terry Pristin, Peter Bart, David McClintick, Paul Rosenfield and David Prindle all provide cumulative and convincing evidence that the Hollywood-based American motion picture industry has from the very beginning been controlled and dominated by Jewish males of European heritage. When the writings of Medved and Brownstein are added, we also discover that these Jewish males are typically not very religious and for the most part, politically liberal. Taken together, we can conclude that the industry is still controlled and/or dominated by that same Jewish sub-group. Such persons are sometimes collectively referred to in this book as "traditional Hollywood management" or the Hollywood control group. As that phrase is used in this book, however, it cannot be accurately translated to mean "Jews" generally, or that "Jews" control Hollywood, as some might carelessly surmise. Traditional Hollywood management means "white males of European-Jewish heritage who are mostly political liberals and not very religious". As any reader should be able to tell, there is a significant difference in those two interpretations of the phrase "traditional Hollywood management". The former is an ambiguous over-generalization and therefore potentially offensive, the latter, in all fairness, could not reasonably be considered offensive, merely more specific and accurate.

Michael Medved, on the other hand, was somewhat less straightforward in his observations regarding the extent to which Hollywood was still under the control of any particular sub-group of Jewish males. Writing in 1992, he states:

"By all accounts, Jewish influence in the entertainment industry reached its high-water mark in the 1930s and early 1940s--during the period often described as Hollywood's Golden Age. At that time, seven of the eight major studios were owned and operated by Jewish families who managed to create what Hollywood historian Neal Gabler aptly describes as An Empire of Their Own . . . Today . . . no clear-sighted or responsible observer could possibly view Hollywood as a Jewish empire. None of the major studios are Jewish family businesses in the way they once were: two have been purchased by enormous Japanese corporations (Columbia and Universal), one by Australian interests (Twentieth Century Fox), and one (MGM) has been passed back and forth among a flamboyant Armenian-American entrepreneur, a cable TV king from Atlanta, and a shadowy Italian tycoon. The other studios have all been gobbled up by gigantic and decidedly non-Jewish conglomerates including Gulf and Western (Paramount) and the notoriously WASPy Time, Inc."

Medved appears here to be offering his own version of the Jack Valenti patented "straw man" debating tactic by exaggerating the position of contemporary movie industry critics. Few, if any, responsible contemporary film industry critics are claiming Hollywood is a "Jewish empire" today and we can all agree with the rather safe Medved statement that the major studio/distributors are no longer "Jewish family businesses in the way they once were . . . " But we also should resist being mislead by Michael Medved's sly and careful choice of words into thinking that control of the film business (i.e., control as to which films are made, who gets to work on movies and what is the content of those films) actually follows ownership of the vast corporate conglomerates who own the studios. On this one issue, Medved has raised a multi-layered smokescreen designed to obscure discussion of the more important issues relating to "Who controls Hollywood?" (i.e., what single racial, ethnic, cultural and/or religious group is the most powerful in the American film industry today and how much greater is their power than any of the other groups who seek to exercise power in the film industry?) The answer, as stated above and notwithstanding Medved's extraordinary efforts to confuse the issue is: a small group of white males of European Jewish heritage who are politically liberal (generally) and not very religious. This Jewish sub-group gained its control over the U.S. film industry in and around 1915 (as Gabler states) and has not relinquished that control through the writing of this book in 1995. Furthermore, this narrowly-defined group still has far greater control over the film industry than any other readily identifiable group.

Medved made another similarly misleading statement when he wrote that " . . . Jewish 'control' of American entertainment now stands at an all-time low. This means that the period in which Hollywood's values turned sour happened to coincide with the period in which Jewish power decisively declined." Again, Medved is exaggerating the decline in Jewish power in Hollywood, desperately trying to avoid laying the blame for the kind of movies Hollywood turns out on his fellow Jewish males, even though they are not very religious, as he is. In other words, since one of the main themes of Medved's book is that Hollywood has been turning out a lot of "trash" of late and Medved is a self-described very religious Jewish man (an Orthodox Jew), it is quite understandable that he would want to sidestep the question of any sort of Jewish responsibility for the movies being released, if at all possible. But, no matter how much we respect Medved for the positions he takes in most of his important book, there is no excuse for allowing him to get away with this slight of hand relating to who controls Hollywood and therefore who is really responsible for the movies about which he writes with such disdain.

If Medved had been completely honest in his appraisal of Hollywood he would have first stopped using the phrase "Jewish control" and tried to be more specific as in this book, (i.e., distinguishing between Jews or Jewish control generally from the sub-group that actually controls Hollywood) and gone on to complete his statement in a revised form, for example " . . . control of American entertainment (by Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious) now stands at an all time low . . . " however, this sub-groups' control, dominance and/or influence in the motion picture and many other so-called "entertainment" industries is still higher than another other readily identifiable racial, ethnic, religious or cultural group.

It is thus important to note that neither Medved nor Kotkin nor any other writer/observer of the Hollywood scene reviewed in this survey of the literature of the industry, affirmatively stated that any other racial, ethnic, religious or cultural group actually controls or dominates Hollywood today. Medved merely stated that "Jewish control . . . [is] at an all-time low." Kotkin merely stated that " . . . Jewish direct control of the studios . . . [is] greatly reduced . . . " Medved continues with his smokescreen stating:

"Though Jews are still prominent in many areas in the Hollywood creative community, talk of Jewish 'domination' is increasingly ludicrous. For instance, of all the fifteen Oscars handed out by the Motion Picture Academy for acting and directing since 1989, not one has gone to a Jewish performer or filmmaker."

Again, here, Medved is being disingenuous with his argument about who controls Hollywood. When talk about Hollywood concerns "control" or "dominance" it is not referring to the creative side of the film community, but the business side, and they don't give Oscars for outstanding business achievement or dominance. Thus, the fact that few Oscars have gone to persons of a Jewish heritage is irrelevant to the issue of "Who controls Hollywood?" Michael Medved is smart enough to know that. Thus, again, his arguments appear to be a line of "straw men" primarily designed to distract people's attention from the truth about who controls Hollywood, and therefore who is to be properly blamed for the movies Hollywood turns out.



Finally, Medved claims that the " . . . overall lack of religious identification . . . " of the people who run Hollywood, " . . . points out the incomparable insanity in suggesting that Hollywood's Jews are following some supersecret script for world domination laid out for them in the Talmud some fifteen hundred years ago." The first part of this Medved statement (i.e., that a high percentage of the people who control Hollywood are not very religious) has been confirmed by other observers of the Hollywood community, and is consistent with my own experience in the industry. It is also consistent with the anti-religious bias observed in so many Hollywood films (noted by Medved and others; for further discussion of the bias issue see Patterns of Bias in Motion Picture Content). Also, as Medved points out, the Hollywood control group's lack of support for mainstream religious beliefs is reflected in the kinds of movies they make. However, the rest of his statement appears to be just another Medved straw man argument. Notice that he does not identify who has actually made this rather extreme "ancient religious conspiracy" argument. That is not to say that someone in the history of man has not made such an argument, but it is not really fair for Medved to pull such an absurd argument out of thin air and place into the center of a contemporary debate about the control of Hollywood. This Medved statement again is merely another attempt to divert attention from other more moderate and plausible positions, that is, it is not necessary for a conspiracy to be involved for reasonable people to conclude that there is something amiss in Hollywood (see "The Conspiracy Dodge" in How the Movie Wars Were Won).

Medved also seems to be confusing the religious versus the cultural aspects of being Jewish, adding still another layer of his many faceted smokescreen by putting forth some unknown proponent's extreme hypothetical religious conspiracy argument. The fact that the small group of Jewish males of European heritage who are politically liberal and not very religious controls and dominates Hollywood has nothing to do with the reality of the extensive system of reciprocal preferences engaged in by such persons on each other's behalf, to the competitive detriment of the vast majority of other persons striving to participate at a meaningful level in the film industry, but who do not fit within the characteristics of this insider's group. Whoever made the argument that " . . . Hollywood's Jews are following some supersecret script for world domination laid out for them in the Talmud some fifteen hundred years ago . . . " is not supported by this book. That is not an argument put forth in these pages nor is it an argument I have heard in the ten years I have worked in the Los Angeles entertainment community, or seen in any of the published materials reviewed in the preparation of this book (see bibliography). That is the kind of fringe argument that people like Michael Medved will trot out for the sole purpose of distracting attention from the more reasonable and truthful position, (i.e., that Hollywood is and has long been controlled and dominated by a small group of Jewish males, of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious), regardless of whether they talk to each other about it or not and regardless of whether their control of Hollywood has anything whatsoever to do with the Jewish religion or culture.

Pierce O'Donnell and Dennis McDougal also offer a Medved style misleading argument through the use of a half-truth in their explanation regarding who controls Hollywood. By making their " . . . two dozen white males . . . " statement (reported above), O'Donnell and McDougal are, on the one hand, making a statement that is true on its face, but appears to be avoiding the more controversial statement which would be a more complete expression of the truth. By doing so, the first statement is misleading and to some degree racist, and therefore offensive to all of the capable, hard-working white men in the film industry who are consistently treated as outsiders in an industry that O'Donnell and McDougal would have us believe is controlled by men of similar racial characteristics and that their racial similarity is one of the most important associative criteria.

It would again have been more honest and straightforward of O'Donnell and McDougal to say that the industry appears to be controlled by a small group (the actual number is irrelevant and appears to be just another attempt by O'Donnell and McDougal to make an outrageous statement that will be quoted in the press) of mostly Jewish males of European heritage, who to be sure, from a racial point of view are considered to be white, but who are considered to be "insider's" in the film industry precisely because they have a common cultural heritage with the other Jewish males who control the film industry, and not because they are white. The term "mostly" was added to allow for the real world fact that a few non-Jewish white males are likely to appear in anyone's list of the top fifty or so most powerful people in Hollywood at any given time. So it is fair to say that men control Hollywood at the highest levels to the exclusion of women. And it is fair to say that a small group of mostly Jewish men control Hollywood to the exclusion of Jewish women, Jews whose backgrounds are other than European and non-Jewish men, although a few of these most powerful men who share control in Hollywood, may at any given time be non-Jewish. This loosely defined group, however, primarily made up of men who share an European Jewish heritage, (i.e., the one common thread that helps bind them together or give them a common background is that they hold themselves out as being Jewish, sometimes in the religious sense, but more commonly in the cultural sense). Thus, again, the O'Donnell/McDougal attempt to make a flat statement about "white males" appears to be misleading, racist demagoguery and potentially offensive to those non-Jewish white males struggling in the film industry in non-leadership positions.

Taken as a whole, the contemporary literature of the industry clearly indicates that although Jewish control of the industry may be at an " . . . all-time low . . . " or even " . . . greatly reduced . . . ", it is still far higher than any other cultural, ethnic, religious or racial group. Again, in point of fact, none of the many observer/writers whose published works were reviewed for purposes of this study, ever affirmatively asserted that African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic/Latinos or even WASPs, for that matter, controlled Hollywood. Thus, for Medved to suggest that traditional Hollywood management is not at least partly responsible for the kinds of movies being turned out in recent years (the films he so vehemently criticizes) is at best disingenuous and misleading. (The Medved book otherwise provides an excellent presentation relating to many of the problems in the American motion picture industry). In any event, until someone steps forward with evidence tending to show otherwise, it is certainly fair to assume (as the literature of the industry clearly states) that a specific sub-set of Jewish males still control and/or dominate Hollywood today.

A Closer Look at the Backgrounds of the Major Studio Executives--Having determined with some sense of finality that the ultimate power to make the important decisions relating to what movies are made by Hollywood film companies, who gets to work on these movies and the content of such movies still primarily rests in the hands of the top studio executives at the major studio/distributors (with some input and influence by a few of the top talent agents on certain projects), the questions relating to who controls Hollywood ultimately then come down to: "Who are these people? and "What are their shared characteristics? The results of an original study of these important questions are set forth in the following pages. With this study, an attempt has been made to go beyond the recitation of the quotes of other observers of Hollywood and to provide a direct analysis of the backgrounds of the top three executives (typically the Chairman of the Board, President and Head of Production) of each of the major studio/distributors, still considered to be such today (i.e., Columbia/TriStar, Disney, MGM, Paramount, 20th Century-Fox, MCA/Universal and Warner Bros.). United Artists, Orion and RKO have been omitted from this study because they are no longer considered stand-alone major studio/distributors. For each of these current major studio/distributors the executives' names were listed vertically in a left-hand column, followed by their sex, race and reported religious/cultural background (where such information was available in the published sources used. Such characteristics were chosen because of the frequency with which they are mentioned in the industry literature as the characteristics that unify the Hollywood insider community. Following each entry, the source of the information was noted (the entire listing appears in the book version of Who Really Controls Hollywood).


Several observations can be made from this study of major studio executives. First,

there appears to be no persons of African/American, no persons of Asian/American, and only one person of possible Hispanic/Latino heritage (and that was not confirmed by any published sources in the literature reviewed) in the entire group. In other words, African/Americans, Asian/Americans and Hispanic/Latinos have been completely and arbitrarily excluded from the highest levels of power in the U.S. film industry for the nearly 100 year history of the industry. It is not likely that anyone other than a racist would sincerely argue that the persons who have held these studio executive positions actually deserved to be in such positions to the complete exclusion of African/Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanic/Latinos (male or female).

Second, only 8 of the executive slots were occupied by women at any given time (i.e., only 4% of the total number of studio executive positions reported) and only for short periods of time. Also, only 6 women were involved (i.e., Lansing, and Steel worked in high level executive positions for two different studios). Not only are all of these major studio/distributors so-called male bastions, 3 of them (Disney, MGM and Universal) have never permitted a woman to enter one of the three top level positions considered in this study. It is not likely that anyone other than a sexist would sincerely argue that the persons who have held these highest level studio executive positions deserved to be there to the almost complete exclusion of women. In addition, however, at least 3 of these women, the first 3 to be awarded such their executive positions (Lansing, Steel and Weinstein) have Jewish backgrounds.

Third, of the 226 individual major studio/executives identified for purposes of this study, (counting those who served at more than one studio in one of the top executive positions, once for each studio served) 84 are specifically identified by the sources cited as being Jewish or having a Jewish heritage. That is a little over 37%, a figure that is extremely high when compared with the percentage of Jews in the U.S. population (i.e., 2.4%) but well below the estimates of many of those who have actually worked in Hollywood over the years. On the other hand, if we calculate the number of persons identified as Jewish or of a Jewish background in such executive positions as a percentage of all of those persons whose religious/cultural background have been specifically cited in the sources reviewed (see bibliography) the percentage is unrealistic to the other extreme (i.e., 82%). In other words, the many sources reviewed only disclosed the religious/cultural background of the studio executives in 103 of 226 instances or 46% of the cases, regardless of whether such persons have a Jewish or non-Jewish background. It may be fair then to report that the percentage of the top three studio executives (i.e., board chairmen, presidents and production chiefs) at the major studio/distributors still considered to be majors today (and who are specifically identified as Jewish or of Jewish heritage in published sources) lies somewhere between 37% on the low end and 82% on the high end.

When confronted with a similar problem, however, Patricia Erens, in conducting her research for the book The Jew in American Cinema, determined that in " . . . some cases, (film) characters can be considered Jewish by virtue of their names or other distinguishing features (use of Yiddish phrases, mention of Jewish holidays, etc.), although no specific reference (to their Jewishness) is included in the (film's) dialogue." In a situation, where the information relating to the religious/cultural background of people in the film industry is not published or otherwise remains secret (for whatever reason), it is necessary to resort to methods similar to those used by Patricia Erens in order to come up with a more reasonable estimate of percentages relating to the religious/cultural background of such high level studio executives.

In order to develop such additional information, two methods have been utilized for purposes of the book Who Really Controls Hollywood? and this summary of the results of the study. First, the assistance of a Jewish person (a Los Angeles native who has had some contact with the film industry and is therefore somewhat familiar with the so-called Hollywood Jews) was obtained to study the list of studio executives provided and to identify those with names that are "likely" to be Jewish. Those names were then compared with the names of persons identified in various published sources (again, see bibliography) that are or were Jewish, to further increase the likelihood that such names actually represent people who are Jewish or who have Jewish backgrounds. That group is identified in the above-mentioned chart with the designation "Jewish name". Using that method, an additional 50 persons can be added to the 84 previously identified as being Jewish or of Jewish heritage. With these added names, the new percentage calculation would suggest that of 226 studio executives on the list, 134 are Jewish, have a Jewish background or are likely to be of a Jewish heritage (based on their names alone), thus nearly 60% ( in any case, a clear majority) of the studio executives on the list may be considered to share a Jewish heritage.

In any event, it is not likely that anyone other than a Jewish-supremacist (i.e., one who believes in the racial or otherwise inherent superiority of Jewish people) or, at least, a philo-Semitic (i.e., one who is prejudiced in favor of Jews) would sincerely argue that this disproportionate number of males (and females) of Jewish heritage deserved to be in these high-level studio executives positions to the exclusion of other white males, African-Americans, non-Jewish women, Hispanic/Latinos, Asian-Americans and others who have no Jewish background.

For those who might take the defensive posture that such a listing and calculation is at the very least inappropriate, please read further and be reminded that this book (and companion volumes by the same author) are making the very serious but quite reasonable allegations that Hollywood is controlled by a small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious, and who are not representative of the Jewish community or "nation" as a whole, but who have, over the years, engaged in unethical, unfair, unconscionable, predatory, anti-competitive and illegal business practices, including wholesale discrimination (i.e., nepotism, favoritism, cronyism, blacklisting and reciprocal preferences) directed toward persons of other racial, ethnic, cultural and/or religious backgrounds. In addition, the films being produced and released by this Hollywood control group regularly contain messages about race, religion, ethnicity, culture and region of origin. Thus, the inquiry into the religious/cultural backgrounds of the Hollywood insider group is perfectly relevant, and absolutely essential to an understanding of what is really going on in Hollywood..

On the other hand, this book does not in any way suggest that these studio executives have engaged in such practices because they are Jewish. Rather, it is more accurate to say they have engaged in such practices despite having a Jewish background. This book further alleges, however, that the beneficiaries of that wholesale discrimination in the U.S. film industry are primarily the fellow Jewish males (of European heritage) of those in control positions. In addition, this study concludes that control of the film industry in the hands of any narrowly defined interest group, has undesirable effects on the kinds of motion pictures that are produced and distributed, who gets to work on those films and the content of the movies themselves; and these results are not in the best interests of the nation, or the world for that matter. Thus, the question relating to the religious/cultural background of the people in the top level positions of the major studio/distributors of Hollywood is at the very heart of the larger issues about which this series of books on Hollywood has been written, and therefore must be explored in any responsible inquiry by anyone who seriously considers the question.

Since long time studio executive David Picker stated, "[i]f I had said yes to all the projects I turned down, and no to all the ones I took, it would have worked about the same . . . " then it really should make no difference, from a commercial point of view, whether studio executives are African-Americans, Latinos, American-Indian, females, white Anglo-Saxon males from the South, Christians, Muslims, or whatever, because the same projects are pretty much going to be presented to the studio executives. Also, if as is so commonly stated in Hollywood, "nobody knows" anything (see the discussion in How the Movie Wars Were Won relating to "Myth and Misinformation"), there must be other reasons why people from the groups listed immediately above, are generally excluded from high level studio executive positions. Based on the survey and charts shown above, those reasons now appear to be more clear. (Additional clarification is provided in the companion volume How the Movie Wars Were Won on this question of "How Did They Gain and Maintain Control?")

Movie Portrayals--The chapter entitled "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" also contends that movie portrayals provide further evidence regarding the nature of the Hollywood control group. If we accept the assumption that groups of people who control Hollywood are not likely to consistently portray themselves in a negative manner in the motion pictures that they produce and/or distribute, it is equally fair to assume that those people who have been consistently portrayed in a negative manner in motion pictures probably do not control Hollywood. As reported in the books entitled Patterns of Bias in Motion Picture Content and A Study in Motion Picture Propaganda, there appears to be substantial evidence that the Hollywood control group does in fact consistently portray itself in a more positive manner (or in most instances where the portrayal was negative, it was created by filmmakers with the same religious/cultural background of the person portrayed) while consistently portraying other populations in a negative or stereotypical manner. For a listing of the various ethnic, cultural, religious and racial groups that have publicly complained about the portrayal of their members in movies see that discussion in the earlier chapter "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" and/or in the more detailed book version. Additional, evidence tending to show that there is a positive correlation between who does not control Hollywood and who is consistently portrayed in a negative or stereotypical manner in American movies, is also set forth in that book. The material found there also tends to support the conclusion of this volume, (i.e., that Hollywood is controlled by a small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who as a group, are politically liberal and not very religious).

Another way to approach the question of who does not control Hollywood is to conduct surveys of moviegoing audiences. During the period from 1992-1994, at UCLA Extension and the graduate level UCLA Independent Producers Program , informal surveys of students relating to this question were conducted in order to obtain another reading of what groups of people over the past ten years are perceived to have been consistently portrayed in MPAA releases in a negative manner. Here's the list (in no particular order): African Americans, parents, lawyers, Germans, governmental agencies (e.g., CIA), Arabs, Hispanics, fundamentalist Christians, American Indians, women, Catholics, lesbians, the elderly, politicians, gays, business executives, White Anglo southern males and Asians. These film industry professionals and students were then asked if they thought it would be fair to say that none of these groups controlled Hollywood based on their belief and the reasonable assumption that none of these groups would consistently portray themselves in a negative manner if any of these groups in fact "controlled" Hollywood. And these students agreed that none of these consistently and negatively portrayed groups controlled Hollywood.

Again, lest there be any misunderstanding (or purposeful misinterpretation) on the point, it should be clear to any reasonable reader that this book is not suggesting that Hollywood is controlled by Jews (generally). That is a much too generalized statement to be accurate and suggests other connotations. Based on the published reports of numerous other observers of the Hollywood scene and the research involved, this book does contend that Hollywood is controlled by a small group of Jewish males, of European heritage, who, generally speaking are politically liberal and not very religious. At the very least, this means that Jewish women are generally excluded from this Hollywood control group, that Jewish males who do not have a European background are generally excluded and that non-Jews are also generally excluded, although white males who are politically liberal and not very religious have a better chance of at least being on the periphery of the Hollywood insiders' club than African-Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Asian-Americans or any other non-Jewish members of American society.

It is also fair to say that not all Jews around the world support the activities of what Gabler calls the Hollywood Jews. Gabler reports that in the 1930's an open letter was published " . . . from one embarrassed Jew to his Hollywood confreres saying: 'I am a Jew' . . . 'but I am ashamed of my kinship with you Jews of Hollywood. I am ashamed of kinships with a people who have wholly forgotten their spiritual mission and are now engaged only in the feverish acquisition of wealth by pandering to the worst instincts of humanity."

The truth is that the research supporting this work turned up numerous written statements (as set out above) from various sources asserting somewhat differing views with regard to who has the most power in Hollywood when considering the issue among writers, directors, producers, agents, lawyers and studio executives, although opinion was clearly tilted in favor of studio executives and the top agents. But, when it came to identifying the racial, ethnic, religious and/or cultural background of such persons, the consistent opinion was that a disproportionate number of the people with power in Hollywood, have long been and continue to be Jewish males of European heritage, and, of course, much of that opinion was expressed by persons of Jewish backgrounds. On the other hand, as has already been pointed out, no one affirmatively asserted that any other racial, ethnic, religious and/or cultural group controlled Hollywood, (other than Pierce O'Donnell's "two dozen white males" which merely side-stepped the religious/cultural question). Consequently, as this book and its companion volumes on Hollywood moves forward with discussions relating to the results of Hollywood power residing in the hands of such a narrowly defined control group, it is clearly appropriate (and specifically relevant) to seek further confirmation of the above assertion through research relating to the racial, ethnic, religious and/or cultural background of the people involved in producing and releasing the resulting motion pictures.

This book and its companion volumes take the position that it is simply not acceptable in a free, democratic and diverse society which values the free flow of information and the competition of ideas in an open marketplace, for the citizens or their government, to stand idly by and allow any narrowly defined interest group (regardless of whether such group is defined in terms of its race, religion, cultural background, ethnicity or otherwise) to control or dominate any important communications medium, including film. These books argue that movies mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers, thus to the extent that the film industry is controlled by any narrowly-defined interest group, the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of most other segments of our diverse society will not be regularly or accurately reflected on the screen (at best, they are being filtered through the cultural sensibilities of another group).

These books (and their summaries presented herein) further take the position that movies are important, that they are much more than the "mere entertainment" that Hollywood management would have us believe; that in fact, the motion picture is a significant medium for the communication of ideas. And, recognizing further that ideas have always been, and will always be, one of the most important motivating forces influencing human conduct, then all reasonable persons must recognize that the motion picture, one of the most effective forms of communication yet devised, has great potential for influencing people's behavior, and, in fact, does influence human behavior on a regular basis, particularly amongst that target audience for which many films are directed, the relatively immature and unsophisticated youth of our nation.

For these reasons, all persons in our society have a right to be concerned about the effect of the modern technology of the motion picture on themselves and the rest of society, and to be understandably alarmed to discover that control of the Hollywood-based U.S. motion picture industry does not come anywhere close to reflecting the diversity in U.S. society, and even worse, that most observers who have chosen to write about Hollywood have specifically sought to mislead the public about this critically important issue.

Chapter 5


" . . . movies are one of the bad habits that corrupted our century . . . an eruption of trash that has lamed the American mind and retarded Americans from becoming a cultured people."

Ben Hecht

As noted in the earlier chapter, Hollywood historian Neal Gabler reported in his book An Empire of Their Own--How The Jews Invented Hollywood, that the " . . . American film industry . . . was founded and for more than thirty years operated by Eastern European Jews . . . " He goes on to state that the " . . . much vaunted 'studio system', which provided a prodigious supply of films during the movies' heyday, was supervised by a second generation of Jews . . . " and that the " . . . storefront theaters of the late teens were transformed into the movie palaces of the twenties by Jewish exhibitors." Gabler further revealed that the " . . . most powerful talent agencies were run by Jews. Jewish lawyers transacted most of the industry's business . . . " and that a majority of the individuals involved in the production of films were also of Jewish heritage.

Gabler's book, however, only addresses the historical Hollywood and ends its discussion somewhere in the '50s, about the time of the demise of the so-called studio system. He suggests that those who once controlled Hollywood no longer do, saying their " . . . empires have crumbled." Subsequent writers and industry critics, including Michael Medved (writing in 1992) go even further in suggesting that others are responsible for Hollywood's contemporary product by stating that " . . . Jewish 'control' of American entertainment now stands at an all-time low."

The chapter above relating to "Who Really Controls Hollywood" sought to bring some needed clarification to the question of who really controls Hollywood today. That study determined (based on an extensive survey of industry literature as well as a review of the specific backgrounds of the top studio executives) that Hollywood was and is still controlled by a small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who (as a general rule) are politically liberal and not very religious. That means that the Gabler observations about contemporary Hollywood were both misleading and much too general. They are too general in the sense that it is not fair or accurate to suggest that "Jews control Hollywood". The small group of Jewish males of European heritage who continue to control Hollywood today, are not necessarily representative of Jews generally, nor can it be implied that they behave the way they do because they are Jewish. Gabler's observations are also misleading in that the same group (more narrowly and precisely defined in the earlier chapter on "Who Really Controls Hollywood") still controls Hollywood today.

The fact that this small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious, still controls Hollywood today to the exclusion of all other readily identifiable racial, ethnic, religious, cultural or regional groups, also makes Medved's statement quite misleading. In other words, it may be true, as Medved claims that "Jewish 'control' of American

entertainment now stands at an all-time low . . . " but compared to any other group, such control (as more narrowly defined above) is still higher by far.

Another of this book's companion volumes in the series of books on Hollywood (How the Movie Wars Were Won) examined the question of "How Did They Gain and Maintain That Control?" That study determined that the people who control Hollywood have gained and maintained their control by engaging in business practices that are unfair, unethical, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory and/or, in some instances, illegal. Again, both of these books take the position that the behavior of this small group of Jewish males of European heritage is not typical of Jews generally and that the Hollywood Jews do not behave the way they do because they are Jewish, but rather in spite of being Jewish. In any case, the focus of this and the following chapters is on the results of the above described situation, (i.e., in which Hollywood is controlled by a very narrowly defined interest group). This book further argues that it really makes no difference which narrowly defined interest group controls Hollywood, but that results similar to those cited here are likely to occur whenever any such interest group finds itself with an inordinate amount of power over others in the context of a single industry. Additional results of the Hollywood film patterns of bias phenomenon were discussed above in the chapters on "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" and "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies".

Deterioration in the Quality of Movies--
One of the common complaints about movies of late is the feeling among many critics, reviewers, film industry professionals and moviegoers alike that there has been a general deterioration in the quality of motion pictures. For example, film critic David Denby states that " . . . it's been hard not to feel, in recent years, that something portentous and truly awful has been happening . . . Many adult moviegoers--and perhaps some of the kids, too--look at what's playing and feel abandoned and betrayed. They continue going, of course, because they have to go to something, but they aren't necessarily happy."

David Puttnam, Oscar-winning producer of Chariots of Fire and former chairman of Columbia Pictures, reports that "[a]s you move around Hollywood in any reasonably sophisticated group, you'll find it quite difficult to come across people who are proud of the movies that are being made." Also, as Roger Corman states, " . . . one of the drawbacks to working with the studios . . . " is " . . . story by committee . . . "

As author Paul Johnson points out, "Thomas Edison, who developed the first effective cinecamera, the kinetoscope, in 1888, did not design it for entertainment. It was to be, he said, 'the foremost instrument of reason', designed for an enlightened democracy, to show the world as it is and to display the moral force of realism as opposed to 'the occult lore of the east'." Johnson goes on to point out that "[s]uch an exercise in rationalism might well have appealed to Jewish pioneers. In fact they turned it into something quite different. For Edison's vision of the cinema did not work. The educated middle class ignored it. It made little progress in its first decade."

Johnson's comment that "Edison's vision of the cinema did not work . . . " is at the heart of the controversy today. Obviously, if the goal is primarily to make money, Edison's concept of cinema was not progressing fast enough. On the other hand, if the goal, as it apparently was for Edison, was to use the cinema for the improvement of a democratic society, then it would have been worth it to wait a while longer before declaring his concept dead. In addition, who is to say that if Edison and his associates would have prevailed, we would have better or worse movies today? Further, this book does not argue for a return to such past circumstances but for significantly greater diversity in control of the U.S. motion picture industry today and into the future.


Back to the contemporary cinema, Michael Medved adds that in 1989 " . . . an Associated Press/Media General poll showed that 82 percent of a scientifically selected sample felt that movies contained too much violence; 80 percent found too much profanity; and 72 percent complained of too much nudity. By a ratio of more than three to one, the respondents believed that 'overall quality' of movies had been 'getting worse' as opposed to 'getting better.'" This criticism of Hollywood's product, is the strength of Medved's book: the assimilation and presentation of valuable information relating to certain kinds of movies the current Hollywood system imposes on the moviegoing public.

In an interview for the Today Show on NBC with contributing correspondent Nancy Collins and following his dismissal from Columbia, David Puttnam stated that he felt " . . . the movies coming out of Hollywood were of a 'dreadful quality' essentially because of ' . . . a small golden group of people who regard themselves as having free passes.'" Here Puttnam is making the argument that much of Hollywood is populated with people who are not very talented but who get to make the decisions about which movies are made and released, who gets to work on those movies and to some extent the content of the underlying screenplays because Hollywood is rife with nepotism, cronyism, favoritism and other forms of discrimination that favors the Hollywood control group.

Screenwriter William Goldman also acknowledges the general deterioration in movies and lays the blame, at least partly, on agents, saying their " . . . primary interest is not in the art object but in the deal." Apparently some studio production executives agree, saying, "[y]ou can always tell when an agent or agency starts forming their own agendas and stops wholly representing their clients . . . Their fees go up, their phone calls get shorter, and the movies start sucking."

Lowest Common Denominator Movies--The major studio/distributors also seem to place most of the emphasis on producing or distributing films that appeal to the lowest common denominator audience. Hortense Powdermaker observed some forty years ago that "[t]he potential audience for movies is as diversified as it is . . . for books, for magazines and for newspapers . . . (but) Hollywood has consistently prepared fare suited to a young and relatively uneducated audience . . . "

Entertainment attorney, author and lecturer Mark Litwak suggests that it " . . . is no accident that so many movies are aimed at the teenage market. As Litwak points out, one " . . . advantage of teen-oriented films is that they often required neither great writing nor great acting." Roger Ebert agrees, saying that " . . . Hollywood has cheapened the teen-age years into predictable vulgarity . . . most Hollywood movies think teen-agers can (only) experience . . . (and are filled with) . . . egotism, lust, and selfishness . . . " As Litwak explains further, "[t]alent becomes a less important prerequisite for acting success as the quality of movies declines. Films that rely on sex or violence or are aimed at a teenage audience don't demand a great deal of acting ability."

In accepting the Eastman Kodak Century Award (in 1988) for outstanding contribution to the motion picture industry, David Puttnam said: "[t]he medium is too powerful and too important an influence on the way we live to be left solely to the tyranny of the box office, or reduced to the lowest common denominator of public taste." Thus, in the view of many Hollywood observers, another result of the control of the Hollywood film making machinery in the hands of a few is movies appealing to the lowest common denominators among moviegoing audiences.

Homogeneous Films--We often hear complaints that many motion pictures are the same or very similar, (i.e., that they are homogeneous). During the early years of the motion picture industry, the major studio/distributors produced a large volume of films that were very similar, (i.e., they were designed to and did appeal to the same mass audience), thus exhibitors had little need to pre-screen each motion picture offered. With today's more fractionalized audiences and film's of widely varying quality which appeal to separate but more narrow audiences there is a greater need for exhibitors to pre-screen the product they are asked to exhibit. On the other hand, there is still a tendency for the more commercially oriented major studio/distributors to opt for films that follow similar patterns, that the non-diversified studio executives consider successful. Thus, there is still far less diversity in films than what might reasonably be expected to appeal to diverse moviegoers.

Litigating attorney and author Pierce O'Donnell points out that "[r]eligious and political leaders, film critics, studio executives, and most ominously, many consumers agree, too many movies are excessively violent and mean-spirited, gratuitously sexual and profane, and mindlessly similar and formulaic." As author Nicolas Kent explains, the submission process itself " . . . favours the acceptance of simple, recognizable plots and characters and encourages the rejection of scripts dealing with complex ideas in an original way." One of France's leading new wave directors Francois Truffaut also noted that " . . . what impressed him the most (about Hollywood films) was not their differences, but their resemblances."

For example, the 1984 version of The Bounty, starring Mel Gibson (a Dino de Laurentiis production), was " . . . the third movie based on the most famous mutiny in the history of the sea." The Big Chill (Columbia--1983) was " . . . the second movie on almost exactly the same theme--a weekend reunion among college friends from the 1960s, during which they relive the past, fear the present, and regret the interim." The earlier version was John Sayles' (independently produced) Return of the Seacaucus Seven (1981). In the late 1980s Big (TCF--1988) became the fourth almost simultaneous variation on the same theme--a kid trapped in an adult body." The other films were Like Father, Like Son (TriStar--1987), Vice Versa (Columbia--1988) and 18 Again.

Stakeout (Touchstone--1987) a police stakeout movie prompted Roger Ebert to ask the question: "Has mainstream Hollywood so lost touch with simple human nature that you can't have a copy movie without everyone being blown away?" Ebert explains that he feels "[s]creenwriters have grown so lazy in recent years that it's almost too much to ask them to resolve a plot on human terms. The last reel of most thrillers now involves the obligatory death of the villain, as if death were a solution." Ebert suggests that "[t]here's a whole world of subject matter that will never be touched by the major studios."

As Mark Litwak points out, "[f]ilmmakers find it difficult to interest studios in offbeat projects." Also, Ebert observes that Repo Man (Universal--1984; starring Harry Dean Stanton) as an auto repossessor " . . . didn't cost much, takes chances, dares to be unconventional, is fun, and works. There is a lesson here." Another rare exception to the Hollywood preponderance for producing and releasing homogeneous films, according to Ebert, is 1991's Slacker, in which the filmmaker shows " . . . a certain strata of campus life at the present time--a group of people he calls 'slackers' . . . a whole strata of American life that never gets paid attention to in the movies . . . "

Film critic Ebert goes on to complain that "American entertainment conglomerates give us hundreds and thousands of movies and television shows like this, all of them maintaining the pretense that no one believes in anything. Issues are never discussed. No one ever has an argument about opinions of substance. Decisions are based on emotion and desire, not on intelligent choice." Ebert continues saying: "There was once a time when popular American movies told the stories of adults. Now they tell the stories of adolescents, of all ages; the values and thoughts of most Hollywood movie characters are no more complex or interesting than those of the typical teenager. Even characters in their thirties or forties behave in a simple-minded, narcissistic way, and rarely do they have serious opinions about anything." "Hardly ever do we get an American movie about adults who are attempting to know themselves better, live better lives, get along more happily with the people around them. Most American movies are about the giving and receiving of violent pain."

University professor and author David Prindle points out that independent filmmakers (those not associated with the major studio/distributors) " . . . serve the public interest by taking chances . . . " They are, he says, " . . . responsible for much of the industry's innovation and vitality . . . The majors tend to be very cautious in their artistic decisions." Although not supported by evidence, Prindle claims that the studios' " . . . desire to repeat their successes is encouraged by the mass audience, the members of which often value familiar plots, characters, and morals over more artistically innovative fare." That sounds suspiciously similar to the film industry executives' argument that people vote for the movies they want to see with their pocketbooks (see later discussion), a myth perpetuated by the Hollywood establishment.

Getting closer to one of the main theses of the earlier chapter ("Who Really Controls Hollywood"), investigative reporter Terry Pristin suggests that one of the reasons for Hollywood's tendency to churn out homogeneous films is the homogeneity in the people who make such films. The Pristin article's subtitle is: "Who can you trust better than kin? Nobody. So, the question is: Does this old Hollywood tradition keep new blood and fresh ideas out of the movies?" The research supporting this book and its companion volumes mandates an unequivocal "yes" answer to that question. Pristin further states: " . . . clearly, nepotism works to the disadvantage of those from the outside. And some say that has consequences for moviegoers, as well as moviemakers. 'The movies pay a price for having a relatively limited view of American society,' said author Neal Gabler, noting the scarcity of blacks, women and other minorities in the studios' higher echelons. 'That's clearly to the detriment of American movies.' In other words, if movies mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers (as the research for this book series suggests), then as long as the people in the film industry who make the important decisions about which movies are going to be made, who gets to work on those movies and the content of such movies are relatively homogeneous, we can expect to get relatively homogeneous movies (certainly less diversity on the screen than would otherwise be the case).

O'Donnell also picks up on this same theme, saying "[t]he studio elite, the twenty-four white males over fifty--'The club'--has been impoverished by their sameness, by their lack of diversity . . . " "Fewer movies, higher risks with spiralling costs, and uninspired decision making have dramatically reduced the opportunities for alternative points of view to make it to the silver screen. In the process, movies fail to portray current socio-economic realities, reinforce degrading stereotypes, and promote a homogenized, Caucasian world view that alienates large segments of society." Of course, as discussed in Who Really Controls Hollywood, O'Donnell is slightly off in describing who's world view is being presented, but he made that choice to be wrong for what appear to be practical reasons, (i.e., he has to continue trying to make a living in this town--Los Angeles).

Joseph Phillips adds that the " . . . search for a product that has international appeal (also) tends toward homogenization of the medium." Further, Phillips points out that the " . . . great weight of the U.S. market and the U.S. film industry tends to give the increasingly homogenized product a cultural bias." Unfortunately, the cultural bias of U.S. movies not only results from the "great weight of the U.S. market" but from the "sameness" of those who produce and choose the movies for release. The bias is also not merely a U.S. cultural bias but a much more narrowly focused perspective (see the chapters on "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers", "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies" and "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda").

Exploitation Fare--The ever present push to squeeze more and more dollars out of the system results in more exploitation films, (i.e., feature films that contain obligatory or gratuitous sex, violence, horror, catastrophic events or a combination of any or all of such themes and that have little socially redeeming value). The exploitation film blatantly advertises and uses these themes to attract


audiences. Such films also typically enter and exit the theatrical market more quickly than other feature films.

Roger Corman points out that "'[e]xploitation' films were so named because you made a film about something wild with a great deal of action, a little sex, and possibly some sort of strange gimmick . . . " As noted earlier, Mark Litwak also observes that "[m]ovies that have something intelligent to say . . . are becoming increasingly rare. In their place moviegoers are served . . . movies that trade on sex and violence and have little redeeming social value . . . Filmmakers and studios make exploitation films when they can't think of anything meaningful to say."

High-Concept Movies--The major studio/distributors prefer what is referred to in the film industry as "high-concept" movies. There are at least two aspects to the meaning of high-concept. One has to do with the ability to express the underlying idea behind the movie in a few short phrases or sentences, the other aspect has to do with the distributors' judgment regarding the attractiveness and marketability of that idea to a potential moviegoing audience (i.e., can it be used as an advertising hook to attract moviegoers).

As David Prindle reports, the " . . . majors . . . like stars (and) . . . sequels . . . When a new project is pitched to them, they respond best if it is a 'high-concept' idea . . . a description that can be encapsulated in a sentence or two and whose commercial potential is immediately discernible. Because the audience for . . . films . . . is assumed to be immature and unsophisticated, high-concept ideas tend to involve cardboard characters, melodramatic plots, flashy special effects, and as much violence as possible. High-concept entertainment, in other words, is a cartoon with live actors."

Former studio executive Dawn Steel readily admits that " . . . if you have a clear idea at the core of a movie, an idea that you can describe in a sentence or two or three, you can still market a movie that's not great." This, in fact, appears to be the policy at most of the major studio/distributors. If they cannot have both, they are more interested in movies that can be effectively marketed as opposed to movies that are great. As Mark Litwak reports, the major studio/distributors " . . . increasingly judge projects based on their marketing potential."

Prospective moviegoers, of course, have to recognize that simply because a movie idea can be described in just a few phrases or sentences does not have anything to do with whether it is a good movie. High concept is primarily a marketing strategy. Film distributors, who dominate the film industry in the U.S., generally only want to release movies that can be easily marketed. Thus, most producers tend to produce movies that distributors want, if for no other reason, because distributor-dominated organizations are the primary sources for production financing in the contemporary marketplace. This means, once again, that the financial control of the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry cannot be separated in most real-world transactions from creative control issues, and one of the results is high concept movies.

Commercial Product--Thomas Guback observes that " . . . the films which are available at any moment on screens stem from commercial decisions rather than from consideration of aesthetic quality or more detached concerns about where a society ought to be going and how to get there. In the absence of a cultural policy, company accounts and management loyalty to stockholders become the arbiters, for philanthropy and service to the public (contrary to our popular, media-reinforced myths) are not intrinsic characteristics of the business system." On the other hand, in Hollywood, it is not really "management loyalty to stockholders" but management loyalty to the long-entrenched insider-dominated management itself that is the "intrinsic characteristic" of that system. It is increasingly ludicrous to talk in terms of "management loyalty to stockholders" in light of the excessive compensation packages being paid to modern-day Hollywood studio executives.

Film industry marketing consultant Richard Lederer makes a similar argument, saying, that it " . . . should not detract from the expression of social concern or the aesthetic possibilities of film that major companies who have an economic interest in the business must continue to regard movies primarily as an escapist entertainment form. The management of these publicly-owned companies must show a responsibility to shareholders and consequently to profit-and-loss statements. These are the realities a major studio must observe, and it therefore follows that the studios will be making pretty much the same kind of films they have always made."

Unfortunately, Mr. Lederer's view also naively assumes that the traditional Hollywood managements is in fact being responsible to shareholders and " . . . consequently to profit-and-loss statements . . . " A continuing theme of this book and its companion volumes The Feature Film Distribution Deal and How the Movie Wars Were Won is that so much money is being made by the major studio/distributors that studio managements are not being responsible to their shareholders. They are in fact regularly cheating their shareholders and lining their own pockets and the pockets of their insider-friends who are agents, attorneys, business managers and talent. The most recent example of that was the 25-year friendship between Disney chief Michael Eisner and Michael Ovitz which was rewarded with a $90 million dollar going away present after Ovitz only worked for Disney for little over a year. That stunt was clearly an abuse of power and effected at the financial expense of Disney's shareholders. Thus, the common argument that Hollywood management must answer to its stockholders is a charade, another myth perpetuated by the Hollywood insider group.

As screenwriter William Goldman explains, the studios " . . . have altered the tradition of ploughing back profits in pursuit of an entire range of different sorts of films . . . today--comic-book pictures are only breeding more comic-book pictures, something that has never happened to this extent before." Goldman suggests that "[t]here are three kinds of movies--(1) movies that aspire to quality and succeed (2) movies that aspire to quality and don't succeed (3) movies that never meant to be any good at all." This third group, according to Goldman, " . . . comprises the majority of commercial films . . . movies for which the original pulse was either totally or primarily financial. Rip-offs, spinoffs, sequels, etc."

Another aspect of the problem relating to dominance of commercial concerns is that artistic interests are often sacrificed to the need to meet studio deadlines. Roger Watkins of Variety's London bureau, wrote on May 13, 1981 of David Puttnam, paraphrasing Puttnam's remarks: " . . . one of the reasons that U.S. majors make so many bad pictures is because film production is forced to fit a studio's distribution commitment. Ready or not, a . . . (motion picture) often has to go into production on a given date to fulfill a major's distribution schedule, hence many roll imperfectly cast, without satisfactory script and other supposed prerequisites. They become product." The product is committed to meet the deals already made with exhibitors whose good-will must be maintained so as to prevent other (independently produced) films from taking up the limited screen space and time.

Actor Dustin Hoffman in trying to explain some of the pressures to finish a film at a studio once created this analogy: "There's a train track. Say (the director) . . . is standing on a train track with a camera, and he's trying to get a shot in another direction, and the train is coming, and he's working to get the shot. The train is getting closer and closer. He's got the actors saying their lines as fast as they can. Just as he gets the shot, he cuts to the track--and the train passes." A listener then asks: "Why does he make movies on railroad tracks?" If this analogy is applied to the studios, which appears to be Hoffman's intention, the answer is that there are very few opportunities to make films anywhere else, but on the track (i.e., with the financial assistance and accompanying controls imposed by the major studio/distributors). Certainly that is the case if producers and directors want


the film to be seen by any significant number of people in the U.S. and around the world, since these same distributors control access to most of the screens.

As noted earlier, film critic Pauline Kael answered her own question when asking "Why movies are so bad?". She stated that most of the current studio bosses " . . . haven't grown up in a show-business milieu--they don't have the background, instincts, the information of those who have lived and sweated movies for many years . . . They have no frame of reference. Worse, they have no shame about not knowing anything about movies . . . So the movie companies wind up with top production executives whose interest in movies rarely extends beyond the immediate selling possibilities; they could be selling neckties just as well as movies, except that they are drawn to glamour and power."

As a further illustration of the thinking of studio executives with regard to their priority of making films commercial, producer Buck Houghton wrote in a discussion relating to movie titles that " . . . the most commercial title of all is still unused and available: 'Sex and Violence'." Recognizing that the Houghton statement was offered partly for its humorous value, it is one of those jokes that is at least half true (i.e., many of the top level studio executives actually believe that sex and violence are the most commercial elements of feature films and that making money is the most important reason to make films). Thus, another result of the lack of diversity at the top in Hollywood is the emphasis on commercial appeal as opposed to artistic merit.

Just Plain Mediocre to Bad Movies--All of the above concepts, so fervently nurtured by a film industry dominated by distributors (lowest common denominator movies, homogeneous films, exploitation fare, high concept movies and commercial product) inevitably leads, in many instances to just plain mediocre to bad movies. As noted at the beginning of this chapter, writer Ben Hecht stated in his 1954 memoirs that " . . . movies are one of the bad habits that corrupted our century . . . an eruption of trash that has lamed the American mind and retarded Americans from becoming a cultured people."

Paris-based independent film producer Jake Eberts (Driving Miss Daisy, Dances with Wolves, Gandhi, Chariots of Fire) states: "[e]veryone in Hollywood spends their time talking to one another all day, then having dinner with the same people at night. The perks are outrageous, the power absolute, but it's a ludicrous, insular world, as reflected in the fact that it gives birth to so many mediocre pictures."

As an example, Roger Ebert points to Frozen Assets (1992) starring Corbin Bernsen. The film was " . . . about a business executive . . . whose corporation sends him to a small town to run the bank. Only when he gets there does he discover it's a sperm bank . . . " As Ebert states, "[t]his is essentially a children's movie with a dirty mind. No adult could possibly enjoy a single frame of the film . . . and yet what child could enjoy, or understand, all of the double entendres about sperm and what goes into its production . . . To call it one of the year's worst would be a kindness."

Ebert also offers strong criticism for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992) saying that it " . . . is one of those movies so dim-witted, so utterly lacking in even the smallest morsel of redeeming value, that you stare at the screen in stunned disbelief . . . the dialogue's idea of humor is lots of close-ups of sweet little Estelle Getty using naughty words." Ebert suggests that despite " . . . having three writers and three producers . . . (this) movie . . . was filmed before it was written." Other early '90s films falling into this category of just plain bad to mediocre movies includes, Bad Girls, Cabin Boy, Flintstones, Tombstone and Coneheads.


In telling the story of the production of Sliver producer Robert Evans relates in his biography that Sharon Stone did not want the part, but took it to prevent her contemporary and competitor Geena Davis from getting it. That, of course, resulted in a less than adequate commitment from Stone and this lack of commitment showed on the screen, ultimately helping to generate a mediocre film.

Sometimes attempts by director's to express something that is important to them through film seems to have a tendency to short-circuit their brains. Michael Cimino's deepfelt desire (in 1981) to tell and hopelessly exaggerate a story (Heaven's Gate) based on an actual incident (in the 1870s) involving a " . . . plot by the cattlebreeder's association (in Montana) to hire a private army and assassinate 125 newly arrived European immigrants . . . " led to what Roger Ebert calls " . . . $36 million thrown to the winds . . . the most scandalous cinematic waste I have ever seen."

In 1984, the brothers Harry and Michael Medved published a book entitled The Hollywood Hall of Shame a book not only about bad movies, but the most expensive flops in movie history. The book provides clear evidence that the Hollywood decision-makers have no more sense of what will work at the box-office than the man in the moon. The brothers Medved had previously co-authored The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (1978) and The Golden Turkey Awards (1980). Unfortunately, for the makers of better movies, the "bad" and "mediocre" movies of the major studio/distributors get shown on the theatre screens because their distributors have the clout to lock up most of the available theatre screens (see discussion relating to block booking and the blockbuster strategy in How the Movie Wars Were Won.

The Absence of Trust--Independent producer David Picker states that "[t]he trouble with our business is that nobody trusts anybody in it. The distributor doesn't trust the exhibitor. The exhibitor doesn't trust the distributor. The producer doesn't trust the creator. The creator is sure the distributor is putting in invalid charges against his picture. The financier is positive that the creator has spent forty-three unnecessary days in shooting the picture."

Echoing those sentiments, David Prindle points out, "[i]n . . . the fluid business structure of Hollywood, no one knows what will work, executives come and go quickly, every project is put together from scratch, and trust is in short supply. To survive, members of the Hollywood community must evolve some methods of protecting themselves from the vicissitudes of working in this environment. One such method of self-protection . . . " Prindle claims is " . . . having very detailed contracts with the studios . . . " Unfortunately, those detailed contracts are seldom used as guides for actual behavior in Hollywood (see The Feature Film Distribution Deal and How the Movie Wars Were Won). In fact, such documents are routinely ignored and most of the available remedies are inadequate, or after the fact.

Hortense Powdermaker explains that the " . . . overt verbal behavior in all these relationships is that of love and friendship. Warm words of endearment and great cordiality set the tone. But underneath is hostility amounting frequently to hatred, and, even more important, a lack of respect for each other's work." Powdermaker goes on to say that the " . . . shifting nature of relationships in Hollywood is also seen in the relatively few stable partnerships (and the) . . . impermanence of friendships." In addition " . . . status positions are transitory."

Regularly over a period of several years during the early '90s, the UCLA Film School Producer's Program Co-Chair Howard Suber asked his graduate level film students to read Powdermaker's book (published in 1950) and write a report comparing the Hollywood Powdermaker wrote about with the Hollywood of today. Inevitably, Suber states, the students recognize that very little has changed, (i.e., most of Powdermaker's observations about Hollywood apply just as much


today as they did some 40 years ago). One of those observations relates to the lack of trust in Hollywood.

Slowness to Adopt New Technology and Resistance to Change--Another of the effects of the present system is a tendency to follow what the studio executives believe are tried and true formulas and the resultant slowness to adopt new technology. As screenwriter, lecturer and author Jason Squire points out in his book, "[e]ach technological marvel was first ignored by the studios, then embraced as a new, substantial source of income." This phenomenon was also true in Powdermaker's day. She reported that the " . . . industry (was) . . . slow to incorporate . . . new ideas . . . " To make matters worse, once new technology was developed, usually by the independent sector of the industry, the major studio/distributors would ultimately use their superior market strength to take control of the new technology to the exclusion of the original developers and exploit it for maximum profits (see How the Movie Wars Were Won).

These tendencies mean that consumers do not get the benefit of new technology as soon as would otherwise be possible and consumers are likely to be paying more than what they would otherwise pay for the technology they get. This slowness to adopt new technology in Hollywood is also additional evidence of the shared monopoly power of the major studio/distributors, (i.e., if there was real competition in the marketplace at this level, the major studio/distributors would be quicker in adopting new technologies).

Limited Occupations Portrayed--As Patrick Robertson reports in his book The Guinness Book of Movie Facts & Feats "[o]nly half a dozen forms of employment are represented by no less than 46 percent of the 2,305 lead roles (during the period from ) 1910-1990 analyzed in a special survey . . . " Those six occupations were " . . . law enforcement, show business, medicine, journalism, the law and the armed forces." Robertson goes on to report that "[m]anual workers scarcely feature in leading roles except occasionally in comedies, while working class occupations in general are rare other than certain stereotypes--golden-hearted prostitutes, spunky chorus girls, rookie soldiers from the Middle West and their grizzled sergeants, monosyllabic but incorruptible cops. Apart from these, blue collar jobs represent less than 2 per cent . . . " of the occupations portrayed by Hollywood movies.

Robertson reports that "[c]ertain other occupations, numerically prominent within the world-at-large, have been almost wholly neglected by Hollywood. The count of 2,305 includes only four barbers, three accountants, two garage mechanics, one elevator operator--and not even a single civil servant." "The men of the movies in 1990 were doctors, lawyers, Wall Street wizards or artistic types--if they were not cops or private eyes, which is what over 25 per cent of all gainfully employed male leads were in a year where the movies seemed to be either about the rich and successful or about those who protect society on their behalf."

Difficult to Raise Production Financing for Independent Films--All wishful thinking aside, the present circumstances relating to the financing of independent feature films is as bad as it has ever been and does not appear to be improving. The dominance of the theatrical marketplace by the major studio/distributors means there are fewer theatres available for independently produced films that are also distributed by independent distributors. Without a theatrical release, a film is less likely to be picked up for video release and because of the fewer available theatres, it is not likely that films distributed by independent distributors will be profitable (i.e, considered box office successes). On the other hand, since it is very unlikely that outside investors (and others who rely on net profits for their participation in the upside potential of a feature film) will actually be paid net profits by a major studio/distributor, there are simply no good prospects for investors outside the industry who might like to invest in independently produced feature films. Thus, over the years, fewer and fewer outside investors are willing to underwrite the cost of an independently produced feature film.

Specifically, these financial problems are not grounded in the investment vehicle itself. In other words, it makes no matter whether the outside investors invest their money through a corporate structure, limited partnership, limited liability company, joint venture or whatever, the problems relating to getting the money back from the distributor are still the same (see The Feature Film Distribution Deal). And, in addition to the theatrical squeeze problem reviewed in How the Movie Wars Were Won, those problems are centered in the negotiating leverage the distributor has when it comes time to negotiate the deal as between the film's producer and the distributor. The distributor's abuse of its power in such negotiations inevitably results in a contract of adhesion with numerous unconscionable provisions, and even if a somewhat fair distribution agreement could be negotiated, it would always allow so much discretion to be exercised by the distributor, that the implementation of the distribution deal will always be grossly in favor of the distributor. Such problems inevitably contribute to a drying up of capital for investment in the film industry and a destruction of anything close to a viable independent film community.

Less Visibility and Financing for Documentaries--A system that places the emphasis on commercial films tends to de-emphasize the role of documentaries, some of which provide valuable insights and information for our society. Thus, for the entire time that the Hollywood-based commercial interests have dominated the American film industry, documentaries have been largely crowded out of the market.

For example, "[i]n 1935 President Roosevelt created the Resettlement Administration to help America's farmers . . . (an) . . . elaborate information bureau (designed) to convince the public of the need for such programs . . . " Former film critic/journalist Pare Lorentz was hired to produce films for the bureau. The " . . . initial effort, The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936) . . . began the creation of what most consider the first true documentary backed by the U.S. government . . . (the film) premiered in Washington, D.C. in May 1936. Lorentz wanted to convince the powerful men and women of the nation's capital to push the distribution of this film beyond the usual circuit of army posts, naval vessels, Civilian Conservation Corps camps, Sunday schools, universities and colleges, and women's clubs. The stumbling block was Hollywood ownership of America's movie theatres. The moguls of the film industry saw no need to play 'Washington propaganda' in their movie theatres . . . " Note, as Gomery reports, that films produced with government assistance are characterized by Hollywood as "propaganda" films, whereas members of the Hollywood film community seem to be oblivious or in deep denial that their own films are also propagandist in nature. The truth is that they simply would rather play their own propaganda in the theatres (see "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda").

As another example, director Robert J. Flaherty " . . . encountered a great deal of resistance on the part of U.S. distributors . . . " with his documentary Nanook of the North. They " . . . doubted the commercial potential of the film. It was eventually distributed by Pathe in 1922 and was a resounding success, both critically and commercially, all over the world . . . .The film exerted considerable influence on the development of the motion picture documentary in many countries." Flaherty thus became known as "father" of the documentary.

Producer Jesse L. Lasky, " . . . with an eye to the commercial potential of the new style, commissioned Flaherty to go to the South Seas to make another Nanook. Working with an unlimited budget and backed by the facilities of a big commercial studio (Paramount), Flaherty came back after

20 months with a poetic record of Polynesian tribal life. The film was superior to Nanook in technique but, despite its great aesthetic beauty, far less truthful and consequently less powerful. It did poorly at the box office. But by now considered an expert on the exotic, Flaherty was assigned by MGM to co-direct (with Willard S. Van Dyke) a dramatic feature film, White Shadows of the South Seas. But Flaherty didn't care much for working with stars and had frequent disagreements with his collaborator over content and approach, and he left production before the film's completion. In 1928, Flaherty began a picture about the Pueblo Indians for Fox but did not get along with the studio brass and quit." He subsequently went back to filming his own documentaries.

There is little evidence to suggest that the prospects for documentaries, at least in the commercial theatres, have changed any since the experience of Lorentz and Flaherty. The theatrical feature film distributors are able to squeeze most of the documentaries out of the commercial theatres, and fewer people get to see the documentaries, thus they earn less money than the more "commercial product". This means in turn that there is less money for documentary producers to spend in producing their next documentary, thus the gap between feature films and documentaries continues to widen. Unfortunately for our society, many of our most talented filmmakers, with important statements to make through film, are relegated to a small corner of the market by the current Hollywood system.

A more recent example, was 1994's Hoop Dreams, a documentary film that some critics considered the best film of the year, but whose release was limited to the so-called "art house" circuit. The film was also pretty much overlooked at the annual Academy Awards


If movie audiences generally were able to see more documentaries than exploitation fare that emphasize sex, violence, profanity and ethnic bigotry, it is very likely we would have a much more intelligent, thoughtful and humanistic population generally, and specifically less crime in our society. That being the case, any reasonable steps that our nation could take in that direction would be well worth the effort (see the discussion relating to remedies in Motion Picture Industry Reform).

Foreign Film Industries Pushed Aside--The world dominance of the major American film companies prevents the exhibition of most foreign films in the domestic marketplace, prevents the exhibition of many foreign films in their own countries, denies the American public the value of the foreign point of view, denies much of the foreign public the benefit of being able to see films that were produced primarily with them in mind and results in a talent drain of local professionals to the more commercial U.S. film industry. Greed and arrogance appear to be the best explanations as to why the major American film companies can justify the notion that foreign films are not worthy of viewing by our mass American audiences.

As Douglas Gomery points out, the American film industry came " . . . to dominate the world, first through its economic muscle (freed by the chaos of World War I [1914-1918] to enter country after country) and simultaneously by setting the standard for proper moviemaking." The First World War " . . . significantly curtailed the production and distribution power of European moviemakers, and into that gap stepped Hollywood." As the war dragged on, " . . . Hollywood prospered and Europe suffered irreversible declines."

Gomery goes on to state that, "Hollywood defines its strength by distributing films around the world and controlling theatres in which to present the films to the public." Joseph Phillips agrees, saying that a " . . . small number of film companies have traditionally dominated the American film industry and in turn the international film market outside the socialist countries. This situation has resulted from the size of the U.S. market for films, the historical advantage that this has given the U.S. film companies, and the nature of the film industry."

Thomas Guback adds: "[o]ne factor contributing to the worldwide strength of American films is the virtual monopoly of international distribution achieved by American companies . . . a handful of distributors decide, by and large, which pictures circulate internationally among major filmmaking nations. As these companies also are important in financing production through distribution guarantees, they exert considerable influence on the kinds of pictures made for global audiences."

University professor and author Kindem Gorham also states that " . . . although the feature film industry has grown and changed rather dramatically during the past century, its basic motivation to maximize profits through specific policies and strategies--such as . . . cooperation and competition with related entertainment industries, self-censorship, and the concentration of power in a few companies that dominate both foreign and domestic markets--have remained remarkably unchanged."

As Gomery points out, "[t]he handful of companies formed more than a half century ago still have hegemony (i.e., preponderant influence or authority) over the creation of the movies and the distribution of them throughout the world. Since the end of the Second World War, they have survived the forced selling of their theatre chains, the rise of network television, the advent of cable and pay television, and most recently, the video cassette revolution. These companies may have new owners, but they show no signs of weakening. Indeed, if anything, they are getting stronger." Even with "new owners", however, the actual control of these major studios has been held by the same narrowly defined interest for the entire period of their existence (see "Who Really Controls Hollywood").

Also, as noted earlier, according to the MPAA's Jack Valenti, " . . . foreign governments earn more income from the showing of American films (through import, admission, and income taxes) than do the producers of those films." This may be a source of some pride for Jack Valenti, but it signals to some in the industry, just how weak producers are. In other words, from a financial perspective, you would be better off being a foreign government imposing certain taxes on the revenues generated by American movies in your country, than being the producer of that same film. On the other hand, in typical Valenti "doublespeak" he may be actually saying, that the production arm of the major studio/distributor usually does not get credited with much of a film's revenues, since the distribution arm of the same company keeps most of the money.

As Terry Ilott states, " . . . aggrieved Euro producers . . . feel their films are not able to compete for screens with the output, regardless of quality, of the majors . . . " Ilott then inexplicably reverses his field and argues that " . . . the majors' market share has increased only because the audience for locally produced movies has fallen dramatically. In other words, the crisis of European cinema is a matter between Euro filmmakers and their audience, not between Europe and Hollywood."

That, of course, is exactly the same illogical argument made by the spokesmen for the major studio/distributors when they say that the U.S. independents fail because their movies are not as well received. But how can Ilott and the major studio/distributors ignore the fact that access to theatres is the real key and that access to theatres is not always determined by the quality of movies. In addition, the more access audiences have to local films, the more money they are likely to make. As the producers of such films make more money, they are in a better position to improve the quality of such productions in the future, and to more effectively compete with the films of the more prosperous and major studio/distributors that engage in anti-competitive practices that limit the number of theatres available for independent films.

As Guback points out, the " . . . deluge of American films in Europe, most especially in the postwar period, restricted the market for those made locally by industries struggling to recover from the war." Guback further reports:

" . . . American involvement in the financing and distributing of European films . . . (has) had wide political, social, and economic consequences . . . this results in the closing of channels to the expression of indigenous cultural characteristics . . . Europeans have lost effective control of their industries, and thus of their own artistic destinies. Those who are concerned only with the shadows on the screen and not their source are judging ends and disregarding means, for how something is done inevitably affects what is done. Europeans cannot lose control of the economic end of film-making and expect to retain autonomy in the cultural or social spheres."

Of course, Guback's thoughtful reasoning in this instance applies equally well in the domestic marketplace and to American independent filmmakers.

Kindem also points out further that " . . . American advertising and America's control of international distribution outlets have crippled foreign film industries and made them dependent on the American film industry. " Douglas Gomery suggests an additional reason for Hollywood dominance of international film markets. He reports that the principal film movements in other countries " . . . those in France and Germany, ended because of a combination of economic calamity (the coming of the Great Depression) and the ability of Hollywood to bid away key filmmakers." In other words, from the very early days of the U.S. film industry, the "outlaw" filmmakers of Hollywood used their "monopoly" profits to steal away some of the best talent from the local film industries of other countries. This Hollywood tactic of raiding the talent pools of the competing film industries in other countries, might fairly be considered a "predatory business practice." No wonder there is so much resentment around the world about Hollywood and the "American" business practices that contributed to its power.

Gomery also reports that " . . . as Hollywood monopolized the market (in Europe, Asia, Africa and the rest of the Americas), native-based filmmakers had no chance to ply their craft, to develop an indigenous film industry . . . " Which means too, that in most instances, those local filmmakers do not get to tell their important cultural stories on films. As a result, of course, " . . . all nations save the United States (justifiably) fought back with government prohibitions against Hollywood and subsidies to help native filmmakers." These, of course, are the same foreign government subsidies and trade barriers that Jack Valenti rails against so often, although Valenti conveniently forgets to disclose why they were created in the first place.

Goldberg reveals one of the problems for local producers in foreign countries, when he reports that "[i]n several of the important (foreign) markets, the major distributors commit their entire line-up to a theatre circuit, which will play all or most of the year's, product." That of course, is a form of the business practice considered illegal in the U.S. (block-booking) and it clearly minimizes the possibility of screening time for the films produced by local filmmakers.

Pendakur Manjunath expresses similar complaints about the Canadian film market, saying the " . . . concentration of ownership in the distribution and exhibition sectors of the industry, and certain monopolistic market relationships between the dominant theater circuits and dominant distributors, are detrimental to the growth of an indigenous film industry." Pendakur goes on to report that "Canada's screens are . . . dominated by imported feature films, most of which come from the United States." Pendakur also points out that "[w]hile the U.S. majors have significant access to and control of the Canadian theatrical markets, Canadian filmmakers have been unable to market their films through the majors in any significant numbers." In fact, Pandakur states, the " . . . major circuits in Canada have allowed the leading U.S. distributors to practice block and blind booking."



Canada is perhaps the " . . . only country in the capitalist world that has allowed free access to its feature film market and ownership of its screens by foreign multinational firms without any control over the market. Traditional barriers, such as screen quotas and box-office levies, are shunned by the Canadian federal government." Thus, ultimately, the " . . . system (in Canada) is structured to exclude almost all Canadian films except by chance. The traditional argument is that if it is a 'good' Canadian film, it will get played. In other words, it is not the structure of the industry and the market relationships that preclude Canadian films in the national market but it is their poor 'quality.' This argument is largely a myth perpetuated by the dominant distributors and exhibitors in Canada." This same misleading and dishonest argument, of course, is made by the American major studio/distributors and exhibitors in reference to independent films in the U.S.

As Pandakur reports, " . . . none of the seven top-grossing Canadian pictures produced between 1968-1978 was released in Canada during the best playing times . . . (thus) Independent distributors . . . seldom have the choice of theater(s) that might maximize a film's grossing potential." Unfortunately, these limited choices for independent producers still exist today both in Canada and in the U.S.

British film producers have also been " . . . unable to find a way to expand abroad, particularly into the United States." Douglas Gomery reports that "Hollywood, through its theatre ownership, never permitted the widespread presentation of British films in the United States." Thomas Guback suggests that "[w]hat one British producer has said about the United Kingdom could apply equally to other nations: 'We have a thriving film production industry in this country which is virtually owned, lock, stock and barrel, by Hollywood.'"

Guback also states that there " . . . is no question that the British film industry, and to a slightly lesser extent the Italian and French, have lost their autonomy by becoming tied to, and relying upon, American finance and distribution." The Katz Film Encyclopedia reports that "French films capture only about 30 percent of the market of French moviegoers, while American films capture 60 percent. Even so, domestic box-office share in France is ahead of that in other European countries. In Germany, for example, native films capture only about 13 percent of the market."

Again, Hollywood dominance of the international market has been a long established phenomenon. For example, by " . . . 1920 Hollywood films outnumbered French product by sometimes as much as eight to one. In the 1920s the French would establish quotas to protect native production, but by then Hollywood had too firm a hold." Joseph Phillips reported that " . . . almost 42 percent of the total rentals paid by French exhibitors to distributors went to seven U.S. companies in 1972 . . . " As Gomery states, the " . . . monopolistic behavior . . . " of the Hollywood majors exercised through the MPEA has also " . . . stifled the growth of African cinema."

Phillips goes on to reveal that before " . . . World War II, foreign film rentals accounted for one-fourth to one-third of total receipts of U.S. filmmakers . . . (in the late 60s) . . . foreign markets . . . generated 51 to 55 percent of total motion picture rental income of U.S. film companies . . . " In the more contemporary marketplace, Alexander Cockburn reports that in 1990 the American major studio/distributors " . . . took in $1.8 billion in rental fees inside the U.S. and $1.6 billion in rentals from foreign distributors." Cockburn also reported that "American films take up more than 90 percent of all screen time in countries as disparate as Canada, Nigeria and Brazil." Also, as recently as 1993, Leonard Klady published a study of the top 100 grossing films worldwide. He reported that "[o]f the top 100 global earners in film for 1993, 88 were American productions. But 52% of the total grosses was generated outside the U.S . . . The total world gross of the top 100 pix came to $8.05 billion." In addition, Variety reported that " . . . the U.S. majors collectively reaped more theatrical revenues overseas in 1993 than at home." All of this " . . . serves to demonstrate the relatively greater domination of the international film industry by the U.S. majors . . . despite the many measures adopted by foreign governments to protect and encourage their respective domestic film industries."

In reaction to the dominance of the film marketplace by the Hollywood-based major studio/distributors, " . . . nearly every other, country where motion pictures are made has legislation protecting the home industry from American competition . . . " Based on what has been revealed in this work (and this book's companion volume How the Movie Wars Were Won), those barriers exist for very good reasons indeed.

Variety reported in November of 1994 that the " . . . UIP and some officials at the European Commission don't like each other. There's a strong lobby within the commission bent on breaking up UIP, the partnership between Paramount, Universal and MGM/UA, on the grounds that it propagates the dominance of U.S. films in Europe." But, the MPAA actually appears to use thinly disguised bribes to influence the European markets. In November of 1994, during the ongoing debate over GATT, Jack Valenti announced " . . . a $40,000 grant to the European Media Business School in Madrid, matching the $40,000 already pledged by the European Commission."

Similar tactics are used in the U.S. to gain the support of numerous organizations with film industry concerns (e.g., the NAACP). In other words, everywhere you see a significant monetary contribution made by the MPAA, its member companies or studio executives, to a not-for-profit film industry organization or film school (for example), you are likely to see a reluctance on the part of the people within such organizations to criticize the hand that feeds them. The MPAA, of course, has discovered that this tactic works in both the foreign and domestic markets.

Finally, in October of 1994, the Monopolies & Mergers Commission report on U.K. distribution and exhibition was published. It " . . . concluded that a complex monopoly does exist in the supply of films for exhibition in the U.K. But it recommended only two changes in the way distributors do business, both of marginal impact. First, it orders an end to the practice of alignment, whereby a distributor has a habitual exclusive arrangement with a particular cinema chain. Second, it cuts the period that distributors are allowed to require cinemas to show films to two weeks for first run product, and one week for second-run." Experienced observers of the European market suggest that such changes will have little effect on the dominance of European film markets by the American major studio/distributors.

As noted above, another result of the dominance of world markets by American film companies is that the vast majority of the American audiences are missing good foreign films. Movie critic Roger Ebert stated in his 1994 Video Companion book that " . . . [m]aybe Hollywood films have grown so slick and sophisticated that simple stories . . . can no longer be told in the big commercial genres." Ebert reports that " . . . in the early months of 1993, the best films (he had seen were) . . . mostly from other countries." Thus, American film audiences are missing out on some of the best films because foreign films are generally muscled out of the U.S. theatrical marketplace, and the producers of such films are being cheated out of revenues they would otherwise have earned.



Inefficiency--Another problem with the system in use in Hollywood is inefficiency. Production inefficiencies existed years ago and continue today. As Powdermaker pointed out, in Hollywood " . . . more workers are used than necessary, raw material is thrown away, highly skilled men are employed and then not permitted to function with any degree of efficiency; foremen, bosses, and others are constantly asserting their will, without regard to the effect on the product . . . "

As an example, of Hollywood inefficiency in more recent times, during production of The Cotton Club, producer Robert Evans reports that several " . . . people involved in the day-by-day shooting . . . " were interviewed and the " . . . word that all of them used most consistently was 'waste'--waste of time, waste of shots, waste of money . . . Other accusations include[d] nepotism and drugs." Under Francis Ford Coppola's direction, the production cost soared from the planned $20 million to $48 million and without a completion bond. According to Robert Evans' autobiography, Coppola was using The Cotton Club to pay back Evans for taking credit for the success of The Godfather. Evans was the studio head at Paramount when The Godfather was produced and reportedly was very instrumental in the final editing of the hugely successful film, over Coppola's objections.

Insular Community--Another common description of Hollywood that appears to be supported by the research underlying the series of books on Hollywood (summarized here) is that it is an insular community. For example, Hollywood is described by Charles Kipps as " . . . the most insular town in the world." Of course, insular means isolated and detached.

John Huston is quoted by David McClintick as once describing Hollywood as "[a] closed-in, tight, frantically inbred, and frantically competitive jungle. And the rulers of the jungle are predatory . . . " Goldman reports that "'Hollywood' is basically a very small community, and there are precious few secrets." Nicolas Kent describes the same phenomenon by saying that " . . . the mentality of Los Angeles is that of a company town . . . "

Hollywood has also been described as " . . . a small, provincial town, where huge amounts of other people's money are laid down on commodities that are about as predictable as a madman's mood." As Powdermaker explains, "[t]he stimulus of contact with those from other fields of endeavor, which is so accessible in most big cities, is lacking in Hollywood. For the most part, people work, eat, talk and play only with others who are likewise engaged in making movies." "Most of the inhabitants (of Hollywood) seem to enjoy and receive a certain security from being only with people like themselves." They " . . . think and talk only about movies with other movie people . . . Hollywood was like a 'sealed chamber', in that one gradually accepted its standards and values, forgetting about others."

Film critic Roger Ebert suggests that the motion picture The Player (1992) portrays a picture of Hollywood that is consistent with that portrayed in this book, (i.e., that the " . . . industry . . . is run like an exclusive rich boys' school, where all the kids are spoiled and most of them have ended up here because nobody else could stand them . . . (and) in which the top executives of many industries are cut off from the real work of their employees and exist in a rarefied atmosphere of greedy competition with one another.") Paul Rosenfield also states that in " . . . a community as socially closed as Hollywood, insularity becomes a way of life. The club talks to each other--and only to each other, or so it sometimes seems." We have to keep in mind, of course, that this insular group of people is the same community that is producing and releasing films for viewing by a general audience and society that, unlike Hollywood, is very diverse indeed.

People Are Considered Property--Anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker also places a great deal of emphasis on the observation that Hollywood insiders consider people to be property. He states that "[p]eople are property in no uncertain terms, usually valuable property, and everyone has his price. Underlying the endearing terms of every conversation are the questions: 'What can I get from him?' . . . 'What does he want from me?' . . . 'Will I need him in the future, if not now?' Human relationships (in Hollywood, according to Powdermaker) are regarded as basically manipulative and are lacking in all dignity."

On this point, Powdermaker goes on to say that in " . . . Hollywood . . . there appears to be a much greater confusion between the animate and inanimate than in the larger society . . . Hollywood people seem more at home with the inanimate, with property which can be measured in dollars and which can be manipulated to increase itself, than they are with human beings . . . Much of Hollywood thinking . . . " Powdermaker states, " . . . has the characteristics of this inverted form of animism . . . "

No Level Playing Field--One of the concepts often used to describe competition in Hollywood is that of the level playing field, an expression which when used with respect to a particular industry, such as the film industry, refers to whether the rules of the game are the same for all of the players, or whether the environment ("field") in which the business is conducted provides a fair opportunity for all to participate on an equal basis.

This book unapologetically takes the position that the primary reason for most of the failures of the independent production and distribution companies in the U.S. film industry during the nearly 90-year history of the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry relates to this issue (i.e., the lack of a "level playing field") and not "lack of hits" or "poor financial management" as others have suggested. The lack of hits and poor financial management arguments are merely industry rationalizations, used to shift the blame from where it belongs. In other words, the Hollywood insider group, represented most prominently by the top-level executives of the major studio/distributors, the top talent agencies and a few of the important entertainment law firms, have tipped the scales in their favor to the exclusion of outsiders. There is no "level playing field" in Hollywood and it has not been level for many years.

Polarization of Interest Groups--Another concern of many film industry observers is that the industry is becoming more and more polarized, (i.e., it is separating into parts at opposite extremes). This means that the differences between the "haves" and the "have nots" have widened. For independent producers and production companies it means that the relative resources, capabilities, leverage, market power and market share of the major studios has increased and the barriers to entry to the top level of the industry have been raised even higher. The same is true for the distribution side of the industry as well as exhibition (i.e., the larger organizations have distanced themselves from their competitors).

A Totalitarian Industry--Another prominent aspect of Hollywood that concerned Powdermaker, which does not seem to have significantly changed in contemporary Hollywood is its tendency, at least among the major studio/distributors, to function as a totalitarian society. As Powdermaker points out, "[i]n Hollywood most of the men who enjoy power have it simply because they got their first and were able to form the social structure of movie making as they desired, rather than in the interests of movie making . . . " or society. People who work in Hollywood " . . . accept the dictatorship only nominally, because of the high salaries. They rarely accept it emotionally and, instead, are filled with resentment and bitterness toward it." In other words, most of the people who seem to be doing well in Hollywood, have been bought off, and they seldom have the courage to complain publicly.

Comparing aspects of totalitarian and democratic societies, Powdermaker goes on to explain:

"While . . . some of the totalitarian elements . . . exist in democratic societies, there are basic differences between them and totalitarian ones. In the latter, manipulation of people is carried to the greatest extremes and, even more important, is always done by a few powerful men at the head of the state . . . Totalitarian elements in our society, whether in school, home, politics, are only one of a number of alternatives . . . " Powdermaker states that " . . . Hollywood represents totalitarianism . . . In Hollywood, the concept of man as a passive creature to be manipulated extends to those who work for the studios, to personal and social relationships, to the audiences in the theaters and to the characters in the movies . . . The Hollywood atmosphere of crises and continuous anxiety is a kind of hysteria which prevents people from thinking, and is not too different from the way dictators use wars and continuous threats of war as an emotional basis for maintaining their power."

As Powdermaker points out, "[i]n Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote about Fate as sometimes cruel and other times loving. Whether it is called Fate, destiny, or breaks, the underlying concept is the same: man gives up the attempt to exercise some control over his life through his own intelligence, because he thinks forces beyond his domain completely direct it." Powdermaker also suggests that the " . . . totalitarian concept of man is not limited to human relationships in Hollywood, but is reflected in many movies."

Continuing on this point Powdermaker observes that Hollywood operates under " . . . elaborated totalitarian elements . . . the concept of people as property and as objects to be manipulated, highly concentrated and personalized power for power's sake, an amorality, and an atmosphere of breaks, continuous anxiety and crises. The result of this over-elaboration is business inefficiency, deep frustration in human relations, and a high number of unentertaining second- and third-rate movies. There are, of course, other patterns in the U.S.A. which Hollywood could elaborate. They are the democratic ones of the dignity of man, the concept of freedom, a belief in man's capacity to think, create, and to exercise some control over his life--a belief that man is more important than property--all part of our cultural heritage." All are generally ignored by the Hollywood moviemakers.

Powdermaker also reports that the " . . . totalitarian concept . . . " (in Hollywood) " . . . likewise extends toward the audiences, often regarded as suckers whose emotional needs and anxieties can be exploited for profit." "Those who take pleasure in degrading other people, whether in Hollywood or in a totalitarian state, are themselves degraded and may be even subconsciously aware of it." "Totalitarianism, whether in a foreign nation or in Hollywood, represents one of the backward swings in history." It also may " . . . be carried to such unnecessary extremes as to threaten the well-being and, occasionally, even the survival of the society." At the very least, it would appear to be in the best interests of our society to take whatever steps are necessary to insure that the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry and other totalitarian style industries in the U.S. are transformed into more democratic models. Eventually, someone has to stand up to Hollywood and think and act in the best interests of the country as a whole.

Studio Conflict--In addition to some of the pressures discussed above, there is also a long history in Hollywood of direct conflict between studio executives and the creative people working on studio film projects. For example, as the Katz Film Encyclopedia reports, while under contract with Warner Bros., in the '20s, actress Ann Dvorak " . . . on the whole was dissatisfied with her roles and often clashed with the studio management . . . " Also, during the '30s, actress Alice Faye " . . . frequently feuded with studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck . . . " and she eventually " . . . walked out on her contract and retired from the screen." During this same period, actress Bette Davis " . . . was under a long-term contract with Warner Brothers . . . " but the studio consistently offered " . . . her mediocre vehicles . . . the strong-willed Miss Davis, who had practically clawed her way to the top, became rebellious. She refused another unsuitable role and was suspended without pay. She accepted an offer from England to appear in a couple of European productions, but Warners, to whom she was bound by contract until 1942, issued an injunction. She promptly sued the company but lost in the ensuing court battle. To her surprise, Warners not only paid her legal expenses but began treating her with greater respect and offered her roles to suit her temperament and talent."

Playwright George S. Kaufman " . . . steadfastly resisted offers to work in Hollywood. He disliked the town and resented the manner in which writers were treated by studio bosses . . . " He finally " . . . succumbed to an offer by Samuel Goldwyn to write a comedy script as a vehicle for Eddie Cantor. (It turned out to be Roman Scandals--1933). He did a first draft in collaboration with Robert E. Sherwood but quit the project because of interference (supposedly) by the film's star and was credited only as co-author of the original story."

Actress Olivia de Havilland on " . . . a seven-year contract . . . " with Warner Bros. " . . . was cast as Melanie in Gone With the Wind (1939), on loan out to Selznick, and showed considerable dramatic ability in a demanding part. Back at Warners, she rebelled for better roles there and was put on a six-month suspension. When Warners wouldn't release her from her contract at the end of the seven-year term, claiming her obligation should be extended for the duration of the suspension, she sued the studio and won a landmark decision that set the outside limit of a studio-player contract at seven years, including periods of suspension." She was " . . . absent from the screen (however) for the three-year duration of the court battle . . . " That is part of the price one pays for challenging Hollywood. Vienna-born director Fritz Lang was also " . . . frequently at odds with the policy makers of the Hollywood studio system and in daily friction with hard-to-discipline American actors and crews."

Director Rouben Mamoulian was "[s]taunchly independent in his ideas of how films should be made (and) . . . often clashed with the Hollywood studio hierarchy. In 1944 he was removed from the helm of Laura and replaced by Otto Preminger. In 1958 he lost the assignment of directing the film version of Porgy and Bess, again to Preminger, and three years later he was fired from the set of Cleopatra after completing a 10-minute segment of film." Mamoulian was thus, what the studios call a "problem director". It may be more accurate to label the major studio bosses as "problem executives". In another example, Opera tenor Mario Lanza became embroiled in a dispute with MGM executives on The Student Prince (1954) and left the film.

In the '60s, director Stanley Kubrick " . . . moved to England, in search of greater independence and greater creative control of his films, away from the Hollywood studio system." Also, in the '60s, actor, director, screenwriter John Cassavetes " . . . the son of a Greek-born businessman . . . was hired to direct two studio . . . productions, Too Late Blues (1962) and A Child is Waiting (1963) . . . " after his success with the independently produced Shadows . . . (but) [n]either did well with the critics or at the box office. Resentful of studio interference, Cassavetes returned to independent filmmaking . . . " but became " . . . [d]ismayed with the distribution of his . . . films . . . " and in 1974 . . . traveled from coast to coast promoting, distributing, and booking (Under the Influence) . . . directly with motion picture theaters." Cassavetes thus experienced the dilemma of modern-day filmmaking in the U.S., you either have to tolerate studio interference or settle for a minimum number of available screens, there is no other available choice.

Director Bob Rafelson " . . . was fired from the set of Brubaker (1980) and replaced with Stuart Rosenberg after 10 days of shooting, following a stormy encounter during which he threw a chair at a 20th Century-Fox executive." The Katz Film Encyclopedia entry for director, screenwriter Neil Jordan also concedes that two of his " . . . big-budget Hollywood assignments . . . flopped, at least partly because of destructive studio interference . . . " Director Terry Gilliam


also reportedly fought " . . . a bitter battle with Universal , when the studio insisted on trimming (Brazil--1985) . . . by 17 minutes for its American release."

The above examples merely represent the tip of the iceberg on the subject of studio conflict with filmmakers. It is also the contention of this book that many of such conflicts, (i.e., battles over studio molestation of a director's work, interference with an actor's interpretation or mutilation of a screenwriter's script), could be avoided if all of these creative people worked with others in the creative community to eliminate studio or distributor financing of the production costs of motion pictures and took other steps outlined in the discussion of remedies in this book's companion volume Motion Picture Industry Reform). Film distribution companies should be relegated to distribution alone, and their distribution practices must be reformed.

Class Warfare and the Culture War--One important conflict in modern society is between economic classes, that is, " . . . between those people who have more of what there is to get and those who have less." In that sense, the film industry is merely a microcosm of the larger American society. In effect, a form of class warfare rages in the film industry.

An interesting study was done by Vicente Navarro, a professor at Johns Hopkins, who " . . . discovered that much of the difference between blacks and whites was actually a class difference (the study was published by the British medical journal, Lancet). As Noam Chomsky points out, however, "[n]obody's talking much about what should be done, or is even available to give talks. The class warfare of the last decades has been fairly successful in weakening popular organizations. People are isolated."

It would be quite understandable that the disenfranchised classes in the U.S. film industry would want to assume power "by any means necessary" (to borrow the famous Malcom X phrase), after all the people who control Hollywood appear to have used any means necessary to gain and maintain their control, and they have done it with impudence. However, the many possible remedies suggested in the companion volume Motion Picture Industry Reform, are more appropriate.

Some view the film industry problems described in this book as part of a much broader culture war. Representatives of the political right and left agree, "[w]e are in the midst of a culture war,' declared Michael Hudson, executive vice president of the liberal (and Hollywood-funded) lobbying group People for the American Way . . . According to conservative congressman Henry Hyde (R.-Illinois) America is . . . 'involved in a . . . war between cultures and a war about the meaning of culture.'" Obviously, the struggles in the motion picture industry are an important part of that battle.

Michael Medved quotes Dr. James C. Dobson, the popular Christian psychologist whose "Focus on the Family" radio show airs on twelve hundred stations as saying that "'[n]othing short of a great Civil War of Values rages today throughout North America. Two sides with vastly differing and incompatible worldviews are locked in a bitter conflict that permeates every level of society."

Medved, on the other hand, tries to characterize the struggle as something else. He states that "[w]hile one side . . . claims to represent a coherent worldview, derived from several millennia of Judeo-Christian civilization, the other insists that it is fighting only for 'freedom of expression,' with no other ideological agenda. In these terms, the struggle in Hollywood is not so much a fight between two competing sets of values as it is a dispute over whether it is appropriate to impose values at all on the creation or evaluation of entertainment."



Of course, if those who control Hollywood and claim only to be fighting for freedom of expression, allowed other segments of our society to be represented at all levels of the power spectrum in Hollywood, that argument might be appealing. But, since there are many groups in our society that have and continue to be systematically excluded from control positions in Hollywood, the so-called "freedom of expression" supposedly being fought for is only for a small narrowly-defined sub-group within our culturally diverse American society. Thus, they are fighting for their own freedom of expression, which reflects a rather homogeneous view of ideas to be conveyed through movies, while viciously excluding other groups who may be able to offer a different perspective. That is a cultural war, pure and simple.

In addition, "[t]he apologists for the entertainment industry . . . maintain that the images they create amount to a 'value-neutral' experience, with no real impact on the viewer and no underlying influence on society . . . (they) seldom claim that Hollywood's messages are beneficial; they argue, rather, that those messages don't matter." The truth is that all messages matter, and the more effective the medium for communicating the message, the more potential for influence (see the discussion that follows entitled "Movies Influence People").

The Moviegoing Public is Largely Ignored--Regardless of whether the situation in Hollywood is perceived to be a class war, a cultural war, an example of polarization or the lack of a level playing field or all of the above, many citizens feel, according to Prindle, " . . . that their opinions are too little considered and that an out-of-control industry is proceeding on its arrogant path." As Powdermaker points out, the truth is that " . . . many executives do not yet realize . . . that large sections of the population are more grown up they themselves are." (Additional discussion relating to the influence audiences may or may not have on Hollywood filmmakers appears in this book's companion volume How the Movie Wars Were Won under the headings "The World's Greatest PR Machine" and "Myth and Misinformation").

Thus, it is clear that the legacy of a Hollywood-based U.S. film industry leaves us with many undesirable consequences.

Chapter 6

ECONOMIC AND HUMAN LOSSES "I'm for truth . . . no matter who tells it."

Malcolm X

As attorney Pierce O'Donnell points out, the business practices of the major studio/distributors " . . . were hardly victimless 'crimes.' In addition to the diversion of millions--perhaps billions--into the studios' pockets and away from the profit participants, the studios also cheated the public. With this massive concentration of power came higher ticket prices, the stifling of creativity, fewer quality films each year, a narrowing of the opportunities for new filmmakers (particularly women and minorities), and mindless similarity in the films that were made."

The result of this combination of factors is a significant limit on creativity in U.S. movie making, a more narrow selection of motion pictures from which an audience may choose and a tendency for such movies to merely range from the hoped-for "blockbusters", lowest common denominator movies and exploitation fare. In addition, and even more important is the toll in wasted human lives, those that have been exploited by a film industry dominated by the major studio/distributors and sometimes arbitrarily cast aside as so much valueless property, in addition to those who never had a realistic chance to begin with because Hollywood is not a merit system or free market at all. As a nation, we are standing on the sidelines and watching far too many of our fellow citizens, be they our daughters, sons, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, girlfriends, boyfriends or others who spend an excessive amount of time, energy and money training and working toward an unattainable goal, that is, struggling to work in a motion picture industry that is effectively closed off by the Hollywood insider group to the vast majority of Hollywood outsiders.

Unequal Employment Opportunities

One of the very serious effects of the system in Hollywood is unequal employment opportunities.

Women--The noticeable lack of women in power positions in Hollywood, (i.e., at the top studio executive level and at the highest levels in the most powerful talent agencies) was discussed in this book's earlier chapter "Who Really Controls Hollywood?" There are three other areas where women's opportunities have never been equal to the opportunities for their male counterparts in the film industry.

(a) Opportunities to Make Films: As noted earlier, attorney Pierce O'Donnell observed in the Steven Gaydos article "Piercing Indictment" that there as been a " . . . narrowing of the opportunities for new film makers (particularly women and minorities) . . . " Although it is difficult to know whether such opportunities have been actually narrowing, it is clear that opportunities for all but the Hollywood control group have always been and continue to be extremely limited.



(b) Equal Pay for Equal Work: Another problem area relates to the fact that male stars get paid substantially more than female stars. As Nicholas Kent reports, " . . . male stars are paid much more than female stars--usually twice or sometimes even three times as much--and their careers as stars tend to last far longer." Meryl Streep, for example, " . . . does not find the inequities between men and women in Hollywood entertaining in any way . . . " As she explains, " . . . there are different rules for men than for women."

Meanwhile, the male studio executives have come up with a most dubious rationalization for such an inequitable situation by saying: "Male stars get paid more than female stars because men will go out to see men, and women will go out to see men, and men have a difficult time going out to see women." In other words, the male " . . . studio bosses who decide what movies are made, who is in them and on what terms, maintain that the earnings disparity between male and female stars is market led . . . " They say " . . . movies starring women . . . do not bring in as much money as movies starring certain men." This argument appears to be somewhat specious since stars are made not born. That is, the same male studio bosses who claim male stars bring in more money are the same studio bosses who decide to spend more money promoting the male stars than competing female stars.

In his book Naked Hollywood, Nicholas Kent, provides the opinion that the " . . . power to change the way the business works comes to those with the commercial muscle to effect those changes." He suggests that the " . . . rates of pay for female stars will improve only if that serves the commercial interests of the studios." Of course, the Kent argument assumes that the commercial interests of the studios will remain dominant over other interests within the film community which may be willing to produce and distribute films that serve other interests in society, or that society in general will not revolt against a studio system that worships the almighty dollar more than communications vehicles that may better serve the interests of society. In any case, for purposes of this discussion, it is only necessary, to admit that there is a difference in the compensation between men and women in the U.S. film industry, and that this difference significantly favors the men.

(c) Lack of Good Roles: A third area of concern for women in Hollywood is the " . . . oft reiterated complaint that there are few good parts for women in modern movies . . . " This problem " . . . seems to be borne out by the figures for who gets top-lined in the credits--the leading man or the leading lady. Male stars are said to have more pulling power at the box office, but that has to have something to do with the fact that the male role is usually the dominant one--particularly now when one out of eight Hollywood movies feature policemen as the principal characters . . . "

The special Patrick Robertson survey reported earlier relating to the occupations portrayed in movies, also " . . . demonstrates that the changing position of women in society has yet to be fully reflected on the large screen. Employment for the ladies in the movies of 1990 was generally on stage or on their backs--Pretty Woman's lovely Julia Roberts was only one of eight happy hookers and The Baker Boys' gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer but one of 17 who were hoofing, warbling or thesping their way in show biz."

In contrast, Robertson reports that the " . . . most prevalent theme in the films of 1920 was dilemma within the family--its resolution, more often than not, lay in the hands of the female protagonist. Few of the films of 1990 were about families--the dominant theme was the resolution of problems by direct action, too often with fists or a gun--and the defender of the American Way was almost inevitably male . . . " Lead roles in American films represents . . . one of the few areas of human activity in the 20th century in which the participation of women has declined dramatically."

In response to an interview question about the acting parts available for 50 year old women, actress Meryl Streep said that "[w]e have to look at that age group of women that are most desirable in certain men's eyes and find out if they have parts available to them as plentiful as male protagonists--of if we're screwed on every level . . . " Streep also said she " . . . made one speech (about actresses being paid less than actors, at the first National Conference of the Screen Actors Guild's Women's Committee in 1990), and . . . " she has " . . . regretted this speech every day of . . . " her life" "It's like that's my thing! . . . other actresses say . . . 'I'm not going to complain because I feel very privileged' . . . All I did was say in one speech what everybody knows. If the people who are making this money at the top of the profession don't speak about it, then when will there be equity down the line?" Of course, if " . . . the people who are making this money at the top of the profession . . . " did more than occasionally complain (e.g., took some of the steps outlined in the discussion of remedies found in this book's companion volume Motion Picture Industry Reform), the situation with regard to unequal pay and other important issues might actually have a chance of being altered. A few complaints from time to time from people at the top of their profession will not be enough to change Hollywood.

As Variety film reviewer Todd McCarthy points out, the 1994 Universal release The River Wild is the " . . . rare actioner in which a woman (Meryl Streep) gets the lion's share of the heroics . . . " This recent example of a lead role for a woman offers hope for the future, while at the same time, confirming that such roles are in fact "rare".

Glenn Close also states that she hopes " . . . there are more opportunities [for actresses], not for me but my girls. I want them to see not just examples of beautiful young women, I want them to see that women are beautiful throughout their lives and important and formidable and exciting, because I think those fantasies are what you build your dreams on. I know I did when I was a kid."

In the meantime, independent filmmakers, are already " . . . ahead of the majors in progressive employment practices . . . " David Prindle reports that the " . . . gender barrier is less frequently encountered in the independents . . . " Thus, it would make sense for the nation to take important steps designed to assure the revitalization of the independent film community in this country.

The bottom line is that women do not generally occupy top level studio executive positions in the U.S. film industry (see discussion in Who Really Controls Hollywood), women do not get the same opportunities as men in other positions in the film industry, most of the scripts for the films produced and released generally do not provide the more desirable roles for women as for men, women are often portrayed in a stereotypical manner in such scripts and women do not get paid as much as men in the film industry for the same or similar work. Those observations are historically true for Hollywood and continue to be true today, no matter that many in Hollywood would attempt to confuse the reality by making statements to the effect that "things are improving for women". On the other hand, if it takes another 100 years to reach equality, there is still two or three more generations of women for Hollywood to exploit.

African-Americans--In addition, to being totally absent, for the nearly 100 year history of the U.S. film industry from top studio executive positions (as reported in the chapter on "Who Really Controls Hollywood"), African-Americans as recently as 1989 were only chosen to appear in about " . . . 10 percent of all male roles cast by the major studios." According to a Screen Actors Guild survey, " . . . black actors were cast in 1,583 speaking roles in 1989 . . . " Black actresses scored the same percentage with 873 speaking roles. This was up from 9 percent in 1987 and 1988 for black actors and up from 8 percent in these years for black actresses. While things appear to be getting a little better for performers in featured roles, the prospects for blacks in leading roles show no signs

of improvement. The peak was reached in 1973, when 45 US features, 21 of them from major studios, starred black leading players. In 1990 there were less than half a dozen." Also, in a 1989

study of the racial characteristics of its members, the " . . . Writers Guild . . . reported that blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans together constitute only 2 percent of working writers."

Opportunities for African-Americans in Hollywood have always been relatively bleak. For example, it took fifty years for the major studio/distributors to allow an African-American to direct a major studio release. "The first black American to direct an American film at a major studio was former Life photographer Gordon Parks, who directed The Learning Tree (U.S. ‘69) for Warner Bros."

A brief history of black participation on the creative side in the American film industry can be developed from a review of the lives of a representative sampling of African-American talent. For example, actor Clarense Muse held a " . . . law degree from Dickerson University in Pennsylvania . . . " but entered " . . . films in the late '20s . . . " He appeared " . . . in numerous Hollywood productions (from 1929 through 1979, but) often playing submissive Uncle Toms . . . " and only " . . . occasionally portraying intelligent, dignified blacks."

Actor Stepin Fetchit (born Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry) " . . . arrived in Hollywood in the late '20s and over the next decade made a small fortune playing lazy, easily frightened comic characters that have since been identified as insulting stereotypes of African-Americans. Actress Louise Beavers " . . . became one of Hollywood's most frequently employed black performers (from 1923 - 1960), but her considerable talent was wasted in a constant repetition of good-natured black mama roles, nearly always as a maid, housekeeper, or cook." Actor Willie Best " . . . was known by the name of the character he played, Sleep 'n Eat, a wide-eyed, easily frightened, dim-witted black. He continued playing similar self-demeaning roles under his own name and typified (like Stepin Fetchit and Mantan Moreland) Hollywood's racist view of blacks in the '30s and '40s."

Actress Butterfly McQueen (born Thelma McQueen) was " . . . the squeaky-voiced, tearful young slave in Gone With the Wind (1939). She appeared in several films of the '40s, nearly always typecast as a sobbing maid. Tiring of the image, she retired from films in 1947." Actress Hattie McDaniel " . . . appeared in numerous films of the '30s and '40s, typically in the role of a maid, and became closely identified with the screen image of the eternal black mammy. She won an Academy Award as best supporting actress for her performance in Gone With the Wind (1939), become the first black performer to be so honored."

Actor Mantan Moreland appeared in " . . . well over 100 Hollywood films of the '40s

. . . " but he was " . . . often stereotyped as a scared wide-eyed black manservant." He continued to appear in Hollywood films through 1973. Actress, singer, dancer Dorothy Dandridge " . . . played small roles in Hollywood films of the '40s. In the late '50s she was among the first black performers to achieve star status in the American cinema, as the leading lady of . . . Carmen Jones (1954) and Porgy and Bess (1959). She was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress for the former. But early in the '60s she lost all her money in a get-rich-quick oil-investment scheme and was forced into bankruptcy." She was subsequently " . . . found dead in her Hollywood apartment from an overdose of barbiturates."

Studio executives rationalized their racial stereotypes by blaming the prejudice of others. Author Ron Brownstein reports that the studio executives were supposedly "[f]earful of offending white audiences, particularly in the South . . . " thus, they " . . . generally assigned black actors roles that reinforced stereotypes . . . The producers also typically defended themselves by maintaining that writers turned in few scripts that called for blacks, but often movies that virtually demanded black performers elaborately contrived to avoid black faces on the screen." Of course, few, if any of these "writers" were African-American, thus ensuring that virtually no one with any first-hand knowledge of the black experience was submitting screenplays for consideration by the major studio/distributors.

Brownstein continues by saying that from " . . . its inception, the film industry had offered blacks few opportunities. When Sidney Poitier arrived at Twentieth Century-Fox at the end of the 1940s he found it nearly all white, a situation he came to understand was not 'untypical' of the studios. Blacks were virtually invisible behind the camera." Poitier is described by the Katz Film Encyclopedia as the " . . . American screen's first prominent black star . . . " but he only appeared in 35 U.S. made feature films during the 42 year period from 1950 through 1992 and he directed five of those. When compared with the number of films leading white male actors appeared in during a similar period, this record for this most prominent black star is dismal at best.

Actor Woody Strode " . . . made his first film appearance in 1941 and in the '50s was seen regularly on the screen as Hollywood's perennial black muscleman . . . he was used mostly in decorative supporting roles, which required little more of him than baring his chest, flashing his teeth, and flexing his muscles. But in 1960 he was finally given a real opportunity to act in the role of a black soldier on trial for murder and rape in John Ford's Sergeant Rutledge." Can you imagine waiting 19 years for a starring role, only to be cast by the Hollywood executives as a murder and rape suspect? Strode " . . . subsequently played meatier roles in other films . . . " although mostly in Europe, and only appeared in 38 U.S. films (including co-productions) in the 52 year span of his acting career (1941 through 1993).

Actor Juano Hernandez was born in San Juan Puerto Rico and was among " . . . the first black actors to play prominent straightforward dramatic roles on stage in and in films . . . " According to the Katz Film Encyclopedia " . . . he is best remembered as the intended lynching victim in Intruder in the Dust (MGM–1949), his very first film role." Also according to Katz, although Hernandez' film acting career continued through 1970, thus spanning 21 years, he only appeared in a total of 19 films.

Singer, actress Lena Horne " . . . was the first black performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio (MGM). But the studio carefully cast her in isolated guest spots in its musicals which could be easily excised when the films made the rounds in southern markets. In the early '50s she found herself blacklisted by the movie and TV industries, possibly because of her close relationship with Paul Robeson . . ." who in 1946 " . . . denied under oath that he had ever been a member of the Communist party but refused to do so in a subsequent probe . . ."

Actor, director, producer and screenwriter Ossie Davis appeared in films starting in 1950 (No Way Out; produced by Darryl Zanuck and released through TCF). "In 1970 he turned out his first film as director, Cotton Comes to Harlem, to good notices and excellent box-office returns." For some reason, however, he was only offered the opportunity to direct four other films and two of those were U.S.-Nigerian co-productions. Actor, singer Brock Peters is described by the Katz Film Encyclopedia as " . . . one of the American screen's leading black actors . . . " Unfortunately, as Katz points out, Peters was used to typically personify " . . . hardened brutes . . . " and has only appeared in 18 American movies during the 36 year period from 1954 through 1990. This bears repeating. One of the American screen's leading black actors appeared in only 1 movie for each 2 year period of a 36 year career continuing through 1990. Also, actor Billy Dee Williams started appearing in films in the late '50s, but has only been seen in 22 films through 1992, a span of 33 years.



As Brownstein observes, although the political active liberals of Hollywood were quick to support the civil rights movement, Hollywood "broke from its own racist history more slowly. The civil rights movement drew some of Hollywood's most glamorous celebrities; but Hollywood actually posed one of its must frustrating challenges. If the (civil rights) movement demonstrated that Hollywood stars would again commit themselves to controversial political action, that its executives would again open their wallets to controversial political movements, it also revealed how easily the film community could lend its glamour to causes without being affected by them." The Hollywood-based U.S. film industry continues to be a racist industry today.

As black stage manager and assistant director Wendell Franklin relates, "Hollywood per se was not involved in civil rights . . . Hollywood itself hadn't changed that much." A Variety survey just after a Martin Luther King visit to Hollywood in May, 1963 " . . . found no blacks at all in the local unions representing grips, electrical workers, and soundmen. The Producers Guild also counted no blacks among its members. Only a handful of blacks belonged to the directors' and writers' guilds."

Later, in an all too familiar and inadequate gesture, " . . . the producers proffered cash: a grant to fund the NAACP's annual award honoring those filmmakers who offered the most accurate portrayals of blacks." In the meantime, " . . . the studios passed through the 1960s producing few films that dealt with the civil rights movement or the changing dynamics of race relations in America."

Hollywood is thought of as a liberal place, and as Ron Brownstein reports " . . . in its political expression it tends to be. But its contradictory response to the civil rights movement revealed how mistaken it is to assume that its political liberalism systematically informs the way it does business, or the kinds of films it makes." On the other hand, as demonstrated in this book's earlier chapters ("Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers", "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies" and "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda"), Brownstein sometimes overstates his case, particularly when he suggests that as " . . . an institution, Hollywood resists any agenda--political or social--other than turning a profit . . . " The truth is, as those chapters illustrate, Hollywood clearly has its own agenda and it involves more than mere profit. In any case, as Brownstein continues, the " . . . replacement of the reactionary first-generation moguls at the top of the studios by men more politically moderate only slightly tempered that fundamental institutional conservatism." In the meantime, actor Raymond St. Jacques " . . . became established as one of the premiere black performers of the American screen of the '60s and '70s . . . " but, although still active through 1990, he appeared in only 26 films, averaging a mere one per year from 1964 through 1990.

Hollywood's senior management " . . . had not heard the rumble of changing times. It has only gradually begun to. Late in 1961, the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) accused the industry of showing blacks only when 'they have a crap game.' The next summer, the NAACP formed a Hollywood-Beverly Hills chapter to press for greater employment opportunity for blacks in the movie industry, and more accurate on-screen portrayals . . . " In contrast to the Jewish organizations that had sought something similar in the '40s and '50s, this African-American organization " . . . made little progress with the studio executives . . . as stars jetted off to join protests in Washington or Mississippi or Alabama, inevitably 'people said, 'What about your own backyard?'" recalled Judy Quine."

The NAACP's " . . . genteel accusations had not moved the industry . . . " and so a boycott was finally proposed. During the summer of 1963, Hollywood suddenly bristled with confrontation. In late June, Herbert Hill, the NAACP's national labor secretary, came to Hollywood and threatened a massive, coordinated program of legal action and public protest to force open the industry. With the civil rights cause gaining momentum nationally, the studios could not ignore Hill's threats. Instead, they smothered him with attention. Meetings with the producers were convened, negotiations launched . . . (but the) breakthroughs never came . . . (and) [p]ressure on the studios gradually eased. The white stars who rallied around King never embraced his cause with the same passion. No stars walked away from the set to protest segregation at home." Institutional racism in

the film industry continued and continues through today. "The studios deflected the protesters with promises . . . " a pattern to be repeated in the future.

In the meantime, Katz identifies former football great and actor Jim Brown as " . . . the first bona-fide black male 'sex symbol' of the American screen." Unfortunately, Mr. Brown was not featured in films until 1964 and according to Katz only appeared in 23 U.S. made films during his nearly 30 year career. Also, actress Cicely Tyson first appeared in a Hollywood film in 1966 and remained active through 1991, but only appeared in 10 films during that 25 year period. Actor Marie Paul Winfield first appeared in a feature film in 1969, then only appeared in 25 more films through 1993 a period of 24 years. Actor Roscoe Lee Browne has been limited in his screen roles to " . . . the portrayal of cynical Uncle Toms or calculating middle-class blacks." He worked on 21 films from 1962 through 1992 (a 30 year period), including one German and Canadian film each and a film short.

As O'Donnell and McDougal report, "[e]ven the salaries earned by the top African-American stars are less than those earned by their counterparts in the movies. "Stallone earned more money than (Eddie) Murphy. So did Schwarzennegger and maybe even two or three others: Nicholson, Cruise, possibly Dustin Hoffman. Yet they had all starred in box office clunkers at one time or another and the closest that Eddie had come to starring in a bomb was The Golden Child, which pulled in a mere $60 million at the box office and finished eighth among the top-grossing films of 1986."

Finally, in the late '80s a black filmmaker appeared. Director, producer, screenwriter, actor Spike Lee " . . . took a serious interest in film while majoring in communications at Atlanta's Moorehouse College. He attended movie screenings with growing frequency and shared with classmates his dream for making films that would 'speak to black Americans.' After graduation, he enrolled at New York University's film school . . . " and subsequently " . . . made an auspicious professional debut with She's Gotta Have It (1986) . . . (a) funky comedy about three macho black guys vying for the attention of one woman . . . " The film was " . . . a surprise commercial hit. Its success provided Lee with the means to make his next film, School Daze (1988). A robust satirical farce about life on a black college campus, it was but a mild prelude to Lee's first major film, Do the Right Thing (1989), an angry assault on racism, prompted by the brutal Howard Beach incident in which a young black man was killed after being chased by white youths." The film " . . . earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay . . . " but did not win.

Following Mo' Better Blues (1990), a celebration of jazz and its black artists, " . . . Lee confronted the racial issue once more with Jungle Fever (1991), a fierce exploration of the cultural and social foundations of a sexual relationship between an African-American man and an Italian-American woman, inspired by the Yusuf Hawkins incident in which a black teenager was killed by a group of whites who suspected he had been having an affair with a young women in their racially-segregated Bensonhurst neighborhood . . . With the strong reactions to this film still echoing, Lee set about planning his most ambitious production yet, a biography of Malcolm X, the Black Muslim militant who was assassinated in 1965 and became a heroic symbol of African-American pride. Malcolm X (1992) was a commercial disappointment, and lacked some of the bite of Lee's earlier efforts, but it was his most ambitious work, an epic built around a powerful performance by Denzel


Washington." Of course, it is difficult to accurately gauge the commercial success of a film for which wide-spread ticket-switching occurred in various parts of the country, as reported in the press.

In any event, Lee was a controversial figure whose films " . . . explore the nature of American racism . . . " Lee has often criticized " . . . the attitudes of the Hollywood establishment toward black filmmakers. His outspokenness has not endeared him to the Academy, which has generally denied Oscar nominations to his films. Malcolm X, a film as likely as any to appeal to the Academy's taste for epics, received only two nominations and no awards."

Director, actor, writer, producer Robert Townsend " . . . debuted as a director in 1987. His first feature, Hollywood Shuffle, based on his encounters on the job hunt, was praised for its funny but pungent barbs at black stereotyping." The film is " . . . an indictment of the limited roles for black actors." Townsend has only directed two other films since.

As Patrick Robertson reports, "[o]ne of the mysteries of Hollywood is why it is so difficult to get financing for black films. Although blacks make up only 10 percent of the population of the U.S., they represent no less than 23 percent of the total cinema audience." Now that this book is available, of course, this phenomenon, is not really a mystery anymore.

Brownstein reports that as recently as the early 1990s " . . . blacks have established only a tenuous position in the Hollywood infrastructure . . . except in the production operations (certain black) . . . stars have established, blacks occupy few important jobs, except for technical ones, off-camera." Further progress for blacks in the film industry has not been all that great since in January of 1991 the NAACP's Movie Studio Task Force met (for the third time) with " . . . key film industry executives . . . " in an effort " . . . to compile a report on ethnic images on camera and the employment of minorities at all levels of the [film] industry." A spokesperson for the task force suggested that such a report might " . . . be used as the basis for negotiating . . . 'fair share' agreements in which [film] companies agree to provide greater employment opportunities for minorities." Reporter Michael Fleming wrote still later in the same year (October 1991) that " . . . Hollywood may have opened its doors to black directors, but film crews still have the racial mix of a professional hockey team."

Of course, we can easily tell how effective all of the NAACP effort has been because in the fall of 1992, Premiere magazine stated: " . . . at a time when blacks dominate every sphere of American pop culture--from Eddie Murphy at the box office to Bill Cosby on television to Michael Jackson in music--it is a stunning irony that there are no major black executives or agents in the motion picture industry." The Premiere magazine annual power list for 1992, included no black male or female studio executives or agents. The highest ranking black man on the list is Spike Lee at #80 and he is a writer/director. Recognizing, as this book does, that the real power in Hollywood is in the hands of the top major studio/distributor executives and the top talent agencies, it is not surprising to realize that no African-Americans are in such positions. The U.S. film industry, after all, continues to be a racist industry.

As noted earlier, Spike Lee actually had to take the Malcolm X project " . . . away from a powerful white director, after arguing that only an African-American could tell Malcolm's story . . . " Roger Ebert admits that " . . . [e]very writing class (he's) . . . ever heard about begins with the advice, '[w]rite what you know . . . '" Of course, that statement could be broadened to "film what you know". Lee said "[w]ith some films--not every film--the director needs to come from the background." Ebert cites as further examples, the fact that "Frances Ford Coppola, being an Italian-American, enhanced the Godfather movies. Martin Scorsese being Italian-American, grew up in Little Italy . . . and that enhanced Mean Streets, Raging Bull, and GoodFellas. In any case, these common-sense concepts are more often ignored on many Hollywood movies, although evidence of the background of the filmmakers and its influence on the final product can often be observed in many films (see discussion relating to the concept that movies mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers in this book's earlier chapter "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers").

In 1992, the amount of money spent by Spike Lee on Malcolm X (Warner Bros., 1992) was " . . . the most amount of money ever spent on a movie in black history . . . " [but, according to Lee] " . . . we had to fight to get the amount we got." As noted earlier, the film was " . . . left off Oscar ballots . . . " and "X" screens were given over " . . . to a reissue of the Western once the nominations came out (Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven) even though "'X' trounced the grosses of comparably priced holiday biopics Chaplin and Hoffa", in the face of numerous reported incidents of "ticket switching" by exhibitors. In the November 1992 issue of The Independent magazine a brief article reported that " . . . most independent black filmmakers are still peddling their own films, as the saying goes, from door to door."

Spike Lee reports that he has " . . . been keeping a file of articles on Mississippi Burning, and in one of them (director) Alan Parker says that if black people don't like his films, they can start making their own." Of course, you really cannot get more arrogant and obnoxious than that. Blacks, like other Hollywood outsiders, would make their own films if they had fair access to the limited film financing that is available, or if their films got a fair opportunity to be shown in America's theatres, and if they received a fair share of the revenues generated by their films (see How the Movie Wars Were Won and The Feature Film Distribution Deal).

The highest ranking black person on the Entertainment Weekly 1993 list of the 101 most powerful people in entertainment and who primarily works in the film industry was an actress, Whoopi Goldberg, ranked at 55. The highest ranking black male was writer/director Spike Lee at position #63. Again, there were no black studio executives or agents on the list. Remember, once again, that it is this small group of top major studio/distributor executives who generally determine which movies are produced, released and viewed by the vast majority of Americans, who gets to work on those movies in the top creative positions and the content of the scripts.

John Singleton who is " . . . a member of the painfully small circle of Hollywood's African-American royalty . . . " sounded the warning (in July of 1993) that the situation is so bad for African-Americans in Hollywood, that "[i]f there's not more John Singletons . . . there's gonna be a lot more carjackings." In other words, Singleton is saying, " . . . if you stifle someone's creativity, you make that person dangerous." Starting with the fact that the film industry is one of Los Angeles' most important industries and recognizing that John Singleton may not be the only young black male who feels those same sentiments, it is naive to deny that film industry discrimination against blacks, Hispanics and others was a contributing cause to the so-called L.A. riots of the early '90s, and may continue to contribute to extreme racial tension in Los Angeles for years to come.

Hispanics/Latinos--Hispanic/Latino participation in the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry has been dismal at best. Their experience has been even worse than that of the African-Americans in Hollywood. There have been no top level studio executives and few, if any, established producers or powerful talent agents. There are also few listings of Hispanic creative talent who had much success in the U.S. film industry, among those listed in the Katz Film Encyclopedia and the experience of those who were listed are not very encouraging.

For example, director Hugo Fregonese was born in Buenos Aires. He went " . . . to New York in 1935 to study at Columbia and spent part of his American sojourn in Hollywood as a technical advisor in films with Latin-American backgrounds. He returned to Argentina in 1938 and entered the film industry as editor, assistant director, and a director of shorts, and made his debut as a feature director in 1943. He was back in Hollywood in 1949 and for the next couple of years directed B pictures for Universal. Despite low budgets and simple scripts, he managed to turn out

a number of particularly stimulating Westerns and gangster dramas . . . " Despite " . . . two solid

productions in succession, The Raid (1954) for Fox and Black Tuesday (1955) for United Artists . . . he found few offers to direct in Hollywood and was forced to work in Europe."

Also, actress Dolores Del Rio (originally from Mexico) is described in the Katz Film Encyclopedia as one " . . . of the most beautiful women ever to grace the American screen . . . " but " . . . her career suffered from frequent typecasting in ethnic and exotic roles." She only appeared in 31 U.S. films during an acting career that spanned 53 years.

In the more contemporary U.S. film industry, Edward James Olmos first appeared in a bit part in 1975 and has only been in ten features since, including American Me (1992), a film he had to co-produce himself. As recently as 1992, the celebrated University of Texas film student Robert Rodriguez who had just produced the Spanish-language film El Mariachi for $7,000 (the film was subsequently acquired for distribution by Columbia) reiterated that "[t]here aren't enough Hispanic actors working in Hollywood . . . "

Actors and activists from the Latino community were angered (and quoted in 1992) over " . . . New Line's casting of a non-Latina as Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in Frida and Diego . . . " They said that " . . . was 'the last straw' and they put producers on notice to be more sensitive to discriminatory casting practices." Meanwhile, Premiere writer J. Hoberman was still wondering in his March 1993 article South of the Border . . . if there's a future for Spanish-language independents".

The Hispanic/Latino population is significantly higher than that of African-Americans, (certainly in California and Los Angeles) but the participation of Hispanic/Latino's in the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry has been much less than African-Americans, and although the Africa-American situation seems to be improving (slowly), there seems to be little if any positive movement for the Hispanic/Latino community, with respect to its participation in the U.S. film industry. As discussed in this book's companion volume Motion Picture Industry Reform, it is not realistic to ask people with excessive power to give up some of that power, it has to be taken from them. And, such a taking must be based on justifiable reasons. In this case, the power gained and maintained by the Hollywood insiders was gained and has been maintained through the use of unfair, unethical, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory and illegal business practices (see How the Movie Wars Were Won). That is enough to justify the recapture of such power.

Native Americans--The history of native American employment in Hollywood is probably worse than that of the African-Americans and Hispanic/Latino community. For example, Robertson reports that in the history of the U.S. film industry "[t]here have been only four full-length feature films with casts composed entirely of American Indians, and none since the advent of talkies (i.e., 1928)."

Two of the few native-Americans listed in the Katz Film Encyclopedia have a relatively small number of on-screen appearances to show for their careers. For example, actor Victor Daniels (Chief Thundercloud) was a " . . . full-blooded Indian . . . " and first appeared in a Hollywood film in 1930. Although he continued acting until 1952, he only appeared in 15 features plus the Lone Ranger serial. Also, actor Glenn Strange was born in Weed, N.M " . . . of Irish-Cherokee Indian parentage. He appeared in 20 U.S. films in a 23 year period from 1935 through 1958, " . . . often as the bad guy."


Based on this review of the Katz listings, there also appear to have been no native-American film directors or producers of note, no studio executives (with the exception of Jon Peters who was part Indian) and no talent agents, all of these being the traditional positions of power in Hollywood.

Older Citizens--Graylisting is the word used in Hollywood to describe the form of discrimination based on age, (i.e., age bias) that crops up all too often in the film capital. The situation is so bad that in recent years, screenwriters have publicly complained about the youth-driven agents and executives who run the U.S. television and film companies, saying such persons have an obsession with youth and that it has become a factor in deciding whether a scriptwriter can write.

Openly Religious Christians and Muslims--From a religious standpoint, as Medved confirms in his book, there are only a very small percentage of actively religious Christians involved at any level in the U.S. film industry, and even fewer Muslims. For that matter, there also appear to be few persons who are active and open adherents of other major religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism in the Hollywood film community. Recognizing that the Hollywood system is not a merit system and that the studios can, within reasonable limits, pick and choose those to which they wish to ascribed star status, being either overtly religious or more specifically, an active Christian or Muslim appears to be a severe detriment to anyone pursuing a career in the Hollywood-based film industry.

As an example, the Katz Film Encyclopedia points out that actor, singer and " . . . devout born-again Christian . . . " Pat Boone only appeared in 9 U.S. made feature films during his career. There are very few other references to Christians (whether actors, directors, producers, studio executives or whatever) in the Katz Film Encyclopedia which again, claims to be "the most comprehensive encyclopedia of world cinema". On the other hand, many more references appear in the Katz encyclopedia relating to the Jewish background of movie industry people, even though, the Katz Encyclopedia has chosen to omit such references in many instances (see discussion of this issue below).

A Preference for European Immigrants--In conducting research for this book, the 1994 edition of the Katz Film Encyclopedia was examined. It is a 1,496 page book characterized on its front cover as "The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume". In doing so, it was apparent that the biographies of an extraordinary number of persons born in other countries but who had worked in one capacity or another on Hollywood films are included in the Katz listings. In other words, Hollywood appears to have demonstrated a clear preference for the hiring of immigrants during many of the years of its history, and the vast majority of those immigrants appear to have come from Europe, as opposed to South America, Mexico, Central America, Canada, India, Asia or Africa.

In an effort to determine the approximate number and the countries of origin for the Hollywood emigres, a limited study based solely on the Katz Film Encyclopedia was conducted and, of course, it concentrates only on the better-known individuals, since that is the nature of the encyclopedia. The study reveals that of the approximate 256 Hollywood emigres listed, four countries have been far ahead of any others in providing immigrant creative talent to Hollywood. They are Germany (49), Russia (37), Austria (37) and England (35). The numbers for the next group of countries providing immigrants to Hollywood fall off sharply into the teens but is still dominated by European countries of origin. Those include Hungary (18) and Poland (14). Czechoslovakia and Canada follow at (12) and (10) respectively. Then come the Netherlands, (5), Italy (5) and Romania (4). None of the rest of the countries have provided significant numbers of immigrants: Sweden, Israel, South Africa and Yugoslavia each provided 3; Belgium, Spain, Australia, and Denmark provided 2 each and the rest -- 1 each: (Prussia, Ireland, Iran, Scotland, Greece, France, Lithuania, West Indies, Egypt and Lebanon).

It is instructive to note that the three countries on this list that are predominantly Muslim, (Egypt, Lebanon and Iran), only provided 1 immigrant to Hollywood apiece; that Israel provided as many immigrants to Hollywood in total as all of the rest of the middle-Eastern countries together; that a country as culturally developed as France only really provided 1 immigrant to Hollywood; that its neighbor Spain only provided 2; that the whole of South America (containing some 13 countries) only provided 4 immigrants, none of which were of Hispanic or Latino heritage; that the whole continent of Africa only provided 2 immigrants; in addition, no immigrants in this list (again, based on the Katz Film Encyclopedia) immigrated from Asia or India. It is clear from this analysis of Hollywood immigrants, that politics, race, religion and national origin or region of origin significantly affect who gets to work on Hollywood movies. This fact makes it even more obvious why it is appropriate to study the backgrounds of the top studio executives.

On the other hand, nothing in this book suggests that there is anything inherently wrong with the hiring of immigrants or immigration, generally, certainly not legal immigrants. After all, it is obvious that all of us here in the U.S. have an immigrant heritage except the native Americans, who in fact were descended from peoples who migrated from Asia thousands of years ago. There is nothing wrong with legal immigration, when there is a need for it. But there has been no demonstrated need to favor immigrants of any kind at any time in the entire nearly 100 year history of the U.S. film industry. There has always and continues to be a sufficient talent pool here in the U.S., without any need to seek out and hire people from other countries.

This book does take the position, however, that throughout its nearly 100 year history, Hollywood has shown a marked preference for hiring immigrants, much more so than most industries in the U.S., and at times when there was no justifiable domestic need for doing so. In addition, this book contends that Hollywood has, throughout its history, systematically discriminated against immigrants from all but the European countries, showing a special and unjustified preference for immigrants from Germany, Russia, Austria, England, Hungary and Poland.

It is one thing to allow persons seeking refuge from a tyrant like Hitler to come into this country on a temporary basis for their protection. It is entirely another thing to a provide them with good paying jobs that are taken away from Americans who are equally, if not more qualified. It is even worse that some of these so-called immigrants were not immigrants at all, since they never actually sought permanent residence and in many instances returned to their native countries after the war. This is another example of the Hollywood studios putting the interests of citizens of other countries before the interests of the citizens of the U.S., an all too common pattern in Hollywood. It is important to also recognize that there is a relationship between Hollywood's preferential treatment of immigrants and the many dead end careers of American citizens who were non-immigrants.

Thus, based on this limited study, it would appear that Hollywood has a history of favoring immigrants, but not immigrants, from Asia, Africa, South America, Mexico, the Middle East (other than possibly Israel). Hollywood has demonstrated a distinct preference for immigrants from Europe, thus generally discriminating against immigrants from all other parts of the world. The Hollywood-based U.S. film industry, thus, owes the country and the world an apology for its consistent discrimination against immigrants from all but the European countries.

In addition, although the Katz Film Encyclopedia does not always identify each person among its entries in accordance with their religious or cultural background, the other aspect of the Hollywood immigration pattern that is apparent is that an inordinate amount of such immigrants have a Jewish heritage. As Paul Johnson reports, " . . . the Hollywood rulers . . . gave a haven in the 1930s to the Jewish diaspora from the German movie industry . . . " The same could also be said, however, for persons of Jewish heritage moving to Hollywood from Russia, Austria, England, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

Hollywood's Chosen People: Jewish Males of European Heritage--In addition to there being a disproportionate number of persons of Jewish heritage in the top level executive positions at the major studio/distributors (see the study set forth in Who Really Controls Hollywood), there also appears to have been and continues to be a disproportionate number of persons of Jewish heritage working on the creative side in the Hollywood film community, both male and female. This lends support to the contention that the studio executives do in fact routinely engage in nepotism, favoritism, cronyism and other forms of discrimination (i.e., that Hollywood is not a merit system at all). Again, the phrase "Jewish heritage" does not mean the same thing as Jewish. A person of Jewish heritage, for purposes of this book, is someone who had a Jewish parent or grandparent. In other words, the key factor in Hollywood favoritism is not whether a person holds himself or herself out as a Jew today, but whether such person has a Jewish heritage. Also, for purposes of the discussion in this section, actors like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Norma Shearer who had no Jewish background, but who converted to Judaism are excluded.

Those actors whose biographies appear in the Darrel Lyman publication (Great Jews on Stage and Screen) are divided between major biographies and thumbnail sketches, signifying their relative importance in the field. For purposes of this listing, however, the names are grouped together, thus some individuals whose reputations were primarily earned in other than film acting careers, but who actually appeared in some films, are included. There are some 220 individuals in this list of actors with a Jewish heritage who have appeared in U.S. films. No other religious, ethnic, racial or religious group in the U.S. can claim such extraordinary representation in the film industry. The bracketed information shows the page number in which the person's career is discussed in the Lyman publication. In those instances were the information was available the figures separated by the slash indicate the number of years the person was active in the industry followed by the number of feature films in which the person appeared. Note how often the figure representing the number of films is greater than the figure representing the number of years and recall how that compares with the similar numbers reported earlier with respects to Black actors in Hollywood.

Adams--Joey Adams (Joseph Abramowitz) [Lyman, 243.]

Adler--Celia Adler [Lyman, 243.]

Adler--Jay Adler [Lyman, 243.]

Katz--Adler--Luther Adler (Lutha Adler) 30/25 [Lyman, 19.]

Adler--Stella Adler [Lyman, 243.]

Allen--Marty Allen [Lyman, 243.]

Katz--Woody Allen (Alan Stewart Konigsberg) 17/31 [Lyman, 21.]

Morey Amsterdam [Lyman, 244.]

Katz--Alan Arkin 27/32 [Lyman, 24.]

Beatrice Arthur (Bernice Frankel) 4 films [Lyman, 26.]

Katz--Edward Asner 34/20 [Lyman, 28.]

Lauren Bacall (Betty Perske) 23/27 films [Lyman, 29.]

Ina Balin (Ina Rosenberg) [Lyman, 244.]

Martin Balsam 66/41 [Lyman, 31.]

John Banner [Lyman, 244.]

Gene Barry (Eugene Klass) 25/18 [Lyman, 33.]

Richard Benjamin 18/26 (as actor or director) [Lyman, 35.]

Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky) 24/21 [Lyman, 36.]

Oscar Beregi (Oszkar Beregi) [Lyman, 244.]

Gertrude Berg (Gertrude Edelstein) [Lyman, 244.]

Elisabeth Bergner 1 U.S. film [Lyman, 245.]

Milton Berle (Milton Berlinger) 28/32 [Lyman, 38.]

Warren Berlinger [Lyman, 245.]

Shelley Berman [Lyman, 245.]

Herschel Bernardi 12 films [Lyman, 245.]

Theodore Bikel 28/25 [Lyman, 41.]

Joey Bishop 13 films (Joseph Abraham Gottlieb) [Lyman, 246.]

Melvin Blanc 14 (primarily voice only) [Lyman, 246.]

Claire Bloom (Patricia Claire Blume) 31/25 [Lyman, 43.]

Lloyd Bochner [Lyman, 246.]

Hart Bochner (son of Lloyd) 11 films [Katz, 140.]

Tom Bosley [Lyman, 246.]

Fanny Brice (Fanny Borach) 6/7 [Lyman, 45.]

Geraldine Brooks 10 films (Geraldine Stroock) [Lyman, 247.]

Mel Brooks (Melvyn Kaminsky) 10/21 [Lyman, 49.]

Georgia Brown (Lilian Claire Laizer Getel Klot) [Lyman, 247.]

Joseph Buloff [Lyman, 247.]

George Burns (Nathan Birnbaum) 22 films [Lyman, 50.]

Red Buttons (Aaron Chwatt) 34 films. [Lyman, 53.]

James Caan 32 films [Lyman, 55.]

Sid Caesar (Isaac Sidney Caesar) 20 films [Lyman, 56.]

Dyan Cannon [Samille Diane Friesen) 20 films [Lyman, 58.]

Eddie Cantor (Isidore Itzkowitz) 17 films [Lyman, 59.]

Kitty Carlisle (Catherine Conn) [Lyman, 247.]

Morris Carnovsky 20 films [Lyman, 62.]

Jack Carter (Jack Chakrin) [Lyman, 247.]

Jeff Chandler (Ira Grossel) 35 films [Lyman, 64.]

Robert Clary (Widerman) [Lyman, 248.]

Jill Clayburgh 19 films [Lyman, 66.]

Lee J. Cobb (Leo Jacoby) 54 films/45 years [Lyman, 67.]

Billy Crystal (William Crystal) [Lyman, 248.]

Tony Curtis (Bernard Schwartz) 80 films/42 years [Lyman, 70.]

Stuart Damon (Stuart Zonis) [Lyman, 248.]

Bill Dana (William Szathmary) [Lyman, 248.]

Rodney Dangerfield (Jacob Cohen) 5 films [Lyman, 72.]

Lili Darvas [Lyman, 248.]

Howard Da Silva (Harold Silverblatt) 39 films [Lyman, 74.]

Ludwig Donath [Lyman, 248.]

Kirk Douglas (Isadore Demsky) 69 films/46 years [Lyman,78,.]

Richard Dreyfuss 18 films [Lyman, 82.]

Bob Dylan (Robert Allen Zimmerman) [Lyman, 248.]

Herbert Edelman [Lyman, 250.]

Peter Falk 27 films [Lyman, 83.]

Marty Feldman 9 films [Lyman, 86.]

Tovah Feldshuh [Lyman, 250.]

Lew Fields (Lewis Maurice Schanfield; of Weber and Fields comedy Team) [Lyman, 271.]

Eddie Fishcer [Lyman, 250.]

Bud Flangan (Chaim Reeven Weintrop) [Lyman, 250.]

John Garfield (Jacob Garfinkle) 32 films [Lyman, 87.]

Estelle Getty (Estelle Scher) [Lyman, 252.]

Jack Gilford (Jadob Gellman) 21 films [Lyman, 90.]

Hermione Gingold 16 films [Lyman, 93.]

Benny Goodman [Benjamin Goodman) [Lyman, 252.]

Elliott Gould (Elliott Goldstein) 30 films [Lyman, 94.]

Lee Grant (Lyova Rosenthal) 39 films [Lyman, 96.]

Lorne Greene 21 films [Lyman, 98.]

Shecky Greene (Sheldon Greenfield) [Lyman, 253.]

Joel Grey (Joel Katz) 10 films [Lyman, 100.]

Hugo Haas [Lyman, 253.]

Buddy Hackett (Leonard Hacker) 13 films [Lyman, 101.]

Haya Harareet [Lyman, 253.]

Laurence Harvey (Larushka Mischa Skikne) 37 films [Lyman, 103.]

Goldie Hawn 16 films [Lyman, 105.]

Steven Hill (Solomon Berg) [Lyman, 253.]

Judd Hirsch [Lyman, 253.]

Dustin Hoffman 19 films [Lyman, 107.]

Judy Holliday (Judith Tuvim) 10 films [Lyman, 109.]

Oscar Homolka 37 films [Lyman, 111.]

Harry Houdini (Erik Weisz) 6 films [Lyman, 112.]

Leslie Howard (Leslie Howard Steiner) 30 films [Lyman, 115.]

Marty Ingels (Ingerman) [Lyman, 253.]

Louis Jacobi [Lyman, 255.]

Carl Jaffe [Lyman, 255.]

Sam Jaffe 30 films [Lyman, 117.]

Harry James [Lyman, 255.]

George Jessel [Lyman, 256.]

Al Jolson (Asa Yoelson) 14 films [Lyman, 119.]

Madeline Kahn (Madeline Wolfson) 20 films [Lyman, 122.]

Milt Kamen [Lyman, 256.]

Gabe Kaplan (Gabriel Kaplan) [Lyman, 256.]

Kurt Katch (Isser Kac) [Lyman, 256.]

Danny Kaye (David Daniel Kaminski) 21 films [Lyman, 124.]

Stubby Kaye [Lyman, 256.]

Harvey Keitel [Lyman, 256.]

Alan King (Irwin Alan Kniberg) [Lyman, 257.]

Robert Klein [Lyman, 257.]

Jack Klugman 16 films [Lyman, 127.]

Harvey Korman 24 films [Lyman, 128.]

Jack Kruschen [Lyman, 257.]

Bert Lahr (Irving Lahrheim) 19 films [Lyman, 130;]

Martin Landau 24 films [Lyman, 133.]

Louise Lasser 14 films [Lyman, 135.]

Francis Lederer (Frantisek Lederer) [Lyman, 257.]

Michele Lee Dusick) [Lyman, 257.]

Lote Lenya (Karoline Blamauer) [Lyman, 257.]

Jack E. Leonard (Leonard Lebitsky) [Lyman, 257.]

Sheldon Leonard (Sheldon Bershad) [Lyman, 257.]

Eugenie Leontovich [Lyman, 258.]

Oscard Levant [Lyman, 258.]

Sam Levene (Samuel Levine) 37 films [Lyman, 135.]

Jerry Lewis (Joseph Levitch) 44 films [Lyman, 137.]

Ted Lewis (Theodore Leopold Friedman) [Lyman,258.]

Hal Linden (Harold Lipshitz) 9 films [Lyman, 141.]

Philip Loeb [Lyman, 258.]

Herbert Lom (Charles Angelo Kuchaceivich ze Schluderpachern) 50 films [Lyman, 12.]

Peter Lorre (Ladislav Loewenstein) 68 U.S. films [Lyman, 144.]

Tina Louise (Tina Blacker) [Lyman, 258.]

Paul Lukas (Pal Lukacs) 75 films [Lyman, 147.]

Barry Manilow [Lyman, 258.]

Hank Mann (David Liebermann) [Lyman, 258.]

Lucie Mannheim [Lyman, 258.]

Hal March [Lyman, 259.]

Janet Margolin [Lyman, 259.]

Ross Martin (Martin Rosenblatt) [Lyman, 259.]

Tony Martin (Alvin Morris) [Lyman, 259.]

Marx Brothers (Chico, Harpo, Groucho and Zeppo) 19 films [Lyman, 149.]

Jackie Mason (Yacov Moshe Maza) [Lyman, 260.]

Walter Matthau (Walter Matuschanskayasky) 47 films/38 years [Lyman, 154.]

Elaine May (Elaine Berlin) [Lyman, 260.]

Bette Midler 8 films [Lyman, 156.]

Ron Moody (Ronald Moodnick) [Lyman, 260.]

Howard Morris [Lyman, 260.]

Vic Morrow [Parish, 34.]

Maurice Moscovitch (Maaskoff) [Lyman, 261.]

Zero Mostel (Samuel Joel Mostel) 16 films [Lyman, 160.]

Paul Muni (Mehilem Meyer ben Nachum Favel Weisenfreund) 23 films [Lyman, 163.]

Jules Munshin [Lyman, 261.]

Jan Murray (Murray Janofsky) [Lyman, 261.]

Barry Newman [Lyman, 261.]

Phyllis Newman [Lyman, 261.]

Mike Nichols (Michael Igor Peschkowsky) [Lyman, 261.]

Leonard Nimoy 22 films [Lyman, 165.]

Lili Palmer (Maria Lili Peiser) 38 films [Lyman, 168.]

Larry Parks (Samuel Lawrence Klausman) [Lyman, 261.]

Jan Peerce (Jacob Pincus Perelmuth) [Lyman,263.]

Nehemiah Persoff 47 films [Lyman, 170.]

Roberta Peters (Roberta Peterman) [Lyman, 263.]

Irving Pichel [Lyman, 263.]

Molly Picon 6 films [Lyman, 172.]

Otto Preminger [Lyman, 263.]

Luise Rainer 9 films [Lyman, 174.]

Tony Randall (Leonard Rosenberg) 26 films [Lyman, 176.]

Carl Reiner [Lyman, 264.]

Rob Reiner [Lyman, 264.]

Don Rickles 11 films [Lyman, 178.]

Ritz Brothers (Al, Jim and Harry; original surname--Joachim) [Lyman, 264.]

Edward G. Robinson (Emanuel Goldenberg) 84 films/50 years [Lyman, 179.]

Maxie Rosenbloom [Lyman, 264.]

Lilian Roth (Rutstein) [Lyman, 264.]

Jill St. John (Jill Oppenheim) 27 films [Lyman, 182.]

Mort Sahl [Lyman, 264.]

Soupy Sales (Milton Supman) [Lyman, 264.]

Joseph Schildkraut 48 films [Lyman, 184.]

Rudolf Schildkraut [Lyman, 265.]

Avery Schreiber [Lyman, 265.]

Maurice Schwartz (Avrom Moishe Schwartz) [Lyman, 265.]

George Segal 40 films [Lyman, 187.]

Peter Sellers 51 films [Lyman, 190.]

William Shatner 33 films [Lyman, 193.]

Artie Shaw (Abraham Isaac Arshawsky) [Lyman, 265.]

Al Shean (Schoenberg) [Lyman, 266.]

Dinah Shore (Frances Rose Shore) 10 films [Lyman, 198.]

George Sidney (Sammy Greenfield) [Lyman, 266.]

Sylvia Sidney (Sophia Kosow) 47 films [Lyman, 201.]

Phil Silvers (Philip Silver) 31 films [Lyman, 203.]

Paul Simon [Lyman, 266.]

Rod Steiger 48 films [Lyman, 206.]

David Steinberg [Lyman, 266.]

Elaine Stewart (Elsy Steinberg) [Lyman, 266.]

Larry Storch (Lawrance Storch) [Lyman, 266.]

Lee Strasberg 26 films [Lyman, 266.]

Susan Strasberg [Lyman, 208.]

Robert Strauss (Henry Robert Strauss) [Lyman, 268.]

Barbra Streisand (Barbara Joan Steisand) 13 films [Lyman, 210.]

Kent Taylor (Louis Weiss) [Lyman, 268.]

Renee Taylor (Wexler) [Lyman, 268.]

Three Stooges Moe (Moses) Howard (Horwitz) [Lyman, 268.]

Shemp (Samuel) Howard (Horwitz) [Lyman, 268.]

Larry Fine (Louis Fineburg)] [Lyman, 268.]

Sidney Tomack [Lyman, 270.]

Topol (Chaim Topol) [Lyman, 270.]

Sophie Tucker (Sonia Kalish) 5 films [Lyman, 216.]

Erich von Stroheim--42 films [Lyman, 219.]

Abe Vigoda [Lyman, 270.]

Eli Wallach 51 films [Lyman, 222.]

Joseph Morris Weber (of Weber and Fields comedy team) [Lyman, 271.]

Jesse White (Jesse Weidenfeld) 36 films [Lyman, 225.]

Gene Wilder (Jerome Silberman) 19 films [Lyman, 227.]

Debra Winger (Mary Debra Winger) 10 films [Lyman, 229.]

Henry Winkler 6 films [Lyman, 229.]

Shelley Winters (Shirley Schrifgt) 77 films/49 years [Lyman, 232.]

Joseph Wiseman 29 films [Lyman, 235.]

Ed Wynn (Isaiah Edwin Leopold) 20 films [Lyman, 237.]

Henny Youngman [Lyman, 271.]

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. [Lyman, 271.]

Interestingly, the Katz Film Encyclopedia only identifies some 25 actors and actresses appearing in American films as having Jewish backgrounds, whereas the Lyman book names some 220 that appeared in American films that he labeled as Great Jews on Stage and Screen, thus leaving more room for an even greater number of actors and actresses with Jewish backgrounds who are not considered "great" and making it abundantly clear that the Katz Film Encyclopedia exerted little effort in researching or disclosing the religious or cultural heritage of persons it listed, although it chose to do so in numerous selected cases for both Jews and non-Jews.

In addition, the Lyman compilation furnishes evidence that diminishes the persuasiveness of the so-called name-change argument (i.e., that it was necessary to change the names of many Jewish actors and actresses from Jewish sounding names to non-Jewish sounding names because American audiences would not accept actors with Jewish sounding names). In light of the fact that many Jewish actors and actresses (as noted in the Lyman book) did not change their names and still succeeded in American films (i.e., they were at least successful enough to be included in the Darryl Lyman book entitled Great Jews on Stage and Screen), such an argument appears to be patently false. Again, the more likely argument (and reason for the name changes) is that Jewish performers, agents and studio executives in Hollywood realized that there were so many of them working in the film industry that it would be safer if a significant number (of at least the actors and directors) would use Anglicized names, to avoid creating the more obvious impression that Hollywood was engaged in massive discrimination against non-Jews, which is exactly what was occurring and continues to occur today.

Several further observations can be made based on the above listing and the information provided in the section above relating to the performance of African-Americans in Hollywood films: (1) there has been a huge disparity over the years in the shear number of persons of Jewish heritage appearing in Hollywood films as opposed to African-Americans, (2) the top actors and actresses of Jewish heritage had a much higher ratio of film appearances as compared to their numbers of active years in the business as opposed to African-Americans. For example, note the following such ratios for the listed Jewish performers in the left column and African-Americans in the right "Performer" column:

Films Years Performer Films Years

Edward G. Robinson 84 50 Woody Strode 38 52

Tony Curtis 80 42 Sidney Poitier 35 42

Shelly Winters 77 49 Brock Peters 18 36

Kirk Douglas 69 46 Juano Hernandez 19 21

Martin Balsam 66 41 Billy Dee Williams 22 33

Walter Mathau 47 38 Eddie Murphy 12 10

In other words, in addition to the fact that over the years, many more actors and actresses of Jewish heritage appeared in Hollywood films than African-Americans, most of these top Jewish actors and actresses were appearing in more films per year and they were able to get parts over a longer period of time, thus their careers lasted longer. Imagine what a difference in economic impact alone if the African-American creative community had been treated as favorably as members of the Jewish creative community over the years. Of course, this brief look at the many levels of apparent Hollywood discrimination does not even consider the comparative record with respect to Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, Italian-Americans, people from the American South, and others.

The Hollywood Bigots and Hypocrites--As David Prindle points out, "[a]s liberals, Hollywood decision-makers are in fact in favor of equal access to employment. But their habitual mode of operation--making deals with their friends--disadvantages people who are members of groups less likely to have personal relationships with a player." As can be seen from the review of who controls Hollywood (see the chapter "Who Really Controls Hollywood") and who many of these "players" are, it is clear that the disadvantaged in Hollywood are all of those who are not the politically liberal and not very religious Jewish males of European heritage. A former president of the Women in Film organization, Marcy Kelly " . . . sums up the plight of all non-young, non-white, non-males trying to get started in films and television, 'You may have all the skills in the world and

be much more qualified, but they're going to hire someone else because that's who they play tennis with.'"

As an example of the Hollywood bigotry and hypocrisy, the film community seems fond of producing movies like Come See the Paradise (20th Century-Fox/1991), a film about " . . . Japanese-Americans who were thrown into prison camps at the outset of World War II . . . " The picture portrays their " . . . imprisonment . . . as essentially racist . . . " On the other hand, it would appear that the U.S. film industry today continues to operate as one of the most racist and otherwise discriminatory industries in the world (e.g., there are few if any opportunities for Japanese-Americans and many other racial, ethnic, cultural, religious and other groups in the U.S. film industry). Thus, it is quite obnoxious indeed for the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry to be preaching through its movies to any other segment of this society about past or present instances of wrongdoing.

As Prindle states: "[i]n a community full of talented people, it is not clear to the ambitious arrivals why one person becomes an overnight sensation and another tries for years to break into the business, to universal indifference." In discussing his struggle to include a positive message about America in the original screenplay The Right Stuff William Goldman said "[t]he message America has always beaconed across the world might be put this way: 'Careers are open to talent.' An individual can go, in one lifetime, as far as his luck and skill will take him. And no one will look down on him because he began poor, unlike, say, in England, where you are what your father and grandfather were." Unfortunately, Goldman did not get to finish writing that screenplay, and Hollywood does not apply those same values in its own backyard.

As Charles Kipps points out, "Hollywood has a caste system but no merit system. Therefore, the people can acquire rank without bothering with merit." This inevitably results in less diversity and poorer quality in our motion pictures. Also, " . . . as long as the system of advancement in the industry as a whole is based on personal contacts, progress in creating a Hollywood population more representative of the larger society will be slow."

The Trampling of the Interests of Creative People--Another direct result of a film industry dominated by a handful of people who stress their excessive commercial interests over the many other interests involved in filmmaking is the trampling of the interests of creative people. Independent filmmaker Henry Jaglom reports that he has " . . . seen many wonderful, creative people trampled on because they have not known how to take care of the business aspects of themselves. Orson Welles was the prime example of this." Of course, Jaglom himself, works exclusively outside the studio system and produces only small films that do not compete directly with the major studio/distributors. In other words, what Jaglom is not saying (but communicates by his own actions) is that the only way to "take care of the business aspects" as he puts it, is to avoid doing business with or trying to compete against the majors studio/distributors.

Another independent, Roger Corman reports that he has " . . . produced/directed forty-odd features in little more than a decade and financed and produced another fifteen or so for other directors." But his " . . . attempts to work with the majors . . . led to disillusionment, some bitterness, and anger."

As anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker, pointed out:

" . . . the social organization of Hollywood has . . . permitted the businessman to take over the functions of the arts and to substitute his values for theirs. The movies are the first art form of any kind, popular, folk or fine, to become a trust. Quite early the major companies combined in their efforts to restrain competition and to blacklist those who would not do their bidding . . . the men with power have known how to exploit the advantages of a trust better than they could utilize the assets of literature and drama . . . Since these businessmen have neither understanding nor respect for the artists' ability, they attempt to negate or destroy it, partly out of ignorance and partly from a desire to satisfy their urge to dominate men."

As noted earlier, Powdermaker goes on to say that "Hollywood . . . discourages and sometimes even forbids creativity in the very people whom it presumably pays to be creative." Thus, it is quite naive to suggest that there are no victims of Hollywood crimes. With all of the admiration one might muster for such a thing, some may reasonably choose to describe the Hollywood game as the "perfect crime". Its victims go far beyond the small production, distribution and exhibition companies in this country and around the world that are unfairly squeezed out of the marketplace each year by the predatory business practices of the majors, far beyond the many screenwriters whose ideas and screenplays are stolen annually without sufficient remedy, far beyond the diverse community of "outsider" filmmakers whose many stories cannot be told through film because they've been shut out of Hollywood, far beyond the thousands of struggling members of the creative community who don't even realize the playing field is titled in favor of the Hollywood insiders (or if they do, they're so fearful of being blacklisted they won't speak out), far beyond the hundreds of attractive young men and women who are lured to Hollywood every year by prospects of fame and fortune, only to end up having to sell their bodies to survive, or even worse, literally never being heard from again, far beyond all those persons who are cheated out of their fair share of the economic upside of their own films, far beyond the millions of moviegoers who are regularly deceived about the subject, suitability or quality of the films they pay money to see, far beyond the thousands of college level film students who have been misled into thinking there are reasonable opportunities waiting for them in the U.S. film industry, far beyond segments of the U.S. academic community whose intellectual honesty has been compromised by Hollywood intimidation -- to all citizens who have to cope with the powerful negative impact of irresponsible visual images and biased motion pictures on all of the world's societies.

Chapter 7


Hollywood folklore is (also) full of stories of old-time stars, once worshiped by the world, now alcoholic wrecks living on charity."

David Prindle

The review of the activities of Hollywood and its literature (as set forth in the earlier chapters and in the companion volumes in this series of books on Hollywood) confirms the Powdermaker observation that people are considered property by many of the Hollywood insiders. It also reveals that many in the creative community are lied to, stolen from and cheated out of huge amounts of money on a fairly regular basis. The studies that support this book and its companion volumes also confirms that there is no level playing field in Hollywood, no merit system and no free market economy at work. This study further confirms that many talented people who are not the politically liberal and not very religious Jewish males of European heritage, are victims of Hollywood nepotism, favoritism, cronyism and other forms of discrimination, and that there are ongoing film finance scams separating independent film producers, members of the creative community and outside investors from their money, along with an ongoing slave trade and porn business that preys on naive and struggling actors and actresses.

In addition, all of this is accompanied by a criminal element in Hollywood that is intent on perpetrating scams or foisting chemical dependencies on vulnerable members of the creative population, so as to siphon off even more of their earnings as they climb the ladder of success. The end result of this combination of activities is an extraordinary number of murders, suicides and career ending disasters among the Hollywood population, and a further tendency by the Hollywood establishment to ignore the possibility that it may in fact be contributing to the human loss and suffering.

As David Prindle reports, "[a]lthough no one keeps statistics for the industry, it probably has the highest suicide rate in the world (with the possible exception of Las Vegas, another town that has made an industry out of fantasy). Hollywood folklore is (also) full of stories of old-time stars, once worshiped by the world, now alcoholic wrecks living on charity."

As an illustration of this very point, actress Bette Midler is quoted as saying, " . . . I can get very agitated, and I can say, 'Where's the money?' I'm interested to see how they work these schemes in business. And then when I find out, I want to practically throw myself on a funeral pyre . . . " Bette Midler, of course, has not thrown herself on a funeral pyre, but as many other performers found out " . . . how they work these schemes . . . " (or at least the bottom-line results of such schemes) they have committed suicide one way or another. In addition, the long list of Hollywood's " . . . self-murders includes those who had lost or were losing their health as well as those who were scared . . . of losing their . . . appeal." As Kenneth Anger points out, "[s]uicide often seemed preferable to a slow recovery for those who had been brain-washed and brain-damaged by their own beauty and glamour, and for whom the loss of the public, of fan mail, of 'image' was the loss of self."

In many instances, it is said that drugs or drinking have been the primary reasons underlying many a destroyed career. The problem with this line of thinking, however, is that something prompted these people to drink or take drugs, and it is the contention of this book that all of the major studio dominated environmental factors described in this series of books have played a significant role in creating the motivation underlying much of such abusive behavior. In addition, in order for people to get involved with illegal drugs, in particular, they have to be available. In Hollywood, drugs seem to have always been readily available. The studios create the pressures and then stand by, or in some cases condone, the use of drugs.

For example, in the early years of the industry, one of the so-called " . . . heroin heroine(s) was the delicate blonde Juanita Hansen, 'The Original Mack Sennett Girl,' who was introduced to drugs on the Keystone lot . . . " offered as a hangover cure. "The first 'taste was free." After a subsequent arrest the " . . . headlines finished her career." She later founded the "Juanita Hansen Foundation, whose avowed aim was to urge doctors to wage war against addiction . . . "

In the 1920s, at least ten people working in the film industry came to premature ends. Actress Olive Thomas committed suicide at age 36, in 1920. She " . . . was found dead in a Paris hotel of an overdose of barbiturates . . . " Also, in 1920, actor Bobby Harron, who had appeared in D.W. Griffith's, The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance, " . . . shot himself in a New York hotel room . . . " supposedly distraught about not getting a part in one of Griffith's next movies.

In 1922, director William Desmond Taylor " . . . was shot to death in his Hollywood mansion in circumstances that remain mysterious to this day." Also, as noted in the discussion of blacklists in How the Movie Wars Were Won, one of Paramount's top box-office draws during the early '20s was Wallace Reid, who became addicted to morphine. Reid " . . . suffered head injuries in a train crash on the way to a location and was given frequent doses of morphine to ease his pain. He became addicted to the drug and aggravated the condition by turning to heavy drinking. He continued appearing in films, but toward the end of 1922 he was placed in a sanitarium, where he died in agony shortly afterward . . ." As Kenneth Anger reports, he was " . . . spirited away to a secluded private sanitarium in March 1922 . . . (where he) died in his padded cell on January 18, 1923, age thirty." Some industry observers lay the blame for Reid's death on studio abuse of its actors. "Paramount had pushed him through a nonstop production schedule . . . (and) Wally took his first morphine fix to mask his exhaustion and bolster his energy."

In 1925, actor Lester Cuneo, (who appeared in The Haunted Pajamas), " . . . shot himself . . . " at age 37, following a quarrel with his wife. The following year, actress Barbara La Marr's " . . . stormy career and scandal-ridden private life . . . " was ended by an " . . . overdose of narcotics . . . when she was 29." As Kenneth Anger reports, "Barbara La Marr, was Hollywood's most glamorous, if jaded, junkie. She dabbled in every known variety of dope until her fatal OD . . . The studio (however) blamed her death on 'too rigorous dieting.'" That same year, actor Tom Forman, who appeared in For Better of Worse " . . . was recuperating from a nervous breakdown at the home of his parents in Venice, California, when he put a gun to his heart and pulled the trigger on November 7, 1926. Dead at thirty-four; his last screen appearance had been opposite Viola Dana in Kosher Kitty Kelly."

In 1928, actor Larry Semon " . . . declared bankruptcy and . . . died of pneumonia after a nervous breakdown . . . " at age 38. That same year, actor Wallace McCutcheon, Jr., who had appeared in The Thief, killed himself with a bullet to the head (January 27, 1928). A revolver was found in his hand . . . " He had previously been " . . . admitted to a private sanitarium."

The pace of premature Hollywood deaths increased dramatically in the 1930s, with some 31 such deaths. "Rather than face life anywhere else than on the summit, Milton Sills chose to write 'Finis' in 1930 by hurtling his last limousine over Dead Man's Curve on Sunset Boulevard." "Newspaper clippings . . . played a part in the suicide of exquisite Gwili Andre, a model and failed starlet who had garnered many inches of press coverage but few feet of celluloid. Gwili was found burnt to a crisp in a funeral pyre of her useless publicity." Also, during the early '30s (during Prohibition), " . . . western star Leo Maloney was killed by . . . " bad booze.

In 1931, makeup artist George Westmore (King of Kings) committed suicide using bichloride of mercury. That same year, actress Alma Rubens " . . . became a real-life heroin heroine with most of her energies and a great part of her fortune devoted to securing drugs . . . " In her last interview she said "[w]hen they first started giving me this horrible poison I did not know what it was." On " . . . January 22, 1931, Alma died, age thirty-three."

Kenneth Anger reports that during Prohibition " . . . much of the illicit alcohol was of questionable quality . . . " and that " . . . Art Acord, the horse-opera star, was driven to suicide by bad-booze insanity . . . " On the other hand, the Katz Film Encyclopedia reports that Acord's " . . . film career ended with the coming of sound, and soon after he was arrested for bootlegging." According to Katz, he " . . . then went to Mexico with a rodeo but went broke there from gambling. In 1931 he was found dead in a Mexican hotel room, poisoned by cyanide. His death was ruled a suicide, but suspicions of murder were never entirely dismissed." Among other movies, Acord appeared in Oregon Trail.

Also, in 1931, Robert Ames committed suicide using a "gas pipe" And, that same year, the " . . . brilliant actress Jeanne Eagels opted for a deliberate overdose of heroin." "Her life story was told in Jeanne Eagels, a 1957 movie starring Kim Novak." Thus, we see an early example of an industry that may have been at least partly responsible for the death of an actress, involved in interpreting her life and death in a filmic representation. Other similar examples of this unique form of a film industry conflict of interest or cannibalism follow.

In 1932, production executive, director, screenwriter Paul Bern (Paul Levy) married actress Jean Harlow in July. "At 42, he was exactly twice her age." Bern was " . . . Thalberg's assistant at MGM . . . " and " . . . had been instrumental in bringing (Harlow) . . . to the Culver City (studio) . . . " Shortly after the marriage, Bern " . . . was found dead in his bathroom, a pistol at this side. Impotence was mentioned as the cause of the suicide." Other reports suggest that Paul Bern was killed by his ex-wife and that the alleged suicide note was a fake. According to this explanation of Bern's death, Louis B. Mayer wrote and planted the suicide note to protect his star Jean Harlow. The day after his death, " . . . Dorothy Millette, a blonde would-be starlet who had been Paul Bern's first wife, drowned herself in the Sacramento River."

Also, in 1932, actress Peg Entwistle " . . . climbed the steep slopes of Mount Lee to the Hollywood Sign, which in the Thirties spelt out in giant letters the name of Mack Sennett's ill-fated real estate venture, Hollywoodland . . . " She " . . . clambered to the top of the thirteenth letter . . . and dove to her death." She had appeared in the film Thirteen Women.

In 1934, George William Hill, talented director of The Big House (MGM-1930), blew his head off with a hunting rifle in 1934." Hill " . . . was found dead at his beach house, apparently a suicide . . . " That same year, (according to the Katz Film Encyclopedia, actor Karl Dane (Karl Daen) was a " . . . has-been at 48 . . . " and " . . . he shot himself to death." Dane had also appeared in The Big House.

In 1935, Geraldine Farrar's former leading man and husband Lou Tellegen committed " . . . suicide . . . with a pair of gold scissors . . . surrounded . . . with the . . . scrapbooks of yellowing newspaper clippings of his days of glory . . . " Also, in 1935, actress Aleta Freel " . . . killed herself with a rifle . . . " According to Kenneth Anger, she had " . . . little success with her career . . . "

On December 16, 1935 the body of the so-called "Ice Cream Blonde" Thelma Todd was discovered " . . . slumped in the front seat . . . of her open Packard convertible . . . " in a garage " . . . on the Palisades, above the Pacific Highway, between Santa Monica and Malibu . . . " She had " . . . shared (the garage) with her lover, director Roland West . . . They co-managed Thelma Todd's Roadside Rest, a popular beach café nestled under the Palisades on the Coast Highway near the scene of the crime." The ignition switch was still on in Thelma's car. Her " . . . mouth, evening gown and mink coat (were) spotted with blood." Her clothes were described as being in " . . . a state of rumpled disarray . . . The Grand Jury, after weeks of puzzling over contradictory evidence, handed in an odd verdict: 'Death due to carbon monoxide poisoning." In a convertible?

One of several theories about the Thelma Todd death suggest that " . . . she had been murdered by hit-men working for Lucky Luciano. Luciano was then making inroads into illicit California gambling establishments. He had approached Thelma with an offer to take over the upper story of her café' for the installation of a secret and crooked casino which she was supposed to populate with fashionable customers from among her famous friends." Thelma turned down Luciano's offer and may have thus " . . . signed her death warrant." A second inquest into the death, ostensibly to investigate the Luciano connection was reportedly dropped at the insistence of powerful individuals in the film industry. The Katz Encyclopedia merely reports that Thelma Todd " . . . died in her parked car (in 1935) of carbon monoxide poisoning, in circumstances that remain mysterious to this day." She was only 30.

In 1936, "John Bowers' " . . . career (supposedly) took a nosedive . . . with the coming of sound . . . (he had) lost all his savings . . . became an alcoholic . . . " At age thirty-six, " . . . the ex-leading man rented a sailboat on November 15, 1936 . . . (a) few days later, his body was washed onto the beach at Malibu." Also, that year, dancer-singer, actress Marilyn Miller " . . . died of poisoning at 37."

MGM's John Gilbert had been " . . . the highest-paid star of 1928, receiving $10,000 a week . . . ever since he had packed them in with The Big Parade (the silent 1925 WWI war epic) . . . " Like many of the people in Hollywood who had made a lot of money fast " . . . (he) had invested in stocks on margin, a victim of one of the investment sharpies who infested the film colony . . . " So on that fateful day, October 29, 1929, when the stock market crashed Gilbert discovered he was broke. This was also about the time that the studios started converting to talkies. "The first all-talking feature was Warner Bros' Lights of New York . . . which was premiered at the Strand Theater, New York, on 6 July 1928." For economic or other reasons, " . . . the sound engineers at MGM, at the orders of L.B. Mayer (who at that point wanted to smash Gilbert's career and get rid of him) played havoc with the trebles and deliberately gelded Gilbert's voice (for his first talkie)." He never recovered from the abrupt end of his career . . . " and, according to Kenneth Anger, finally drank himself to death in 1936.

After viewing Queen Christina, film historian George MacDonald Fraser reports that Gilbert's " . . . voice is better than I had been led to believe, and he is at least adequate." Reportedly MGM would not give John Gilbert work or release him from his contract. Two years later he died of a heart attack. Katz, reports that "Gilbert's frustrations with his career led him to heavy drinking in his final years which no doubt hastened his death, of a heart attack at 41."

Also, in 1936, film comic Paul McCullough, who appeared in Odor in the Court, committed suicide by means of a straight-razor. Anger reports that after " . . . a heavy work schedule at RKO in 1935 . . . McCullough collapsed from nervous exhaustion. He signed himself into a Massachusetts sanitorium. By March 1936 he appeared to have recovered . . . but on his way home he went by a barber shop for a shave and " . . . slit his throat from ear to ear." That same year, " . . . the corpse of a shabbily dressed, unshaven bum was found floating in the Hudson River. It was James Murray, the star of King Vidor's The Crowd." Katz reports that Murray " . . . experienced a decline . . . " in his acting career " . . . caused primarily by chronic alcoholism. Katz also reports that his " . . . early death resulted from a jump or fall into the Hudson River." The real questions is, what drove the man to drink?

Hollywood has " . . . always cannibalized itself. The story of John Gilbert's fall turned up on the screen in the 1937 A Star is Born, though the death scene in that film was inspired by the suicide by drowning of yet another despondent Hollywood actor, John Bowers . . . (who) walked nude into the waves at Malibu . . . " As Katz reports, Bowers " . . . became an alcoholic and at the age of 36 committed suicide by drowning. The manner and circumstances of his death provided the idea for the setting of the suicide scene in the film A Star Is Born (1937) and its subsequent remakes."

On January 2, 1937, " . . . the twenty-nine year old actor (Ross Alexander), who was deeply in debt, entered the barn on his ranch and shot himself in the head. Later that year, Ronald Reagan began his career at Warner Bros." Anger reports that " . . . Reagan was signed by the studio as a replacement for Alexander . . . " This ironic turn of events may represent and extreme example of what can happen to those who do not play the game in Hollywood as opposed to those who do.

Also, in 1937, Universal Studios star Marie Prevost who appeared in Three Women (1924) was found dead with several " . . . empty liquor bottles . . . as well as checks returned for insufficient funds. She had died from a combination of acute alcoholism and extreme malnutrition." As her film roles " . . . became harder to find . . . " in the thirties " . . . she began drinking heavily . . . " and died " . . . neglected and broke . . . "

In 1938, actress Florence Lawrence " . . . committed suicide by consuming ant paste . . . " and director Tom Forman killed himself using "Seconal sleeping pills . . . " Also, that same year, Jack Dougherty, " . . . handsome feature player in action pictures and Westerns during the twenties . . . attempted suicide in 1933 and bungled it . . . On May 16, 1938, he got in his car, turned on the gas, and died."

The following year, (1939), actor Claude Gillingwater committed suicide with a gunshot wound to his head. He had appeared in A Tale of Two Cities. Also, that year (March 9, 1939), actress Gladys Frazin, who appeared in Let No Man Put Asunder jumped to her death " . . . from her New York apartment window . . . "

The 1940s, saw some 24 Hollywood personalities come to their premature deaths by various means. Actor, director, screenwriter Charlie Chase " . . . began drinking heavily and died of a heart attack at age 46 . . . " in 1940. The next year, actress Jenny Dolly " . . . took some drapes, made a noose from them, and hanged herself from a shower rod in her Hollywood apartment." She had appeared in Call of the Dance. Also, in 1941, Julian Eltinge committed suicide . . . by taking sleeping pills . . . " Brooklyn born Claire Maynard appeared " . . . in two Fox films: Henry King's Over the Hill . . . and Good Sport . . . (but) Fox did not renew her contract . . . " She committed suicide in July of 1941.

In 1942, the " . . . sad clown Joe Jackson . . . " committed suicide by taking sleeping pills. That same year, Grace Kelly, "[c]lub symbol of the '50s and beyond, who became a club hostess in Monte Carlo in the '60s and '70s . . . ' " . . . died of cerebral hemorrhages, one leading to and another resulting from a fatal accident, when the car she was driving on a treacherous Cote d' Azur mountain road plunged down a 45-foot embankment and burst into flames. The circumstances of the crash remain a mystery." According to Paul Rosenfield, her " . . . death is as verboten a topic in the club as the death of Natalie Wood . . . "

The following year, (1943), "Spencer Charters, the popular comic actor, who often played judges, got in his car on January 25, 1943, gobbled some sleeping pills, turned on the gas and died." Also, in 1943, "[c]haracter actor Tyler Brooke, got into his car on March 2, 1943, turned on the gas and died."

In 1944, actress Lupe Velez, who appeared in The Gaucho, committed suicide " . . . in grand theatrical style, swallowing a tubeful of pills in a room decorated with flowers after a carefully planned session with her hairdresser and makeup man." She was age 36. Unfortunately, it was worse than Katz describes. Anger reports that she took " . . . seventy-five Seconal tablets which only made her horribly sick and she drowned with her " . . . head jammed down in the toilet bowl . . . "

The next year (1945), actress Lois Bernard jumped to her death on April 25. Actor James Gleason also died in a " . . . fall from a hotel window in 1945." Stuntwoman Mary Wiggins " . . . died instantly when she shot herself in her North Hollywood home on December 10, 1945." Actor Jose Elex Havier who appeared in Bataan, " . . . shot himself December 18, 1945." Finally, late in World War II, (December, 1945) actor Russell Gleason, who appeared in The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), " . . . was billeted at New York's Hotel Sutton with other personnel of the Army Signal Corps Photo Center of the Astoria Studio. On Christmas Day, Sergeant Gleason plunged (to his death) from his fourth-floor room . . . "

In 1946, "Charles Butterworth . . . (a) few months after . . . " the death of his " . . . buddy, humorist Robert Benchley . . . went out and killed himself in his car on June 14, 1946." That same year, art director Wilfred Buckland whose work appeared in the 1922 version of Robin Hood, shot his son " . . . in the head with a .32 caliber Mauser automatic, then shot himself. He left a suicide note . . . " (July 18, 1946). As Kenneth Anger reports, "[i]n Europe, a figure like Buckland would have been loaded with honors for his contribution to the art of the film. In Hollywood, in his later years, he was neglected and jobless." Also, in 1946, film comedian W.C. Fields, once described as a " . . . prodigious drinker . . . " died of cirrhosis of the liver. Once again, the important question does not relate to whether his drinking contributed to the failure of his liver, but why did he drink and what role did his treatment by the film industry play in that behavioral pattern.

On January 15, 1947 the separated " . . . halves of the nude body of a young woman

. . . " were discovered near the " . . . intersection of South Norton Avenue and 39th Street, in the Crenshaw area of southwest L.A . . . " in what was to become known as "The Black Dahlia Case." The " . . . victim's nickname had derived from her lustrous black hair, usually worn in a bouffant pompadour, and her habit of dressing in black sweaters and slacks." The dead woman was ultimately identified as 22 year old Elizabeth Short. "She had been reared in Hyde Park, Massachusetts . . . (in) . . . a . . . middle-class . . . (neighborhood) and left for Hollywood . . . at eighteen. It was not long before she slid into prostitution . . . Like thousands of others, she had been drawn to the area 'to break into movies.'" Her " . . . murderer was never found."

That same year (1947), actress Olive Borden " . . . ended up on the Los Angeles Skid Row as an alcoholic. She died at 41 at a hotel for destitute women." Also, in 1947, actor Nelson McDowell, who appeared in Last of the Mohicans " . . . shot and killed . . . " himself . . . " on November 3rd. In addition, according to Katz, comic actor Herman Bing committed suicide by self-inflicted gunshot, in 1947. On the other hand, Anger reports that Bing, who appeared in The Great Waltz, shot himself in the heart with a revolver and left a suicide note on January 10, 1948.

Actress Carole Landis had " . . . arrived in Hollywood at 18 . . . " and from " . . . 1940 she got star billing, but her vehicles were never better than routine . . . On July 6, 1948, she was found dead


of an overdose of sleeping pills." Her film credits included an appearance in One Million B.C. (1940)".

After a series of clashes with company personnel at MGM, director Mauritz Stiller, " . . . was replaced by Fred Niblo. Stiller next moved over to Paramount, where he directed Hotel Imperial (1927), an impressive film . . . He subsequently directed The Woman on Trial for Paramount . . . Then Stiller began The Street of Sin . . . But a quarrel with studio brass forced Stiller to quit the project in mid-production . . . Stiller, who by this time was showing the symptoms of a respiratory illness, left Hollywood, a broken man . . . he died (in 1948), at the age of 45."

During the decade of the '50s, some 19 Hollywood personalities died premature deaths. In 1951, actor John Mitchell, who appeared in Mr. Skeffington, shot and killed himself (January 19, 1951). Also, actor Robert Walker " . . . died suddenly in 1951, in the midst of filming My Son John, after doctors had given him sedatives to calm yet another of his frequent emotional outbursts." He had earlier " . . . suffered a series of nervous breakdowns . . . "

In 1954, actor Bert Moorhouse, who appeared in Sunset Boulevard shot and killed himself (January 26, 1954). That same year, actor James Cardwell, who appeared in A Walk in the Sun " . . . shot himself to death in Hollywood on February 4, 1954. He was thirty-three." Also, in 1954 (August 8), "Charles Gioe, one of seven men convicted in 1943 of conspiring to extort money from the motion picture industry . . . was machine-gunned to death . . . " The body of the long-time Sidney Korshak associate " . . . was stuffed into the trunk of a car."

The following year (1955), director, screenwriter Clyde Bruckman (The Battle of the Century) suffered from alcoholism which " . . . lost him jobs on major movies . . . " On the other hand, Universal used some of his writing in his later years, but he had to sue for payment. As noted earlier, Bruckman, " . . . was awarded several million dollars in damages (but, the) . . . incident made it (even more) difficult for (him) . . . to find work . . . (i.e., he was effectively blacklisted). In 1955 he borrowed (Buster) Keaton's pistol 'for a little target practice.' He left a note to his wife . . . went into a phone booth on Santa Monica Boulevard . . . " and shot himself in the head. Katz reports, on the other hand, that Bruckman " . . . shot himself to death in the rest room of a Hollywood restaurant after a meal for which he could not pay."

Also, in 1955, actress Abigail Adams took her life with " . . . a large fatal dose of Seconal and ethynyl." In addition, actress Ona Munson, who appeared in Gone With the Wind, died that year at age 49 " . . . of an overdose of sleeping pills, leaving a suicide note behind." Willie Bioff, " . . . former Hollywood labor racketeer . . . (who was) charged with obtaining money from leading motion picture producers under threat of calling a strike of employees . . . was killed (by an explosion) as he stepped on (his pickup) . . . truck's starter at his home in Phoenix in 1955."

On September 30, 1955, actor James Dean " . . . was doing a reckless 85 miles an hour in his silver Porsche on Highway 41 . . . near Paso Robles (California). He was speeding, en route to a sports car race at Salinas, when he smashed into another vehicle. He was . . . DOA at Paso Robles Hospital. At first, public grief was modest." Warner Bros. studio " . . . was grieved for financial reasons--Rebel and Giant had not been released and films starring recently deceased actors generally had bad track records. Then, (and supposedly) without any studio help, a legend grew. It was only several months after his death that the cult began to grow to vast proportions. The release of Rebel set off the greatest wave of posthumous worship in Hollywood history; it exceeded that for Valentino. Some fans committed suicide . . . thirty years after his death, the fan mail (was still) . . . arriving . . . Warners found that it had a hot . . . property on its hands. As the cult spread, mementos of the actor--plastic models of his head, bits of his wrecked car, parts of his motorcycle--were auctioned at top prices." Industry insiders were not nearly as critical of this tasteless bit of auctioning as they were years later following Kirk Kerkorian's auction of MGM memorabilia. After all, Kerkorian was an outsider.

That same year, (1955) actor Robert Francis (under contract to Columbia Pictures) borrowed a single-engine, four-seat private plane from his " . . . actor pal Joe Kirkwood . . . " and with " . . . 24-year old . . . film actress Ann Russell, and George Meyers a mechanic . . . " on board " . . . took off from an airstrip in Burbank, California . . . " The plane crashed and exploded killing all three. According to James Parish, the studios subsequently " . . . began re-enforcing a standard clause in actors' contracts--(i.e., that they not engage in hazardous hobbies.)" Francis was 25 when he died. He had appeared in Columbia's The Caine Mutiny in 1954.

The embittered director James Whale " . . . lost interest in making movies over which he had no creative control . . . (and his) health began to fail in 1956." Whale reportedly " . . . threw himself in the shallow end (of his pool) . . . striking his head against the bottom . . . "on May 29, 1957 . . ." His " . . . suicide note was discovered by a maid . . . " Katz reports that Whale " . . . drowned in his swimming pool under mysterious circumstances." It would be a bit suspicious of someone to throw themselves into the shallow end of a pool. Also, in 1957, actress Norma Talmadge died a " . . . premature death of complications from a long bout with arthritis aggravated by drug abuse."

In April of 1958 " . . . the bloodied corpse of Johnny Stompanato, alias Johnny Valentine, former bodyguard of gangster Mickey Cohen . . . " and most recent romantic interest of Lana Turner was found in her bedroom. "Johnny (was apparently abusive towards) Lana (she had refused to continue paying his gambling debts), threatening her with physical harm and swearing to avenge himself on her entire family . . . " Lana's daughter Cheryl heard Johnny's ranting through the bedroom door " . . . ran into the kitchen . . . grabbed the first weapon she found--a nine-inch butcher knife--and rushed back to her mother's aid. Lana . . . testified; 'Everything happened so quickly that I did not even see the knife in my daughter's hand. I thought she had hit him in the stomach with her fist . . . the jury was only out twenty minutes. Their verdict: justifiable homicide." That same year (1958), actor Philip Van Zandt " . . . died at 53 of an overdose of sleeping pills."

The following year, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer was " . . . shot to death in a dope burn (according to Kenneth Anger), whereas Katz reports he was " . . . shot in January of 1959 in a drinking brawl with a former hunting-venture partner over a $50 debt. The slaying was ruled 'justifiable homicide." Also, in 1959, actor George Reeves, who appeared in Superman, " . . . shot himself in the head . . . " at age 45. That same year, actor Grant Withers " . . . died of an overdose of sleeping pills (at age 55), leaving a suicide note behind." As Kenneth Anger reports, Withers' career (Second Floor Mystery) had supposedly "fizzled out".

Also, in 1959, opera tenor Mario Lanza, who appeared in eight films, including MGM's The Great Caruso (1951) died in Rome. "The official cause was listed as a heart attack . . . " but Lanza was only thirty-eight years old." Like so many other Hollywood personalities before, Lanza had, at one time, become embroiled in " . . . a dispute with . . . " his studio (MGM) and left the film he was working on at the time, (The Student Prince--1954). The studio " . . . sued him and when a new regime came onto the lot, a compromise was reached. Filming began, but more bad words were exchanged and Lanza again left the project." Lanza's career in the movies suffered permanent damage. Partly as a consequence, Lanza suffered through a series of over-eating and drinking binges. In the late '50s, " . . . exiled gangster Lucky Luciano . . . 'suggested' that Mario sing at an upcoming charity gala in Naples. When Lanza failed to attend a scheduled rehearsal, two thugs visited him to convince him not to back out. Determined not to perform, Mario checked into a Rome clinic . . . When Lanza's driver came to visit, he found the singer comatose and an empty intravenous tube pumping air into his veins."

During the '60s, some thirty people associated with the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry experienced premature deaths. In 1960, actress Margaret Sullivan, who appeared in Cry Havoc " . . . killed herself with an overdoes of sleeping pills in the Taft Hotel, New Haven." Katz reports she died " . . . of barbiturate poisoning. It was ruled a suicide." That same year, actress Lynne Baggett, who appeared in The Ghost Steps Out was " . . . undergoing treatment for barbiturate addiction in March 1960, when her nurse found her on her bed, dead from an overdose of sleeping pills."

Also, in 1960, actress Dana Barrymore " . . . depressed . . . " over her failing career was found by her maid " . . . face down on the bed . . . a trio of empty liquor bottles in the kitchen and an assortment of sedatives in a nearby cabinet . . . the coroner ruled out suicide or foul play . . . " although Tennessee Williams " . . . always insisted--contrary to official reports--that Diana had 'blood streaming out of her mouth and that there was a heavy marble ashtray shattered against the wall and other evidence of struggle and violence".

In 1961, actress Gail Russell, who appeared in The Uninvited, " . . . was found dead in her apartment, surrounded by empty liquor bottles. She was only 36." As Anger reports, she was " . . . surrounded by empty vodka bottles and empty tubes of barbiturates." That same year actor Jeff Chandler died of " . . . a generalized blood infection . . . " following surgery for a slipped disc he had suffered " . . . while making Merrill's Mauraders . . . " a 1961 World War II combat movie.

The next year, actress Marilyn Monroe, who appeared in Some Like It Hot, apparently committed suicide by " . . . sleeping pills (Nembutal) . . . " Anger reports that "Marilyn had been out of control . . . The fiefdoms had been losing hundreds of thousands of pieces of green from the tardiness, the non-appearance of their wool-headed queen." Katz reports that she died " . . . of an overdose of barbiturates and a possible suicide." As Gorn Freedman points out in his 1994 documentary Marilyn Monroe: Life After Death, " . . . Hollywood never took Monroe seriously as an actress and poked fun at her when she left for New York and enrolled in acting classes at the Actors Studio."

That same year, (1962), actress Clara Blandick, who appeared as Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz committed suicide by taking " . . . a large does of sleeping pills, and to make sure she would not survive, tied a plastic bag around her head." She had been suffering from " . . . severe arthritic pains and failing eyesight."

Then the day after a meeting between the government's antitrust lawyer Leonard Posner and MCA's Lew Wasserman (on October 1, 1962) in an effort to tie up " . . . loose ends . . . " in its litigation against MCA . . . "Posner resigned from his job with the Antitrust Division to join a prestigious Beverly Hills law firm, which specialized in protecting the components of the entertainment industry from government tax and antitrust regulations . . . Three months later, Leonard Posner was found dead in his apartment after being stricken by an apparent heart attack (even though he) . . . had no history of heart trouble . . . "

In the meantime, on November 15, 1962, MGM fashion designer Irene Gibbons " . . . took a room at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Los Angeles, under an assumed name. She cut her wrists. When this did not prove fatal immediately, she jumped to her death from the window of the room on the fourteenth floor." She also left a note.

In 1963, actor Pedro Armendariz, who appeared in From Russia With Love was admitted to the UCLA Medical Center on June 18, 1963. "He had learned that he had lymph cancer. He " . . . shot himself in the hospital with a gun he had smuggled in." Armendariz had also worked on The Conqueror, the film about Genghis Khan, starring John Wayne, " . . . which was shot on location in Nevada near the site of an atomic bomb test. Its director, Dick Powell, and two of its stars, Wayne, and Agnes Moorehead, died of lung cancer; the female lead, Susan Hayward, died from a brain tumor." That same year, actor Nick Adams, who was " . . . nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor in Twilight of Honor (1963) . . . " died from " . . . an overdose of drugs he was taking for a nervous disorder."

The next year (1964), Alan Ladd, star of Shane, died of " . . . an overdoes of sedatives mixed with alcohol, possibly intentional. Fourteen months earlier he was nearly killed by an 'accidental' self-inflicted gunshot wound." Actress, singer Marie McDonald, a " . . . former model, show girl, and band vocalist, . . . became a movie starlet in the early '40s. Hollywood publicity nicknamed her 'The Body', but despite continual mention in gossip columns and involvement in scandals that kept her name in headlines, her career made little headway (she appeared in 14 films between 1941 and 1963). She was married seven times (including remarriages) before her sudden death from an overdose of pills . . . " in 1965.

Also, in 1965, actor Everett Sloane, who appeared as Bernstein in Citizen Kane, committed suicide " . . . with a handful of sleeping pills in his West Los Angeles home (July 11, 1965)." He had learned he " . . . was going blind . . . " Also, actress Clara Bow who appeared in Hollywood films from 1922 through 1933 " . . . suffered several nervous breakdowns (and) . . . spent many of her post-movie years confined to various sanitoriums." She died in 1965. That same year, actress, singer, dancer Dorothy Dandridge, who appeared in Porgy and Bess, was " . . . found dead in her Hollywood apartment from an overdose of barbiturates." Finally, in 1965, actress Linda Darnell, who had appeared in Anna and the King of Siam (1946) died of burns suffered in an fire caused by " . . . a still-smoldering cigarette . . . "

In 1966, Buster Keaton, died of cancer. He had " . . . entered a psychiatric clinic . . . " in 1937, and according to Kenneth Anger, he was " . . . unhinged by the combined traumas of the arrival of sound, loss of artistic control of his films, marital problems and drink." He recovered, continued to do some work in film and did not die until 1966, " . . . of cancer." Also, in 1966, actor Jonathan Hale, who appeared in Strangers on a Train, committed suicide. According to Anger, he " . . . shot himself in his cottage (at the Motion Picture Country House at Woodland Hills, California) on March 2, 1966; the pistol was found next to his body. Attendants said he had been depressed for some time."

Following an automobile accident in 1957 there were rumors of (Montgomery Clift's) heavy drinking, abuse of drugs, and odd behavior on and off the set. The accident scarred his face and ruined his good looks . . . He died of a heart attack (in 1966) at the age of 45." Anger calls Montgomery Clift's death "self-willed". That same year actor Eric Fleming was being filmed in " . . . a canoe on the Haullaga River . . . in a remote jungle region, 300 miles northeast of Lima . . . when the craft suddenly overturned . . . " He was " . . . swept off by the strong current . . . " and was not found for nearly a week.

The next year (1967), actor Bob Duncan, who appeared in Song of the Sierra used his own gun to kill himself on March 13. Also, in June of 1967, "Jayne Mansfield, her career on the skids . . . " crashed and died in a car wreck " . . . on a rain-slicked highway." After actor Nick Adams, who had appeared in Rebel Without a Cause " . . . found it difficult to obtain anything but small roles . . . " his " . . . health began to deteriorate and a doctor prescribed paraldehyde, a drug used to treat alcoholics with the D.T.s." He was found dead in his home on February 7, 1968. The " . . . autopsy . . . found paraldehyde 'in the organs, mixed with sedatives and other drugs--enough to cause instant death.'"

According to Katz, actor Albert Dekker, who appeared in King Kong, died in 1968 " . . . from suffocation . . . " and the death " . . . was believed to be a suicide but was ruled an accident." Anger reports Dekker was " . . . discovered bound and handcuffed, hanging from a shower rod in the bathroom (and the) . . . bathroom was secured from the inside by a chainlock." That same year, the death of child actor Scotty Beckett, who appeared in The Jolson Story was listed as " . . . a probable suicide . . . " from " . . . sleeping pills . . . "

Hollywood child star Bobby Driscoll, who appeared in So Goes My Love, " . . . became a drug addict and was arrested several times for various offenses. In 1965 he moved to New York City, where three years later (in 1968) his body was found in the rubble of an abandoned tenement, the victim of a heart attack. He was buried in a pauper's grave." Anger reports he overdosed " . . . on Methedrine . . . " Also, in 1968, actor John Indrisano, who appeared in Every Day's a Holiday, " . . . hanged himself in his San Fernando Valley home on July 9, 1968." That same year, in October, actor Ramon Novarro was " . . . beaten to death by young hustlers."

In 1969, actress Judy Garland took her own life " . . . in a locked London bathroom." According to Katz, the " . . . official coroner's verdict attributed her death to an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. But actor-dancer Ray Bolger, Dorothy's Scarecrow friend in The Wizard of Oz, commented: 'She just plain wore out." According to Katz, she " . . . was still in her teens when she began being plagued by a weight problem. In an effort to contain her tendency to gain pounds, the studio put her on a strict diet and a doctor recommended pills. At the same time, the strain of work began taking its toll on her nervous system, and before long she was living on pills; pills to put her to sleep, pills to keep her awake, and pills to suppress her appetite. By the time she was 21 she was seeing a psychiatrist regularly . . . "

Katz goes on to report that the " . . . dual pressure of stardom and personal unhappiness affected her career. She began showing up late for work or not at all, was suspended a couple of times, and finally, in 1950, was fired from the MGM lot. Depressed and bewildered, she made her first suicide attempt. Others were to follow . . . The news Judy made in the late '50s involved lawsuits, counter-lawsuits, nervous breakdowns, suicide attempts, and recurrent breakups . . . sometime during the night of June 22, 1969, she stumbled in the bathroom of her London apartment. She was found in the morning . . . The official cororner's verdict attributed her death to an accidental overdose of sleeping pills . . . " The Sharon Tate massacre also occurred in 1969. The actress had appeared in several movies including Valley of the Dolls (1967).

Barbara Bates, " . . . a model born in Denver in 1925 . . . made her movie debut in Salome, Where She Danced . . . She worked for Warners for two years . . . She got the leading female role opposite Danny Kaye in The Inspector General, but much of her footage was cut at the insistence of Sylvia Fine--Mrs. Kaye." Ms. Bates " . . . made the first of a series of suicide attempts, but L.A. is a company town, and the studio managed to keep reports of them out of the papers." She continued to work, appearing " . . . as Jerry Lewis' girlfriend in The Caddy, and in 1954, at MGM, in Rhapsody as a music student with Elizabeth Taylor." She eventually severed all ties with Hollywood . . . returned to Denver . . . (and) . . . on March 18, 1969 . . . " committed suicide, " . . . by asphyxiation at age 43." That same year (1969), director Michael Reeves died at age 24 " . . . of a drug overdose . . . "

In the '70s, some seventeen Hollywood personalities met their premature deaths. In 1970, actor Chester Morris, who appeared in The Great White Hope, died of an " . . . overdose of barbiturates . . . " That same year, actress Inger Stevens, who appeared in House of Cards, also died " . . . of an overdose of barbiturates at the age of 36 . . . " Also, in 1971, actor Peter Duel who had appeared in the films Cannon for Cardoba, (1970) and Generation (1969) " . . . placed a .38 caliber gun to his temple and killed himself." Earlier that year " . . . working pressures got to him and he collapsed on the set . . . " of the Universal television series Alias Smith and Jones, reportedly due to a flu bug, and he " . . . was sent home by ambulance." Duel had also lost his driver's license after his third driving- while-under-the-influence charge in October of 1970.

In earlier years, when an attractive young lady by the name of Frances Farmer, from the state of Washington " . . . won a magazine popularity contest, Paramount snapped up the 'New Garbo' for a seven-year contract." She " . . . considered herself a serious actress and dreamed of appearing in Chekhov and the classics . . . " but (as usual) the studio put her in a series of films they considered more commercial. She was also " . . . loaned out to Goldwyn (Paramount made a large profit on such loan-outs, not a penny of it going to Frances) . . . " Frances was a " . . . resolute individualist who refused to 'go Hollywood,' she was often quoted as saying she hated everything about the place except the money. She made an enemy of Zukor and other moguls . . . "

Her nervous breakdown was " . . . triggered by . . . an arrest for a minor traffic violation in Santa Monica the night of October 19, 1942. She was charged with drunk driving without a license . . . (got into a) shouting match . . . " with the police officer and was " . . . dragged off to the Santa Monica jail." She was later arrested for not reporting to " . . . her parole officer." Following tumultuous scenes in the courtroom, she was eventually declared " . . . a mental incompetent . . . " and was committed by her own mother to a " . . . private sanitarium . . . " where she received " . . . daily insulin shock treatments for three months (a treatment which has since been thoroughly discredited) . . . She was adjudged insane in 1944 and confined to . . . " a state mental hospital " . . . at Steilacoom, Washington, her home state . . . "

Farmer " . . . had been unhappy in . . . Hollywood, where her talent felt 'constricted' by silly, superficial roles in dopey movies . . . " Some industry observers suggested that " . . . she had been a difficult 'troublemaker' (and the industry was) . . . glad to be rid of her." One columnist (John Rosenfield) spoke up in her behalf, writing: "What happened to Frances Farmer shouldn't have happened at all . . . Miss Farmer . . . needed a lawyer one unhappy night last winter. A helping hand might have extradited her immediately from nothing more than a traffic violation. The terrible truth is that she stood alone, and lost." Francis Farmer actually died of cancer in 1970 at age 57, but her life and career had been destroyed, partly through her own actions, which in turn were reactions to people and a system that exploited her, but did little if anything to help her.

As Roger Ebert reports, the movie Frances (1983) " . . . tells the story of a small-town girl who tasted the glory of Hollywood and the exhilaration of Broadway and then went on to lead a life during which everything went wrong." According to Ebert, the movie was

" . . . a tragedy without a villain, a sad story with no moral except that there, but for the grace of God, go we. The movie is about Frances Farmer, a beautiful and talented movie star from the 1930s and 1940s who had a streak of independence and a compulsion toward self-destruction . . . She was a stubborn, opinionated star who fought with the studio system, defied the bosses, drank too much, took too many pills, and got into too much trouble . . . (she) . . . finally died of alcoholism . . . Frances never really lays blame for the tragedy of Farmer's life. It presents a number of causes for Farmer's destruction. (A short list might include her combative personality, her shrewish mother, the studio system, betrayal by her lovers, alcoholism, drug abuse, psychiatric malpractice, and the predations of a mad lobotomist.) . . . Farmer never really got a chance to be who she should have been, or to do what she should have done . . . "

This book presents the theory that many of these deaths were unnecessary and were primarily brought about by abusive treatment at the hands of Hollywood studio executives and agents. Keep in mind that this Hollywood control group is made of the same people who gained and have maintained their control over Hollywood and the lives of some many creative people through the use of unfair, unethical, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory and illegal business practices (see How the Movie Wars Were Won and The Feature Film Distribution Deal).

Actress Bella Darvi (Bayla Weigier) was born in Sosnowiec, Poland and was brought to Hollywood by Darryl F. Zanuck and his wife, Virginia in the early '50s. "After only three disappointing Hollywood films, and amidst scandalous rumors, she was thrown out of the Zanuck house by Mrs. Zanuck and her Fox contract was terminated. She returned to Europe . . . (but by) the early '60s she was out of work . . . she attempted suicide three times . . . (and in) 1971, she was found dead in her Monte Carlo apartment . . . " where she had " . . . opened the gas jets on her stove."

Also, in 1971, actor Ben Pollack, who appeared in The Benny Goodman Story, " . . . hanged himself . . . in Palm Springs (June 7, 1971)." That same year, the " . . . still-ravishingly beautiful Pier Angeli (who appeared in The Silver Chalice) killed herself at thirty-nine, because 'being forty would be the end of everything' . . . " "She died of an overdose of barbiturates . . . "

In 1972, actor Nigel Green died " . . . of an accidental overdose of sleeping pills." That same year, actress Gia Scala, who appeared in The Guns of Navarone, " . . . died at 38 from an accidental overdose of drugs and alcohol." Also, in 1972, actor George Sanders, who appeared in All About Eve, " . . . (committed) suicide in . . . Spain . . . " According to Katz, Sanders' " . . . body was found in a Barcelona hotel. He left behind a suicide note in which he mentioned boredom as the main reason for taking his own life, by consuming an overdose of sleeping pills (Nembutal)."

The next year (1973), actress Peggie Castle " . . . died of liver cirrhosis." She had become " . . . addicted to alcohol . . . " Also, that year actress Veronica Lake who had " . . . problems with her Paramount bosses . . . " and was driven to drink, died of "acute hepatitis" at age 53. Again, this book contends that the appropriate stress in many of these situations should be placed on "problems" with the studio "bosses" and "driven to drink".

In 1974 " . . . Gulf + Western chairman Charles Bluhdorn named Barry Diller Paramount board chairman (and) . . . seven weeks later, (Frank) Yablans was out." The next year Bluhdorn " . . . died mysteriously on a plane bound for the Dominican Republic . . . " Rosenfield refers to Charles Bluhdorn as a "[b]rilliant Austrian tycoon who made Paramount the flagship of his Gulf + Western empire . . . " and called him a " . . . gambler who bet on Robert Evans and Barry Diller, when both were young and untried." Rosenfield reports that Bluhdorn's " . . . mysterious death in the company's corporate jet is never discussed." The biography of the former controlling shareholder of the parent corporation of Paramount is not even listed in the Katz Film Encyclopedia.

Rosenfield also claims the death of MCA executive Taft Schreiber (who allegedly died of a bad blood transfusion) " . . . is the stuff of club legend." According to Rosenfield, [r]umor had it, his politics were incorrect in the eyes of MCA. Very Republican." Brownstein reports the year of death as 1976. Neither Katz nor Anger report on the Schreiber death. Also, in '76, Jack Cassidy, who had appeared in The Eiger Sanction (1975) with Clint Eastwood, was " . . . overwhelmed by smoke and heat . . . " in a fire at his " . . . West Hollywood penthouse apartment . . . started by a still-lit cigarette left carelessly on or by a couch . . . " on which Cassidy " . . . had fallen asleep . . . " following a party he had hosted.

In 1977, film and rock star Elvis Presley, who had appeared in about 32 Hollywood movies, died of an apparent overdose of drugs. "In the last seven months of Elvis's life . . . " his doctor had reportedly " . . . prescribed nearly 5,000 pills; an estimated 19,000 in the last two-and-a-half years . . . " and " . . . tests revealed there were at least ten drugs in his blood, including Quaaludes, codeine and morphine."

In 1978, actress Maggie McNamara, who appeared in Prince of Players, " . . . killed herself with an overdose of sleeping pills . . . " and left a suicide note. That same year, actor Charles Boyer, who appeared in The Garden of Allah died of " . . . an overdose of Seconal . . . " on August 29, 1978. Also, that year, the body of actor Gig Young, who won an Oscar for his performance in They Shoot Horses, Don't They (1969) " . . . was found by police in a Manhattan apartment next to the body of his bride of three weeks, a 31-year old German-born actress. His hand was clutching a gun. Police theorize he had shot his wife, then turned the gun on himself." Finally, in 1979, actress Jean Seberg, who appeared in Lilith, " . . . was found dead of an overdose of barbiturates, a probable suicide."

Some fourteen Hollywood deaths were reported in the decade of the '80s. Actor, director Don "Red" Barry (Rio Lobo) died by a self-inflicted shot in the first year of the decade. Actress Rachel Roberts also died in 1980 " . . . at 53 of barbiturate poisoning . . . " Her death was ruled a suicide. In 1981, actress Natalie Wood apparently " . . . drowned in a yachting accident . . . " Also, Dorothy Stratten, a former Playboy Playmate of the Year and (director Peter) Bogdanovich's mistress, was gunned down . . . by her jealous husband after completing a featured role in the film . . . They All Laughed (1981) . . . " That same year, actor William Holden, who according to his psychotherapist was a " . . . chronic drug and alcohol abuser . . . tripped on a bedroom scatter rug (while drunk), banged his head against a night table, gashed his skull and bled to death."

On March 5, 1982, actor John Belushi " . . . was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel bungalow, the victim of a lethal does of heroin and cocaine." As Katz reports, Belushi's " . . . meteoric rise and life in the fast lane . . . " had increasingly been " . . . accompanied by booze and drugs." In the meantime, child actor Trent Lehman, who appeared in The Christine Jorgenson Story, had become " . . . a cocaine addict . . . " He returned to his old elementary school in North Hollywood in 1982, where he " . . . climbed to the top of the chain link fence, tied (a) . . . belt to the top of the fence, pushed himself off . . . and died . . . " with a suicide note in his pocket. That same year (1982) actor Vic Morrow " . . . died in a filming mishap during the making of Twilight Zone--The Movie) (1983), in which he and two young child actors were struck and killed by the rotor blade of a crashing helicopter on the outdoor film set."

In 1983, actor Walter Slezak, who appeared in Bedtime for Bonzo, " . . . shot and killed himself with a .38 in his home in Manhasset, Long Island." Paul Rosenfield also reports that " . . . club attorney Norman Garey killed himself . . . " by putting " . . . a bullet threw his brain."

In 1984 actor Jon-Erik Hexum who played the part of Pat Trammel, the cancer-ridden friend of Alabama football coach Paul 'Bear' Bryant in the theatrical feature, Bear (that same year) " . . . was on the set for " . . . a CBS-TV detective-spy series . . . " in which he " . . . played fashion photographer Mac Harper, a former Green Beret and a weapons expert. A few weeks into the action series being filmed at Twentieth Century-Fox . . . " he was playing around with a prop .44 Magnum pistol which he had just loaded with a blank . . . " and shot himself in the head, causing severe brain damage and his death some 6 days later.

In 1985, Carol Wayne . . . who had regular walk-ons on the Johnny Carson program . . . drowned in Mexico not long after completing her work on . . . " the movie Heartbreakers (1985), a movie that " . . . examines the complex relationships in . . . " the " . . . Los Angeles world of art, sex, and business . . . " In the movie, Ms. Wayne " . . . makes a frank assessment of her body, her appearance, her prospects. She talks about what she hoped for from life, and what she has received. There is an uncanny feeling that, to some degree, we are listening here to the real Carol Wayne, the real person beneath the image on the Carson show." Also, in 1985, film legend Orson Welles died of a heart attack. Katz reports that "[o]besity had long been a problem for Welles . . . " On the other hand, Bette Midler said Welles, " . . . was beaten down by the system, and couldn't survive." (For additional details of Orson Welles' struggle against the Hollywood insiders, see "The Hollywood Outsiders" in this book's companion volume How The Movie Wars Were Won).

The following year (1986), the " . . . 22-year old college-student son . . . " of actress Susan Cabot (Harriet Shapiro) " . . . was arrested and charged with her (1986) murder . . . " Then in 1987, actress Elizabeth Hartman " . . . died at 45 in a fall from her . . . fifth-floor apartment, an apparent suicide." As Katz reports, her " . . . early promise was never fulfilled. Increasingly depressed over her declining career, she became a recluse in her Manhattan apartment and eventually an outpatient at a Pittsburgh psychiatric hospital." In 1989, actress Rebecca Schaeffer was killed by " . . . a crazed fan obsessed by his unrequited love for her. " She had appeared in a brief role in Woody Allen's Radio Days (1987) but was better known for her television work.

Thus far in the '90s, five Hollywood personalities have experienced premature deaths. In 1990, the police investigation suggested that actor Albert Salmi " . . . shot his wife, then himself, in an apparent murder-suicide." The following year, actress Carol White's " . . . troubles with drink and drug led to her death of an overdose . . . " at age 49. Production designer Anton Furst did " . . . film design work in Hollywood in the 1980s (but) . . . [a]t the height of his fame (in 1991), he committed suicide."

In 1993, actor River Phoenix " . . . collapsed and died under mysterious circumstances outside the Viper Room, Los Angeles club owed by actor Johnny Depp." Phoenix was considered " . . . one of the most versatile and prominent of contemporary, young (Hollywood) actors . . . He was 23. He had appeared in Stand By Me, The Mosquito Coast, My Own Private Idaho, Sneakers, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". That same year (1993), actor Brandon Lee died in an apparent accident on the movie set of The Crow. The film " . . . was eight days away from the end of the filming. The cast and crew were working extremely long hours without sufficient breaks to finish the movie on time." During a " . . . flashback scene depicting how his screen character had died . . . " Lee was " . . . shot accidentally with a 'live' .44 caliber bullet . . . "

Also, in 1993, independent producer Aziz Ghazal " . . . ended his life with one bullet from a .380 caliber pistol after bludgeoning to death his estranged wife and 13-year old daughter . . . " As Variety's Christian Moerk reports, " . . . the chameleon-like figure of Aziz Ghazal penetrated swiftly and deeply into Hollywood in the guise it fears the most: the charming but deceitful outsider." Among other problems, Zhazal had signed two different deals relating to the same film project with Jodie Foster's Egg Productions and Touchstone Pictures.

Finally, in November of 1994, movie stunt woman " . . . Sonja Davis fell to her death while working as a stunt double on the upcoming Eddie Murphy film "Vampire in Brooklyn." Ms. Davis' family is suing Paramount Studios and Eddie Murphy Productions for $10 million, alleging that the film crew, failed to provide proper safety equipment." The mother stated that the last words she heard her daughter say " . . . was when she yelled down to the stunt coordinator, 'Are you sure?'" During " . . . the 42-foot backward fall off a building . . . [t]he air bag that was to cushion Davis' fall instead reacted like a huge balloon, causing the young woman to bounce, slam into the building and hit the ground . . . "

Aside from the possible negligence of a studio illustrated by the death of Sonja Davis and others, one of the questions raised by this review of Hollywood deaths is, what drives so many actors, actresses and others in the film industry into depression, to drink, take drugs, live recklessly, and, in many instances, to commit suicide? It is the contention of this book, that too many writers about the movie industry proceed straight away to the drugs and alcohol abuse, without stopping to analyze the underlying causes, and that when the underlying causes are analyzed, much too little emphasis is placed on the abuse of power routinely being exercised by the major studio/distributor executives, talent agents and others in the film industry as they regularly exploit, manipulate, scam and abuse Hollywood's creative talent.

Also, once an actor or actress appears to be in demand, Hollywood seems to have a tendency to over-work them. In addition, as the money begins to flow, much of it is first siphoned off by the studios, agents, lawyers and managers. This series of books further contends, for example, that many of the individuals cited above, found themselves in an all too common position, at one time or another in their respective careers. They were supposed to be paid a substantial amount of money by a studio for the performance of services in conjunction with a particular film, but the money was never paid, leaving the economic victim with the choice of suing and never working in Hollywood again, or moving on to the next job without complaining (i.e., selling out to a corrupt system in exchange for continued fame and less money than the amount contractually due). Such a choice would tend to wear on the psyche of any healthy individual. For that portion of the money that actually makes it past the studio accountants, attorneys, agents and business managers, to the talent, there seems to be a small industry in Hollywood, selling these creative people sex, drugs and bad investments. Finally, after being treated like "property" for so many years, many of these people, like Judy Garland, just "wear out". This survey, at the very least, ought to raise serious questions about the relationship between Hollywood business practices and the premature deaths of so many of the members of the Hollywood creative community. The phenomenon deserves and requires serious additional research.

Chapter 8


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny."

Martin Luther King

Thus far, in this book on Hollywood, we have been able to determine that Hollywood is (and has been for the nearly 90 years of its existence) controlled by a narrowly defined interest group (see "Who Really Controls Hollywood") and that such a phenomenon significantly affects the kinds of movies chosen to be produced and released, the people who get to work on those movies and the actual content of such films (see "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers", "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies" and "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda"). The following discussion explores the motivation of the Hollywood control group, and some of the likely reasons why movies and control of the U.S. film industry are important to them, but also should be important to us all.

When trying to figure out why the movie industry operates the way it does, (i.e., what are the motivations fueling the activities of the prime movers in the industry), it is necessary to engage in a bit of speculation and to recognize it as such. Otherwise, anyone asserting to know what motivates the movie moguls would be pretending to be able to read their minds, and that is not the case here. In any event, the accuracy of such speculation can be improved when it is tested for consistency with personal observations of the film industry and the published statements of others in the industry. Such speculation as to motives, also must of necessity focus on the Hollywood control group. The motives of the Hollywood outsiders may in some respects be similar, but the outsiders are not winning the game, thus, as a general rule, they do not produce or release the vast majority of the movies seen by American and world audiences. The following discussion seeks to provide an overview of some of the possible important (and not so important) motivating factors suggested by various observers of the Hollywood scene. Of necessity, most of the speculation regarding motives is that of third parties as reported in other sources.

Money, Greed and Power--Paul Rosenfield states that the real goal in what he refers to as the Hollywood insiders club " . . . is to make money . . . The idea is not just to become rich, but rich-rich . . . " Rosenfield goes on to say that money is actually " . . . one of the six major reasons people get in the club. The others are ego, love, sex, status, and--particularly--fear." Unfortunately, that is as far as Rosenfield's analysis goes, and it is much too simplistic. He does not examine, for example, at what point, the desire for money becomes greed, and how the desire to acquire money, actually stems from the need for power. Nor does he explore the relationship between any of these basic motivations with the important communications function of film (see the following chapter entitled "Why It All Matters").

Greed, on the other hand, is defined as inordinate or reprehensible acquisitiveness. Although no scientifically conducted study is cited to support the statement, it would appear that there is adequate informal evidence to support a conclusion that greed is a significant motivating factor that seems to occur frequently in the film business. For example, when a motion picture like Coming to America grosses more than $300 million worldwide but does not reach net profits it may be fair to assume that "greed" was involved in the negotiation, interpretation or implementation of the terms of that distribution deal somewhere along the line. When the number one box office hit of all time for Warner Bros. (Batman) achieves $253.4 million in distributor gross receipts, but based on the distributor accounting still shows a deficit of $35.8 million it may be fair to conclude that someone taking off-the-top was being greedy in the deal. In that specific situation, the movie's star Jack Nicholson reportedly received $50 million. Now, for the poor and working people of this country, that may appear obscene. It would not be unreasonable for them to boycott every movie Jack Nicholson makes in the future because his $50 million is enough for a lifetime and it came out of somebody's else's share. We have to keep in mind, however, that a significant portion of that $50 million never made it to Jack Nicholson, but instead lined the pockets of his Hollywood insider agents, attorneys, accountants and managers. In the meantime the movie-goers have to pay for all of this greed.

As Steven Bach points out, "[g]reed is always a point in the marketplace, but in Hollywood it is seldom the point. (Or it is a point so subtly convoluted that naked dollar signs cannot or will not suffice) . . . the whole complex of shared experiences and attitudes and prejudices that compose any old boy (or old girl) network become more refined competitive factors than mere money. In Hollywood . . . " Bach points out " . . . everybody's got money." Aside from the obvious exaggeration in the Bach statement, he does make a valid point, (i.e., at some point, extremely wealthy people have enough money to do whatever they desire, thus, for anyone who continues to work, other motivational factors must be involved).

Video Store magazine's Van Wallach also points to another important aspect of the money factor in Hollywood, saying, that "[t]he movie business is a cash business." Thus, some people are attracted to the film industry for that reason. Not only is the film business a cash business, but significant amounts of cash are being generated over short periods of time. "Revenues for the filmed entertainment category--including boxoffice, home video and television--is expected to rise to $38.3 billion in 1995 . . . " That was according to the 1991 annual report on the communications industries published by the investment banking firm of Veronis, Suhler & Associates. "Boxoffice spending in the period is projected to reach $6.9 billion by 1995 . . . " Thus, there may be reasons for being in the film business that are related to the fast-cash nature of the business. There is also no authority outside the industry that can possibly effectively monitor the vast amounts of cash reported and supposedly generated by the exploitation of Hollywood films in all markets and media of the world, thus the industry presents an ideal cover for money laundering opportunities worldwide (see the discussion relating to organized crime in How the Movie Wars Were Won).

As Hortense Powdermaker points out, however, the " . . . making of movies is . . . strongly influenced by the power situation in Hollywood . . . Power resides in the front office of each studio and the executive in charge of production wields it . . . " Front office executives " . . . are concerned with attaining large profits, but the profit motive is not always primary, and rarely the only one. For many executives, power is even more important . . . " Powdermaker goes on to suggest that in " . . . the usual Hollywood production of movies, the quality of the movie is much less important than the assertion of the ego of any individual."

Powdermaker continues to use the totalitarian model to describe Hollywood and makes a strong argument that power is the ultimate motivation for those who control the film business. She points out that the " . . . ultimate in totalitarian power is power for its own sake . . . (and) [s]ome of the men with power in Hollywood present the same picture. These men have made millions, and more money means very little to them; but they cannot get enough of power: power over human beings in the studio and power over the day-dreams of men and women who sit in the darkened theater."

In discussing the power of talent agents in the contemporary marketplace, director Sydney Pollack explains that as a " . . . result of their new power . . . agencies today share with studios much of the decision-making process as to what movies get made. That process was once exclusively studio-driven." Pollack then asks the question: "Has this resulted in better films? I don't think so. Do these pictures make more money? Without question, yes. Is that the primary reason for the existence of Hollywood? Unequivocally, yes." Thus, Pollack returns to the argument that making money is " . . . the primary reason for the existence of Hollywood . . . " Again, unfortunately, that does not answer the question of what Hollywood does with its money. In other words, there is a difference between a group of people who desire money just so they can buy more things, as opposed to people who also want to use that money to help gain power and to do something significant with that money. Thus, just to offer that money is what Hollywood is all about, does not satisfy the need to know what really makes Hollywood tick (i.e., money is and always has been a means to some other end).

Investor's Business Daily writer Paul Sperry, on the other hand, is pretty much in agreement with Pollack. Sperry suggests that " . . . show business, like any other business, is motivated first by profit . . . (and) [p]olitical agendas ultimately take a back seat to the market." Again, however, this statement does not deny that there is or may be secondary, or third level agendas amongst moviemakers, studio executives and distributors, and once a particular group whether defined in racial, religious, ethnic or cultural terms is economically secure in its control or dominance of the motion picture medium, these secondary or third level agendas may be more actively pursued. Such agendas may even be pursued by those who are not so economically secure.

In addition, the motivations for the business side of show business are probably much different than the motivations of those on the creative side. It is thus, reasonable to expect, that money is a more important motive for the studio executive and agent, whereas, communicating important ideas, may be a higher priority for the writers, directors, actors, actresses and producers more closely associated with creating feature films.

As anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker pointed out in her study of Hollywood, the

" . . . problem of power has been important since the beginning of mankind's existence." During the social evolution of mankind " . . . power has gone through many re-allocations, from the tribal elders to feudal lords, popes, kings and emperors. Gradually it was diffused from the hands of a few to the many . . . This century has seen revolutions which reversed the process and concentrated power again in the hands of a few dictators . . . " The really difficult question to answer is, " . . . can Hollywood change its ways of thinking and its values, so that the democratic concept of man becomes more important than a totalitarian one?" The answer to the question posed by Powdermaker is, of course, probably not. Hollywood is not likely to change its ways unless forced to by a higher power, and no single individual, or even a single interest group, will ever have that power.

Fear, Respect and the Reciprocal Preferences--Rosenfield next offers the opinion that "[f]ear is what binds (Hollywood insider) club members to each other, what keeps them in cahoots with each other." Rosenfield's suggestion that the Hollywood insider club members are "in cahoots with each other" suggests exactly the kind of conspiracy or combination in restraint of trade that the antitrust laws prohibit and the kind of activity which Hollywood insiders so often and so vehemently deny. Rosenfield goes on to say that " . . . these people--apart from being smart--are scared. Maybe more scared than the outsiders." Thus, " . . . club members . . . " Rosenfield reveals, " . . . often play guardian angels for each other. That's what the movie business is about . . . " With this statement, Rosenfield also seems to be confirming that what is really important about the Hollywood insiders club is that they help and protect each other to the exclusion of all outsiders. Again, from an antitrust point of view, that sounds very much like Rosenfield's confirmation that the Hollywood insider's have in fact, over the years, engaged in a series of illegal reciprocal preferences designed to help and protect each other to the arbitrary exclusion of most competitors from outside their ranks.

Film critic Michael Medved, on the other hand, suggests that the " . . . Hollywood community wants respect even more than it wants riches; above all . . . " Medved speculates, " . . . its members crave acceptance and recognition as serious artists. Money is not the main motivation for the current madness." Again, however, Medved fails to make a distinction between the two wings of the so-called "Hollywood community": the business side and the creative side. As stated above, it is very likely that money and power is more important to the studio executives and the talent agents, whereas the creative side of the film community are the ones Medved refers to as people wanting to be considered "serious artists".

Rosenfield goes so far as to suggest that the real drive in Hollywood is " . . . to be unconditionally loved." Of course, that may be true for all of us. But it is very likely that many in the Hollywood film community, just as most others, recognize that being unconditionally loved is an ideal, that is not available in most relationships, particularly in competitive business relationships. On the other hand, there appears to be at least two levels of competition in Hollywood, the competition among the Hollywood insiders and the competition between the Hollywood insiders and outsiders. Thus, it may be fair to say that the Hollywood insiders, place a high value on and seek the unconditional love (or at least, respect) of the rest of the Hollywood insiders, and that they value that more than the respect of the Hollywood outsiders, whose feelings they generally could care less about.

Personal Therapy and Self Expression--If Hollywood is driven by fear, insecurity and swollen egos, then Steven Spielberg's analysis of one of the important benefits of being a filmmaker seems to be on target. Spielberg admits that "[o]ne of the healing benefits of being a filmmaker is that you can work through some of your life, have other people re-enact your feelings and traumas and ideas and then sit back and take a look at yourself . . . " Spielberg goes on to point out that " . . . Martin Scorsese and other filmmakers are much more id oriented with their movies than I've been. But in all of my movies there's been something of me in them . . . Either Universal or Warner Bros. is paying for my very expensive therapy . . . " Author Diane Shah agrees with these Spielberg observations, saying, for example, that "[t]he theme of children separated from their parents (a real-life experience for Spielberg) runs through some of his films, many of which are told from a children's point of view."

Of course, it is not accurate at all for Spielberg to suggest that Universal or Warner Bros. is paying for his therapy. It would be more accurate to say that the film-going public is doing that, and, even worse, without knowing it. After all, moviegoers have been told for years that movies are merely entertainment. In addition, if as Spielberg states, the ability to express oneself through film works as a form of personal therapy, it is clearly not equitable that certain Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious have much greater access than any other group to such publicly paid-for therapy. Furthermore however, Spielberg's statement that films generally have something of their maker in them is consistent with the statement made in this series of books on Hollywood that movies mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers. Such a revelation also provides support for the contention that the American film industry ought to be more diverse from top to bottom, and that greater diversity will result in films that are more representative of our diverse society.

Winning and Influence--Michael Josephson of the non-profit Institute for the Advancement of Ethics suggests that " . . . once you make a certain amount of money, the increments don't make a difference to our lifestyle." As noted earlier, he points out that people with a lot of money " . . . have to be driven by something else." And that "something else" according to Josephson is " . . . the acknowledgment, the success, the winning."

William Cash takes this analysis another step by suggesting that "Tinseltown craves to be taken seriously, to influence people, to make a difference to society--a desire . . . " He suggests that is " . . . rooted in hubris, insecurity and swollen egos . . . " a desire that is again inconsistent with the Hollywood establishment's oft repeated claim that movies are merely entertainment, and that it's all about money.

Hidden Agendas--The film industry is complex and it is quite possible that the public statements made by persons in the film industry do not always accurately disclose their true intent. The phrase "hidden agendas" is used to describe plans of things to be done or intentions that are not apparent or divulged. As we can see, filmmakers make movies for many reasons. Making money, becoming famous, earning the respect of professional peers, providing entertainment and communicating important ideas would seem to be high on anyone's list of the typical reasons why movies are made, although the order of importance certainly may differ amongst individuals. Hidden agendas also do not have to be explicitly known, even to the motivated individual filmmaker.

The feature film, as a communications medium, with its large screen, color technology, special effects, lighting techniques, exquisite photography, incredible sound, excellent talent on and off the screen, is also, without question, one of the most effective methods yet devised for communicating ideas. It would indeed be naive for anyone to assume that the communication of ideas is not an important motive for any serious filmmaker or filmmaking concern. A feature film also affords a unique opportunity for those who control or dominate the process of decision-making as to which movies or ideas are included in motion pictures, to insert such ideas or select and actively promote the movies which best express the views held by those decision-makers.

This is one of the things that has " . . . Medved mad as hell--and he's not going to take it anymore . . . " Medved believes that " . . . today's movie execs (and this includes producers, directors, writers and superstars) are irresponsibly hell-bent on creating products merely to suit their own personal, political and religious agendas. And they are flying in the face of public sentiment to do it." As an example, based on the pattern of bias study set forth in this book's earlier chapter "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers", it is reasonable to say that one of the primary purposes of the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry has been to fight Nazis and Nazism and to constantly remind people that such an extreme example of hate and discrimination could happen again. There thus appears to be a positive correlation between the views of those who control Hollywood and the views expressed through their movies. It is reasonable then to ask, does the rest of American society agree that so many movie messages ought to be dedicated to conveying that single message? Or, should a greater number of more diverse messages coming from other segments of American society be communicated through this important medium? And, can a Hollywood-based U.S. film industry controlled by a narrowly defined interest group ever be counted on to offer enough diversity in film messages to approximately mirror our very diverse society? The correct answers, if you have not already guessed, are: "No", "Yes" and "No".

Another common theme in American movies of years past included the positive portrayal of things British. Fraser suggests a reason for the phenomenon. He reports that " . . . of all the champions of (the British) Empire there were none more staunch than the American moguls . . . many of them were Jews who foresaw that the fate of Europe, and their kinsfolk, would rest on the Empire and the Royal Navy that had guaranteed America's eastern coast for more than a century . . . So out of the dream factory came the Bengal Lancers and the Light Brigade and the Mounties and the White Ensign and endless marching columns of Central Casting Highlanders . . . " On the other hand, times do change. It is more likely today that movies released by American distributors, will, if they contain anything about the British, will be negative (e.g., attacks on the British class system are very common). Thus, it appears that when it serves the interests of the people who control Hollywood to make pro British movies, they do so, but when the threat appears to have subsided and it serves their interests to produce or release movies that are critical of certain aspects of British society, they do that.

Patricia Erens also reports the much of what underlies Hollywood movies is anti-Gentile in nature, saying that the many Jewish " . . . performers and writers interjected into Hollywood films what Irving Howe has referred to as an East side skepticism, 'a traditional feeling among Jews that the whole elaborate structure of Gentile power is merely trivial . . . ' and that this world is at base merely . . . 'ashes and dust.'"

The earlier chapter entitled "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" suggests that other Hollywood hidden agendas include the consistently negative portrayal of America, its institutions, the establishment and authority, Arabs and Arab Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, women, gays/lesbians, Religion (especially Christianity), along with Whites from the American South. In addition, such Hollywood patterns of bias also tend to favor a disproportionate number of films featuring more positive portrayals of so-called Jewish themes, sub-plots, characters and heroes (see "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda"). Again, such hidden (and not so hidden) agendas appear to be based on the personal value, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of the filmmakers themselves.

Political Statements--American movies often make political statements. The following random sampling of American movies released during the past 50 years, merely illustrates the point. For example, the Alfred Hitchcock's 1944 release Lifeboat involved the characters adrift in a lifeboat " . . . thrashing out the ideological conflicts of WWII . . . " while the war was still ongoing.

The 1950s, saw Salt of the Earth (1954) starring Will Geer and Mervin Williams. The film was " . . . about labor-management relations and the exploitation of the working class in America." According to Steven Scheuer, the film provides a " . . . more radical examination of some of the themes dealt with in The Grapes of Wrath." Herbert Biberman directed. The 1956 release Invasion of the Body Snatchers (remade in 1978) told the " . . . story of invading pod-parasites who take over human beings; the population of a town is replaced by a group of emotionless, soulless aliens." According to Steven Scheuer, the " . . . film can be seen as a hyped-up, outrageous contemplation of McCarthyism . . . " Don Siegel directed.

The anti-communist hearing theme received attention in an American-made documentary released in 1964. Point of Order was a " . . . documentary about the Army-McCarthy hearings in the spring of 1954." Emile de Antonio, a Harvard educated filmmaker from Scranton, Pennsylvania with "Marxist leanings" directed. Universal's 1968 release House of Cards, starred George Peppard playing " . . . an unlikely tutor in Paris who gets enmeshed in a right-wing operation made up of French aristocrats headed by arch-villain Orson Welles." John Guillermin directed. Note once again, the portrayal of right-wing political views as villainous. Seldom do we see Hollywood movies with villains from the political left.

In The Brotherhood of the Bell (1970) Glenn Ford loses his young wife, father, all his possessions and his reputation in a one-sided battle aimed at exposing a secret college alumni group whose members apparently control the business world." Paul Wendkos directed. The film appears to be a thinly disguised representation of the leftist political view that a secret fraternal organization controls the world. About the same time Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty were working to help elect Gary Hart to the Senate in Colorado, Paramount released The Parallax View (1974) starring Warren Beatty, William Daniels, Hume Cronyn and Paula Prentiss in a " . . . story about a political assassination of a senator, not unlike the Kennedys, and one reporter's efforts to get to the bottom

of the mystery surrounding this killing. Suddenly witnesses to the assassination start dying off, and one of them goes to reporter Beatty who investigates." Alan Pakula directed.

The 1976 release, The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case was about the " . . . 1932 tragedy involving the kidnapping of Lindbergh's baby son and the subsequent trial of Bruce Richard Hauptmann. Anthony Hopkins plays Hauptmann and David Spielberg is the prosecuting-attorney. Buzz Kulick, the " . . . TV adviser to Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine during the 1971-72 presidential campaign, directed. Larry Cohen's 1978 release, The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover starred Broderick Crawford, Jose' Ferrer, Michael Parks and Rip Torn. The film was supposedly a " . . . look behind the scenes at Hoover, the FBI, and recent American history." The film was written, produced and directed by Larry Cohen.

Martin Ritt's 1979 release, Norma Rae starred Sally Field and Ron Leibman in the " . . . portrayal of a union organizer who comes up from the ranks . . . " and a " . . . southern girl (who) becomes an angry union organizer." Steven Scheuer calls the film " . . . a rousing liberal drama which is heartfelt and stirring." Martin Ritt, the " . . . son of Jewish immigrants . . . " directed. He had been " . . . raised on Manhattan's Lower East Side . . . " and was once blacklisted " . . . for his past Communist affiliation."

James Goldstone's 1981 release, Kent State was a " . . . three-hour re-creation of the May 1970 student protest of the Vietnam War and the tragic confrontation with the Ohio National Guard, resulting in the slaying of several students. As the peaceful protesting students face the soldiers' bayonets, tear gas, and finally bullets, the breakdown in communication between school officials, state authorities, and police becomes irrevocable and tragic."

George Roy Hill's 1984 release, The Little Drummer Girl starred Diane Keaton, Vorgo Voyagis, Klaus Kinski, Sami Frey and Michael Cristofer. The film is an " . . . adaptation of John Le Carre's . . . novel (that) portrays a complex tale of Israeli and Palestinian espionage and terrorism . . . Keaton is a pro-Palestinian actress who becomes employed as a double agent . . . " Scheuer calls the film " . . . a political thriller with serious ideas."

In 1986, Haskell Wexler directed Latino, a " . . . docudrama about the U.S. involvement in Nicaragua." Steven Scheuer reports that this " . . . anti-Contra entry perceives Uncle Sam's gung ho efforts to train the Contras as an exercise in evil." Oliver Stone offered Salvador, in 1986. The film starred James Woods, Jim Belushi, John Savage and Michael Murphy in a " . . . scathing look at the social injustice in El Salvador . . . seen through the lenses of (a) photographer (Woods), a sleazy newshound who goes through his rites of revolutionization when he is confronted with the government's fascist brutalization of the country's populace." Film critic Steven Scheuer admits the film is " . . . (reversely) as propagandistic as Rambo."

The above listing of films is not intended to be a comprehensive recitation of all the American films that make political statements; merely a reminder that films do often communicate political positions, more often than not--liberal political positions. Thus, the desire to communicate political ideas has to be considered one of the motivating factors underlying many filmmakers' involvement with the medium.

Sex and Beautiful Women--Some observers of the Hollywood scene, have suggested that the availability of sex and beautiful women serve as a motivating factor in the involvement of many men in the film business. There is no question that this is a very sensitive issue. But, it would be a serious oversight to omit any discussion of sex as a motivating factor, after all it is generally regarded as one of the most powerful sources of human motivation throughout the history of mankind. The early film moguls discovered that the power to put women into the movies and, particularly, to make them a star, gave them a considerable edge when it came to seducing many of


those same women or becoming romantically involved. The studio executives, producers, agents and entertainment attorneys of today have not lost sight of that benefit.

Men have come from various parts of the country to work in the film industry and have admitted that the possibility of having relationships with some of the very beautiful women who come into the film industry was one of the motivating factors for their being here. In addition, of course, many attractive actresses will readily admit that they would do just about anything to get a role in a good movie. There are many other attractive and talented actresses who feel one of the reasons their careers have not progressed more rapidly is because they have turned down the many offers from male producers, directors, studio executives and others in the industry for sexual favors.

As Neal Gabler pointed out "sex, like family, power, wealth, and culture, was meant to be conspicuous in Hollywood. It was a symbol of power which may be why so many of the Hollywood Jews behaved with such little discretion." In addition, many "[p]retty young girls who come to Hollywood hoping for careers as actresses are prepared and ready to use sex as a means of getting ahead." According to Powdermaker, that has long been " . . . part of the prevailing attitude of manipulation of people for career purposes . . . " In other words, " . . . sex is just one of several techniques."

One of Hollywood's most wealthy men today, David Geffen, is even more explicit. He reveals that "[i]n the club it's almost never about money. Because once you are in the club, money is a given. Money is something you have access to. What you want, is to get laid a lot." The truth is that girl friends, wives and other lovers are often given parts in movies, more often than not with bad results. As an example, under Jim Aubrey, MGM produced Kansas City Bomber, a film " . . . in which Raquel Welch (a frequent Aubrey date) played a roller-derby queen." According to Paul Rosenfield, "Roddy McDowall (referred to by Rosenfield as 'club historian') could summon up a substantial list of once-promising films that had fallen victim to sexual intrigue--the casting of a studio chief's girlfriend, for example."

According to former Paramount studio head Robert Evans, Darling Lili was Blake Edward's wedding gift to his lady love (Julie Andrews) and Paramount paid the bill. The film's losses were so exorbitant (Evans reports) that, were it not for Charlie's (Charlie Bluhdorn's) brilliant manipulation of the numbers, Paramount Pictures would have been changed to Paramount Cemetery (a reference to the fact that a cemetery was next door to the Paramount lot and at various times the cemetery owners wanted to purchase the studio lot for expansion). Robert Evans himself married Ali MacGraw the star of Paramount's Love Story (1970). At the time Evans became engaged to Ali MacGraw he " . . . was renting cars for fourteen girls . . . " Evans also reports that Bluhdorn " . . . liked to think of himself as a talent scout, always complaining, 'Evans, why don't you have more beautiful girls under contract like the old days?'

In point of fact, the film industry is littered with romances between actresses and studio executives, producers, directors and agents, all of which raise the most serious conflict of interest questions for both participants. Although, we can only speculate, it appears that only a small percentage of these romances resulted in marriages, and in view of the significant number of such marriages that are "of record" so to speak, the body of film industry "romances" between men who have some power over the careers of the women with whom they are romantically involved, is quite large. In any case, the fact of the existence of so many such relationships destroys all pretension that Hollywood is a merit system where the most talented actor or actresses generally get the parts.

The list of such marital liaisons, after all, is extensive. For example, actress Binnie Barnes " . . . married Mike Frankovich, production executive at Columbia pictures . . . " Producer Walter Wanger married actress Joan Bennett. Producer Steve Jaffe married actress Susan Blakely. Producer Michael Laughlin married actress Leslie Caron. Director Richard Compton married actress Veronica Cartwright. Director William Wellman married actresses Helene Chadwick and Dorothy Coonan, who starred in one of his films. Director Barry Levinson married actress/screenwriter Valerie Curtin.

Also, director William Friedkin married actress Lesley-Anne Down. Producer-director Hall Bartlett married actress Rhonda Fleming. Producer Jerry Bick married actress Louis Fletcher. Director Cullen Tate married Bess Flowers. Director Sidney Olcott married actress Valentine Grant. Producer Walter Morosco married actress Corinne Griffith. Producer Thomas E. Rothman married actress Jessica Harper. Producer James Hill married actress Rita Hayworth. Director Anatole Litvak married actress Miriam Hopkins.

Other Hollywood marriages include, producer Stanley Rubin's marriage to actress Kathleen Hughes. Director Paul Schrader married actress Mary Beth Hurt. Talent agent Phil Berg married actress Leila Hyams. Producer Hal Wallis married actress Martha Hyer. Director Steven Spielberg married actress Amy Irving. Producer David O. Selznick married the star of several of his films Jennifer Jones. Director Wesley Ruggles married actress Arline Judge. Director John Milius married actress Celia Kaye.

In addition, talent agent-movie producer Jonathan Krane married actress Sally Kellerman. Director Busby Berkeley married actress Merna Kennedy (Maude Kahler). Director Philippe De Broca married actress Margot Kidder. Director William Seiter married actress Laura La Plante and upon their divorce, she married producer Irving Asher. Director Andre De Toth married actress Veronica Lake (Constance Frances Marie Ockelman). Also, producer, director Alan J. Pakula married actress Hope Lange. Director William Friedkin married producer Sherry Lansing. Producer, production executive Jennings Lang married actress-singer Monica Lewis. Columbia executive Collyer Young married actress Ida Lupino.

The previously noted marriage of Paramount production-chief Bob Evans to actress Ali MacGraw further illustrates the effect of these romantic film industry conflicts of interest. "While still head of the studio at Paramount and married to Ali MacGraw . . . Evans obtained the rights to The Great Gatsby specifically so that his wife could play the part of Daisy Buchanan. As Evans stated in his biography, "[t]here's no motive stronger than wanting to surprise the lady you love." Peter Bogdanovich was selected to direct, but he wanted his girlfriend Cybill Shepherd to play the part of Daisy. Evans won that battle and Peter was out, Sam Pekinpah was in. This temporary struggle casting again illustrates the principal that Hollywood does not operate on a merit system, at all. Many of the battles over casting choices are made by the husbands or boyfriends of actresses, hardly objective perspectives.

Also, in his biography Robert Evans reports that during the time he was grieving over the loss of his wife Ali MacGraw to Steve McQueen, producer Ray Stark sent over actress Lois Chiles with " . . . orders to break (Evans') . . . spell . . . " Evans concluded from that incident that "Ray wasn't Hollywood's top producer by mistake." This incident also again illustrates the point that some producers like Ray Stark use women and the highly unethical loans to studio executives discussed in How the Movie Wars Were Won to help maintain good relations with studio executives and get their projects financed.

These sorts of conflicts of interest arise at the smaller film companies just as at the major studio/distributors. For example, the marriage of Republic chief executive Herbert Yates to Republic star Vera Hruba Ralston illustrates the phenomenon at a smaller company. In addition, as Katz reports, contrary " . . . to the usual studio policy (the Yates controlled Republic) spent lavishly on her productions." On the other end of the scale, MGM executive Irving Thalberg married actress Norma Shearer, and not surprisingly, as the Katz Film Encyclopedia reports, Shearer's " . . . rise to top stardom did not start until 1927, the year she married Thalberg. From then on, she had her choice of films and directors and played many of the plum roles in the MGM repertoire." Of course, it must be remembered, that every time Norma Shearer (or any other actress who was dating or married to a producer, studio executive or director) was arbitrarily selected for a movie part, that precluded some other equally or more talented and deserving actress from being considered for the same part.

Other Hollywood marriages include film executive Rodney S. Sprigg's marriage to actress June Marlowe. Director William Friedkin also married actress Jeanne Moreau. Producer, agent Jerry Weintraub married his client, singer Jane Morgan. Director Edward Buzzell married actress Ona Munson. Producer Jack Schwartzman married actress Talia Shire. Director Marshall Neilan married actress Blanche Sweet. Producer Joseph Schenck married " . . . his leading star . . . " Norma Talmadge. Director Carol Reed married actress Diana Wynyard. And, Columbia Pictures executive Guy McElwaine married actress Leigh Taylor-Young.

Not all of these industry marriages worked out to the best advantage of the actress either. For example, producer-manager and former talent agent Marty Melcher . . . " married actress, singer Doris Day " . . . but upon his death in 1968 she discovered that he had either mismanaged or embezzled her entire life's earnings of $20 million and had left her flat broke." She subsequently suffered the " . . . nervous breakdown . . . " mentioned earlier.

Other instances of this industry marriage phenomenon, involve a series of marriages. For example, actress Lola Lane was married five times including to directors Alexander Hall and Roland West. Actress Hedy Lamarr was married six times. Actress, singer Lillian Roth was married eight times. Actress Virginia Cherrill was married five times. Actress Constance Bennett was married five times. Actress Corinne Calvet was married five times. And, actress Arlene Judge married six more times following her marriage to director Wesley Ruggles.

Sometimes, the film industry sexual merry go round gets quite confusing. As Katz reports, actress Nastassja Kinski was " . . . a stunning nymphet in her teens . . . " She made " . . . her screen debut in Wim Wenders' Wrong Move (1975), then met and fell in love with director Roman Polanski, 25 years her senior, who became her lover and mentor (she was about 16 at the time). Under his guidance, she went to Los Angeles for six months of training with Lee Strasberg, then to London for additional coaching . . . all in preparation for her first major starring role, in Polanski's film, Tess (1980) . . . Admitting fleeting Trilby-like passions for her directors, she had a well-publicized affair with Frenchman Jean-Jacques (Diva) Beineix who directed her in Moon in the Gutter (1983). When she gave birth to a son in 1984, the director Beineix . . . was among eight paternity 'suspects' listed by a sensational German magazine. The father was eventually officially identified as Egyptian-born producer-talent agent Ibrahiim Moussa, whom Kinski married later that year."

The truth is that what happens when you put a large number of beautiful, young, ambitious women in a situation where a small number of wealthy men have power over the women's careers is entirely predictable. Many of the men have sexual relations with the women and some even end up marrying the actresses. Some actually help the women in their careers and some just have sex. Now, assuming the men are smart enough to recognize and foresee the results of the above described mixture, it is also fair to assume that they intend the results. As Powdermaker points out, " . . . in Hollywood sex is regarded as a means of getting ahead, a form of excitement and fun, a function of

power, a biological act. Far more rarely is it associated with love or affection, or given meaning in human relations."


What makes this mixture even more explosive are the means by which this group of Hollywood men obtained their power and wealth, which is in turn used to attract such beautiful women. According to the studies set forth in the two companion volumes to this book (How the Movie Wars Were Won and The Feature Film Distribution Deal), their power and wealth was gained and has been maintained for nearly 90 years through the use of unethical, unfair, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory and illegal business practices (see the two above cited books). In other words, the power to determine which movies are produced and released, who gets to work on those movies, the actual content of such films and the ability to have sex with many of the actresses trying to perform in those films was gained and is maintained illegitimately.

Thus, there appears to be another set of motivations that may be important to analyzing the American movie industry, particularly, in understanding the nature of the Hollywood insider control group. The acquisition of money and power in the film industry makes it possible for that small group of men who control Hollywood to seduce and in some instances marry some of the most beautiful women in the world.

Another of the more bothersome aspects of this issue of the exploitation of women and sex is that some men all around the country and the world have to stand by somewhat helplessly while their girl friends and wives are drawn to the glamour of movies and the prospect of stardom, to be exposed to a system tilted to the advantage of men who might not otherwise be able to attract the sexual or even social attention of such women. Wars have been fought for less reason.

Us Against Them--Another motivating factor that may help to explain the Hollywood insider versus outsider phenomenon, is the Michael Levine " . . . us-against-the-world view" explored in James Stewart's book Den of Thieves. Levine, one of the figures involved in the Wall Street scandal of the 1980s, along with Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken were of Jewish heritage. One of the explanations offered for Levine's behavior was that he felt like an outsider in a WASP-dominated Wall Street environment, thus he ended up cheating to get ahead.

A similar phenomenon may be occurring in Hollywood in the sense that the small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious, feel justified in engaging in the business practices described above as unfair, unethical, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory and/or illegal, since they rationalize that they or their ancestors were discriminated against by others in a WASP-dominated society. Thus, this theory suggests that now that they are in a position of power in a particular industry, these individuals feel justified in utilizing such business practices to gain and maintain their control over that industry.

If such thinking is a motivating factor in Hollywood, the difficulty is that there is no end to the repercussions. In other words, if Jewish males of European heritage discriminate against non-Jews in the film industry because some non-Jews have discriminated against some Jews in other industries in America in the past, then, it would be ok for non-Jews to continue to discriminate against Jews in other industries, because, in fact, they are doing exactly what the Jewish males of Hollywood are doing anyway. Thus, the non-Jews would not be any more wrong in their contemporary discriminatory conduct than the Jewish males of Hollywood, and there would be no end to the trouble for our society. Prejudice and discrimination must be stopped in all industries.

On the other hand, University of Arizona professor Leonard Dinnerstein, in his 1994 book Anti-Semitism in America, " . . . categorically states that there is less bigotry in this country than ever before. He also argues . . . that Jews have never been more at home in America." Unfortunately, the same cannot be accurately reported for the non-insiders seeking to work in the U.S. film industry


today and throughout its history. Thus, it is very likely that the "us-against-them" mentality is still alive and well in Hollywood today.

Prejudice and Discrimination--Part of the answer with respect to motivation in Hollywood may be that many of the Jewish males of European heritage who are in control positions are just prejudice, plain and simple. After all, as Cass Warner Sperling reports there is even evidence of prejudice within the so-called Jewish community. "German Jews (she reports) . . . considered themselves part of an elite group and looked down on Jews from Russia." Of course, such inter-cultural or inter-racial prejudice is not unique among Jewish people. For example, black filmmaker, Spike Lee has made at least a couple of movies utilizing subplots relating to the prejudice and discrimination of African-Americans against each other.

Also, as Noam Chomsky reports, Europe, the place where many of those in control in Hollywood trace their ancestry, is " . . . altogether a very racist place, even worse than the U.S. . . . " Chomsky goes on to say that " . . . Eastern Europe is particularly ugly. That society traditionally had very bitter ethnic hatreds . . . (and) . . . [o]ne of the reasons why many of us are here is that our grandparents fled from that."

The truth is that there is prejudice among most all of the racial, cultural, ethnic or religious groups on earth. Our first obligation has been to try to eliminate discrimination which is based on prejudice and the removal of prejudice is often seen as a means toward the end of stopping discrimination. Unfortunately, whatever we are doing as a nation does not seem to be working. And certainly, the Hollywood-based U.S. motion picture industry cannot claim to be taking the high road with respect to either the elimination of prejudice or discrimination, regardless of whether we are considering the portrayals contained in the films released by Hollywood, or that film community's employment practices.

Culture Promotion--Although, clearly not the most important motivating force seen in Hollywood, there does seem to be a bit of culture promotion taking place in Hollywood films. For example, there appears to be an excessive amount of gratuitous insertions of Yiddish terms and phrases in movies that do not otherwise call for the use of such terms. That is exactly what gratuitous means. Such insertions, appear to be nothing more than the willful use of motion pictures in an attempt by a small minority of people to promote the use of a specific language held in high regard by some members of that community.

The proliferation of Jewish stories and positive portrayals of Jewish characters in Hollywood movies (see discussion in "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" and "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda") may also reflect a widespread cultural inferiority complex in many persons of Jewish heritage resulting in a heightened drive to tell their stories, to elevate their heroes and to generally portray Jewish characters in film in a positive light. Unfortunately, the flip side of such activities may be viewed by some as a reflection of a communal feeling of cultural superiority, since for every Jewish story and positive portrayal of a Jewish character that appears in Hollywood movies, the story or positive portrayal of some other cultural, ethnic, religious, racial or regional group has been displaced (i.e., the people who control Hollywood--the small group of Jewish males of European heritage who are not very religious but very liberal politically--have arbitrarily chosen to tell the stories of their fellow Jews over the stories of others). The implicit assumption underlying that decision is that the stories of these other religious, ethnic, racial, cultural or regional populations are just not as important as the so-called Jewish stories.

Manufacturing Consent--To use a concept often referred to by MIT professor Noam Chomsky, the overall effect of the film industry's liberal political slant appears to be consistent with an effort to "manufacture consent" in the U.S. and throughout the world. Any significant communications medium controlled by a narrowly defined interest group, that consistently portrays certain political ideas (in this instance--liberal political ideas) in a more favorable manner may accurately be characterized as such. In addition, any narrowly defined interest group that uses an important communications medium, such as film, to consistently portray others in a negative light, while at the same time, consistently portraying itself in a more favorable manner, must recognize that its efforts are propagandistic and that such efforts may well lead to prejudice in our society, prejudice that may also result in discrimination (see "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda"). It would appear that the Hollywood establishment does not care about such results, so long as the prejudice and discrimination is directed toward others.

Shifting Wealth--Many of the business practices of the major studio/distributors (discussed in How the Movie Wars Were Won and The Feature Film Distribution Deal) also appear to be nothing more than schemes to shift wealth from the creative community and from outside investors to the Hollywood insider's group. In other words, here is a group that is thinking big; so big that it is difficult to believe, which is exactly part of the reason why they have been able to get away with it thus far (see "The Hollywood Insider Cash Infusion Strategy" discussed below).

Contributions to Charity--Another legitimate and possible secondary motivation for making money is to be able to provide large contributions to selected charitable causes. As Gabler points out, however, "[f]or the Hollywood Jews, for whom status was far more critical than assuaging guilt, charity was a way of buying respectability." "Jack Warner demanded that his Jewish employees donate a percentage of their salary to the United Jewish Welfare Fund. During a fund-raising drive, he would call them into the studio commissary (and say) 'You won't ever work here again if you don't give to the United Jewish Appeal.'" In a more contemporary environment, Peter Bart reports, that " . . . barely a month went by (during Frank Yablans' tenure as president of Paramount) without Frank Yablans being anointed "humanitarian of the year" or "man of the hour" by one group or another, and Paramount could always be counted on to make a hefty contribution to the charity in question."

Rosenfield admitted however, that false motivation prompted many of such contributions. He called Gregory Peck, the club's favorite movie star, after the death of Cary Grant . . . (a) true humanitarian in a town of fake humanitarians." After all, if many of the wealthiest studio executives and agents in the film industry obtained much of their money by using unfair, unethical, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory and in some cases illegal business practices, the money earned is no more respectable than the many millions contributed to charities by Michael Milken before he went off to prison.

Of course, charities are not in the business of making judgments about the methods through which money contributed to them has been earned. Other than performing the charitable functions

for which they are created, they offer a means by which the wealthy contributors can be cleansed, at least in the eyes of some in the community.

Controlling an Important Industry--Other possible motivational factors that may help to explain the Hollywood phenomenon require thinking quite expansively, or at least the realization that some of those running the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry are considering the much broader implications of their behavior, and that those broader considerations tend to crowd out such mundane factors as fairness, ethics, national rules regarding appropriate behavior in a competitive environment and so forth.

Many of the activities engaged in by the major studio/distributors are also simply designed to ensure that control of this very important communications industry remains in the hands of the Hollywood insiders. Gabler states that after the Paramount Consent decrees were implemented in the late '40s and early '50s, the " . . . grand scheme Zukor had engineered back in the twenties had been wrecked on the shoals of its own ambition to control the industry." The truth is, as seen in the discussion regarding "Antitrust and Movies" (Politics, Movies and the Role of Government), the Paramount consent decrees only divorced distribution from exhibition on paper, the "insider" relationships between producers, distributors and exhibitors remained in place, thus control of the industry has continued to be in the hands of that small group of Jewish males of European heritage who are politically liberal and not very religious, notwithstanding the Paramount consent decrees.

As also can be seen from the discussion that follows, movies are important. They are a significant medium for the communication of ideas and a source of tremendous wealth. That wealth in turn forms the basis of the power to influence government decision-makers and otherwise control people's lives. It would appear that movies are so important that the Hollywood insiders have long adopted a policy that they must control the medium to the exclusion of outsiders (generally) and will maintain that control by any means necessary.

Becoming Internationally Competitive--Sometimes the Hollywood insiders will offer the argument that it is necessary to allow big businesses to dominate the domestic marketplace, so that those big business can effectively compete in the international arena. On the one hand it appears reasonable for the major studio/distributors to use their political influence to persuade the U.S. government to relax its enforcement of the anti-trust laws in the entertainment industry in an effort to free these entities from restrictions that impair their ability to compete in a global marketplace. On the other hand, if such relaxed enforcement increases the competitive stranglehold of the major studio/distributors on the domestic industry and makes it even more difficult for the many thousands of independent, small business persons to survive (whether they be production companies, distributors, exhibitors or otherwise), then there needs to be a better balancing of interests in this industry.

Also, certain domestic film industry organizations have traditionally worked together in the foreign distribution of films anyway, thus there may be no need to permit vertical integration in the domestic marketplace (or to permit any other means of strengthening major studio/distributor control of the domestic marketplace) in order to create more strength for U.S. companies in the foreign marketplace. Further, it has been many years since it was anything other than ludicrous to suggest that the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry needed any additional government support to become competitive in the international marketplace, after all the U.S. companies have dominated the international marketplace for decades.

Moving Toward the Global Economy--As Noam Chomsky points out, "[t]hroughout history, the structures of government have tended to coalesce around other forms of power--in modern times, primarily around economic power. So, when you have national economies, you get national states. We now have an international economy and we're moving towards an international state--which means, finally, an international executive."

Chomsky goes on to say that "[i]n the Third World, there's a two-tiered society--a sector of extreme wealth and privilege, and a sector of huge misery and despair among useless, superfluous people." It appears that this two-tiered society is now being duplicated in the U.S. film industry and elsewhere in this country. As Chomsky reports, " . . . the general population doesn't know what's happening, and it doesn't even know that it doesn't know."

This " . . . whole structure of (international economic) decision-making answers basically to the transnational corporations, international banks, etc. It's also an effective blow against democracy.

All these (international economic) structures raise decision-making to the executive level, leaving what's called a 'democratic deficit'--parliaments and populations with less influence."

The movie Network (1976) suggested that " . . . multinational corporations are the only true contemporary government." If we assume that our government pretty much does what the multinational corporations want the government to do, then the multinationals are in fact our government. "Some observers believe that as multinationals they will not even exhibit any loyalty to the United States. As the chairman of the American-owned Ronson's British subsidiary has been quoted as affirming: the executive 'must set aside any nationalistic attitudes and appreciate that in the last resort his loyalty must be to the shareholders of the parent company and he must protect their interests even if it might appear that it is not perhaps in the national interest' of the host country." It is clear from examining the record of the U.S. film industry, that the corporate conglomerates and entrenched management running Hollywood are not only quick to set aside nationalistic attitudes even when their conduct is not in the interest of the host country, but quick to set aside the interests of their companies' shareholders too.

The Hollywood Insider Cash Infusion Strategy--If you step back and look at the bigger picture in Hollywood, you see a specific strategy taking shape among the Hollywood insiders. Their objective appears to be to bring more capital into the system to be redistributed among the players, (i.e., studio executives, agents, entertainment attorneys, some talent, business managers, and other associated Hollywood insider individuals).

At one point during his stewardship of MGM/UA, Kirk Kerkorian realized he had been used for that purpose. As Peter Bart reports, " . . . in mid-1982 . . . (following the ouster of studio head David Begelman at MGM/UA, owner) . . . Kerkorian . . . was going through his own . . . reassessment . . . He had allowed himself to be persuaded by his advisers that the time had been ripe to build a movie company, and he had spent half a billion dollars to buy United Artists, hire an assemblage of high-powered executives, and put a slate of expensive movies before the cameras . . . " As Peter Bart reports, Kerkorian promised himself then that " . . . never again would he allow himself to be hustled!"

Even the huge and glaring conflict of interest involved in the relationship between Michael Ovitz and the re-financing of MGM in 1993 is overlooked in the interest of putting additional cash into circulation for the Hollywood insiders. In talking about the 1993 incident in which rival agency CAA provided consulting services to the French Bank Credit Lyonnais, then owner of MGM, ICM's Jeff Berg offered the opinion that it is " . . . perfectly appropriate for a talent agency to strike up a consulting relationship with a bank . . . but not if that bank effectively owns a studio." CAA's Michael Ovitz apparently was able to influence the decision of Credit Lyonnais to infuse massive amounts of money back into MGM to resuscitate its film production program. Competing talent agencies worried that CAA's ties to MGM would give their agents an advantage, but also admitted that the rehabilitation of a major studio served the financial interests of all the agencies, thus the deal went through.

As Peter Bart wrote in Variety, "[i]n the short term, MGM would appear to be a significant beneficiary of CAA's new involvement (i.e., acting as investment banking consultant to the French Bank Credit Lyonnais, the current effective owner of the film studio MGM). Indeed, from the standpoint of CAA, everyone in Hollywood would stand to benefit. One CAA veteran said: 'Competitors may knock us, but look at the massive amounts of capital that CAA has brought into the community through dealings with Matsushita, Sony and other corporations." This unnamed CAA veteran has in fact revealed what is one of the most important aspects of the Hollywood insider's strategy (i.e., let's figure out different ways to bring massive amounts of cash into the system without giving up control, thereby insuring that most of the money will remain in the hands of the Hollywood insiders).

Steven Spielberg in explaining the Sony purchase of Columbia and the hiring of the team of Guber-Peters actually made a statement that appears to confirm this view of the U.S. motion picture industry's bigger picture. Spielberg said: "Sony is giving the movie business a new checking account . . . Sony isn't pretending to become involved in the creative parts. Sony knows it's Americans who know the movie business . . . " Of course, we now know that Spielberg is not referring to "Americans" in the general sense, rather to that small group of politically liberal and not very religious Jewish-Americans of European heritage, who control Hollywood.

In the late '80s, a struggling MGM/UA raised substantial amounts of capital though its Star Partners series of public limited partnership offerings. Disney relied on the Silver Screen Partners series of limited partnership offerings during the same period. Ultimately, those huge public limited partnership offerings, were designed to be and actually turned out to be nothing more than fairly low-cost loans from an unsuspecting public. The major studio/distributors associated with those offerings, knew at the time the offerings were made that the film distribution deals in place for such transactions gave them so much discretion in handling various accounting issues on the backside, that no matter how well the films in the package performed, little more than that portion of the revenues guaranteed to be returned to the investors would be actually paid, and no more.

Subsequently, (in the late '80s and early '90s), many billions of dollars were invested in the American film industry by Japanese-owned concerns. A great deal of speculation has occurred relating to the questions of how such investments might impact on the domestic film industry and how such investments might turn out for the investors. If the distributor and/or industry practices described herein are still prevalent, it would be surprising if the investment of Japanese monies in the domestic film industry had any significant impact whatsoever on the domestic industry and equally surprising for the Japanese investors to fare any more favorably than other groups that have invested in the American entertainment industry in the past. In fact, as this book was being written, there were signs that the Japanese investors in Hollywood, just as others who preceded them, were not doing so well, in fact one has already sold its interest.

According to a 1994 Variety article, the " . . . seeds of many upcoming mergers and acquisitions each year are planted at the annual (summer) hideaway hosted by Allen & Co., the New York investment bankers, in Sun Valley, Idaho . . . (or Lake Tahoe). The " . . . press is barred (from such meetings) and guests are urged not to discuss the goings-on." Thus, the get-together is really

a Hollywood insider's con-fab designed to develop high-level strategies for increasing their opportunities for increasing their control of and further exploiting the film industry.

The next crop of fools to invest in Hollywood at the highest levels have been large European consortiums. That has been taking place in the early '90s as the Japanese money became less available. These outsider investment transactions all seem to follow a similar pattern, the same pattern discussed in this book's companion volume How the Movie Wars Were Won, under the heading "The Hollywood Outsiders". All of the outsiders seem to be falling prey to the Hollywood insider cash-infusion strategy.

A Return to Tribalism--Joel Kotkin reports in his 1993 book Tribes--How Race, Religion and Identity Determine Success in the New Global Economy, that the " . . . twentieth century is ending with an increased interest in the power of race, ethnicity and religion . . . (this) increased emphasis on religion and ethnic culture often suggests the prospect of a humanity breaking itself into narrow, exclusive and often hostile groups." "As the conventional barriers of nation-states and regions become less meaningful under the weight of global economic forces, it is likely such dispersed peoples--and their worldwide business and cultural networks--will increasingly shape the economic destiny of mankind."

Kotkin goes on to suggest that in " . . . the next century, as the old-nation-state structures continue to erode . . . global tribes will play ever more important roles in the emerging world economy. Their success--based on the foundation of cosmopolitanism, knowledge, ethics, religion and ethnic identity--suggests a shift in future debates about effectiveness in the modern world away from conventional obsessions with the technology, the 'scientific' and the systematic . . . such a focus on global tribes may well seem a regression back to the instinctual, a celebration of the peculiarities and even the irrationality of our species. Yet only when we recognize that human beings cling to such imperfect and varied habits of mind can we begin to journey on the road that can lead, ultimately, toward a workable cosmopolis."

In his book, Kotkin examines five principal global tribes: the Jews, British (Anglo-Americans), Japanese, Chinese and Indians as " . . . the five major ethnic groups that today most powerfully demonstrate the effectiveness of global tribalism" As sociologist Harold Isaacs points out, "[s]cience advanced, knowledge grew, nature was mastered, but Reason did not conquer and tribalism did not go away."

Kotkin further suggests that "[i]n an ever more transnational and highly competitive world economy, highly dependent on the flow and acquisition of knowledge, societies that nurture the presence of (global tribes) . . . seem most likely to flourish." and that " . . . the nation-state itself--for two centuries the world's dominant organizational principle--seems increasingly a regressive force . . . In the new environment, different kinds of associations based upon geography or shared historical roots seem far more logical as a means of operating within the world economy."

On the other hand, Kotkin argues that the movement toward the transnational tribalization of the global economy is not a desirable development, (i.e., " . . . the history of global tribes has revealed, policies of exclusion against outsiders (and) . . . have almost always also dimmed the lights of commerce and technology). In contrast, the healthy migrations of populations, particularly those with unique commercial and technological skills, have been critical in the shaping of world cities, from whence economies have flourished." Kotkin thus argues that the movement toward the tribalization of the global economy (" . . . this tribal frontier . . . ") should be stopped, slowed or

controlled. He predicted it " . . . will be tamed because the only alternative is chaos, the total breakdown of civilized society."

The tribalization of the world economy, is similar to the concept of transnational cartelization (i.e., the combining of independent commercial enterprises beyond national boundaries in an effort to limit competition). The transnational cartelization of the world economy has been occurring for some time and continues today. The tribalization of the U.S. film industry has been occurring for nearly 90 years. The tribalization of the film industry beyond national borders, into the international arena, is merely an extension of the former. In any case, both are anti-competitive and such developments do not bode well for the independent film producer or distributor, nor do they bode well for the individual moviegoer or others in society who may be affected by patterns of bias and other forms of propaganda disseminated through movies (see "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers").

As stated earlier, the actual (and likely multiple) motivations influencing the behavior of the Hollywood control group cannot be known with certainty outside that inner circle. The above discussion merely presents some of the likely possibilities, based on the collected observations of people who have worked in and observed the U.S. film industry for many years.


Actual conduct is more important than motivation, in any case. Thus, the fact that Hollywood is controlled by a narrowly defined interest group, to the general exclusion of all others, is more important than why such a phenomenon has occurred. The natural results of the concentration of power in the hands of a few is also of more concern than who the Hollywood control group actually is. It is simply not acceptable in a free, democratic and diverse society which values the free flow of information and the competition of ideas in an open marketplace, for the government of the people, to stand idly by and allow any narrowly defined interest group (regardless of whether such group is defined in terms of its race, religion, cultural background, ethnicity or otherwise) to control or dominate any important communications medium, including feature film. Once again, diversity is the key, and not just diversity at the lower levels of the industry, but at all levels.

Chapter 9


" . . . underlying all freedoms . . . is the freedom of thought. . . ."

Hortense Powdermaker

The earlier portions of this book describe the legacy of the Hollywood empire (i.e., the resulting consequences of the abuse of power held in the hands of a few). Those results include a deterioration in the quality of films (i.e., lowest common denominator movies, homogeneous films, exploitation fare, high concept movies, commercial product and just plain mediocre to bad movies). As we have seen, other effects of the Hollywood system include the absence of trust, slowness to adopt new technology, resistance to change, the portrayal of limited occupations in films, great difficulty in raising production financing for independent films, less visibility and financing for documentaries, the pushing aside of foreign film industries, inefficiency, an insular community in Hollywood, people being considered property, no level playing field, a polarization of interest groups, a totalitarian industry, studio conflict, class warfare, a culture war and a moviegoing public that is largely ignored. In the first several chapters of this book, we noted that Hollywood movies consistently portray whole populations of our diverse society in a negative or stereotypical manner, thus contributing to prejudice and discrimination in our society.

In terms of economic and human losses we have seen that there are grossly unequal employment opportunities in Hollywood for women, Africa-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans and older citizens, among others. We have also noted that the Hollywood film community tends to be openly hostile to religious Christians and Muslims, that it has exhibited over the years, a distinct preference for European immigrants and that Hollywood's chosen people are actually a narrowly defined group of Jewish males of European heritage who are politically liberal and not very religious. We have also noted that quite often in this environment, the trampling of the interests of creative people occurs and that the pressures of such an environment lead to all manner of human loss including murder, suicide and other forms of so-called "Hollywood Death".

The second portion of this volume explored why Hollywood is the way it is, and speculates about the motivation behind the behavior. It provides and analyzes the comments of numerous long-time Hollywood observers in this regard and considers money, greed, power, fear, respect, reciprocal preferences, personal therapy, self-expression, winning influence, hidden agendas, political statements, sex, beautiful women, the "us against them" theory, prejudice, discrimination, culture promotion, the manufacturing of consent, wealth shifting and charitable contributions as possible sources of motivation. In a discussion of the bigger picture, we have discussed other possible motivation for the Hollywood control group, considering such themes as control of an important industry, becoming internationally competitive, moving towards the global economy, the Hollywood insider's cash infusion strategy and a return to tribalism. The remaining chapters, address the question of why movies are important, and consequently, why it is absolutely necessary to thoroughly explore the issues raised above.

Sam Goldwyn Was Wrong: All Movies Send Messages--Hollywood has come in for its share of criticism over the years, however, many people within and without the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry have chosen and will continue to choose to respond to the criticism with a shrug of the shoulders and a "So What?" In their view, it makes no difference that Hollywood is controlled by a narrowly-defined interest group, particularly since many who respond in this manner, are beneficiaries of that control. These individuals could care less that the Hollywood control group gained and has maintained its power through the nearly 90-year history of Hollywood using unethical, unfair, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory and/or illegal business practices. They rather routinely ask: "What difference does all of this make, after all, movies are merely entertainment, aren't they?" Well, let's see.

Clayton Koppes and Gregory Black pointed out that as long ago as 1932, " . . . the industry's perceived preference for themes dealing with social problems . . . " was disturbing to some. As an example, Koppes and Black cited the film I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) in which Paul Muni graphically portrayed the viles of forced labor in Southern prisons." In addition Koppes and Black point out that Gabriel over the White House (1933) " . . . flirted with a quasi-fascist dictatorship as a way of solving the depression . . . " and " . . . [g]angster pictures brought the depiction of a breakdown of law and order to every neighborhood theater."

Gabler quotes producer Pan Berman on Dore Shary's intentions as a filmmaker. Berman said, Shary " . . . had become the message maker . . . He was more than most of us determined to make messages on the screen. We were all doing it, but he lived for it." Take notice of this statement by Berman: "We were all doing it . . . " In other words, here is a filmmaker admitting that everyone in the film industry was involved in inserting messages into their movies or making statements with their movies, while the studio executives were denying that it was being done and falsely claiming that "movies are merely entertainment". This same conflict between reality and the Hollywood spin on the truth continues today.

Looking again at the messages of movies in the '30s and '40s, the Frank Capra films " . . . celebrated the common man caught up in a world he did not understand . . . The celebration of middle class values and the blending of the rich and poor set up fundamental narrative parameters which would endure in Capra's films for twenty years." Gomery reports that in 1941, Orson Welles seemed " . . . obsessed with understanding the relationships between power and the powerful." Gomery suggested that the subject may have fascinated Welles so much " . . . because he so misunderstood Hollywood's use of power." In Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, Welles explored " . . . how an egotistical man tried to live outside the law, above society, or both." The 1949 release Lust for Gold starred Glenn Ford, Ida Lupino and Gig Young and talked about " . . . how greed and evil take over and ruin basically good people." S. Sylvan Simon directed.

The " . . . quintessential adult Western remains the Fred Zinnemann-directed and Stanley Kramer-produced High Noon (1952)." It starred Gary Cooper, " . . . as a lawman who struggles to save a town . . . The theme of the individual against the mob was sharpened by screenwriter Carl Foreman as a direct attack on the witch-hunts of the McCarthy era, which were just reaching their infamous apex (nadir?) at this point." So was this film really merely entertainment? Not exactly.

In the mid-'50s Douglas Sirk challenged " . . . middle-class notions of social class . . . " with All That Heaven Allows (1955) the " . . . tale of a woman (Jane Wyman) who, after the death of her husband, chooses her gardener over a more appropriate suitor, thereby threatening the fundamental values of her middle-class existence." This film was challenging society's mores.

For some critics, the film Machine Gun Kelly (1958) " . . . expressed themes . . . " and the film's director, admitted he " . . . was making a statement . . . " and that " . . . there was significance in certain moments . . . " Of course, if you are making a statement with a motion picture, you are not merely entertaining.

In the 1960s, Darryl F. Zanuck's Crack in the Mirror (1960) offered " . . . a message to the effect that everyone faces the same moral dilemmas, whether rich or poor." The Cool World (1964) offered a " . . . semi-documentary look at the horrors of ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a sense of despair due to the racial prejudices of American society." Also, in 1964 Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie suggested that " . . . in an impure world where all of us are somewhat scarred personally and/or sexually, it is possible-through commitment and trust-to achieve some measure of peace."

Another Roger Corman film Bloody Mama (1969) " . . . was about the power of family, blood ties, clans--which is, historically, where countries can trace their beginnings. It was about the breakdown of rationality. Clans grew into extended families and tribes and then nations. So the film played back to a state of pre-civilization when the most important, the only important, bond of loyalty is family." According to Roger Ebert, the 1976 release All the President's Men provides a message – what Ebert called " . . . the most observant study of working journalists we're ever likely to see in a feature film . . . "

Movies with messages continue in more contemporary times. The 1980 release Heaven's Gate was about " . . . a modest episode of legalized genocide with strong class and racial overtones . . . It later became clear that (director) Cimino hewed very loosely to pure history in developing the script . . . (but) there was . . . a sense of 'statement,' . . . It was historical revisionism of a kind popular in the sixties and seventies, 'setting the record straight,' with moralistic appeal to all who shared liberal or even radical notions about civil rights, American involvement in Vietnam, the entire grab bag of causes that self-righteously animated a generation of which (as Steven Bach states) . . . we all were, or felt were, a part."

As screenwriter William Goldman wrote the " . . . message America has always beaconed across the world might be put this way: 'Careers are open to talent.' An individual can go, in one lifetime, as far as his luck and skill will take him. And no one will look down on him because he began poor, unlike, say in England, where you are what your father and grandfather were." This is the message that William Goldman wanted to convey in The Right Stuff. Unfortunately, he was not able to finish the project and equally unfortunate, that is not the same message that the film industry uses to guide its conduct (see Who Really Controls Hollywood and How the Movie Wars Were Won).

Goldman also called The Deer Hunter a " . . . searing indictment of American involvement in Southeast Asia." In other words, the film made a strong statement about U.S. government policy in that region. The film clearly had a message. And, unfortunately, no one can tell us for certain that the people making U.S. policy today were not affected by that "searing indictment" one way or the other. IT WOULD SEEM THAT IF THE FILM INDUSTRY WANTS CONTINUED ACCESS TO THE MINDS OF THE POPULATION, THEN THE FILM INDUSTRY SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO GUARANTEE ACCESS TO A FAIR OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL IN THE FILM INDUSTRY. Fairness, however, is simply not a concept that is valued in Hollywood (again, see How the Movie Wars Were Won and The Feature Film Distribution Deal).

The Oliver Stone movie JFK could be considered an example of a strong "message movie". Some might even suggest that the real message coming out of that motion picture was not designed to convince the movie-going audiences that a conspiracy was involved in the assassination of a U.S. President (which many people already believed anyway), but instead to divert attention from one suspect group (the mob) and direct it toward others (the CIA and the highest levels of the U.S. government), while simultaneously suggesting that the same conspiracy was also involved in the killings of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. If allegations that elements of the mob were really the moving force behind the killings of the Kennedy brothers, and that the mob has connections with the motion picture industry are true, this might help to explain why the film took that particular editorial slant.

The Joe Berlinger documentary Brother's Keeper (1993) teaches a lesson " . . . about fair play and due process . . . (and shows an) appreciation for how deeply the notion of civil liberties is embedded in our national consciousness." When asked why she chose to be in The House of Spirits, Glenn Close said: "I think it's an extraordinary story and has a very profound message." In the same interview co-star Meryl Streep said the movie was " . . . about unconditional love." Thus, major film stars apparently choose their parts sometimes because of the important messages that the screenplay is seeking to convey.

Can anyone really say with a straight face that the people who made the films cited above were merely trying to entertain, that they were not trying to communicate something important? Not likely! U.S. film pioneer Samuel Goldwyn is credited with saying: "[i]f you want to send a message, go to Western Union" or something to that effect. This is another way of saying that movies are merely entertainment, or that movies should not be used to send messages. In the film industry today, so-called message movies are those in which a moral, social or other statement predominates over the entertainment value of the movie. The truth of the matter is, however, that EVERY MOTION PICTURE COMMUNICATES ONE OR MORE MESSAGES OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER . . . despite Mr. Goldwyn's widely quoted suggestion to the contrary. The difference is that movies with messages that are overemphasized are considered not as commercial as movies whose messages are more subtle. Thus, most filmmakers tend to keep their messages in the background for fear of running the risk of turning off the public and/or a prospective financier/distributor. Even so, each movie still conveys one or more messages.

In view of the fact that all movies communicate one or more messages, financiers, producers, screenwriters, directors, actors and others in the industry have long recognized and used the medium as one of the most effective means yet devised by humanity for the communication of all sorts of ideas. Thus, in reality, industry spokespersons who claim that movies are merely "entertainment" are either hopelessly naive or purposefully trying to mislead the public; most likely the latter.

Obviously, many people in the film industry do not pay heed to the Samuel Goldwyn admonition regarding messages in movies. On the other hand, early film industry hired gun Will Hays " . . . preached that Hollywood purveyed only 'pure entertainment' . . . Hays and some alarmed movie executives feared that, unless the trend (toward message pictures) . . . was curbed, the federal government would step in to censor the movies or break up the industry." Thus, it appears that Samuel Goldwyn's famous saying was actually part of a well-orchestrated effort on the part of the film's industry's major studios to convince the public that the film industry was merely trying to entertain, it was not seeking to use movies for propaganda purposes.

As Michael Medved points out:

"Each year, the major entertainment companies receive literally hundreds of thousands of movie . . . proposals . . . only the tiniest fraction of this vast assemblage of materials is ever selected for commercial development . . . the industry's leaders may concentrate their attention on prospects for profit, but they will also, and inevitably, inject their personal perspectives . . . they will always be more likely to take their chances on material that communicates messages they can endorse . . . Every commitment to produce a movie . . . involves an element of conscious or unconscious value judgment . . . In making those judgments, the industry's leaders have established unmistakable patterns that reflect something more than a random response to the demands of the marketplace. The themes that turn up with such astounding regularity . . . have not been included coincidentally, nor are those sentiments drawn haphazardly from all points of the ideological compass."

In addition, " . . . people of varying backgrounds find diverse messages in films, sometimes even reading them in ways quite contrary to the filmmakers' clear intentions." Thus, not only do we have a dangerous situation in which filmmakers produce films that communicate messages while industry spokespersons deny that films do anything but entertain, we have no way of predicting just how movie audiences will react to movie messages or whether the intended message is what gets through.

Intelligent people who have the capacity to think critically, can also disagree with the messages purveyed by the movies. Danny Goldberg, Senior Vice-President, Atlantic Records (a division of Time Warner) who is also the Chairman of the Southern California ACLU Foundation, did just that. He reports that Mississippi Burning bothered him " . . . because it didn't give black people enough credit for the civil rights struggle, and it glamorized the FBI." Surely, if more African/Americans had been involved in the production of Mississippi Burning, at meaningful, decision-making levels, the movie would have given more credit to their contributions. That is the point. If you want more diversity on the screen, we must have more diversity at all levels in the U.S. industry, regardless of whether it is based in Hollywood or not.

It is appropriate for people to disagree about what is being communicated through movies, but it is simply not honest, nor responsible to suggest that movies do not convey messages, and it is terribly wrong to arbitrarily deny access to this important communications medium to many of the diverse populations that make up our multi-cultural society. It is also wrong for the more general society to stand by and permit its own government to allow, even support, such a situation (see this book's companion volume Motion Picture Industry Reform).

Movies Are Important
--Interestingly enough, while the film industry profit mongers repeatedly proclaim that movies are merely entertainment, others in the U.S. and around the world have recognized the importance of movies for educational, inspirational and even propaganda purposes. As early as 1917, the German government was "[f]ully aware of the propaganda value of the cinema . . . " consequently " . . . the German government sponsored Universum Film AG . . . by bringing together a set of film companies. The most powerful organization in the German film industry, UFA was instantly a world force in the cinema, certainly the most powerful in all Europe." During the same period, " . . . the new Bolshevik government (in Russia) declared film a vital tool in its revolutionary struggle, an industry which could educate and help restructure the new society . . . Lenin maintained that 'Of all the arts, for us [the new Soviet government] the cinema is the most important.'"

As Douglas Gomery reports, when " . . . movies were first introduced in the United States there was little thought of what impact they would have on the society and culture in general. Yet by the 1920s, their influence was seen everywhere, their effects debated in all manner of publication and venue." D.W. Griffith, one of the American screen's most prolific filmmakers who was active from the early 1900s into the '30s, and " . . . the filmmaker whom most label as the 'father of the American cinema' . . . certainly proved film had important social effects . . . " As University of Texas professor David Prindle reports, "[p]artly as a result of repeated showings of D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. "There were more blacks lynched in 1915 than in any previous year in the century." Some years later, Prindle reported that " . . . social science experiments with children have offered evidence that suggests that viewing (D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation) . . . creates anti-black prejudice in its viewers." Yet, in the face of such compelling evidence, we still have film industry leaders today claiming that movies are mere entertainment.



Douglas Gomery goes on to say that from its earliest days " . . . this new force of the motion pictures was in private hands, and its poorly educated owners did not care to make the movies a force for social good (with the exception of Harry Warner). The struggles between the Progressives and the leaders of the movie industry brought this debate out in the open . . . The Progressives were dedicated to the idea that there was progress in this world and that all technical changes ought to be used to improve the human condition."

Gabler reports that in the late teens, New York investment banker Otto Kahn loaned Adolph Zukor $10 million to acquire theatres. He " . . . believed in the arts as a means of social mobility." He once " . . . advised a group of film writers and producers that 'in art as in everything else the American people like to be led upward and onward,' and then went on to cite 'the vast importance and potentialities of the 'movie' as an industry, a social influence, and an art.'" Early American film industry pioneer Louis B. Mayer also felt " . . . as so many moral arbiters did, that the movies transmitted values, and that by controlling entertainment, he would be inculcating values, which, in turn, would make him a kind of father to the whole community--its moral and spiritual guide . . . " Mayer " . . . consciously hoped that (films) . . . would shape the taste of the country . . . He wanted values to be instilled in the country and knew how influential films could be and very much wanted to capitalize on it." Mayer is often cited for other things he accomplished or said, but you seldom hear entertainment industry leaders quoting the Mayer belief that movies instill "values". It’s just not consistent with their false claim that movies are merely entertainment.

Harry Warner, the oldest of the Warner Brothers, was " . . . serious, moralistic (and) hopeful that movies would be used primarily to educate and uplift humanity." Unfortunately, it cannot be accurately said that American movies have been " . . . used primarily to educate and uplift humanity." The original conflict between Harry and Jack Warner may be symbolic of the continuing conflict between the artistic and commercial interests in Hollywood today. In those early days, under the influence of Harry Warner, the Warner Bros. studio even used the motto: "Educate, Entertain, and Enlighten".

Film legend and President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Douglas Fairbanks presided over the Academy's first annual awards dinner in 1929 saying: " . . . the Academy had been founded . . . to ensure that the image of the movies would never be tarnished . . . " He reportedly stressed " . . . how strong an influence motion pictures had been on the world--and would continue to be." It is rather odd to read the remarks of the early film greats like Douglas Fairbanks and Harry Warner regarding the great potential motion pictures have only to watch the industry fall into the hands of people more concerned with making a buck, or promoting their private agendas and denying that is what they are doing, as opposed to the positive contributions that film could be making.

Gomery reports that the " . . . growing lure of the movies to America's youth during the 1930s signaled to educators, religious leaders, and social workers the rise of a new social problem . . . Conservative religious groups pointed to a generation of youth wasting their lives in movie theatres. Women's clubs devoted to improving society asserted that the movies taught the youth of America bad manners, even antisocial behavior . . . To counter these criticisms, Hollywood hired apologists to publicize the positive virtues of going-to-the-movies." That has consistently been one of the Hollywood approaches to criticism from the outside, (i.e., to hire professional spokespersons and public relations experts to put the industry's spin on reality, while manipulating the public's views of the industry and the medium). And, the approach continues today.

Also, in the '30s, director John Ford made serious films about important topics. In 1935, he directed The Informer, " . . . a serious tale of the Irish rebellion . . . Ford also undertook basic American history with The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), and the celebrated motion picture The Grapes of Wrath (1940)." Each week in 1939, " . . . eighty million Americans--two-thirds of the country's population--lived the Hollywood experience vicariously as they trooped to their neighborhood movie houses for the combination of a newsreel, a short, perhaps a cartoon, and then the feature . . . " "The movie capital's pictures (also) occupied 80 percent of the world's screen time in the 1930s . . . " thus their influence was felt worldwide.

Underlining the importance of film in the early 1940s Orson Welles delivered a speech claiming " . . . it was possible to discover more about Eskimos in a few minutes by looking at (the Robert Flaherty documentary film) Nanook of the North, than one could learn from a lifetime of reading." Thus, a great filmmaker was proclaiming how much more effective learning through film was than other methods of education. In that same speech, Welles also asked " . . . filmmakers to live up to their responsibility to civilization . . . " Clearly, there are many independent filmmakers in the industry today who would like to " . . . live up to their responsibility to civilization . . . ", however, the overbearing commercial, political and cultural interests of the major studio/distributors prevents them from doing so. After all, if the Hollywood system is designed to effectively keep most of the money generated by the exploitation of films in all markets and media in the hands of the Hollywood insider group (see The Feature Film Distribution Deal), these so-called independent filmmakers must depend to a great extent on the Hollywood control group to provide the money required to produce their future films. And, once again, that financial control cannot be separated from creative control.

Also in the early '40s, and following the U.S. entry into World War II, " . . . the selective service director, General Louis Hershey, declared the motion picture industry an 'essential industry,' which meant that its male employees could apply for deferments as 'irreplaceable workers . . . Movies were shipped abroad and shown there even before they were shown in theatres at home . . . " As Douglas Gomery states, "[t]he American film industry was . . . a powerful cultural force . . . " and, of course, it still is. In a speech to a group of NYU film students in 1942, Orson Welles called film " . . . the great art form of our century." He went on to say, "[i]t is just too bad that it isn't taken more seriously because it is so very powerful and yet so very meaningless most of the time." Welles continued by saying, "Hollywood expects you to experiment but on a film which must make money and if you don't make money, you're to blame. Your job is to make money." Welles philosophized that " . . . movies are the nearest thing to reality . . . [t]hey make the sort of comment only a novel can make, an allusion to the world in which people live, the psychological and economical motivations, the influences of the period in which they lived."

As World War II came to an end in 1945, Harry Warner expressed his views on the future saying:

"The motion picture industry would be shamefully remiss if it were not looking ahead to its task in the postwar world. The essence of the task can be stated in a single phrase, 'To interpret the American Way.' We at Warner Bros. have sought for more than a decade to combine entertainment with a point of view. We have tried to say on the screen the things about America and democracy and Fascism that need to be said. The screen transcends language, time, distance, and custom. One of our chief aims now in the postwar world will be to show Americans how millions of Chinese, Icelanders, Indians, Eskimos, and Russians live. I can think of no clearer, surer way to achieve a community of nations--and certainly of no clearer, surer way to show the world what our democracy means. Once the world understands the blessings of democracy, the results are beyond question."


Thus, Harry Warner saw the motion picture as an important vehicle from bringing about world peace and harmony. Harry Warner's vision has apparently been lost on modern-day Hollywood.

In 1949, James Mason wrote as a guest columnist in Leonard Lyon's column for the New York Post that "[m]ovies . . . have become the conversation of nations. By the quality of its conversation a nation is judged." Thus, according to Mason, the United States is continually being judged around the world by the quality and messages of the motion pictures this nation's film industry releases.

Hortense Powdermaker published her seminal study on Hollywood the following year, in 1950, saying she saw " . . . movies as an important institution in our society . . . " "The product of the movie industry is a story . . . " she said, " . . . told primarily in visual imagery and movement, and . . . dialogue. The movie shares the function of all storytelling, of all literature, of all theater: that of a comment on some phase of existence." That, of course, is exactly what a movie message is, a "comment on some phase of existence".

Powdermaker went on to point out that " . . . underlying all freedoms . . . is the freedom of thought . . . " but that a " . . . unique trait of modern life is the manipulation of people through mass communications. People can be impelled . . . " she said " . . . to buy certain articles and brands of merchandise through advertising. Columnists and radio commentators influence political opinions. Movies manipulate emotions and values. Just as advertising can and does promote anxieties to increase consumption, movies may increase certain emotional needs which can then only be satisfied by more movies. In a time of change and conflict . . . movies and other mass communications emphasize and reinforce one set of values rather than another, present models for human relations through their portrayal by glamorous stars, and show life, truly or falsely, beyond the average individual's everyday experiences." Powdermaker also stated that " . . . [i]n manipulating and defining our emotions and ideas about human relations, mass communications are among the most powerful agents." Has Jack Valenti ever read Powdermaker’s work, or is he just repeatedly stating what he has been told to say, (i.e., that movies are merely entertainment)?

By the late 1960s the movies in America " . . . began to be analyzed by serious critics and taught in universities where students studied the classics as they would the great works of literature. Indeed, movies replaced the novel as the dominant arbiter of social mores and cultural trends among the best-educated members of society." As of 1973 Thomas Guback estimated that "[u]pwards of 30 million people around the world see the average American film during its period of release outside the socialist countries."

With respect to the 1973 movie American Graffiti, about the lives of some American teenagers in 1962 Roger Ebert suggests that "no sociological treatise could duplicate the movie's success in remembering exactly how it was to be alive at that cultural instant." In reference to the 1976 movie Rocky, studio executive Dawn Steel said: "I was so moved by this movie, so inspired by it, that it got me thinking about movies, and how extraordinary it is that films can make people feel such powerful emotions in a dark movie theater. A movie can change people's feelings about themselves and compel them to go after their dreams. How great it would be, I felt, to make movies that could do that." No wonder Dawn Steel did not last long as a studio executive, struggling amongst the entertainment industry leaders who would regularly deny what she knew to be true.

According to movie critic Roger Ebert King of the Gypsies (1978) provides " . . . the first authentic movie glimpse of American gypsy culture . . . (and) suggests that gypsy culture may finally fall, not to laws and discrimination and persecution, but to that most insidious influence of all, the seductive middle-class way of life." Ebert draws a parallel between this movie and The Godfather because in both, the grandsons (Eric Roberts and Al Pacino) of the family patriarchs are attracted to WASP women. Roberts " . . . leaves the ethnic group to take a WASP girl as his lover . . . (and) . . . Al Pacino was lured away from the Mafia clanship by the WASP attractions of Diane Keaton."

Considering that these movies were being financed and distributed by companies controlled by members of another ethnic/cultural/religious group (Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious) the shared importance of such a message becomes even more apparent, (i.e., do not forsake family and ethnic cultural ties for some of the attractions of the more dominant White Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture). For these ethnic groups, this is an important message and it is being effectively conveyed through what is the single most effective form of communication yet devised by human beings, the feature-length motion picture. These special messages again belie attempts by traditional Hollywood management to convince us that movies are merely entertainment, and serve to remind that not all of our ethnic/cultural/religious groups have the same opportunities to tell their important stories or communicate their selected messages through film.

In Kagemusha (1980) the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa uses " . . . the story of a man who becomes the double . . . of a great warrior . . . " to make the statement that " . . . great human endeavors . . . depend entirely on large numbers of men sharing the same fantasies or beliefs . . . (that) . . . it is entirely unimportant . . . whether or not the beliefs are based on reality--all that matters is that men accept them . . . (and that) ideas and men are carried along heedlessly by the currents of time, and historical meaning seems to emerge when both happen to be swept in the same way at the same time." This Kurosawa statement would seem to support the belief that motion pictures are important, since movies tend to affect men's beliefs by sometimes basing such beliefs on fantasy and emotion, that is, without necessarily basing such beliefs on reality. And, precisely because the motion picture is a mass medium of communication, it is a likely vehicle for convincing large numbers of people to share the same fantasies or beliefs that Kurosawa feels lead to "great human endeavors". Kurosawa’s view of film is thus a far cry from "merely entertainment".

Movie critic Roger Ebert suggests in his review of The Great Muppet Caper (1981) that " . . . the kids who watched (Jim Henson's . . . Muppet performances) . . . could perhaps learn something about human nature." The following year (1982), Gorham Kindem wrote that " . . . films, unlike many other manufactured products, have significant social, political, and aesthetic value. The images projected by Hollywood have had a profound impact on the entire world . . . " Kindem also said that film " . . . is an important contemporary art form and communications medium . . . it is also a major entertainment business and industry." In other words, for anyone to suggest that film is merely entertainment is, at minimum, overly simplistic.

The following year, screenwriter William Goldman wrote that "[m]ovies help mark our lives." And, the year after that (1984), movie critic Roger Ebert hailed The Brother from Another Planet as " . . . a sort of mirror for our society . . . a way of causing us to look at our society."

In 1986, Los Angeles entertainment attorney Mark Litwak wrote that the " . . . impact of these pictures on the world is difficult to measure, but no doubt great. Hollywood's movies can, literally overnight, affect the tastes, attitudes, beliefs and mores of millions of people." Litwak goes on to say:

"While Hollywood has not yet arrived at a precise definition of what is entertaining, it generally believes that escapist movies are more entertaining than ones that deal with serious subject matter. 'Producers believe . . . movies succeed because they are diverting,' says screenwriting instructor Robert McKee, 'that people just want to check their brains at the doors.' But McKee believes just the opposite is true. 'People go to the movies . . . to find meaning . . . even with exploitation pictures, the essential ingredient for success is providing the audience with meaning."

In prepared remarks for his first meeting with executives of Coca Cola (then owner of the Columbia Pictures motion picture studio/distributor) David Puttnam, Columbia's newly hired chief executive, stated in 1986:

"Far more than any other influence, more than school, more even than home--my attitudes, dreams, preconceptions, and pre-conditions for life had been irreversibly shaped five and a half thousand miles away in a place called Hollywood . . . The medium is too powerful to be left solely to the tyranny of the box-office or reduced to the sum of the lowest common denominator of public taste; this public taste or appetite being conditioned by a diet capable only of producing mental and emotional malnutrition. Movies are powerful. Good or bad, they tinker around inside your brain. They steal up on you in the darkness of the cinema to form or confirm social attitudes. They can help to create a healthy, informed, concerned, and inquisitive society or, in the alternative, a negative, apathetic, ignorant one--merely a short step away from nihilism."

In 1986, " . . . on average, nearly twenty million fans journeyed each week to nearby multiplex cinemas to relish Hollywood studio-sponsored theatrical blockbusters . . . " Douglas Gomery wrote at that time, " . . . more than ever, films attract the serious intellectual comment once reserved for plays or novels." Gomery also wrote that the " . . . basic technology and economics of the movies have led to important influences on society. The social history of the movies flows from its economic status. In the United States, this has meant a mass cultural form, defining stereotypes and collective images in the consciousness of adults and children alike." Considering that an expert of Douglas Gomery’s stature points out that movies define stereotypes, it then must be a national disgrace to recognize what stereotypes have been perpetrated on the American and world publics by Hollywood movies.

Two years later, Clint Eastwood's " . . . musical biography of Charlie Parker . . . " (Bird--1988) was released. Film critic Roger Ebert called the film " . . . so valuable. It supplies us with images to go with the music, and it provides an idea of the man, more than thirty years after his death."

Also, in 1988, in his book Bio/Pics--How Hollywood Constructed Public History, George F. Custen wrote that "[h]istory or a form of revised history is being taught through film . . . " and that " . . . many Americans' . . . views of the world have been shaped, in part, by a lifetime (and not merely a single) exposure to filmic representations of powerful individuals and the roles they played in history." Custen goes on to explain that "[w]hile most biopics do not claim to be the definitive history of an individual or era, they are often the only source of information many people will ever


have on a given historical subject." The right to be the only source of information many people ever have on a given historical subject is certainly worth fighting for.

That same year, (1988), John E. O'Connor wrote that "[h]owever unfortunate, it appears likely that even well-educated Americans are learning most of their history from film and television." O'Connor further states that " . . . since the 1930s, film and television have become major factors in politics and culture . . . "

In his 1988 book An Empire of Their Own--How the Jews Invented Hollywood, Neal Gabler offered the opinion that "[u]ltimately, American values came to be defined largely by the movies the Jews made . . . by creating their idealized America on the screen, the Jews reinvented the country in the image of their fiction." On the other hand, as this book makes clear, it was not the "Jews" generally who accomplished what Gabler claims, but that much narrower and very specific Hollywood control group: Jewish males of European heritage who are (generally) politically liberal and not very religious; a group that is also not necessarily typical of Jews generally, and whose members do not necessarily behave the way they do because they have a Jewish heritage. If Gabler wants to praise "Jews" for Hollywood’s successes, then he must also be willing to blame them for its failures.

Gabler went on to say that for " . . . immigrants, the movies were a powerful socializing force, acclimating them to American customs and traditions. For workers generally, they were a democratizing force, creating a sense of cultural identity and unity."

The following year (1989), David Puttnam said he thinks " . . . the motion picture industry is misusing its power because of its greed . . . " Puttnam said: "I strongly feel that movies should teach. Enlighten. That's what cinema represents to me, an opportunity to give the audience something to feel. Something positive and uplifting." Like Dawn Steel, David Puttnam’s tenure as a studio executive did not last long.

Also, in 1989, Hollywood historian George Frazer wrote that " . . . although films have sometimes blundered and distorted and falsified, have botched great themes and belittled great men and women, have trivialized and caricatured and cheapened, have piled anachronism on solecism on downright lie--still, at their best, they have given a picture of the ages more vivid and memorable than anything in Tacitus or Gibon or Macaulay, and to an infinitely wider audience." Fraser went on to say that " . . . the motion picture industry is in itself part of history, and all the films ever made, from Citizen Kane to the Three Stooges, including the 'historicals', are in themselves historical artifacts of our century."

In 1991, another Hollywood historian, Douglas Gomery asserted that the " . . . motion picture (is the) . . . dominant form of popular culture throughout the world . . . the cinema attracts vast millions to theatrical screenings and reaches still more people through television and video presentation. Most people see thousands of films as children and teenagers, and thousands more as adults . . . " Gomery said. He also states that "[s]cholars around the world have . . . discovered new ways to help us understand how films have shaped our lives and influenced our world." Unfortunately, these scholars have not been able to help the Hollywood studio executives understand such things.

What a contrast between the views of this prominent Hollywood historian (Douglas Gomery) and those expressed by the highly paid MPAA executive Jack Valenti, who often states that movies are merely entertainment. Is it possible that in this case the academic is closest to the truth and the latter, motivated by the commercial interests of the MPAA member companies who employ his professional spokesperson services, actually wants us to believe that movies do not influence our lives so as to avoid closer scrutiny of the medium?

In the same year that Gomery made the above noted statements (1991), David Rosenberg offers the opinion in his book The Movie That Changed My Life, that movies provide " . . . a shared culture . . . " and they " . . . cross cultural boundaries . . . " George Custen, writing about biopics, expressed the opinion the following year (1992) that movies " . . . are not the prime media agent cultivating historical images that they once were . . . However, film still exerts a powerful influence on people's notions of what counts as history, what properly constitutes a life. Today, because of their still potent popularity and their apparent readability, films are an attractively persuasive source of information. The Hollywood biographical film created and still creates public history by declaring, through production and distribution, which lives are acceptable subjects."

Custen went on to say that in " . . . many cases, in seeing biopics, filmgoers were witnessing the first visual attempt to re-create a narrative that they knew of only from reports in school texts or newspapers. The re-creation becomes, de facto, the only version of history they will ever see . . . these films (the biopics) told the tales of history's actors; yet, they also symbolically annihilated most of history by selectively eliminating certain activities, actors, and behaviors from the scripts of history . . . (and in) . . . this world of created history, all acts of selection are value-laden." In addition, Custen, points out that, "Homer, and writers ever since, have used tales of the past to score a point about the current inadequacies of a contemporary social group." Also, Custen suggests that " . . . there is a growing awareness that popular encodings of history--rather than those created for professional historians or film scholars--are powerful materials in building a consensus on what constitutes history . . . " (This book's earlier chapter "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies" is a followup study of biopics that incorporates the Custen study and updates it through the early '90s.)

William Cash, also writing in 1992, seems to agree with Custen, saying that films " . . . are increasingly the only culture that many 'educated' people have to talk about, the only culture--if that is the word--that many journalists are capable of writing about." Peter Biskind also states that movies " . . . do matter; they have enormous impact on how people perceive the world." In a separate article (also published in 1992) Biskind continued by saying that movies " . . . are not 'just entertainment,' and the people who make them have an opportunity--even a responsibility--to have a positive affect on American culture."

Also, writing in 1992, literary agents Roberta Kent and Joel Gotler suggested that "[o]ur society is becoming less a printed-word society and more an image society . . . " That same year, while watching Malcolm X, movie critic Roger Ebert said he felt he " . . . understood more clearly how we do have the power to change our own lives, how fate doesn't deal all of the cards." He said the film was " . . . inspirational and educational--and it is also entertaining, as movies must be before they can be anything else." This, of course, is a more realistic appraisal of what films ought to accomplish than that supposedly offered by Samuel Goldwyn. The truth is that no motion picture can be merely "entertaining", and, of course, some movies are not "entertaining". All movies, however, communicate ideas, whether we view them as good ideas or bad ideas. Thus, all movies are communicating messages, whether Samuel Goldwyn and his school of thought is happy about that or not.

Irving Kristol then warned that a " . . . world power, if it is to maintain its position, needs to generate respect for its culture, not only for its military prowess . . . " Kristol suggested that "American popular culture today is less an ornament of American democracy than a threat to this democracy."


Litigating attorney Pierce O'Donnell also wrote in 1992, that "[m]ovies are an integral, powerful force in American popular culture. The medium's potential to influence its audiences is

why the debate over its debasement is so intense." That same year, producer, director, writer and actor, Mel Brooks offered his opinion that " . . . the vapor of human existence is best captured in film . . . "

Michael Medved also contributed to this aspect of the discussion, saying that "[m]essages matter–not least at the box office." Medved points out that, "[c]ultural and political attitudes, even if subtly expressed, even if unconsciously absorbed, can contribute powerfully to a sense of distance or discomfort on the part of the audience." In addition, Medved quotes David Puttnam as saying that Puttnam's " . . . colleagues (in the film industry) . . . don't want to get into this type of debate. They don't really want to acknowledge the awesome responsibilities that the medium brings."

Finally, in 1992, industry analyst A.D. Murphy reported that "[m]ore people are watching more films in more media more often than ever before." Of course, as Elaine Dutka points out, a " . . . movie is no longer just a movie but a way of selling promotional tie-ins, cutting record deals, filling the talk show circuits." On the other hand, this expression of the Dutka view only considers the commercial implications of film. And, unfortunately, commercial considerations often dominate the medium.

The next year (1993), Steven Spielberg clearly did not make Schindler's List solely or merely for entertainment purposes. In talking about why and when he made that film, Spielberg said he made the movie in 1993 even though he could have made it the following year. He said that " . . . he had just seen too many things on television that horrified . . . " him and his wife. "What was happening in Bosnia. It was so familiar and it was so much part of what (he) . . . thought could never possibly happen again. And (he) . . . just felt that sooner rather than later, a movie like this should come out and at least stir the pot." In other words, Spielberg wanted to remind the world of the Holocaust, in an effort to prevent any similar occurrence in the future. He was, in fact, attempting to influence human behavior with his film; not only human behavior but the policy of nations. Again, there is nothing wrong with what Spielberg was attempting to do, or the subject he chose to put on the screen. It is terribly wrong, however, to arbitrarily deny most interest groups in our diverse society the same opportunity to use film to communicate their important messages.

As Timothy Gray wrote that same year, "[t]he entertainment industry is in the business of communications: communicating ideas, emotions and experiences." Yes, some movies are entertaining, but for most filmmakers and others on the creative side of the equation, communicating important ideas is the predominant motivation.

In 1993, Danny Goldberg (the Atlantic Records Senior Vice-President who was also Chairman of the Southern California ACLU Foundation at the time), offered that he thinks motion pictures " . . . are more powerful than words." He reasoned that "[a] picture of a murder is more powerful than a verbal description of it, so I'm sure that visual images are more powerful than verbal ones."

As former studio executive Dawn Steel expressed in her 1993 autobiography, " . . . the Japanese referred to the movie studios as suppliers of 'software.' We thought of ourselves quite differently; we were 'creators of culture'. Not just software." Of course, we seldom, if ever hear Jack Valenti talking about creating and exporting "culture". Once again, such comments, coming from a leading spokesperson for the movie industry would tend to invite and encourage too many people to take the medium more seriously.


In her 1994 book Hollywood Be Thy Name--The Warner Brothers Story, Cass Warner Sperling, the granddaughter of Harry Warner said: " . . . when I go to the movies and see audiences uplifted and moved by what they're watching instead of bombarded with violence and desensitized by meaninglessness or superficiality, I have tremendous appreciation for the creative process and the choices made by those in charge. It's almost as if film casts a mysterious spell on those watching it, like the beat of a tribal drum that's subtly conveying beliefs and values." Ebert, goes so far as to say that "[m]ovies are, in a sense, immortal. It is likely that people will be watching Casablanca centuries from now (and how wonderful it would be if we could see movies from centuries ago). It is quite reasonable for Ebert to suggest that movies, are in a sense, immortal. On the other hand, it is not reasonable at all for anyone to defend a system that primarily permits only a very narrow segment of our society to control access to that form of immortality (see Who Really Controls Hollywood).

Thus, it appears clear that many thoughtful people, both inside and outside the motion picture industry believe that movies are important (even a form of immortality). It also seems clear that in this ongoing debate about the importance of movies, that segment of the film industry which seeks to maximize its profits and/or to pursue hidden agendas, often try to minimize the importance of films by proclaiming that "movies are merely entertainment." In contrast, others within and without the industry have openly admitted how important movies are.

Some might suggest that only fools believe movies are merely entertainment. After all movies educate, inform, inspire, motivate, influence, provoke, aggravate, terrorize, sadden, depress, uplift and stimulate. They make us happy and joyful. They make us laugh, cry and squirm. They can enrage us and embarrass us. Movies make us angry, fearful, tearful and arouse. They consistently portray whole populations of our diverse society in a positive, negative or stereotypical manner. On the other hand, it is probably more accurate to assert that those who say movies are merely entertainment are not fools at all. They are actually purveyors of myths--people who's commercial and philosophical self interest lead them to try and distract the great majority of the moviegoing public from recognizing the important role movies play in the communication of ideas.

Chapter 10


"A society that treats its citizens like children is sooner or later going to find itself without adults."

Roger Ebert

Many observers of the effect of motion pictures on society have expressed their respective beliefs over the years that movies influence people. In the '20s, for example, " . . . many citizens of the United States, especially leaders in social work, education, and religion . . . became greatly concerned about the new movies . . . " In 1926 at the opening of the Warner Bros. feature Don Juan the first major motion picture with sound, Will Hays lauded the potential good effects of movies with sound, saying, that "[t]he motion picture is a most potent factor in the development of a national appreciation of good music." Of course, if movies have the power to influence people in positive ways, they also have the corresponding ability to influence people in negative ways.

The 1932, Warner Bros. feature I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang starring Paul Muni was (as noted earlier) an " . . . autobiographical account of the savage cruelty (the author Robert Burns) . . . suffered when wrongly convicted of a crime and sentenced to a Georgia chain gang . . . " The film " . . . made the public aware of the brutality perpetrated by corrections officers. The outcry following the release of the film forced improvements in prison conditions." In other words, a motion picture helped to bring about significant changes in the way our society addressed a particular problem (in this instance, prison conditions).

Other movies have changed people's attitudes towards matters of great importance. In the '30s, poet and author Donald Hall claims that the " . . . war horror that filled . . . " his chest after watching The Last Train From Madrid in 1937 affected his attitudes toward war for the rest of his life. University of Arizona professor and novelist Terry McMillan writes in her essay for David Rosenberg's book The Movie That Changed My Life that the film The Wizard of Oz (1939) taught her that " . . . it's okay to be an idealist, that you have to imagine something better and go for it. That you have to believe in something, and it's best to start with yourself and take it from there."

William Friedkin, director of The French Connection wrote in the New York Times 'Movie Mailbag' column: "I'm one of many of my generation who was inspired to become a filmmaker as a direct result of having experienced Citizen Kane." (1941) In this case, a film influenced one of the most important decisions a person can make, the choice of career.

The following year, in 1942, a film influenced the behavior of thousands of women. The " . . . provocative glamour star of Hollywood films of the '40s . . . Veronica Lake " . . . started a 'peek-a-boo' style craze among the women of America . . . " by appearing in the movies with " . . . her long blond hair falling over one eye . . . " So widespread was the fad that government officials asked her to stop wearing her hair long for the duration of WW II because women in war plants were catching their long hair in machines." Here, a movie-inspired fad in women's hair styles threatened to do harm to the country's war effort.

Film critic Steven Scheuer suggests that the " . . . famous . . . two-on-a-cigarette routine (in the 1942 film Now Voyager, directed by Irving Rapper and starring Bette Davis and Claude Rains) . . . probably led more impressionable souls to a tobacco habit than any other film scene in history."

The country still has not recovered from the addictive attraction of cigarette smoking combined with its repeated glamorization in film and other forms of promotion. Film producers, distributors and exhibitors of films that include cigarette smoking ought to be included as defendants in the class action lawsuits against tobacco companies.

Others have admitted that films changed the way they think about particular issues. In the Rosenberg book The Movie That Changed My Life, contributing essayist and Princeton University Professor Russell Banks states that " . . . there have been many movies . . . which altered my thinking about the world and thus about myself and which, therefore, could be said, to a greater or lesser degree, to have changed my life." Banks also admits that " . . . a single movie (released in 1942) did have the capacity to alter and then shape my inner life with a power, clarity, and speed that would never be available to me again." Banks reports that this single movie " . . . describes and proscribes (from birth to death) the territory of a male life in a sequence that follows exactly the Victorian and modern middle-class view of that life properly lived." Banks also states that both the movie and the book on which it is based are " . . . moral tales about the proper relations between the genders, told for boys from the Victorian male point of view." "This movie . . . " Banks suggests " . . . is only going to drive (kids) . . . deeper into sexual stereotyping . . . to validate the worst attitudes of the adult world that surrounds . . . " them. The movie is Disney's Bambi based on the book Bambi: A Life in the Woods, by Felix Salten, translated in 1928.

As noted in this book's earlier chapter entitled "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda", during World War II, the federal " . . . government, convinced that movies had extraordinary power to mobilize public opinion for war, carried out an intensive, unprecedented effort to mold the content of Hollywood feature films." Unfortunately, as is pointed out in the Koppes/Black book and even more directly in the above referenced chapter, that effort was not entirely successful due to a lack of cooperation from Hollywood. Writing about American films during the war years, Koppes and Black stated that "[m]ovies reflected American society in a way, but the mirror that the movies held up to America displayed an image that was distorted and refracted by myriad forces, not least of them the profit motive." Thus, Washington objected to the image American movies were creating abroad during the war years, and to the potential affect such movies might have on morale at home. Both Washington's original desire to utilize movies as propaganda tools and its subsequent disappointment with Hollywood's level of cooperation are based on the underlying conviction that movies do influence human behavior.

Novelist Judith Rossner claims that the 1945 film Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (about a little girl who inspires a whole town to generously contribute support for a farmer whose barn and animals have burned in a disastrous fire, by offering to give up her nine-month old calf) inspired Judith to " . . . write, cast, and act . . . in a play . . . " in 1945 for which people were charged an admission price of " . . . two cans of food per person . . . " so that the food could be sent to the " . . . starving children of Europe . . . ." following World War II. After that experience, Judith Rossner, reports she has " . . . always sneered at the notion that a troubled person hovering at the edge of violence couldn't be sent over the brink to commit it by scenes in a movie or on television." After all, no one stands at the entrance of movie theatres to determine whether movie patrons are mature, emotionally stable or "hovering at the edge" before going into the theatre.

U.C. Berkeley professor Leonard Michaels claims that the 1946 film Gilda which he saw at an early age " . . . further disturbed . . . " his " . . . already disturbed . . . moral notions . . . " Michaels reports he felt that through this film (one of the steamiest films of the postwar period due to (Rita) Hayworth's sultry performance as the seductive title character) he was " . . . being introduced to deep stuff, subterranean forces, years before (he) . . . understood what was happening . . . (and) [i]t


had to do with sex." Thus, Michaels is admitting that many films may impact the developing moral notions of young people.

Films also influence people's decisions to purchase certain products. Upon the release of The Jolson Story (1946), Al Jolson, " . . . unhappy in a bitter semi-retirement, experienced one last burst of fame as a result of renewed public interest in his performance: his record sales increased, his radio show received high ratings, and he headlined one last time, entertaining American troops in Korea before his death, from a heart attack, in 1950." In addition to motivating people to buy his records, the movie made a difference in the career and late stages in the life of Al Jolson.

As Patricia Erens reports, the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory council established the Motion Picture Project in 1947. Erens points out that the " . . . purpose of the Project was to form 'a co-ordinated nation-wide relationship with the motion picture industry, aimed at developing the potentialities of motion pictures as a medium for fostering good human relations. In particular, the Project was to 'deal with problems arising from defamatory and stereotypical characters of minority groups, primarily Jewish,' to encourage positive images whenever possible, and to serve as an information agency to aid studios in accurate presentations." Erens goes on to state that at " . . . heart was the belief that film was a powerful and persuasive tool." Unfortunately, many other groups in our culturally diverse society have continued to be victimized through their consistently negative or stereotypical portrayals in Hollywood films (see the earlier chapters entitled "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers" and "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies" or the more detailed book versions entitled Patterns of Bias in Motion Picture Content and Motion Picture Biographies).

The name of the above-cited organization was changed to the Jewish Film Advisory Committee in 1962. As project head, (John) Stone read scripts, suggested name changes, deletions of dialogue and action, and even commented on casting . . . The success of the Project . . . led in part to its dissolution in 1967 . . . " capping a twenty year rule. On the other hand, evidence of the continuation of similar activities on an informal basis within the insular Hollywood community, and the resulting pattern of more positive portrayals in Hollywood films for persons of Jewish heritage, appear in this book's earlier chapter on the subject, and its corresponding companion volume entitled A Study in Motion Picture Propaganda.

Scientific studies have actually demonstrated that movies can influence the attitudes of people toward other cultural groups. Patricia Erens reports that in 1948 " . . . a team of psychologists at the University of Pittsburgh, found that in a study of 349 students in introductory psychology, those in an experimental group who saw Gentlemen's Agreement revealed 'a significantly more favorable attitude towards Jews' after seeing the film than those students in the control group. A similar experiment was carried out in 1960 at Florida State University. The results were identical." Of course, if such films can influence viewer's attitudes towards Jews, films can also influence attitudes about other religious, cultural, racial, ethnic and/or regional populations, and films continue to do so today.

Other films have reportedly influenced political thought. The Halliwell's Film Guide reports that the 1949 Republic release The Red Menace (the story of a discontented war veteran who is preyed on by communists) was an " . . . odd piece of anti-Red propaganda to come from an action studio, but it had some effect on thinking at the time."

After studying Hollywood for a year, anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker wrote in 1950 that " . . . myths . . . true or false, influence behavior." Powdermaker went on to say that the " . . . statement that the primary function of movies is entertainment is clearly not the end of the question. All entertainment is education in some way, many times more effective than schools because of the appeal to the emotions rather than to the intellect . . . Any consistent patterning in the mass communications of human relations, of attitudes, of values and goals, is education in the broader sense of the term." Powdermaker also said that " . . . more or less normal everyday people may over a period of time be influenced subtly, but deeply (through movies), in their ideas of human relations, and in their values."

Powdermaker explained further that " . . . audiences tend to accept as true that part of a movie story which is beyond their experience . . . for people who have never traveled, the movies give them their ideas of what foreigners are like; and the latter may get their pictures of Americans in the same way. The ideas of young people with relatively limited experience about love and marriage may be influenced by what they see in the movies . . . Almost every movie, even a farce, deals with some problem of human relations, and the manner in which glamorous movie stars solve these problems may affect the thinking of people about their own problems." Thus, as early as 1950, a noted anthropologist expressed legitimate concerns bout the effects of movies on the education of children and the influence of the medium on human relations and values in general.

Columbia University professor Phillip Lopate claims that the film Diary of a Country Priest (a 1950 foreign film) changed his life. He said the film's " . . . stream of composed images induced a harmony that cleansed and calmed (his) . . . brain . . . (that) it brought (him) . . . into a quieter space of serene resignation through the measured unfurling of a story of human suffering." Lopate goes on to say that the film put him " . . . in contact with a habit of mind (he calls) . . . spiritual, and a mental process . . . like meditation." He said that Diary of a Country Priest taught him that " . . . certain kinds of movies--those with austere aesthetic means; an unhurried, deliberate pace; tonal consistency; a penchant for long shots as opposed to closeups; an attention to backgrounds and milieu; a mature acceptance of suffering as a sort of fate--allowed . . . more room for meditation." Lopate also said that movies " . . . forced (him) . . . out on a limb by introducing (him) . . . to a constellation of ritual and spiritual emotion that (he) . . . could willingly embrace so long as it was presented . . . in the guise of cinematic expression, but not otherwise."

What if more of such movies would significantly change the character, personality and spirituality of hundreds of thousands of people in this country and throughout the world? Or in the alternative, what if allowing the U.S. film industry to be dominated by commercial and other private interests that do not produce movies like Diary of a Country Priest has the opposite effect? The question is, can any society really take that chance? Can a society allow entrenched commercial or any other interests to take its citizens down the wrong (or an undesirable or self-destructive) path?

Powdermaker continued her observations about Hollywood by saying that the " . . . inventions of printing press, radio, and movies have probably been as revolutionary in their effect upon human behavior as were those of the wheel and the coming of steam." She pointed out, for example, that " . . . only recently has atomic energy forced a public recognition of the serious social consequences of technological developments." The motion picture is a relatively new technology and some would say that we have not yet determined the impact of the medium on society. If on the other hand, a sufficient number of intelligent and concerned citizens sincerely believe that movies are harmful to society, those citizens should do everything within their power to see that this motion picture technology, considered by some to be " . . . the 20th century's most powerful communications medium . . . " is used for the good of society.

Powdermaker called movies "collective day-dreams". She said:

" . . . many people wish to escape from their anxieties into movies, collective day-dreams themselves manufactured on the assembly line . . . The real question is the quality of what one escapes into. One can escape into a world of imagination and come from it refreshed and with new understanding . . . One can escape . . . into fantasies which exaggerate existing fears. Hollywood provides ready-made fantasies or daydreams; the problem is whether these are productive or nonproductive, whether the audience is psychologically enriched or impoverished." Powdermaker went on to report that "[o]pinions on the influence of movies range from viewing them as the hope for a better world to the fear of their degrading mankind."

Powdermaker also pointed out that " . . . movies have given us new heroes who are tending to replace those of the quite recent past . . . they portray solutions to problems; they provide models for human relationships, a set of values and new folk heroes." She states that "[i]t would be difficult to underestimate the social and psychological significance of movies. Like all institutions, they both reflect and influence society." Powdermaker further reports that it is the " . . . quality of realness which makes the escape into the world of movies so powerful, bringing with it conscious and unconscious absorption of the screenplay's values and ideas."

Movies have also specifically influenced the writing of a University professor. In his discussion of the influence of motion pictures, University of Iowa writing professor Clark Blaise states: "What junk we Americans are fed on! What useless expertise we accumulate! When I think about my schooling, my movie going, my sports addictions, I'd say there's not a single elevating experience in my childhood or adolescence, nothing that I could say fed my cultural acquisitiveness, my sensitivity, my fund of timeless knowledge. Yet that simple, low-budget sci-fi horror flick (The Thing--1951) did something no other movie ever did . . . it exposed a layer of dread that I couldn't shake and still haven't shaken; it infected a novel I wrote called Lunar Attractions (1978), and it led me always to ask, when I write, what is the ultimate horror in any encounter?"

Movie's have also been known to encourage people to depart from society's norms. Berkeley professor Bharati Mukherjee reveals that when she walked out of the 1955 Doris Day movie Love Me or Leave Me she was convinced that she had been "uplifted". The film is " . . . a story about an obscure chorine in Chicago who meets a crooked nightclub owner and allows him to help her become a singing star even though it means denying or delaying true love . . . " Like the lead character in that movie, Mukherjee, a teenage girl in India at the time, reports that she left the movie thinking she " . . . too, intended to go places, be somebody." Mukherjee indicates that this movie gave her the courage to reject the traditional Indian notions of what is appropriate for women and encouraged her " . . . to be a writer and touch people with . . . " her novels.

Two years after that Doris Day movie, the 1957 20th Century-Fox release The Three Faces of Eve told the story of a " . . . psychiatrist (who) discovers that a female patient has three distinct personalities: a drab housewife, a good time girl and a mature sophisticated woman." The " . . . film's box office success was sufficient to start a schizophrenia cycle . . . " among the population in the U.S. And, some say movies merely entertain.

The 1961 film The Tomboy and the Champ starred Candy Moore, Ben Johnson, Jessie White, Jess Kirkpatrick and Rex Allan in the story of " . . . a plucky youngster (who) sets out to prove that her music-loving calf will grow up to be a prize winning side of beef." As movie critic Steven Scheuer observed " . . . this country-western children's picture could send memberships in 4-H clubs plummeting to an all-time low!" The film was directed by Francis D. Lyon. Obviously, Steven Scheuer believed that this movie could significantly and negatively influence the attitudes of large numbers of children toward the 4-H club organization.

Novelist Jayne Anne Phillips reports that Roger Corman's (1962) movie version of Edgar Allen Poe's The Premature Burial affected her psychologically. She said it made such an impact on her that she " . . . patterned (her) . . . adult life on escape and redemption, escape being flight, movement, self-reliance, redemption being the circle back, the writing, the saving of a version of events that is emotionally real, that can't ever recede or be lost."

It is also interesting to note that film critic Steven Scheuer believed that a single repetitive comment by a black maid "It's da voodoo" in the film The Horror of Party Beach (1964) would undo " . . . decades of work by the NAACP." If that is the case, what does he think nearly a hundred years of negative or stereotypical Hollywood portrayals of Germans, Arabs, Latinos, women, White Anglo Southern Males, Asian Americans, Christians, gay/lesbians and others has done, and will continue to do?

Other films have affected more career choices. Paul Rosenfield reports that after seeing the film The Graduate in 1967, film director Mike Nichols " . . . decided to move to California, and transfer to USC. All because of Benjamin Braddock's open-air drive along the California coast--and because of the Oedipal urges all over The Graduate."

In one instance, a film influenced a man's choice of a college fraternal organization. Temple University professor David Bradley reports that during a 1968 toga party at a fraternity whose " . . . initiation was (reportedly) indistinguishable in form and content from that of the Ku Klux Klan . . . " the "honkies" actually projected D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation on the wall. Bradley states that at a point in the film that showed " . . . a (pleading) black man, his eyes wide, white, rolling, surrounded by figures wearing white robes and weird headdresses . . . Bradley quickly exited from the party and understandably did not join that fraternity."

Movie critic Roger Ebert complains that in the 1972 Roman Polanski film version of Macbeth there is " . . . small feeling that the characters are motivated by ideas." Ebert thus admits he recognizes that ideas motivate people (although not in this particular movie). That is exactly why it is disingenuous for the film industry executives and Hollywood apologists to argue that movies do not influence human behavior. After all, movies communicate ideas and ideas have always and will always motivate some people.

Although not confirmed, it is possible that a particular movie had an influence on the outcome of the Vietnam War. In the early '70s, "[o]n the eve of one of the increasingly frequent escalations of the war in Vietnam, (then president) Nixon . . . screened (Protestant) Franklin Schaffner's 1970 biopic, Patton, nurturing his dream of war while sitting in a darkened White House theater." According to George Custen, author of Bio/Pics–How Hollywood Constructed Public History, this " . . . image conjures up one of Walter Lippmann's most pessimistic scenarios about the pictures in our heads created out of the mediated 'pseudo-environment' in which modern decision makers must dwell . . . "

In other examples of movies that influenced behavior, the music of legendary music-maker Scott Joplin " . . . enjoyed a resurgence in popularity after it was used in the score of The Sting (1973) ." In other words, many people were exposed to Scott Joplin's music through this movie, they liked it and were motivated to go out and buy his records.

Writer Amy Hempel also reports that Robert Altman's 1977 film Three Women (starring Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Janice Rule) accorded " . . . value to lives (she) . . . did not think of as having value, as having interest." From there Hempel reports, " . . . it was a short leap to the realization that what I knew, but didn't think of as being valuable, was. That realization was entitlement, and that enabled me to begin to write. And that changed my life. That is, it gave me one."

Two years later (1979), the " . . . cornrow hair-style (Bo Derik) . . . wore in the (Blake Edward's film 10) . . . sparked a new fashion craze and records featuring Ravel's 'Bolero', which she used in the film to synchronize the beat of her lovemaking, skyrocketed in the popular charts." On a more serious note, a few years later, the Errol Morris' documentary The Thin Blue Line (1988) is credited with freeing " . . . a man from a death row in Texas."

Director Martin Scorsese expresses the opinion that " . . . the cinema [is] . . . endowed with the power to entertain and influence entire generations." Consistent with this expression of Scorsese's sentiments regarding the power of motion pictures, it is also fairly apparent, that his 1988 release The Last Temptation of Christ was not merely an attempt to entertain, but was more likely one of his attempts at influencing "entire generations".

Patricia Erens, the author of The Jew in American Cinema (1984) stated that the positive portrayal of Jewish characters in the 1952 MGM release of Ivanhoe " . . . went a long way in dispelling negative attitudes toward Jews." Now, think about this for a moment. Erens is stating that a single motion picture had the power to influence people's attitudes towards other people, and if a single movie can dispel negative attitudes about some people, it is also highly likely that a consistent pattern of bias in movies could also create or encourage negative attitudes about people. Thus, it becomes extremely important to know who controls Hollywood, the question explored by this book's earlier chapter on "Who Really Controls Hollywood", and to know what kind of movies they are making (the question explored in the earlier chapter entitled "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers", along with "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies").

According to Variety writer Max Alexander, the thesis of Neal Gabler's 1988 book An Empire of Their Own--How the Jews Invented Hollywood was that " . . . Hollywood's founding moguls suppressed their Jewish immigrant roots to create in films a false ideal of America that became reality for Americans." Thus, if the "false ideal of America" portrayed in the movies can become "reality for Americans", as Alexander states, it is obvious, once again, that movies are, and have been influencing Americans for a long time.

In his essay for David Rosenberg's 1991 book The Movie That Changed My Life, former Yale University professor Geoffrey Hartman writes that the " . . . magic of movies expresses the future as much as the past: it attempts to make us believe they are realistic. No medium manipulates us more savily and shamelessly to that end."

In that same book, "[s]everal essays by women reveal a new consciousness brought to bear upon movies that disturbingly support sexist stereotypes." Rosenberg also suggests that "[n]o art form affects us so immediately--and from such an early age--as the cinema, which gives us our first close-up look at the myths of adult life." Rosenberg asks: "Can a movie, or any work of art, change a person's life?" To find an answer, he suggests that "[i]n place of the word 'movie,' consider substituting 'adult experience.' When immature, an encounter with adult experience can mystify and change us; as adults, reliving the experience may disarm us. And whether we're immature or simply caught off guard, being immersed in moving pictures can yield dreamlike associations, looking larger than life."

In any case, based on his research, Rosenberg is emphatically stating that movies can change a person's life. The logic of his reasoning, can be even more clearly seen if we substitute the word "idea" for "adult experience" or "movie" (i.e., "Can an idea change a person's life?"). No one can reasonably deny that ideas change peoples' lives everyday, and, once again, since movies communicate ideas, movies must be changing peoples' lives.

In her essay for the Rosenberg book, Princeton University professor Joyce Carol Oates, quotes Werner Herzog who said, " . . . what is film but an 'agitation of mind.'" She also talks about the relationship between movies and dreaming citing the " . . . theory of dreaming that argues that dream images are primary, culled from the day's experiences or from memory and imagination; the dream itself, as a story, is a pragmatic invention to string together these images in some sort of coherent causal sequence. If this is true, (Oates suggests) it argues for an even closer relationship between film and dreaming than film theorists have speculated upon." Oates goes on to say that " . . . movies, composed of images, among these images the enormously inflated faces of men and women of striking physical appearance, have the power of lingering in the memory long after all intellectual interest in them has been exhausted."

Another of the Rosenberg collection of essays, " . . . establishes a psychological connection between movie images and dream or fantasy images . . . " and the writer " . . . focuses on children and the darkened room that movies require. He suggests that films forbidden in childhood are connected to repressed fantasies in adults; that, in fact, our subconscious fantasy life is visualized by us like a movie."

The Rosenberg book, The Movie That Changed My Life, collects and presents essays on the subject from " . . . twenty-three prominent novelists, poets, and literary critics . . . " Rosenberg suggests that the " . . . intimacy with cultural history . . . " witnessed through the essays in his book " . . . can only grow more affecting in the future, as films are restored and the evolving technology puts them at everyone's hand." Rosenberg goes on to say, "[t]he position movies hold in culture is even more phenomenal today that it was in the past, as we gain personal control over the viewing of a century of films." That again makes it imperative that we know who controls Hollywood and how that control affects the kinds of movies we see.

The same year that Rosenberg's book was published (1991), the film My Father's Glory was released. It is about " . . . the perfect days of childhood . . . " and was " . . . intended as a memory . . . " of a character in a movie. Film critic Roger Ebert suggests that "[l]ike all the best movies, these memories . . . work by becoming our memories, as well." Of course, if movies provide us with "memories", who can tell us what role these "memories" play in our future decisions, decisions which determine our behavior? Certainly, not the over-paid upper level management of the major studio/distributors in whose self-interest it is to deny that movies affect anyone's behavior.

Also, in 1991, author Nicolas Kent, who wrote about Hollywood, expressed that the results of the work of filmmakers influences " . . . millions of people all over the world. Even a judge agrees. New York criminal-court judge Joel Tyler who fined the New Mature World Theater $3 million for showing Deep Throat in 1973 said upon his retirement in 1991 that "[m]ovies and television have completely changed our outlook on the human form."

In 1992, filmmaker Steven Spielberg offered the opinion that "[i]f you see a movie that's truly great, you just don't recover." That same year, screenwriter, lecturer and author Jason Squire suggested that " . . . the American motion picture . . . continues to have a profound and worldwide effect on behavior, culture, politics and economics." Also, in 1992, Michael Medved stated that " . . . the power of the entertainment industry to influence our actions flows from its ability to redefine what constitutes normal behavior in this society. The popular culture now consumes such a huge proportion of our time and attention that it has assumed a dominant role in establishing social conventions." Medved said that "[t]he dark visions that Hollywood offers of our present and our past not only influence the attitudes of children and adults in this country, but increasingly shape the image of America in the world at large."

Medved further reported that "[s]hortly after (Mark Canton) . . . took over as production chief at troubled Columbia Pictures in 1991 . . . Canton gave a revealing interview to the Los Angeles Times (saying) ' . . . I shouldn't be tarred because of my success with Batman and Lethal Weapon (at Warner Bros.) . . . I went on to . . . develop . . . complex films, and more important, films that not only entertained but which could, potentially, make a difference . . . '" Thus, here is a studio executive at a major studio proclaiming for publication that some movies actually may make a difference. Medved went on to say that "[f]or better or worse, the values in every piece of popular entertainment, no matter how mindless, will touch the audience . . . " and that " . . . the American people understand that media images influence real-life behavior . . . "

In his 1992 book The Power and the Glitter--The Hollywood-Washington Connection, author Ronald Brownstein suggested that "[i]n time, films helped to shatter local tradition by obliterating the barriers of isolation that sustained them. By showing young people in Indiana and Alabama and Missouri that life could be different elsewhere, the movies made them less willing to accept the life their parents had known." Brownstein went on to say that " . . . many celebrities have concluded that because their lives are so publicly displayed, they influence their fans whether they consciously choose to or not."

George Custen, also writing in 1992 about bio-pics states that in " . . . telling history through the individual life, Hollywood has had an enormous impact upon viewers' conceptions about the world." He goes on to say that "[s]ometimes this attempt at influence was intentional . . . " It is the contention of this book that the " . . . attempt at influence . . . " by filmmakers is always "intentional" not just "sometimes". In other words, someone involved in the production of every film fully intends to communicate something significant that might influence the beliefs or behavior of others, regardless of whether it comes from the screenwriter, producer, director, actors, actresses or is intended by the film's distribution executives as a result of their selecting a particular film for release.

Custen goes on to report that "Hollywood's limited view of history created national stereotypes and, in part, helped foster a naive, uninformed view of the rest of the world . . . " In addition, he states that " . . . to a large extent the purported universality of culture is constructed rather than spontaneous." Custen reports that "[p]rior to television, and along with newspapers, magazines, paperback books, and radio, it was the Hollywood film, attended with great regularity by a large part of the American people, that shaped the public's perception of issues and set the public agenda on topics both important and trivial." Again, there is no evidence to suggest that television has completely replaced film in this regard either. Television has merely supplemented film, and in other instances extended its reach and influence to even larger audiences over longer periods of time, because many films are now seen through this additional medium.

Custen also states that "[e]ventually, knowledge from different sources becomes merely what we know; the initial contact is indistinctly remembered, or even falsely attributed to another experience." "Not only did films order and in some instances create history, they also virtually defined for uninitiated viewers entire realms of endeavor and ways of being." Custen states that " . . . many Americans' . . . views of the world have been shaped, in part, by a lifetime (and not merely a single) exposure to filmic representations of powerful individuals and the roles they played in history."

In another specific instance, the 1992 film, Radio Flyer is " . . . a movie that is against child abuse . . . At the end (of the movie), there's an 800 number you can call if you want information on child abuse." The people who made this movie obviously believed that their movie might motivate people to act.

Also, in 1992, Michael Parenti published his book Make-Believe Media--The Politics of Entertainment. Parenti " . . . explains why entertainment (including movies) can alter our view of history, politics, race, sex , and class differences. Although programs (and other forms of entertainment, like movies) may seem apolitical in intent, Parenti argues that they have a powerful influence not only on how we dress, talk and spend our money, but also on how we define social problems, and which ideological images we embrace. Viewers who think what they're watching is 'only entertainment' . . . " he suggests " . . . are less likely to challenge prejudices implicit in the program--including militarism, xenophobia, and ethnic bigotry--and more inclined to accept a prefabricated understanding of the world, as it is portrayed on the screen." This may help to explain why Hollywood spokespersons have insisted on telling us that movies are merely entertainment. They do not want us to suspect that they are attempting to influence our thinking or behavior.

Finally, in 1992, Steven Spielberg was quoted by Paul Rosenfield, saying: "I was fifteen and a half when I saw Lawrence of Arabia, and it turned me around. I really kicked into high gear, and thought, 'This I gotta do. I gotta make movies. I gotta really make movies.'" Even, filmmaker Spielberg's life was changed by a movie.

In 1993, Marsha Sinetar was quoted in a Utne Reader article, saying that "[b]ecause movies hold our ancient unconscious up to the mirror of contemporary culture, they can also be used as a form of therapy to help us reach greater self-awareness and better appreciate our own virtues and strengths. "Everything placed in our path can help us assimilate, and learn from, direct experience so that, ultimately, wisdom results," Sinetar wrote. "Certain films-like certain lovely people, glorious works of art or music, and special instances of prayer--seem a grace expressly given for our edification."

In that same Utne Reader article Sinetar pointed out that "[a]t the heart of the spiritual power of film is the power of myth . . . most of our beloved movies--not just Westerns and the films of George Lucas--contain the same myths that were familiar to our ancient ancestors." The article continues by saying we are " . . . not alone in thinking that movie watching can be a spiritual experience. Grumblings about Hollywood's blockbuster mentality aside, most of us have had epiphanies while we were sitting in the dark with our popcorn and Junior Mints--or even sitting on the couch with a frozen dinner and a tape from the corner video store. I have one friend who initiated a whole new level of communication with his father after seeing Steven Spielberg's Always. Another friend tried to base her life on the Gospel of Matthew, which she learned about not from the Bible from the movie version of Godspell. Likewise, the Frank Capra Archives at Wesleyan University are filled with letters from people who were on the verge of suicide but changed their minds after seeing It's a Wonderful Life."

As Brian Lowry pointed out in 1993, it may be fair to say that the problem with motion pictures is another example of technology outpacing society's ability to deal with the consequences. Lowry reports that " . . . technology and science . . . continue to race ahead of the social-policy and ethical considerations brought into play . . . The problem with technology . . . is that once it exists things often get done because they can be done, without weighing the merits of whether or how (or perhaps more accurately, how quickly) they should be done." As noted earlier, University of Texas professor David Prindle reported (also in 1993) that " . . . social science experiments with children have offered evidence that suggests that viewing (D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation) . . . creates anti-black prejudice in its viewers." That is one of the reasons the film created such an


uproar when it was released. It may also be one of the reasons why D.W. Griffith never made it in Hollywood (see "The Hollywood Outsiders" in How the Movie Wars Were Won).

Variety writer Michael Fleming reports that "[i]n another example of movies influencing life, word in Washington is that a viewing of Warner Bros' Ivan Reitman-helmed comedy Dave (1993) shaped President Clinton's decision about an ambassadorship. According to the story, Clinton and adviser James Carville were watching the movie and were moved by the part where the vice president (Ben Kingsley) is put out to pasture by a lengthy state visit to Burundi. An idea was hatched to make the ambassadorship to Burundi available to Bob Krueger, a Democrat from Texas appointed to replace Lloyd Bentsen in the U.S. Senate. Krueger refused to toe the Clinton line on NAFTA and the budget, and after losing his Senate seat, he's now ambassador to Burundi. Carville denied any plot.

An article in a March 1994 issue of the Los Angeles Times magazine contributes to this discussions, stating that "[w]e've had movies for something like a hundred years and TV for 40 or so, and the images and ideas they've generated have seeped into and shaped our subconscious more than anything since maybe religion." Recognizing what a powerful force religion has been in the lives of human beings for the past 3,000 years, this comment is both high praise for movies and quite frightening.

Film critic Roger Ebert also wrote in 1994 that "[t]he mass media in America, which creates the fantasies which help to shape our lives, have largely abandoned the notion that people should think seriously about their lives. Motivation (in films) comes from the shorthand of lust, greed, love, hate, and fear. Never from an idea of what is right. Why were we so surprised when so many people of all races and backgrounds gleefully joined in the looting during the Los Angeles riots? Their role models are all about us, in the movies and on television. A society that treats its citizens like children is sooner or later going to find itself without adults."

Also, in 1994, Ebert, for example, made the statement in his book: Roger Ebert's Video Companion that " . . . Dickens helped to reform . . . the hopelessness and waste of the Victorian debtor system . . . with novels such as . . . Little Dorrit . . . " which was then made into a movie starring Alec Guinness in 1988. It would certainly seem reasonable that if a novel has the power to help reform the Victorian debtor system, as Ebert reports, then an even more sophisticated medium of communication, the modern feature-length motion picture (an evolved form of the novel) can surely have a similar, if not greater effect on contemporary (or future) social issues and human behavior.

As recently as November 14, 1994, a Disney spokesperson was quoted on CNN Headline News, saying that " . . . animation sometimes communicates ideas better than writing." If that is the case, and there is no reason to believe otherwise, it is extremely important that we, as a society, closely monitor the ideas being communicated through animation, and take steps to see that those are in fact the ideas we want our children to be exposed to.

Finally, in his January, 1995 State of the Union Address, President Bill Clinton urged those in the so-called entertainment community to be more responsible and recognize the impact on society of the violence portrayed in their movies. Unfortunately, Hollywood is likely to ignore such requests, even if made by the President (see the discussion of remedies in this book's companion volume Motion Picture Industry Reform). Hollywood gives too much money to Presidential candidates and key Congress-persons to have to be concerned about anything other than this sort of empty rhetoric from politicians.

Considering all of the above, it is clear that there are many intelligent and sophisticated people who believe that motion pictures can be and are very influential in the lives of human beings. Movies affect our commercial decisions, our fashion, our politics and even more destructive beliefs and behaviors.

Movies Influence Our Commercial Decisions--Motion pictures have long influenced many of our decisions relating to what to purchase. For example, "[m]ovie costumes began to influence fashion as early as 1912, when it was reported that the natives of Tahiti had become so addicted to westerns that they had taken to wearing stetsons . . . " Also, in 1916, "D.W. Griffith (reportedly) . . . invented the first pair of false eyelashes in order to give Seena Owen's eyes an abnormally large and lustrous appearance for her role as Princess Beloves in Intolerance." Many women throughout the nation subsequently followed her example and began purchasing and wearing false eyelashes.

In 1919, "Bessie Barriscale caused a sensation with the backless evening gown she wore in Josselyn's Wife . . . and soon the middle classes were aping a fashion formerly displayed only by their betters." A few years later, (in 1923), "[a]ll classes followed the trend to bobbed hair, which became the style of the twenties after Colleen Moore had created the archetypal flapper role in Flaming Youth (US 23)."

According to Patrick Robertson, "[p]robably the single most influential trendsetter . . . was Garbo. The enormous fur collars of the twenties owed their genesis to the broad collar designed by Max Ree to conceal her long neck in (the 1926 film) The Torrent". Robertson also reports that "Pola Negri was not only the first to go barelegged and sandalled in summer, but was also the first to paint her toenails . . . (and) Joan Crawford was the first to go barelegged with evening clothes in 1926 . . . " The following year, (1927), "Louis Brooks took to wearing silk trousers (indoors only) . . . "

In the '30s, the " . . . vogue among American women for wearing slacks, which (Marlene Dietrich) . . . started at the height of her fame, (was) . . . still much in evidence everywhere." Also, the " . . . use of mascara and other eye make-up was directly inspired by the example of screen vamps Theda Bara and Pola Negri . . . Plucked eyebrows became the rage about 1930 after Jean Harlow had hers trimmed into a slender arch . . . " The diagonally placed " . . . Eugenie hat, dipping over one eye, worn by Garbo in (the 1930 release) Romance . . . hastened the end of the cloche and introduced the basic configuration that was to dominate hat styles throughout the thirties."

The " . . . practice (of women in slacks) became accepted amongst the more sophisticated followers of filmdom's fashion decrees . . . (with the 1930) " . . . release of von Sternberg's Morocco (in which) " . . . Marlene Dietrich concealed her celebrated legs in slacks. Von Sternberg's purpose was to emphasize the lesbian characterization of the role, but the innovation was imitated by the women of America to an extent that suggests its implication was wholly lost on them . . . "

The other major trendsetter of the period was Joan Crawford ". . . the padded-shoulder costume . . . (she wore in the 1933 release) Today We Live . . . started the vogue for tailored suits that sloped upwards from the neck. By this time the big studios were co-operating with the garment trade--most of the moguls had come from that industry themselves--so that the costumes designed for the new genre of 'women's pictures' could be in the shops by the time the film was released." Douglas Gomery also reports that "Hollywood's most honored costume designer, Edith Head . . . (who worked on Hollywood movies starting in 1932) won eight Oscars and helped set fashion trends for two decades."

As Patrick Robertson reports, "[w]hat stars did not wear could sometimes have as much impact on fashion trends as what they did wear." Koppes and Black report that in 1934 "[w]hen Clark Gable stripped off his shirt in It Happened One Night and revealed that he didn't wear an undershirt, sales of that intimate garment for men plummeted . . . " Also, in 1934 the Kansas Restaurant Association " . . . publicly thanked . . . (Mae) West for stemming the dieting craze stimulated by the sylph-like figures of Dietrich, Crawford and Harlow and for restoring well-rounded curves to healthy U.S. women."

Studio marketing and distribution executive Fred Goldberg reports that as early as 1937, " . . . Disney demonstrated the importance of soundtrack music as an ancillary with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Every radio station played "Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho! It's Off to Work We Go" and " . . . all the kids wanted to play the record on their tinny toy record players. The single 78-rpm, 10-inch record that they heard on the radio made the kids want to see the movie. After they saw the movie, they bought the record . . . " Goldberg states that a record " . . . single that gets considerable play on radio or television before the movie opens can contribute to the success of its opening, especially if the song title is the same as the movie title." If it is then true that music can motivate kids and/or some adults to go see movies, it must also be true that movies motivate kids and/or some adults to do other things (i.e., to purchase records or anything else promoted in the movie).

In more recent decades, the Garbo berets, that had become a " . . . universal fashion of the thirties . . . made a comeback in the sixties after Faye Dunaway (wore) . . . one as the thirties woman gangster in Bonnie and Clyde." Robertson reports, that " . . . product placement in feature films is growing as producers seek to offset spiraling costs . . . after Tom Cruise . . . sported a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers in Risky Business (1984) . . . sales for the year shot up to 360,000." Those sunglasses were a " . . . 1952 design . . . " and prior to the release of the movie " . . . were on their way out with sales down to 18,000 a year . . . " Subsequently, in the 1985 release of Top Gun, Cruise, " . . . wore Ray-Ban Aviators, with the result that the annual increase in sales rose from 4 per cent a year to 40 per cent. Unique Product Placement, which represents Ray-Ban, now places their glasses in 160 films and TV shows annually."

Entertainment attorney Mark Litwak reported in 1986 that there were " . . . about twenty-five product-placement firms that specialize in getting products into movies. The two largest each represent about sixty companies and hundreds of products. One charges anywhere from $10,000 to more than $100,000 a year in return for a guarantee to get a product in six pictures--and always have it portrayed in a positive light." That being the case, there can be no doubt that those commercial entities paying $10,000 to $100,000 for placement of their products in motion pictures are absolutely convinced that movies influence the commercial decision-making behavior of moviegoers. In support of that contention, a 1990 UK survey revealed that " . . . the percentage of people who can recall an advertising film the day after it has been shown in a cinema averages 87 per cent. The equivalent for a TV commercial is 20 per cent." Thus, it is clear that the power of the motion picture to influence our commercial decisions and other behavior is even greater than television.

According to The Center for the Study of Commercialism, an advertising watchdog group, " . . . the 1990 release Home Alone showed 31 different brands, Ghost displayed 16 brands, Pretty Woman featured 18 brands and Total Recall showed 28 brands." Actually, some " . . . see product placement as an important service, while others charge it preys on unsuspecting moviegoers." In either case, both sides of that controversy agree that movies influence behavior, otherwise, there would be no controversy.



Producer Buck Houghton stated as recently as 1991 that motion picture makeup and hairdress " . . . designers set the styles in makeup and hairdress for millions of women by the examples of their work seen on the screen." Patrick Robertson, also writing in 1991 reports that "[n]ot all product placement helps to promote a positive image of the product." He states that "Ford executives were worried that the heavies in cops and robbers movies almost invariably drove about in sleek black Lincoln Towncars, one of Ford's models. Most of these were supplied by the Roger & Cowan product placement agency, who maintain a fleet of 550 Fords for rent at a nominal fee to film-makers. The agency had a simple solution when approached by Ford--supply them with the money to buy a stock of Cadillacs, produced by Ford's main rival General Motors. Now the good guys drive Fords, the bad buys drive Cadillacs." Would Ford have been concerned if not convinced that movies influence behavior?

In one of the more blatant displays of Hollywood arrogance relating to this question of the ability of films to influence commercial decisions, the Walt Disney Studios caused an uproar amongst exhibitors in 1991, by refusing " . . . to run its films in theaters with on-screen advertising . . . " even though Disney " . . . supports and actively participates in product placement." In fact, it would be fair to say that most Disney films are heavily involved in promoting Disney products of all sorts, thus to the extent that movies are considered "speech" for purposes of the first amendment free speech protections, any movie including product placements or product tie-ins certainly ought to be considered "commercial speech" which deserves less protection from reasonable regulation than political speech.

To provide some idea how commercial film communication is, Burger King (in September of 1994) reportedly committed to spend about $25 million in media for Walt Disney's animated film Pocahontas in exchange for the rights to use the Pocahontas characters in its promotional campaign. In other words, Burger King will promote the film and the film promotes Burger King. Such promotions also must be effective, since the same company spent about $20 million in a similar movie promotional tie-in deal for its Lion King promotion. The same article reported that McDonald's was negotiating a promotional tie-in on the Warner Bros' June '95 release Batman Forever and Amblin Entertainment's May '95 offering Casper. Thus, in effect, each of these movies become extended commercials for fast food companies. Clearly, such movies are not "merely entertainment". They do influence human behavior.

In all fairness, it simply does not make sense that advertisers would pay significant sums of money to have their products seen in movies if those same advertisers did not believe that such product visibility would have a positive influence on product sales. It seems clear also, that a significant number of product manufacturers, advertisers, the product placement firms, and filmmakers generally agree that the appearances of products in motion pictures helps to influence the decisions of many people with regard to the purchase of those products.

As Michael Medved points out in his 1992 book, "[c]orporate marketing experts invest considerable effort and expense in these placements because their research indicates that they are highly effective . . . In short, the industry's position is both flagrantly dishonest and lavishly illogical." As Medved states, the film " . . . industry simply cannot have it both ways: if it claims a near magical ability to sell products or politics, planting lasting images in just a few quick seconds, then it must acknowledge the long-term impact of its (films and) prime time programs, with their frequently violent and antisocial themes."

Some Movies Encourage Violence--The early observers of the motion picture phenomenon were concerned about the effect of the medium on the population. In 1915 their worst fears were confirmed. As noted earlier, David Prindle reports, "[p]artly as a result of repeated showings of D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. "There were more blacks lynched in 1915 than in any previous year in the century." Actually, the movie relates that the " . . . 1870s edition of the (Ku Klux) Klan had in fact waged a successful guerrilla campaign against (the evils of post Civil War) Reconstruction before (the Klan was) . . . investigated by Congress and officially disbanded." In

other words, the film provided a positive portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan and the underlying reasons for its original development, which were apparently, perverted later.

Temple University professor David Bradley reports that there were " . . . scattered protests when the film opened--it was egged in New York City, and there was a riot in Boston--but it played to packed houses everywhere, although the price of admission was two dollars, and it ended up grossing $18 million." In any case, the film (and a classic pyramidal sales structure based on initiation fees for the various fraternal orders involved ) was successfully used to revive the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1923 Earl B. Mayfield of Texas " . . . became the first acknowledged Klansman in the U.S. Senate." By 1925, " . . . when thousands of robed Klansmen paraded in Washington, D.C., down Pennsylvania Avenue, membership was five million--not just from the South, but from Kansas and California, Oregon and Ohio, Indiana and New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania . . . Chief Justice White had belonged to the old Klan, but Associate Justice Hugo Black, appointed in 1937, had been a member of the new one."

The attempt " . . . to suppress the film . . . (was) the first thrust of activism by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People . . . " an organization which at the time only had one black director (W.E.B. Du Bois). Bradley reports that the NAACP's efforts " . . . were at first successful; there was resistance to the film's distribution in every city in the North. The Massachusetts legislature nearly banned it, and criminal proceedings were instituted against Griffith himself." Du Bois later lamented: "We did what we could to stop its showing . . . and thereby probably succeeded in advertising it even beyond its admittedly noble merits." (The "noble merits" Bradley refers to relate to the advanced filmmaking techniques used by Griffith, not the content of the film.) Bradley goes on to reveal that in 1916, a year after the film was released:

" . . . fifty Negroes were reported lynched. In 1917, when many Klansmen went to war and those on the home front were distracted by the business of putting down shipyard strikes, hunting down draft dodgers, and marching in patriotic parades, the number dropped to thirty-six. But in 1918 it resurged to sixty, topped in 1919 by seventy-eight. And that was only what was reported. Little wonder that 1916 was the beginning of the great migration. By 1918, 500,000 black men had braved the discouragement of the Southern landowners and the Klan and made the journey north . . . but their success made the refugees from Southern violence the targets of Northern violence. Whites, many of them immigrants who had somehow--perhaps via the vehicle of projected images--learned to see blacks as their enemies without actually seeing any black people . . . In 1917 East St. Louis, Illinois, erupted twice in riots . . . The lowest estimate was thirty-nine Negroes 'killed outright,' while hundreds were wounded and maimed. Six thousand more were driven from their homes. In 1918 relatively minor riots in Philadelphia and in Chester, Pennsylvania . . . were notable not so much because of the combined death toll (four blacks, five whites) as because those cities would soon boast a dozen Klan Klaverns. In 1919, Chicago erupted for thirteen days; twenty-three blacks and fifteen whites died, and more than five hundred were injured. Seven died in Knoxville and in Millen, Georgia, six in Washington, D.C. Troops were called to Norfolk and to Omaha. A posse comitatus in Phillips County, Arkansas, killed an uncertain number of blacks--a minimum of twenty-five; some sources said fifty; others one hundred twenty--to destroy a sharecropper union. All in all, there were some twenty-six riots between April and October . . . " of 1919.

Although it is ludicrous to suggest that Griffith's film caused all of the above cited turmoil, it was clearly a factor in the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1900s and the Klan in turn was directly involved in much of the chaos. As Bradley points out, The Birth of a Nation had " . . . been the birth of a symbol . . . the flaming cross . . . (and the film) had been the rebirth of the Klan . . . " Bradley then reminds that " . . . symbolism matters . . . [e]nough to cause suffering . . . (and) while it is wrong to make war on shadows (i.e., films), it is just as wrong to forget that sometimes shadows lead to acts." This book, of course, does not make war on "shadows", but merely seeks to point out that excessive power relating to control of the film industry in the hands of any small group with shared backgrounds can be a negative influence on a diverse society. And, that government has a role to play in insuring that all interests in society have a fair opportunity to tell their important stories through this significant communications medium.

Just a few years after Griffith's classic film was exhibited, a " . . . furor blew up when Albert Marco, Los Angeles vice king, copied a plot element in . . . " a motion picture. "In the movie, the criminal played by Louis Wolheim forces his chauffeur to take a rap for a murder charge. When Marco slew Santa Monica businessman Dominic Conterno and café' entertainer Henry Judson, he also framed his chauffeur." The filmmakers were " . . . berated by the legal establishment for having put ideas in the minds of gangsters."

In more contemporary times, David Brooks wrote in 1986 that the " . . . most serious and legitimate charge against war movies is that they influence people to take a cavalier attitude toward killing. As long as one thinks that movies enrich lives, one is committed to the idea that they damage them, too."

This issue relating to the relationship between movies and violence, is an issue on which this book agrees with film critic and author Michael Medved. Thus, the bulk of his excellent work in establishing the proposition that movies influence some violent behavior in many moviegoers will not be duplicated here. A sampling will suffice. As Medved wrote in 1992, Hollywood takes the position " . . . that no proof exists for a connection between screen images and real-world consequences (but if there is a connection they say) . . . change flows in only one direction: America influences Hollywood, but Hollywood never influences America." Medved states that " . . . tens of millions of Americans now see the entertainment industry as an all-powerful enemy, an alien force that assaults our most cherished values and corrupts our children. The dream factory has become the poison factory."

Medved goes on to " . . . severely chastise . . . the people in Hollywood for what he considers blatant schizophrenia and hypocrisy. 'On one hand,' he writes (in his book Hollywood vs America), 'they believe they can influence the audience on behalf of worthy causes like safe sex and recycling; on the other hand, they continue to insist that the violence, hedonism and selfishness so often featured in their work will have no real world consequences whatsoever. This glaring internal contradiction leads to the astonishingly illogical conclusion that popular culture's only possible impact is beneficial. If Hollywood creates some noble project that raises a serious issue, we're asked to applaud a significant public service; when the business revels in the ugliest and most degraded aspects of human nature, we're urged to dismiss it as harmless entertainment.'"

Also, Medved points out that " . . . some of the most powerful, highly paid, and widely respected titans in Hollywood are hopelessly out of touch with the public they are trying to reach. They don't begin to understand the values of the average American family, or the special concerns of the typical parents who worry about unwholesome influences on their children." Medved continues by citing the Entertainment Research Group report " . . . that among all major releases in 1991--including PG- and G-rated 'family films' -- 62 percent featured violent fight scenes, and 39 percent showed 'graphic deaths.' Such figures demonstrate the limited utility of the current rating system at a time when Hollywood finds it necessary to soak the majority of its creations in gratuitous gore."

Medved points to " . . . more than three thousand research projects and scientific studies between 1960 and 1992 (that) have confirmed the connection between a steady diet of violent entertainment and aggressive and antisocial behavior." A 1991 " . . . Newsweek/Gallup Poll showed 68 percent who hold that today's movies have a 'considerable' or 'very great' effect in causing real-life violence." Even so, the " . . . Hollywood establishment never tires of pointing out, several decades of research by social scientists have failed to produce conclusive, irrefutable proof that brutality and promiscuity in a product of the mass media can cause destructive behavior in the real world." Of course, this is similar to the tobacco industry's 20 year running argument that no one has conclusively proved cigarette smoke is bad for our health either. In addition, however, Medved points out that it is not a " . . . coincidence that the segment of society that displays the most self-destructive and irresponsible behavior is the same group that most avidly and insatiably consumes the products of our popular culture (teenagers) . . . "

The year following the publication of Medved's book, (1993) University of Texas professor David Prindle concluded that since " . . . the United States is a pluralist society with hundreds of racial, religious, national, economic, and lifestyle groupings, it is to be expected that just about any product will make the members of some group think that they are being targeted for disapproval . . . In a society in which rates of murder, rape, births to unwed mothers, and general violence have been rising steadily for decades while school performance has been falling, and in which relations between ethnic groups are frequently tense, it is legitimate to wonder if screen entertainment contributes to these problems." Prindle goes on to report that the " . . . stuff of entertainment is fantasy, and fantasy always contains instruction in values and behavior, if only implicitly. Parents are perennially concerned that their children will learn the wrong things while enjoying themselves in front of their magic screens."

During the 1993 debates on television violence (which in some ways is also a debate that should be repeated for motion pictures) U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno " . . . professed anger at industry execs who 'treat any discussion of their role (in the TV violence debate) as political persecution.' The attorney general said she is 'tired of the shoulder-shrugging and finger-pointing. 'All I'm asking is that the entertainment industry acknowledge their role and responsibilities and pledge to work with us.'" Of course, asking persons with power to give up some of that power is like whistling in the wind. The power to make movies will ultimately have to be taken away and fairly re-distributed. The time of Janet Reno and her successors would be better spent looking into the allegation that the Hollywood control group gained and has maintained its power through the use of unfair, unethical, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory and illegal business practices (see How the Movie Wars Were Won and The Feature Film Distribution Deal).



In a 1993 interview for the Josephson Institute, Medved subsequently stated that the

" . . . cumulative impact of so much attention to violence, to self-destructive sexuality, to anti-social behavior of every kind is very significant, and what it does is redefine what constitutes normal behavior in this society in such a way that it makes behavior and values that should be deemed unacceptable not only seem acceptable but inevitable."

In October of 1993 " . . . a Moraine, Ohio, mother, Darcy Burk, accused Beavis and Butthead--MTV's highest-rated show--of inspiring her 5-year old son to set the fire that killed his 2-year old sister and destroyed the family's mobile home. The incident followed earlier reports that three girls in western Ohio had set another fire while imitating a trick from the show, and that two South Dakota schools had banned B&B merchandise from their premises. MTV immediately canceled an appearance by series creator Mike Judge on Late Show With David Letterman (which had planned to use B&B as recurring characters this fall), and released a statement promising to 'reexamine issues regarding Beavis and Butthead." The industry responded by changing the time-slot for the B&B show from 7 P.M. to 10:30 P.M. But, then its further response was to proceed with the making of a Beavis and Butthead movie.

Also, in 1993 the Walt Disney Co. took " . . . the virtually unprecedented action of removing a scene from a movie while it (was) . . . still playing in theaters, following the death of one teen-ager and critical injuries to two others who apparently imitated a scene in the film The Program. A short sequence in the film shows drunken college football players attempting to prove how tough they are by lying in the middle of a highway as cars whiz by." The scene was " . . . removed from all 1,222 prints of the film . . . and the film's coming-attraction trailer, which included a brief clip of the scene, (was) . . . pulled from theaters . . . Motion Picture Assn. of America President Jack Valenti called Disney's decision to delete the scene unusual and 'a statesmanlike thing to do.' Referring to the copycat nature of the reported incidents, Valenti said: 'I'm not one who believes that a movie makes you do anything.'" Of course, movies may not make a sophisticated, highly educated and over-paid lobbyist like Jack Valenti do anything, but there does appear to be a lot of immature young kids out there in movie audiences that can easily be motivated by visual stimuli to do many very irresponsible things. And, it is irresponsible for Jack Valenti and other film industry executives not to recognize that.

The very next year, CNN Headlines News reported on February 9, 1994 that one or more youths dropped a bowling ball off a freeway overpass, through the front windshield of a moving automobile, killing a small child riding in the back seat of its parent's car. The stunt was reportedly a copycat prank based on an earlier portrayal of another bowling bowl drop from a high building which appeared on Beavis & Butthead. CNN Headline News also reported November 29, 1994, that a San Francisco man had been arrested for stabbing his girlfriend and drinking her blood. The incident apparently occurred two days after the couple had seen Interview With A Vampire starring Tom Cruise, a movie in which a vampire must drink blood to stay alive. The copycat boyfriend stabbed the girl 7 times. As of this writing, she was recovering in a hospital. He was charged with attempted murder.

Of course, most of the top executives of the major studio/distributors will continue to deny that movies are in any way responsible for some of the increased violence we are experiencing in our society every day. They will continue to be in denial so long as they are making huge amounts of money exploiting young and impressionable audiences with violent movies. As noted earlier, these studio executives are very much like the executives of the cigarette manufacturers who have for some 20 years now demanded scientific proof that cigarette smoke causes harm. The fact is that even when scientific proof is offered, they will choose not to believe it. Thus, when the Hollywood profit-mongers demand scientific proof, society must recognize the ploy. It is nothing more than a delaying tactic designed to allow them to mine more gold by negatively impacting our society. We must recognize that we make most of our daily decisions regarding our conduct, not on scientific proof of the consequences, but on our common sense, and that is what must be exercised in reducing the arrogant power of the Hollywood studios to destroy the lives of many Americans.

Most of the film industry leaders will never admit that any studies prove that movies influence human behavior in a negative way. Thus, efforts to persuade should not be wasted on film industry leaders themselves (see discussion of remedies in the companion volume Motion Picture Industry Reform). Studies showing a positive correlation between violence on the screen and violence in the streets should not be used in vain attempts to change the minds of film industry leaders. They should be used to persuade the general public and government leaders to pass and enforce laws which will insure a commercial environment in the film industry in which more socially responsible films can be produced and released to national and world audiences. Hollywood's years of blatant employment discrimination and anti-competitive business practices must be stopped.

Chapter 11


"However unfortunate, it appears likely that even well-educated Americans are learning most of their history from film and television."

John E. O'Connor

Many intelligent people ranging from everyday moviegoers to justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have come to recognize that the motion picture is a significant medium for the communication of ideas. Only some of the major studio/distributor executives pretend not to know. Others such as the producers of the A&E channel's documentary about the American inventor of the motion picture camera and projector, go so far as to proclaim that the motion picture is " . . . the 20th century's most powerful communications medium."

In the early years, Warner Bros. " . . . felt an obligation to inform their audiences. Making socially conscious films--films that dealt with problems from a moralistic perspective, exposing injustices, and suggesting some type of action that would improve the social system--was their forte." In an effort to make the early gangster movies seem responsible, Harry Warner was quoted in an article in the Boston Post saying: "Gangster pictures are not responsible for the wildness of youth, nor are there too many gangster pictures . . . Gangster pictures properly presented should have a good effect. They are intended to point out the lesson that crime does not pay . . . " In making such a statement, Harry Warner admitted that he believed motion pictures would have some affect on many viewers, what affect was the question.

A year earlier, Harry Warner had begun " . . . a series of crusading biopics about distinguished historical figures . . . the first of these . . . (was) Disraeli . . . a picture about the great British statesman . . . " As noted earlier, the Warner Bros. motto was "Educate, entertain, and enlighten".

When talking about the movie sound system being developed by Warner Bros. in the late '20s Harry Warner actually offered the opinion that movies with sound " . . . may even serve to eliminate war among the nations . . . " He said, "[w]e know that American movies are bearing a silent message of our progress to people inhabiting the globe. These same films may now go a step farther. They may even carry an actual message through speech spoken by some character, perhaps of America's doctrines for world peace."

Even the more entertainment oriented Jack Warner expressed his belief that movies could influence people's attitudes. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt assumed the U.S. presidency in 1933, the Warner brothers " . . . had backed Roosevelt's candidacy. Harry hadn't been happy with a Senate investigation of a stock sale of his during the Hoover administration . . . Jack (Warner) bragged, Roosevelt had privately offered him an ambassadorship. He told everyone he declined, saying, 'I think I can do better for your foreign relations with a good picture about America now and then."

According to Douglas Gomery, however, Stanley Kramer, who started producing and directing Hollywood films in 1941, " . . . broke the ground for the serious Hollywood film with his simple tales with clear-cut humanist messages (and) . . . overt liberal themes . . . Through (his) . . . works he tackled such formerly forbidden subjects as mental illness, racism, juvenile delinquency,

and nuclear war. More than any Hollywood talent, Stanley Kramer set out to create the serious adult issue-oriented film, in which the spirit of the characters triumphed over the injustice in the world."

Gomery goes on to say that in " . . . the late 1940s the movies were still considered a mass medium, one which was significantly affecting values and beliefs of the American society as a whole. Indeed, this assumption lay at the heart of the investigation of the movie industry's ties to Communists, the witch-hunt of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Anti-communists found Communists at work in Hollywood, and since it was known that the movies influenced society in important ways, it was permissible to identify and blacklist these radical moviemakers."

As Gorham Kindem reports, "[c]ertain public interest groups, independent domestic and foreign film businesses, and government agencies (had) . . . been genuinely concerned about the structure of the American feature-film industry, the concentration of power in the hands of a few, and the content of American films. Films, they argue, are cultural and aesthetic artifacts that have social and political effects. They are not commercial products pure and simple, although the American courts defined films in this way until 1952, prohibiting them from participating in First Amendment protections against censorship."

The Supreme Court's series of consent decrees handed down between 1949 through 1952 and popularly referred to as the Paramount consent decrees actually dealt with anti-trust issues, but these decrees contained dictum which foreshadowed the overturning of the 1915 Mutual Film Corp. case. "Writing for the court, Mr. Justice Douglas announced: 'We have no doubt that movie pictures, like newspapers and radio, are included in the press whose freedom is guaranteed by the First Amendment.'"

Then, in 1952, after the Paramount decrees had all been handed down, the Supreme Court in Burstyn v. Wilson, the first censorship case to reach the Court since 1915, held what had been dictum in the antitrust case. The court announced that it now considered motion pictures a significant medium for the communication of ideas. This perception, of course, entitled the movies to the protection of the First Amendment." It also meant that movies are more than mere entertainment, and they influence human behavior.

The Production Code Administration's powers were " . . . severely reduced in 1952 when the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment extended to movies and provided 'the same protected status held by newspapers, magazines and organized speech.'" Of course, if the movie industry accepts (and it has) the protection of the First Amendment it must also accept that movies represent " . . . a significant medium for the communication of ideas . . . " Then, in turn, the movie industry must also accept that movies cannot possibly be merely entertainment, and further that movies influence behavior because ideas have always and will always be important motivators of human conduct. Unfortunately, the movie industry tries to have it both ways. The industry's executives constantly rely on the protection afforded by the First Amendment, but refuse to admit that this protection exists primarily because the film industry is a significant medium for the communication of ideas.

As an example of some of the important ideas that films' communicate, director Mike Nichols explains that his 1967 film The Graduate was about " . . . finding yourself surrounded by


objects, and people who are concerned with objects. It's about saving yourself from becoming an object, through passion and, if necessary, madness." The following year, Night of the Living Dead (1968) offered even more serious ideas in the context of a horror movie. Premiere magazine states that the film offers " . . . the most literal possible image of America devouring itself. The movie pits black against white, child against parent, hawk against dove-and that is just in the besieged farmhouse that serves as the main location! Meanwhile, the marauding zombies provide a grimly hilarious cross section of ordinary Americans." For many, this movie's image of America accurately describes contemporary conditions in this country.

Medved suggests that "[w]hile searching for scapegoats, the entertainment industry ignores the obvious: that Hollywood's crisis is, at its very core, a crisis of values. It's not 'mediocrity and escapism' that leave audiences cold, but sleaze and self-indulgence. What troubles people about the popular culture isn't the competence with which it's shaped, but the messages it sends, the view of the world it transmits."

Some see an even much deeper significance to movie going. Premiere's Editor/Publication Director Susan Lyne reports that " . . . in Europe today, American films account for almost eight out of every ten tickets sold . . . these are . . . the images that are shaping the planet's imagination." According to financial analyst Harold Vogel, the "[e]ntertainment industries . . . produce things you can't hold in your hands, or taste, or smell; they produce things that you experience and that you emotionally carry away with you long after a movie's last reel has unspooled . . . " If Jung was right when he said that myth is the highest form of truth because it originates in our dreams, then the cinema could be the great connector to our collective unconscious."

Still others even equate the film experience to religion. Geoffrey Hill points out that " . . . while we might not intentionally be looking for them, we often find answers to our big questions on the big screen. Hill goes on to suggest in his book "Illuminating Shadows: The Mythic Power of Film:

"As ironic modern worshipers we congregate at the cinematic temple. We pay our votive offerings at the box office. We buy our ritual popcorn. We hush in reverent anticipation as the lights go down and the celluloid magic begins. Throughout the filmic narrative we identify with the hero . . . We vicariously exult in the victories of the drama. And we are spiritually inspired by the moral of the story, all the while believing we are modern techno-secular people, devoid of religion. Yet the depth and the intensity of our participation reveal a religious fervor that is not much different from that of religious zealots."

As David Prindle points out, "[b]ecause people learn things from their entertainment, every story is a potential vehicle for ideological messages. As with any art, the attitudes of the artists have always seeped into screen entertainment . . . " Brian Lowry adds that movies, just as television are powerful communicators of ideas. "There can be no greater endorsement or indictment of television than that taking over a nation's TV network seems to be a staple of any effort to overthrow a government. The medium's perceived power became evident again during the attempted coup (1993) against Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, as opponents waged a bloody battle to take over the TV network to control the flow of information." As noted earlier, Jane Kinosian believes that the images and ideas generated by film and television " . . . have seeped into and shaped our subconscious more than anything since maybe religion."

Of course, no one would seriously argue that newspapers, magazines and organized speech do not influence the behavior of individuals, thus how can the film industry apologists argue that

movies, clearly, a more effective form of communication than the other three, do not influence the

behavior of those same individuals? For film industry moguls to take the position that movies are merely entertainment and do not convey messages, seems an extraordinary example of compartmentalization of the brain, in view of the fact that movies have been granted First Amendment Free Speech protection precisely because they do communicate ideas.

In addition, it is inconsistent to the extreme for spokespersons of the Hollywood establishment to claim that movies are "merely entertainment" and thus do not influence behavior, while at the same time allowing elements of the organized Jewish community the opportunity to influence the content of motion pictures based on the underlying assumption that movies do in fact influence behavior, particularly, when it comes to anti-Semitic attitudes, on which anti-Semitic behavior is based. (The numerous incidences of attempted and successful film censorship by segments of the Jewish community and designed to prevent negative or stereotypical portrayals which in turn may lead to discrimination are discussed in this book's earlier chapter entitled "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda" as well as the more detailed treatment of the same subject in this book's companion volume A Study in Motion Picture Propaganda--Hollywood's Preferred Movie Messages.)

The "Wisdom" of Movie Messages--There is actually a considerable amount of "wisdom" communicated through motion pictures, and this communication has been occurring for many years. It is absolute irresponsible folly, therefore, for film industry representatives to deny this underlying truth about the very nature of the medium (i.e., all movies communicate messages, some of which are quite profound). Some in Hollywood still believe in the myth that movies with messages will not make money. The truth is that such a belief falls into the category of all Hollywood formulas that have " . . . been successfully broken and shown to be false at one time or another through a box-office success." It is also true, of course, that all motion pictures contain messages, thus, the myth cited above, could not possibly be true under any circumstances.

One of the " . . . first pictures with a definite message about anti-Semitism (Crossfire), made money. Since then there have been a whole cycle of pictures like Home of the Brave, Lost Boundaries and Pinky, with messages about the (so-called) Negro problem, and these have all been profitable. Contrary to expectations they have been O.K.'d for distribution and were successful in the South, in spite of its (supposedly) well-known resistance to pro-Negro themes." On the other hand, I Married a Communist, The Iron Curtain, The Red Menace and Red Danube, the major anti-Communist movies, have not been successful either at the box office or with the critics." According to Variety, "[t]heir lack of success, which was contrary to all expectations, had nothing to do with their message but much to do with their poor quality: 'The public will buy message pix, but they gotta be good.'"

In 1950, Powdermaker reported that "[y]ear after year, the list of top box-office hits indicates great diversity in audience tastes . . . " However, " . . . in spite of this demonstrated many-sided character of the taste of movie audiences, the industry continues to look for formulas, and to produce cycles of pictures dealing with the same theme . . . The industry attempts not only to use formulas for movie plots, but to use star actors as another formula for success, and to stereotype actors, those who play secondary roles as well as stars." The executives rationalize: "We give the public what it wants." That is the same thing Jack Valenti is so fond of saying into the '90s, (i.e., "The public votes with its pocketbook.") Unfortunately, neither statement is true.





The following movie messages are provided to support the contention that movies can and do offer a considerable amount of wisdom. In 1966, for example, Francois Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 was a movie about the love of books in a futuristic time when the government forbids book ownership. The film's final scene shows " . . . human beings who have become books in order to preserve their contents in an age of book-burning." Roger Ebert reports that "[b]y the end of Walkabout (1971), audiences had gained an appreciation of the aborigine culture, and had learned something about man's place in nature."

Also, that year, The Last Picture Show (1971) made the statement that "[m]ovies create our dreams as well as reflect them, and when we lose the movies we lose the dreams." Another 1971 offering, The Go-Between made the statement that " . . . children were the ones who suffered directly at the hands of class snobbism (in Britain) . . . and sometimes their personalities were marked for life." Finally, in 1971, I Never Sang for My Father was " . . . about the fierce love . . . " a father (Melvyn Douglas) and a son (Gene Hackman) have " . . . for each other, and about their inability to communicate that love, or very much of anything else . . . " The movie teaches the lesson that Hackman verbalizes in the movie: "Death ends a life. But it does not end a relationship."

In 1972, Last Tango in Paris starring Marlon Brando made the statement that " . . . one person, who may be uncommitted and indifferent, nevertheless can at a certain moment become of great importance to another." That same year, Elaine May's The Heartbreak Kid was an examination of " . . . social hypocrisy . . . how we do violence to each other with our egos." The story follows a guy who decides on his honeymoon that he has married the wrong woman and sets out to capture another girl he considers more desirable.

The 1974 film, Death Wish with Charles Bronson, is characterized by Roger Ebert as " . . . a quasifascist advertisement for urban vigilantes . . . propaganda for private gun ownership and a call to vigilante justice." In that same year, Federico Fellini's Amarcord provided " . . . some notion of the way fascist Italy of the early 1930s helped to shape . . . people. In an authoritarian system, (the movie argues) the individual has fewer choices to make, and there's a temptation to surrender the responsibilities of freedom."

In 1976, Network was the movie industry's way of " . . . telling us . . . that television

. . . is . . . an economic process in the blind pursuit of ratings and technical precision, in which excellence is as accidental as banality." Of course, it also appears to be at least partly true that the film industry is " . . . an economic process in the blind pursuit of . . . " dollars and other private agendas " . . . in which excellence is (also) as accidental as banality."

The following year, Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977) taught us that " . . . [p]romiscuous young women who frequent pick-up bars and go home with strangers are likely to get into trouble." Also, in 1977, Oh, God! presents God in human flesh (played by George Burns) to remind us of God's message: "That things can turn out all right, although they will not necessarily or automatically do so. That we have everything here on Earth that we need to bring a happy ending to our story. And that we should try being a little nicer to one another."

In 1978, Blue Collar made the statement that " . . . unions and management tacitly collaborate on trying to set the rich against the poor, the black against the white, the old against the young, to divide and conquer." This "divide and conquer" theme is also one of the consistent messages the film industry communicates through its movies. In other words, if the Hollywood establishment can continue to keep members of all of those interest groups who have no power in the film community from creating an effective coalition in opposition to what is really going on in Hollywood, the film industry oligopoly will continue.

Even the 1979 horror film Dawn of the Dead had a message. It provided a " . . . satiric view of the American consumer society." Also, in 1979, The Electric Horseman, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda told a story involving " . . . the evils of corporate conglomeratism, the preservation of our wild lands, respect for animals, the phoniness of commercialism, the pack instinct of TV journalism, and nutritious breakfasts . . . " Of course, once again, the U.S. motion picture industry itself is a good example of "the evils of corporate conglomeratism and the phoniness of commercialism."

In 1980, Ordinary People made the statement that " . . . [f]amilies can go along for years without ever facing the underlying problems in their relationships." Also that year, Nine to Five had " . . . a dash of social commentary. The message has to do with women's liberation and, specifically, with the role of women in large corporate offices." Other social issues treated include " . . . day care, staggered work hours, equal pay (and) . . . merit promotion). It is always a little odd, of course, to see a movie about issues like equal pay and merit promotion that generally do not exist at any level in the industry that produces such movies.

The next year, in My Dinner With Andre (1981) " . . . two friends talk . . . (about) . . . trying to live better lives, of learning to listen to what others are really saying, of breaking the shackles of conventional ideas about our bodies and allowing them to more fully sense the outer world." That same year, Prince of the City (1981) made a statement " . . . about the ways in which a corrupt modern city makes it almost impossible for a man to be true to the law, his ideals, and his friends, all at the same time."

The World According to Garp (1982) comments on " . . . the collapse of middle-class family values and the rise of random violence in our society." Another 1982 offering, The Verdict starred Paul Newman, and ultimately said that " . . . if you wash it down with booze, victory tastes just like defeat." That same year Missing, starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek provides " . . . a specific attack on American policies in Chile during and after the Allende regime." Also, in 1982, An Officer and a Gentleman portrayed " . . . love as growth, as learning to accept other people for who and what they are."

In 1983 War Games made the statement that " . . . [s]ooner or later, a self-satisfied, sublimely confident computer is going to blow us all off the face of the planet." The film uses its characters to argue that " . . . men, not computers, should make the final nuclear decisions." That same year, Valley Girl told the of a school girl's heartbreaking decision: Should she stick with her boring jock boyfriend, or take a chance on a punk from Hollywood?" The movie makes the statement that teenagers are " . . . uncertain about sex, they're hearts send out confusing signals, and they're slaves to peer pressure."

Another 1983 film, Heat and Dust made an angry statement about the fact that " . . . women of every class and every system, women British and Indian, women of the 1920s and of the 1980s, are always just not quite the same caste as men." Also, in 1983, Trading Places used a situation in which a " . . . white preppy snot and a black street hustler trade places . . . " to make the point that " . . . environment counts for more than heredity . . . " and other " . . . points about racial prejudice in America." Trading Places was clearly an entertaining movie, but it was not merely


entertainment. Finally, that same year, Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi (1983) " . . . contrasts the glory of nature with the mess made by man."

In 1984, the movie Against All Odds starring Rachel Ward and Jeff Bridges " . . . has a lot of muted social criticism in it, involving professional sports and ecology." That same year, Country was " . . . about the farm policies of the Carter and Reagan administrations, and how . . . those policies are resulting in the destruction of family farms." Also, in 1984 Irreconcilable Differences told about " . . . how Hollywood (and American success in general) tends to cut adults off from the natural functions of parents . . . "

Robert Altman's Secret Honor (1984) attempted to answer questions about the Nixon presidency. The film suggests the rather radical idea that " . . . Watergate was staged to draw attention away from more serious, even treasonous activities. Kissinger was on the payroll of the Shah of Iran, and supplied the Shah with young boys during his visits to New York. Marilyn Monroe was indeed murdered by the CIA, and so on." Another '84 pic, Amadeus, starred F. Murray Abraham and asked the " . . . fundamental question . . . (of) whether we can learn to be grateful for the happiness of others . . . " That same year, The Flamingo Kid used " . . . a kid from a poor Brooklyn neighborhood (Matt Dillon) . . . " who takes " . . . a job as a cabana boy at a posh beach club out on Long Island . . . " to illustrate " . . . how easy it is to be deceived by surfaces."

The Universal release of Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985) presented the story of a " . . . shadowy band of dissenters . . . " in a society " . . . controlled by a monolithic organization, and (where) citizens lead lives of paranoia and control. Thought police are likely to come crashing through the ceiling and start bashing at dissenters . . . " The movie suggested " . . . an anarchic vision in which the best way to improve things is to blow them up." That same year, Hannah and Her Sisters taught " . . . that modern big-city lives are so busy, so distracted, so filled with ambition and complication that there isn't time to stop and absorb the meaning of things."

Also in 1985, Heartbreakers made the statement that you " . . . can only play the field so long. Then you get stuck in it. You become a person so adept at avoiding commitment that it eventually becomes impossible for you to change your own rules, and so there you are, trapped in your precious freedom." That same year, A Room with a View (1985) provided another " . . . attack on the British class system."

Agnes Varda's Vagabond (1985) told " . . . the story of an unhappy young woman who left her boring job for a carefree life on the road, and gradually sank, one small step at a time, down the scale of social acceptability until she became a vagrant." The film suggests " . . . that we may all be closer to the gutter than we think, if we lose our discipline and our support systems." Also, in 1985, The Trip to Bountiful made the statement that someday we will all be old and we " . . . won't be able to believe it either." Finally, in 1985, 9 ½ Weeks, starring Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke, argues " . . . that sexual experimentation is one thing, but the real human personality is something else, something incomparably deeper and more valuable--and more erotic."

In 1986, The Boy Who Could Fly tried to teach the lesson that " . . . anything is possible, if only you have faith." That same year, My Beautiful Launderette provided " . . . a feeling for the society its characters inhabit. Modern Britain is a study in contrasts, between rich and poor, between upper and lower classes, between native British and the various immigrant groups . . . To this mixture, the movie adds the conflict between straight and gay." The film argues " . . . that you have a choice. You can accept your class, social position, race, sexuality, or prejudices as absolutes, and live entirely inside them . . . " or you can consider other possibilities. Also, in 1986, actress Daphne Zuniga " . . . reading unsuccessfully for a part in the hit movie Top Gun, tried to convince star Tom Cruise to alter the script so his heroic young airman eventually questions his militaristic ways . . . " (i.e., she attempted to change the movie's message). If movies were merely entertainment, Zuniga would probably not have felt compelled to make such a request.

The following year (1987), the film Sammy and Rosie Get Laid was " . . . far from hopeful about the future of London." The film presents " . . . the city as a bulwark of privilege against the homeless, a city in which racism is bad, but class divisions are worse and more harmful . . . " The film suggests that " . . . interracial love, once considered some kind of social breakthrough, is not going to change anything fundamental when all races are oppressed by the same economic system . . . " Also, in 1987, the movie Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll makes the convincing argument that Chuck Berry " . . . was a crucial figure in the development of rock 'n' roll . . . " The Fringe Dwellers, another 1987 release, shows " . . . Aborigines in an uncertain relationship with white society in Australia . . . (and includes) . . . racist jokes from the white kids . . . "

Broadcast News (1987) raised the question of " . . . whether TV news is becoming show business." The Whistle Blower (1987) was " . . . about the British spy establishment." The film uses the British spy apparatus as a way of dramatizing the class distinctions that still exist in Britain." The film ultimately says that for some of the British, not even " . . . security considerations . . . (are) as important as defending a network of privilege." In recent years, movies about or commenting on class warfare in Britain seem to be the predominant themes among statements being made by movies about the British, just as other common themes (discussed in the earlier chapters entitled "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers", "More Bias in Motion Picture Biographies" and "Favored Themes and Motion Picture Propaganda") seem to be apparent in Hollywood movies about people, places and things in the U.S. and around the world.

Also, in 1987 Swimming to Cambodia (1987) tells the story of " . . . the genocide that was practiced by the fanatic Khmer Rouge on their Cambodian countrymen . . . (including) the disappearance of millions of Cambodians in the greatest mass murder of modern history." That being the case, it is instructive to compare the relatively large number of movies Hollywood has generated over the years about the Jewish Holocaust with the small number of movies Hollywood has presented on "the greatest mass murder of modern history". Obviously, there are not many persons of Cambodian heritage in high level positions in Hollywood.

Another 1987 picture, Defence of the Realm (1987) is " . . . against nuclear arms. It " . . . suggests that the British and their U.S. allies would do anything to defend the American nuclear presence in the U.K . . . (and further) assumes that a conspiracy can be covered up, and that the truth will not necessarily ever be found."

The Last Emperor (1987) made the statement that " . . . a single human life could have infinite value." Oliver Stone's 1987 contribution Wall Street, was " . . . a radical critique of the capitalist trading mentality." The movie " . . . argues that most small investors are dupes, and that the big market killings are made by men like . . . " the character played by Michael Douglas. "Stone's target is the value system that places profits and wealth and the Deal above any other consideration. His film is an attack on an atmosphere of financial competitiveness so ferocious that ethics are simply irrelevant, and the laws are sort of like the referee in pro wrestling, part of the show." This Roger Ebert description of Oliver Stone's message in Wall Street accurately mirrors part of the message of this book, (i.e., that " . . . the value system" of the U.S. film industry " . . . places profits and wealth and the Deal above any other consideration . . . (in an) atmosphere of financial competitiveness (between insiders and outsiders) so ferocious that ethics are simply irrelevant, and the laws are sort of like the referee in pro wrestling, part of the show.")



In 1988, the film Colors, tried " . . . to understand a little of the tragic gang dynamic, to explain why in some devastated inner-city neighborhoods they seem to offer the only way for young men to find power and status." Also, in 1988, Hairspray, set in Baltimore in 1962 " . . . carries a social message as sort of a sideline . . . 'The Corny Collins Show' is racially segregated, and Ricki and her black friends help to change that situation, gate-crashing a Corny Collins night at the local amusement park."

That same year (1988) the Jonathan Kaplan movie The Accused sought to " . . . reveal a truth that most women already know . . . that verbal sexual harassment, whether crudely in a saloon back room or subtly in an everyday situation, is a form of violence--one that leaves no visible marks but can make its victims feel unable to move freely and casually in society." Also, in 1988, Miles From Home, starring Richard Gere told the story of two brothers who after realizing they are going to lose their " . . . farm to the bank . . . burn down the farmhouse and set the fields ablaze . . . (and set out to) . . . escape across the state of Iowa." The movie provides an angry reaction to the squeeze on small farmers . . . " in America.

Stand and Deliver (1988) told " . . . the story of a high school mathematics teacher who takes a class of losers and potential dropouts and transforms them, in the course of one school year, into kids who have learned so much that eighteen of them are able to pass a tough college-credit exam at the end of the year." The film shows that " . . . motivation and hard work can rewrite the destinies of kids that society might be willing to write off." That same year, the murder of the talk radio host in Talk Radio may have suggested that we should be " . . . cautious . . . prudent . . . bland, never push anybody, never say what you really think (and) offer yourself as a hostage to the weirdos even before they make the first move." On the other hand, as movie critic Roger Ebert points out: "Of what use is freedom of speech to those who fear to offend?"

School Daze (1988) confronted " . . . a lot of issues that (generally) aren't talked about in the movies these days, not only issues of skin color and hair, but also the emergence of a black middle class, the purpose of all-black universities in an integrated society, and the sometimes sexist treatment of black women by black men." Cocoon: The Return (1988) raises the philosophical question of " . . . which is better, to live forever on another world, or get sick and die on this one, but at least get to see your grandson playing baseball?"

Also, in 1988, A Cry in the Dark starred Meryl Streep as a Seventh-day Adventist in Australia " . . . where that religion is in a small minority and widely misunderstood." She was blamed for murdering her own baby and blaming it on wild dogs. The movie makes the statement that " . . . when passions run high enough, a court is likely to decide almost anything about anybody--especially an unlikable, unpopular member of a minority group charged with an unspeakable crime." Another 1988 release, Madame Soustzka starred Shirley MacLaine in a " . . . movie about soldiering on, about continuing to do your best, day after day, simply because you believe in yourself--no matter what anyone else thinks." And, Rain Man (1988) starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise " . . . is about acceptance." The film makes the statement that " . . . love involves . . . " accepting the person we love exactly as they are.

In 1989, Michael Moore's documentary Roger & Me made a statement " . . . about corporate newspeak and the ways in which profits really are more important to big American corporations than the lives of their workers." Also, in 1989, the movie Jacknife, starring Robert De Niro and Ed Harris, made the statement that " . . . life goes on, and that today cannot be lived out in painful memories of the past."



That same year, (1989), Roger Ebert suggests that Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July was " . . . an apology for Vietnam uttered by Stone, who fought there, and Ron Kovic, who was paralyzed from the chest down in Vietnam . . . " According to Ebert, the movie is saying that we " . . . do apologize for our mistakes in this country, but we let our artists do it, instead of our politicians." The movie also made the statement that our "military care system (in this country) . . . is hopelessly overburdened." Also, in 1989, one of the themes of Field of Dreams (1989) was " . . . the way love means sharing your loved one's dreams."

Little Vera (1989) was characterized by the U.S. film critic Roger Ebert as " . . . the first Soviet film to deal frankly with youth rebellion." The film's " . . . portrait of everyday life in the Soviet Union . . . on the side of youth and against authority . . . makes clear . . . that much of the unhappiness (there) comes from a social system which has given people no clear tasks, few areas to exercise personal ambition, cramped living quarters, no privacy, and too much bootleg booze." Ebert states that this film strongly expresses " . . . a deep discontent among Russians who have lived in an incompetently managed society for too long."

In 1990, "Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues was " . . . about a jazzman . . . (and about) . . . being so wrapped up in your career that you don't have space for relationships, and you can't see where you're headed . . . " Also, "[o]ne sideman (in the band) has a white girlfriend, and the others argue the pros and cons of that until he tells them it's none of their business." According to Roger Ebert the purpose of the 1990 film, The Handmaid's Tale, was" . . . to isolate, exaggerate, and dramatize the ways in which women are the handmaidens of society in general and men in particular . . . " Ebert suggests that the " . . . movie seems equally angry that women have to have children at all, and that it is hard for them to have children now that men have mucked up the planet with their greedy schemes."

Dances With Wolves (1990) shows that the " . . . dominant American culture was nearsighted, incurious, and racist, and saw the Indians as a race of ignorant, thieving savages, fit to be shot on sight." It also makes the point that " . . . the Indians were driven from their lands by genocide and theft . . . " Also, in 1990, Q&A was " . . . about . . . the rough and careless way that cops and other tough guys (in New York City) throw around racial insults." The "cops and other tough guys" include blacks and Irish, and Jews and Hispanics and Italians and Slavics . . . everyone in this movie uses racial and ethnic slang constantly . . . " In this way, the movie raises the question: "Can the law be color-blind when none of its instruments are?" The same question ought to be asked about the film industry. Can Hollywood produce and release films that more fairly portray non-Jews if the industry is dominated by Jewish males of a European heritage who are politically liberal and not very religious (see Who Really Controls Hollywood), and who regularly discriminate against persons who do not have a similar heritage?

Also, in 1990, Longtime Companion told " . . . about friendship and loyalty, about finding the courage to be helpful, and the humility to be helped." That same year, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1990) focuses on " . . . the greed of an entrepreneurial class that takes over perfectly efficient companies and steals their assets, that marches roughshod over timid laws in pursuit of its own aggrandizement, that rapes the environment, that enforces its tyranny on the timid majority--which distracts itself with romance and escapism to avoid facing up to the bullyboys." Ironically, once again, one of the primary vehicles of this sort of "escapism" is the Hollywood movie, and some of the most zealous adherents of this sort of greed are the Hollywood studio executives and agents.

Flashback (1990) starred Kiefer Sutherland as a " . . . young FBI man assigned to return . . . Dennis Hopper, a " . . . once famous . . . activist . . . " who has been " . . . in hiding for twenty years . . . to Spokane for trial . . . " and in the process the film provides a " . . . contrast between the values of the Summer of Love and the greed of the Me Decade." Also, in 1990, The Two Jakes made the point that " . . . love and loss are more important than the mechanical distribution of guilt and justice." Ebert suggests that the movie is really " . . . about the values which people have, and about the things that mean more to them than life and freedom." 1990's Blue Steel represented the rare Hollywood film (independently produced by Vestron) that portrays a woman with intelligence. The movie " . . . presents . . . male authorities . . . who are blinded to the facts by their preconceptions about women in general and female cops in particular."

Movie critic Roger Ebert suggests that the 1991 movie version of Madame Bovary made the statement that "[t]hose who believe that the solution to their boredom is external to themselves move restlessly from one disappointment to the next." Also, in 1991, Hangin' With the Homeboys is " . . . about four friends, two blacks, two Hispanics . . . young inner-city men looking for direction in their lives." As Roger Ebert points out: "These are nice kids. Maybe that's the message."

That same year (1991) Dark Obsession tried to show " . . . how the very fabric of the lives of (British) . . . aristocrats has undercut their human perspective, has convinced them they are above and beyond the law." Also, in 1991, one disturbing thing emerges " . . . about the turtles (in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze) . . . they look essentially the same. All that differentiates them . . . are their weapons. It's as if the whole sum of a character's personality is expressed by the way he does violence." Ebert suggests that the Ninja turtle movies are teaching kids " . . . that the world is a sinkhole of radioactive waste, that it's more reassuring to huddle together in sewers than take your chance competing at street level, and that individuality is dangerous."

Also, in 1991, Ebert reports that Spike Lee's Jungle Fever made the statement that " . . . when blacks and whites go to bed with one another, they are motivated, not by love or affection, but by media-based myths about the sexual allure of the other race." The Hollywood Reporter has a slightly different slant on this Lee movie, saying, the film is another reminder that director Spike Lee " . . . has racial issues uppermost on his mind." If the Hollywood Reporter can make such statements about what is on Spike Lee’s mind, then it must be appropriate to speculate about what is on the minds of other Hollywood filmmakers whose films also repeat certain themes (see "Patterns of Bias: Movies Mirror Their Makers").

Lee’s film provides " . . . an inspection of an interracial romance between a black architect (Wesley Snipes) and his Italian-American secretary (Annabella Sciorra) (and includes) . . . plenty of potent messages about racism, attitudes of whites about blacks and vice versa . . . one of the topics he points out as a hazard in modern-day society . . . is the lack of communication within many family units and ethnic communities." Lee illustrates " . . . it can be just as bad between fathers and sons, husbands and wives, brother and brother, blacks and other blacks, Italians and Italians, and so on."

In any case, we now see that finally a few African-Americans are being allowed to express their feelings about American society through film, although there continues to be a disproportionate number of Jewish males of European heritage in control positions, thus, only the black filmmakers that are approved by the politically liberal, not very religious Jewish males of European heritage, telling the stories approved by this same control group are getting these opportunities. The rest of the religious, racial, ethnic and cultural minorities that make up America have pretty much had to stand on the sidelines and watch.

Also, in 1991, Mel Brooks' Life Stinks made the statement that " . . . [i]t may take more skill and intelligence to live without money than to make and spend a great deal of it . . . " That same year, My Own Private Idaho taught us that " . . . all experience is potentially ridiculous; that if we could see ourselves with enough detachment, some of the things we take with deadly seriousness might seem more than faintly absurd." The next year (1992) Of Mice and Men made the statement that the " . . . mentally impaired need, but rarely get, compassion . . . " The film also pointed out the " . . . evils of racial segregation . . . "

In 1992, American Me, starring Edward James Olmos, suggested that the effect of the " . . . U.S. penal system . . . is neither the punishment nor the eradication of crime, but the training of criminals . . . " and that in " . . . reality . . . (the) street gangs and prison, mixed with the drug sales that finance the process, work together to create a professional criminal class . . . (whose only) . . . choices are crime or death . . . "

Let Him Have It (1992) was " . . . based on true British crime material." The movie raised questions about " . . . a harmless young man, mentally incapable of responsibility for his own actions, (who) got into the wrong place at the wrong time and said tragically the wrong words . . . " He was put to death for it " . . . in a British prison a few years after World War II." The film argued against " . . . capital punishment . . . saying " . . . if the law makes a mistake, an innocent life is lost." Also, in 1992, Until the End of the World starred William Hurt and made the statement that we " . . . humans should remain centered in our traditional storytelling skills, and not allow technology to dictate the way we communicate and dream."

Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives (1992) argued " . . . that many 'rational' relationships are actually not as durable as they seem, because somewhere inside every person is a child crying me! me! me!" In addition, the movie made the statement that " . . . [t]rue love involves loving another's imperfections . . . " Does this sound as if Woody Allen is merely trying to entertain, or that he really wants to say something important here?

Also, in 1992, Toys starred Robin Williams as a " . . . good-hearted man trying to save his dead father's toy factory from his evil uncle . . . " As Entertainment Weekly points out, the movie took " . . . a swipe at the countless violent video games kids play today . . . " That same year, Where the Day Takes You (1992) portrayed runaway teen-agers. The movie showed " . . . how young people need families and will form their own if they are failed by those they were born into." It also illustrated that " . . . trouble has a way of attracting more trouble; the nature of the law and society are such that these characters cannot exist without breaking laws, whether they intend to or not, and that automatically sets in motion a chain of additional broken laws, including evasion of arrest . . . (and that an) insignificant initial crime can mushroom into a situation of true desperation."

In addition, the 1992 release, A River Runs Through It told " . . . about how a father attempts to pass on to his children the fundamental principles of his life." The movie made the statement that " . . . most of the events in any life are accidental or arbitrary, especially the crucial ones, and we can exercise little conscious control over our destinies . . . " And the father's lessons are " . . . about how to behave no matter what life brings; about how to wade into the unpredictable stream and deal with whatever happens with grace, courage and honesty." That same year, Paramount's Patriot Games (1992) again showed a bias " . . . toward the British . . . " although one statement in support of the Irish cause is allowed to filter through when the Richard Harris character makes the point that " . . . when Americans talk of their own uprising against their British colonial rulers, they call the revolutionaries 'patriots,' not 'terrorists." Otherwise, this " . . . film has little time for such distinctions or for the nuances of the Irish cause."

The Player (1992) was " . . . about a Hollywood executive whose studio power struggle seems to threaten him more deeply than a murder investigation." That same year, Primary Motive, starring Judd Nelson and Justine Bateman, provided " . . . a scathing indictment of dirty


tricks and candidates' win-no-matter-what-the-cost mentality." Also, in 1992, Grand Canyon talked about breaking down " . . . the barriers society erects between people . . . "

Another 1992 film, Article 99 (Orion) was " . . . about the inhumanity of a modern government hospital . . . " The film traced " . . . the reality of a veterans hospital in much the same way Catch-22 conveyed the lunacy of warfare." That same year, (1992) South Central was " . . . about the cycle of crime and gangs that places a generation of young black men on a merry-go-round between violence in the streets and in prison." The film showed " . . . clearly how the gangs use drugs and violence to enforce a new kind of slavery. If people are addicted to crack, they will need money to buy it. That helps the gangs (in) two ways: (1) they sell the drugs, making money, and (2) they can encourage addicts to steal, deal, and prostitute for drug money, and then tax the proceeds of their crimes."

According to Variety, 1992's Batman director Tim Burton " . . . once again managed to pursue his quirky personal concerns in the context of commercial entertainment . . . " In the film he performs an " . . . architecturally fascistic reimagining of Rockefeller Center Plaza (and fills the film with) . . . nasty notions about societal deterioration, greed and other base impulses." In addition, the film portrays Christopher Walken as " . . . the metropolis' leading businessman (villain) Max Shreck, a character named, as an in-joke, after the German actor Max Schreck (who starred in the 1922 German version of the Dracula story Nosferatu)."

Bob Roberts (1992) was " . . . a satire about a whole mind-set, about the anything-goes greed of the 1980s, when decent American values were replaced by the cold cynicism of management experts . . . " The movie argued that " . . . our political process has been debased . . . (and the film showed) . . . the hazards of choosing a political candidate on the basis of his ability to make us feel comfortable." Finally, in 1992, 1492: Conquest of Paradise made a statement about the " . . . importance of dreamers with courage enough to go against the mainstream (and about) . . . how fear of the unknown impoverishes society."

In 1993, Dave, starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver, made the statement that if " . . . people in power only behaved sensibly and with good will, a lot of our problems would solve themselves." The movie also revealed " . . . just how far we've strayed from having any faith in our leaders." That same year, the Robert Redford, Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson movie Indecent Proposal was " . . . designed to place the viewer in the position of assessing his or her own ideas about marital fidelity, and putting a price tag on them." The movie restates an old Hollywood axiom " . . . that everyone can be bought."

That same year, the 1993 movie version of Much Ado About Nothing starring Denzel Washington, Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, made the statement that " . . . [s]ometimes when people are frightened by the love they feel, it comes out through mock hostility." Also, in 1993, Menace II Society reminds us that " . . . murder is the leading cause of death among young black men. But it doesn't blame the easy target of white racism for that: It looks unblinkingly at a street culture that offers its members few choices that are not self-destructive." Unfortunately, a broader view would have to conclude that the factors contributing to the creation of that "street culture" include the lack of employment opportunities for these young black men, employment opportunities that could be created in many instances by greedy white men who control important industries, just some of whom, like those in the Los Angeles-based U.S. film industry are the Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious, a few of whom might well have been involved in the making of this very movie.


Another 1993 release, Indochine seemed to suggest that " . . . the French still do not quite understand what happened to them in Vietnam . . . " and as Roger Ebert states, " . . . they're not alone." Also, in 1993, Happily Ever After, the continuation of the Snow White saga and Life With Mickey starring Michael J. Fox, both contain anti-smoking messages. That same year, Buena Vista's Money for Nothing starred John Cusack as " . . . an out-of-work longshoreman . . . " and told the story of what happens when he " . . . finds $1.2 million lying in the street . . . " The movie provided a " . . . thinly veiled political tract about haves and the hopelessness of have-nots."

The 1993 Buena Vista release, Sister Act 2 was set in a run-down highschool (St. Francis), " . . . a milieu designed (according to the film's Daily Variety reviewer) to allow the filmmakers to push an agenda counseling youths to stay in school . . . " On another 1993 film, Daily Variety film reviewer Brian Lowry states that the 20th Century-Fox releases Mrs. Doubtfire (starring Robin Williams and Sally Field) mixed " . . . broad comedic strokes with heavy-handed messages about the magical power of family."

The 1994 Sony Pictures Classics release Martha & Ethel portrayed " . . . nannies and their long-lasting influence on the children they raise." One of the two nannies, Martha, was "[b]orn in Germany in 1902 . . . " where she " . . . trained as a baby nurse and worked as a nanny for a Jewish family. In 1936, she escaped Nazi Germany and emigrated to the U.S." The other, Ethel, " . . . was born in 1903 in South Carolina to a sharecropper family . . . " The film ultimately challenges " . . . the conventional definition of family . . . " and effectively shows " . . . that it's possible to be closer as a surrogate than a biological mother. Indeed, the children in both families ultimately absorbed the value systems of their nannies . . . "

Again, the above comments about movie messages, collected from various sources, are not provided because of the truthfulness of any particular statement, but to illustrate the fact that motion pictures can and often do attempt to make serious statements about society, (i.e, the motion picture is a significant medium for the communication of ideas, it is more than merely entertainment).

Movies Affect Politics and Political Thought--There are also examples of movies from time to time that have specifically affected political issues or matters. A few examples include D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915), the film that told the " . . . story of a white family with northern and southern branches torn asunder by the Civil War . . . Its central message was consciously and explicitly to reunite the North and South after the schism of civil war . . . Although Griffith's grander aims were not realized, there is reason to believe that his artistic polemic had effect . . . " Unfortunately, as reported in the previous chapter, the Ku Klux Klan used the film for other purposes.

As another example, the Warner Bros. film Confessions of a Nazi Spy, (1939) was the " . . . first major motion picture to deal with Nazism and to warn the world of its threat to democracy." The film " . . . brought down the wrath of Congress." The studio was " . . . accused by a Senate investigating committee of 'creating hysteria among the American public and inciting them to war.'" Once again, this was in 1939.

Also, Warner Bros.' Mission to Moscow (1943) was a " . . . sympathetic account of (U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union Joseph E. Davis') prewar experiences in Russia . . . " In embarking on the production, Harry Warner told writer Howard Koch: "We're doing this picture because the government wants it done." At a White House dinner the U.S. President is quoted by writer Howard Koch as saying to Jack Warner: "I suggest you do a film based on this book (Mission to Moscow). Our people know almost nothing about the Soviet Union or the Russian people. What they know is largely prejudiced and inaccurate. If we're going to fight the war together, we need a more sympathetic understanding'." Many critics, on the other hand, saw the movie " . . . as a blatant attempt to bully Americans into thinking that the Russians were trustworthy allies . . . "

Harry Warner " . . . in an attempt to mollify (the movie's) . . . pro-Russian stance, said: Mission to Moscow is realism; it is historically important. We believe it will do more to clear up the Russian picture for the American mind than anything thus far offered. We owe an emotional gratitude for Russia's heroic stand, a cheering, warming appreciation of what it has meant to the cause of the Allies. It is this company's hope that Mission to Moscow accomplishes at least some of that." He added: "If the screen does not attempt to inform the public and explain the current struggle, there would be little justification for our existence." Harry Warner was clearly not a studio owner/executive who believed films merely entertain.

Further examples of films affecting politics include the 1976, Warner Bros. release All the President's Men, a " . . . political thriller about the Watergate-related events leading to the resignation of President Nixon . . . " "No less acute observer of American politics than then Governor Reagan of California said he thought the movie (All the President's Men) eventually cost Gerald Ford the presidency against Jimmy Carter, because the film's release in April of '76 and its long run flushed to the surface again all the realities of Watergate that the Republicans had tried so hard to bury." As William Goldman points out, we " . . . are talking then about a movie that may be one of the few that just might have changed the entire course of American history."

In his 1993 book, Risky Business--The Political Economy of Hollywood, David Prindle spends a considerable amount of time documenting and describing the political slant of the film community. He points out that " . . . just as the economics and psychology of Hollywood are unusual, so are the political views of its residents." Prindle goes on to report that "Hollywood politics is different. It is different because Hollywood's sociology is different, and its sociology is different because its economics is different." "Hollywood's odd preoccupation with symbolic politics adds to its unusual economic situation and bizarre sociology to create a community whose attitudes, values, and behavior are in marked contrast to those in the rest of the country. The peculiar economics of the screen entertainment industry is thus the basis for an eccentric group psychology that in turn creates anomalous patterns of political behavior."

Prindle points out that the " . . . organized Hollywood voice . . . not only speaks from a one-dimensional perspective but actually exaggerates the already leftward tendency of the community . . . there is no organizational counterweight to balance the leftward hegemony of Hollywood's political groups." "The people who create American screen entertainment operate in an environment that is without doubt permeated by liberal social and political attitudes." "Unlike the situation in nearly every other community in the country, the lifestyles of even the rich and famous in Hollywood include an allegiance to political liberalism." In a survey of " . . . a group of thirty-five Hollywood opinion leaders, most during the summer of 1990 . . . " David Prindle concluded that " . . . Hollywood is a liberal bastion . . . (and that) Republicans are a rare breed in Hollywood . . . " Prindle observed that Hollywood may represent " . . . the only concentration of educated, wealthy, powerful economic liberals in the country."

Prindle reported further that the " . . . conservatives tend to keep quiet (in Hollywood). They are so outnumbered that they are intimidated, and in addition, they are reluctant to offend the powerful liberals who dominate most of the important institutions." There are " . . . no groups in the (entertainment) industry that make it their business to praise the U.S. military, or lobby against abortion, or support a balanced federal budget, or oppose tax increases, or reward anti-Communist activity, or sympathize with small farmers, or strengthen the traditional family, or, in a general way, celebrate business. The town is devoid of organized effort on behalf of any conservative cause."

As a specific example, of the Hollywood slant on politics, production company head Ted Field (Interscope–Three Men and a Baby) specifically stated that his " . . . goal in entertainment and politics 'is to impact culture.' His main target: the Religious Right of the Republican Party." Field, one of the heirs to the Marshall Fields fortune could have done a lot of things with his money, but he chose to make movies and "impact culture", because he believed films were important and that they, in fact, influence human behavior.

As stated earlier and often in this series of books on Hollywood, in a political democracy which values free speech for everyone, there is simply no excuse for allowing any single or narrowly defined interest group to control or dominate any important communications medium such as the motion picture.

Movies Affect the Education of Our Children--One hundred years ago, the education of children was predominantly the responsibility of parents, schools and churches. That responsibility has not changed, but in the modern world, it is increasingly difficult for parents, schools and churches to effectively compete for the attention of and influence over their own children. The invention and popularity within the last 100 years or so of the motion picture, the phonograph, radio, television, VCR's and CD's, among others, has made it possible for individuals and organizations besides parents, schools and churches (organizations with different motivations) to bombard our children with all sorts of ideas and messages typically under the guise of "entertainment". These messages form another formidable layer of "education" for our children and frustrated parents who do not approve of the kind of "education" being provided through such means have yet to come up with a satisfactory solution to the problem. As Michael Medved points out, "[n]early all parents want to convey to their children the importance of self-discipline, hard work, and decent manners; but the entertainment media celebrate vulgar behavior, contempt for all authority, and obscene language--which is inserted even in 'family fare' where it is least expected."

It is also important to recognize that the same people or corporate conglomerates that produce and distribute American-made motion pictures are also (in many cases) responsible for the production of a significant proportion of our television entertainment and these same corporate conglomerates also have ownership interests in music industry entities. Thus, reform of the U.S. film industry, will impact both television and music, two other media contributing to the education of our children (see Motion Picture Industry Reform).

Movies affect the education of our children and therefore the future of the nation. Technological changes in the means of communication utilized in conveying information to children has created significant challenges for parents, educators and government. The commercially-oriented entertainment industry resists efforts to bring about changes in their freedom to tell stories in any manner and with whatever content they choose. The only remedy which will bring about long-term, lasting reform is to insure diversity at the highest levels of decision-making within the entertainment industry (see the discussion regarding remedies in this book's companion volume Motion Picture Industry Reform).

Concluding Observations--Once again, in a good faith effort to discourage any malicious misreading or misrepresentation of the underlying themes of this book by parties on either side of the questions presented, it is necessary to deal with the possible and even likely false criticism that this book may, in some way, be anti-Semitic. As most people recognize, anti-Semitism requires hostility directed towards Jews generally, or toward one or more Jews because they are Jewish. This book does not rise to a level of "hostility" directed toward anyone, much less persons of Jewish heritage. Rather, it merely criticizes the business-related behavior of a small group of people, most of whom happen to be politically liberal and not very religious Jewish males of European heritage. Nothing in this book or its companion volumes suggests that the behavior of this Hollywood control group (i.e., that small group of Jewish males of European heritage, who are politically liberal and not very religious) is typical of Jews generally. Also, nothing in any of such volumes suggests that any members of the Hollywood control group behave the way they do because they are Jewish. Instead, this book assumes their behavior is atypical and occurs despite their Jewish heritage.

In addition, of course, the actions of the Hollywood "all boys club" clearly do not represent the actions of Jewish women. This book also agrees with Michael Medved that, generally speaking, the actions of the Hollywood control group do not represent the behavior of Jews who are very religious. In point of fact, the behavior of the Hollywood establishment is a source of embarrassment to some Jews around the world, and one of the possible reactions to the publication of these works is that a segment of the so-called Jewish community may publicly denounce the behavior of the Hollywood Jews. Reasonable persons of Jewish heritage are invited to do so.

Furthermore, it is fair to point out that any other ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual preference, racial or political group which found itself in the same or a similarly excessively powerful position in any given industry (by historical accident or otherwise) might become just as arrogant, and behave in a similar way, to the exclusion of all others, so long as those "others" would tolerate it, or were kept in the dark about what was really going on (see Who Really Controls Hollywood and Patterns of Bias in Motion Picture Content).

Why, however, would the Hollywood establishment attempt to mislead the American public about the nature of films? Why would this group (or any other movie industry control group) repeatedly try to convince the American public that movies are merely entertainment, that the moviegoing public votes with its pocketbook (i.e., the audiences ultimately determine what kinds of movies will be shown) and that movies do not influence human behavior? The evidence set forth in this book (and its companion volumes) suggests this deception occurs because the Hollywood establishment wants to discourage the next natural step in any inquiry into the affairs of the film industry, if such questions were answered truthfully. In other words, Hollywood does not want a closer examination of the messages being communicated by a medium that is more than mere entertainment, by a medium that is controlled by a small, narrowly defined interest group (to the exclusion of all other interest groups in a very diverse society). Hollywood does not want an examination of why the Hollywood control group chooses to produce and release the movies it does (regardless of whether audiences really want to see such movies) and Hollywood does not want to accept responsibility for any of the anti-social behavior for which movies are partly responsible.

Unfortunately, there appears to be a significant number of people within our society that have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by movie industry propaganda over the years, and have concluded that movies are not important, that they are really only entertainment, and that they do not influence human behavior. On the other hand, once more people recognize that movies are more than mere entertainment, that they are, in fact, a significant medium for the communication of ideas, and that ideas influence human behavior--therefore, movies influence behavior, then it is likely that people will understand that movies are important, and that they are actually evolving into a vital component of the health and welfare of our entire society.

It is then also easier for more people to recognize that they must become involved in making certain that the leaders of the motion picture industry more accurately reflect the diversity of our society. Such diversity at the top will, in turn, be reflected in the decisions that determine which movies are produced and released, who gets to work on those movies and the messages that are regularly communicated through motion pictures. After all, every citizen has a stake in what messages are repeatedly being communicated to the rest of our society, particularly when those messages are being communicated through such a powerful medium as the motion picture.


Articles, Films, Media Reports and Papers:

Abode, P.J., "Pick-Ups, Pre-Sales and Co-Ventures", Montage (IFP/West publication), Winter 1991/1992.

Achbar, Mark and Wintonick, Peter, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, (a documentary film), 1992.

Adams, Walter and Brock, James W., "Power, and Antitrust Policy: A Case Study of Video Entertainment", The Wayne Law Review, Fall, 1989.

Ainbender, David, "Coming to America Case Settles", Suit Talk Case Closet, Hollywood Law Cybercenter, http://screenwriters.com/Law/suittalk/closet2.html#buchwald, December 10, 1996.

Auf der Maur, Rolf, Enforcement of Antitrust Law and the Motion Picture Industry, student paper presented to UCLA Extension class "The Feature Film Distribution Deal" (instructor--John W. Cones), 1991.

Barsky, Hertz, Ros, and Vinnick, Legal Aspects of Film Financing, April, 1990.

Berry, Jennifer, Female Studio Executives, (a research paper for "Film Finance and Distribution", UCLA Producer's Program, Fall, 1994.]

Bertz, Michael A., "Pattern of Racketeering Activity-A Jury Issue", Beverly Hills Bar Journal, Vo. 26, No. 1, Winter, 1992.

Bertz, Michael A., "Pursuing a Business Fraud RICO Claim", California Western Law Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, 1985.

Bibicoff, Hillary, "Net Profit Participations in the Motion Picture Industry", Loyola Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 11, 1991.

Bowser, Kathryn, "Opportunities Knock (Co-Production Possibilities with Japan and Britain)", The Independent, November, 1991.

Brett, Barry J., and Friedman, Michael D., "A Fresh Look At The Paramount Decrees", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Volume 9, Number 3, Fall 1991, 1.

Brooks, David, "A Fantasy at the Speed of Sound", Insight, May 26, 1986.

Cash William, "Too Many Hoorays for Hollywood", The Spectator, October, 1992.

Chrystie, Stephen, Gould, David and Spoto, Lou, "Insolvency and the Production and Distribution of Entertainment Products", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Vol. 6, No. 4, Spring 1988.

Cohen, Roger, "Steve Ross Defends His Paychecks", The New York Times Magazine, March 22, 1992.

Cohodas, Nadine, "Reagan Seeks Relaxation of Antitrust Laws", Congressional Quarterly, February 1, 1986.

Colton, Edward E., "How to Negotiate Contracts, Deals in the Movie Industry", Edward E. Colton, New York Law Journal, September 23, 1988.

Colton, Edward E., "What to Include in Pacts Between Author & Film Co.", New York Law Journal, October 7, 1988.

Colton, Edward E., "Defining Net Profits, Shares for a Motion Picture Deal", New York Law Journal, September 30, 1988.

Cones, John W., "Feature Film Limited Partnerships: A Practical Guide Focusing on Securities and Marketing for Independent Producers and Their Attorneys", Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal, 1992.

Cones, John W., "Three Hundred Thirty-Seven Reported Business Practices of the Major Studio/Distributors", (self-published compilation, 1991).

Cones, John W., "Maximizing Producers' Negative Pick-Up Profits", Entertainment Law & Finance, Vol. VIII, No. 3, June, 1992.

Continuing Education of the Bar, California, Tax Literacy for the Business Lawyer, (seminar handout, September 1991).

Corliss, Richard, "The Magistrate of Morals", Richard Corliss, Time, October 12, 1992.

Fleming, Karl, "Who Is Ted Ashley?" New York, June 24, 1974.

The Hollywood Reporter, "Antitrust Suit By Theater to Proceed", January 14, 1992, 6.

"JFK and Costello", New York Times, July 27, 1973.

Custolito, Karen and Parisi, Paula, "Power Surge--Women in Entertainment", The Hollywood Reporter, December 6, 1994.

Dekom, Peter J., "The Net Effect: Making Net Profit Mean Something", American Premiere, May-June, 1992.

Dellaverson, John J., "The Director's Right of Final Cut--How Final Is Final?", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Vo. 7, No. 1, Summer/Fall 1988.

Denby, David, "Can the Movies be Saved?", New York, July 21, 1986.

Disner, Eliot G., "Is There Antitrust After 'Syufy'?--Recent Ninth Court Cases Create Barriers to Enforcement", California Lawyer, March 1991, 63.

Eshman, Jill Mazirow, "Bank Financing of a Motion Picture Production", Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal, 1992.

Farrell, L.M., "Financial Guidelines for Investing in Motion Picture Limited Partnerships", Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal, 1992.

Faulkner, Robert R. and Anderson, Andy B., "Short-Term Projects and Emergent Careers: Evidence from Hollywood", American Journal of Sociology, Volume 92, Number 4, January 1987.

Feller, Richard L., "Unreported Decisions and Other Developments (RICO and Entertainment Litigation)", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Vol. 3, No. 2, Fall 1984.

Freshman, Elena R., "Commissions to Non-Broker/Dealers Under California Law", Beverly Hills Bar Journal, Volume 22, Number 2.

Gaydos, Steven, "Piercing Indictment, Steven Gaydos", Los Angeles Reader, December, 1992.

Glasser, Theodore L., "Competition and Diversity Among Radio Formats: Legal and Structural Issues", Journal of Broadcasting, Vol. 28:2, Spring 1984.

Goldman Sachs, "Movie Industry Update--1991", (Investment Research Report), 1991.

Gomery, Douglas, Failed Opportunities: "The Integration of the U.S. Motion Picture and Television Industries", Quarterly Review of Film Studies, Volume 9, Number 3, Summer 1984.

Goodell, Jeffrey, "Hollywood's Hard Times", Premiere, January, 1992.

Granger, Rod and Toumarkine, Doris, "The Un-Stoppables", Spy, November, 1988.

Greenspan, David, "Miramax Films Corp. V. Motion Picture Ass'n of Amer., Inc. The Ratings Systems Survives, for Now", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer 1991.

Greenwald, John, "The Man With the Iron Grasp", Time, September 27, 1993.

Gregory, Keith M., "Blind Bidding: A Need For Change", Beverly Hills Bar Journal, Winter 1982-1983.

Hammond, Robert A. and Melamed, Douglas A., "Antitrust in the Entertainment Industry: Reviewing the Classic Texts in The Image Factory", Gannet Center Journal, Summer 1989.

Hanson, Wes, "Restraint, Responsibility & the Entertainment Media", Wes Hanson, Ethics Magazine, Josephson Institute, 1993.

Harris, Kathryn, "Movie Companies, TV Networks and Publishers Have Been Forced to Audition the Same Act: Cost Cutting", Forbes, January 6, 1992.

Honeycutt, Kirk, "Film Producer Mark Rosenberg Dies at Age 44", The Hollywood Reporter, November 9, 1992.

Independent Feature Project/West, "Feature Development: From Concept to Production", (seminar), November, 1991.

Jacobson, Marc, "Film Directors Agreements", The Entertainment & Sports Lawyer, Vol. 8, No. 1, Spring 1990.

Jacobson, Marc, "Structuring Film Development Deals", Entertainment Law & Finance, September, 1990.

Kagan, Paul, and Associates, Motion Picture Investor (newsletter), June and December issues, 1990.

Kagan, Paul, and Associates, Motion Picture Finance, (seminar), November, 1991.

Kasindorf, Martin, "Cant' Pay? Won't Pay!", Empire, June 1990.

Kopelson, Arnold, "One Producer's Inside View of Foreign and Domestic Pre-Sales in the Independent Financing of Motion Pictures", Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal, 1992.

Layne, Barry and Tourmarkine, Doris, "Court Vacates Consent Decree Against Loews", The Hollywood Reporter, February 20, 1992, 3.

Lazarus, Paul N, III, "Ensuring a Fair Cut of a Hit Film's Profits", Entertainment Law & Finance, Leader Publications, November, 1989.

Leedy, David J., "Projecting Profits from a Motion Picture" (excerpts from an unpublished work), presented Fall 1991, for UCLA Extension class: "Contractual Aspects of Producing, Financing and Distributing Film".

Levine, Michael and Zitzerman, David B., "Foreign Productions and Foreign Financing--The Canadian Perspective", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Vol. 5, No. 4, Spring 1987.

Litwak, Mark, "Lessons In Self Defense--Distribution Contracts and Arbitration Clauses", Mark Litwak, The Independent, 1993.

Litwak, Mark, Successful Producing in the Entertainment Industry (seminar), UCLA Extension, 1990.

Logan, Michael, "He'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again!", Los Angeles Magazine, September 1992.

Los Angeles Times, "Film Studios Threaten Retaliation Against States Banning Blind Bids", June 1, 1981.

Marcus, Adam J., "Buchwald v. Paramount Pictures Corp. and the Future of Net Profit", Cardoza Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 9, 1991.

Mathews, Jack, "Rules of the Game", American Film, March, 1990.

McCoy, Charles W. "Tim", Jr., "The Paramount Cases: Golden Anniversary in a Rapidly Changing Marketplace", Antitrust, Summer 1988, 32.

McDougal, Dennis, "A Blockbuster Deficit", Dennis McDougal, Los Angeles Times, March 21, 1991.

Medved, Michael, "Researching the Truth About Hollywood's Impact--Consensus and Denial", Ethics Magazine, Josephson Institute, 1993.

Moore, Schuyler M., "Entertainment Financing for the '90s: Super Pre-Sales", Stroock & Stroock & Lavan Corporate Entertainment Newsletter, Vol. 1, Q1 1992.

Morris, Chris, "Roger Corman: The Schlemiel as Outlaw", in Todd McCarthy and Charles Flynn, eds., King of the Bs, New York: Dutton, 1975.

Nochimson, David and Brachman, Leon, "Contingent Compensation for Theatrical Motion Pictures", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Vol. 5, No. 1, Summer 1986.

O'Donnell, Pierce, "Killing the Golden Goose: Hollywood's Death Wish", Beverly Hills Bar Journal, Summer, 1992.

Olswang, Simon M., "The Last Emperor and Co-Producing in China: The Impossible Made Easy, and the Easy Made Impossible", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Vol. 6, No. 2, Fall 1987.

Phillips, Mark, C., "Role of Completion Bonding Companies in Independent Productions", Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal, 1992.

Phillips, Gerald F., "Block Booking--Perhaps Forgotten, Perhaps Misunderstood, But Still Illegal", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Vo. 6, No. 1, Summer 1987.

Phillips, Gerald F., "The Recent Acquisition of Theatre Circuits by Major Distributors", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Vol. 5, No. 3, Winter 1987, 1.

Powers, Stephen P., Rothman, David J., and Rothman, Stanley, "Hollywood Movies, Society, and Political Criticism", The World & I, April 1991.

Pristin, Terry, "Hollywood's Family Ways", Los Angeles Times Calendar Section, January 31, 1993.

Richardson, John H., "Hollywood's Actress-Hookers--When Glamour Turns Grim", John H. Richardson, Premiere, 1992.

Robb, David, "Police Net is Arrested by Boxoffice Drop", The Hollywood Reporter, September 8, 1992.

Robb, David, "Net Profits: One Man's View from Both Sides", The Hollywood Reporter, August, 31, 1992.

Robb, David, "Net Profits, No Myth, But Hard to Get Hands On", The Hollywood Reporter, August 17, 1992.

Robb, David, "Net Profits: Breaking Even is Hard to Do", The Hollywood Reporter, September, 14, 1992.

Robb, David, "Net Profits, 'Endangered' by Big Budgets", The Hollywood Reporter, August 24, 1992.

Rodman, Howard, "Unequal Access, Unequal Pay: Hollywood's Gentleman's Agreement", Montage, October 1989.

Royal, David, "Making Millions and Going Broke, How Production Companies Make Fortunes and Bankrupt Themselves", American Premiere, November/December 1991.

Sarna, Jonathan, D., "The Jewish Way of Crime", Commentary, August, 1984.

Schiff, Gunther, H., "The Profit Participation Conundrum: A Glossary of Common Terms and Suggestions for Negotiation", Gunther H. Schiff, Beverly Hills Bar Journal, Summer, 1992.

Screen, "Vertical Integration, Horizontal Regulation--The Growth of Rupert Murdoch's Media Empire", Volume 28, Number 4 (May-August, 1986).

Sills, Steven D., and Axelrod, Ivan L., "Profit Participation In The Motion Picture Industry", Los Angeles Lawyer, April, 1989.

Simensky, Melvin, "Determining Damages for Breach of Entertainment Agreements", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Vol. 8, No. 1, Spring 1990.

Simon, John, Film--"Charlatans Rampant", National Review, February 1, 1993.

Sinclair, Nigel, "U.S./Foreign Film Funding (Co-Production Tips)", Entertainment Law & Finance, March, 1991.

Sinclair, Nigel, "Long-Term Contracts for Independent Producers", Entertainment Law & Finance, November, 1986.

Sinclair, Nigel, "How to Draft Multi-Picture Deals", Entertainment Law & Finance, January, 1987.

Sinclair and Gerse, "Representing Independent Motion Picture Producers", Los Angeles Lawyer, May, 1988.

Sobel, Lionel, S., "Protecting Your Ideas in Hollywood", Writer's Friendly Legal Guide, Writer's Digest Books, 1989.

Sobel, Lionel S., "Financing the Production of Theatrical Motion Pictures", Entertainment Law Reporter, May, 1984.

Sperry, Paul, "Do Politics Drive Hollywood? Or do Markets Determine What Studios Make?", Paul Sperry, Investor's Business Daily, March 19, 1993

Stauth, Cameron, "Masters of the Deal", American Film, May, 1991.

Tagliabue, Paul J., "Anti-Trust Developments in Sports and Entertainment Law", Anti-Trust Law Journal, 1987.

UCLA Entertainment Law Symposium, Never Enough: The "A" Deal, Business, Legal and Ethical Realities, (Sixteenth Annual), February, 1992.

Welkos, Robert W., "Hollywood Plays a Starring Role in Financing Politics", Los Angeles Times, August 25 1996.

Whitney, Simon N., "Antitrust Policies and the Motion Picture Industry" (article appearing in Gorham Kindem's book: The American Movie Industry--The Business of Motion Pictures, Southern Illinois University Press, 1982.

Wilson, Kurt E., "How Contracts Escalate into Torts", California Lawyer, January, 1992.

Wolf, Brian J., "The Prohibitions Against Studio Ownership of Theaters: Are They An Anachronism?", Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 13, 413.

Zitzerman, David B. and Levine, Michael A., "Producing a Film in Canada--The Legal and Regulatory Framework", The Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Vol. 8, No. 4, Winter 1991.


Andersen, Arthur & Co., Tax Shelters--The Basics, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1983.

Anger, Kenneth, Hollywood Babylon, Dell Publishing, 1981.

Anger, Kenneth, Hollywood Babylon II, Penguin Books, 1984.

Armour, Robert A., Fritz Lang, Twayne Publishers, 1977.

Bach, Steven, Final Cut--Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven's Gate, William Morrow & Co., 1985.

Ballio, T. ed., The American Film Industry, 2nd rev. ed. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985.

Bart, Peter, Fade Out--The Calamitous Final Days of MGM, Anchor Books, 1991.

Baumgarten, Paul A., Farber, Donald C. and Fleischer, Mark, Producing, Financing and Distributing Film--A Comprehensive Legal and Business Guide, 2nd edition, Limelight Editions, 1992.

Bayer, William, Breaking Through, Selling Out, Dropping Dead and Other Notes on Filmmaking, First Limelight Edition, 1989.

Behrman, S.N., People In A Diary--A Memoir, Little, Brown & Co., 1972.

Biederman, Berry, Pierson, Silfen and Glasser, Law and Business of the Entertainment Industries, Auburn House, 1987.

Billboard Publications, Inc., Producer's Masterguide, 1989, 1990 & 1991.

Billboard Publications, Hollywood Reporter Blu-Book, 1990.

Blum, Richard A., Television Writing (From Concept to Contract), Focal Press, 1984.

Brady, Frank, Citizen Welles--A Biography of Orson Welles, Anchor Books, 1989.

Brownstein, Ronald, The Power and the Glitter--The Hollywood-Washington Connection, Vintage Books, 1992.

Cameron-Wilson, James & Speed, F. Maurice, Film Review 1994, St. Martin's Press, 1993.

Cohen, Sarah Blacher, From Hester Street to Hollywood, Indiana University Press, 1983.

Collier, Peter & Horowitz, David, The Kennedys--An American Drama, Warner Books, 1984.

Commerce Clearing House, Inc., Blue Sky Law Reporter, 1984.

Cones, John W., The Feature Film Distribution Deal, (self-published), 1995.

Cones, John W., Film Finance and Distribution--A Dictionary of Terms, Silman-James Press, 1992.

Cones, John W., Film Industry Contracts, (self-published) 1993.

Cones, John W., Forty-Three Ways to Finance Your Feature Film, Southern Illinois University Press, 1995.

Cones, John W., How the Movie Wars Were Won, (self-published), 1995.

Cones, John W., Who Really Controls Hollywood, (self-published), 1996.

Cones, John W., Patterns of Bias in Motion Picture Content, (self-published, 1995).

Cones, John W., Motion Picture Biographies, (self-published, 1995).

Cones, John W., A Study in Motion Picture Propaganda, (self-published, 1996).

Considine, Shawn, The Life and Work of Paddy Chayefsky, Random House, 1994.

Corman, Roger & Jerome, Jim, How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime, Dell Publishing, 1990.

Curran, Trisha, Financing Your Film, Praeger Publishers, 1985.

Custen, George F., Bio/Pics--How Hollywood Constructed Public History, Rutgers University Press, 1992.

Delson, Donn and Jacob, Stuart, Delson's Dictionary of Motion Picture Marketing Terms, Bradson Press, Inc., 1980.

Dinnerstein, Leonard, Anti-Semitism In America, Oxford University Press, 1994.

Downes, John and Goodman Jordan Elliot, Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms--2nd Ed, Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1987.

Duncliffe, William J., The Life and Times of Joseph P. Kennedy, New York, 1965.

Ebert, Roger, Roger Ebert's Video Companion, 1994 Edition, Andrews and McMeel, 1993.

Eberts, Jake and Lott, Terry, My Indecision Is Final, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990.

Eisenberg, Dennis et al., Meyer Lansky: Mogul of the Mob, New York, 1979.

Ephron, Henry, We Thought We Could Do Anything, W.W. Norton & Co., 1977.

Erens, Patricia, The Jew in American Cinema, Indiana University Press, 1984.

Evans, Robert, The Kid Stays in the Picture, Hyperion, 1994.

Farber, Stephen and Green, Marc, Hollywood Dynasties, Putnam Publishing, 1984.

Farber, Stephen and Green, Marc, Outrageous Conduct, Morrow, 1988.

Farber, Donald C., Entertainment Industry Contracts; Negotiating and Drafting Guide, Matthew Bender, 1990.

Field, Syd, Screenplay--The Foundations of Screenwriting, Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1985.

Fox, Stuart, Jewish Films in the United States, G.K. Hall & Co., 1976.

Fraser, George MacDonald, The Hollywood History of the World, Viking Penguin, Inc., 1989.

Frederickson, Jim & Stewart, Steve, Film Annual--1992, Companion Publications, 1992.

Fried, Albert, The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Gangster in America, Revised Edition, Columbia University Press, 1993.

Friedman, Lester, The Jewish Image in American Film, Citadel Press, 1987.

Gabler, Neal, An Empire of Their Own--How the Jews Invented Hollywood, Anchor Books, 1988.

Gilroy, Frank, D., I Wake Up Screening--Everything You Need to Know About Making Independent Films Including a Thousand Reasons Not To, Southern Illinois University Press, 1993.

Goldberg, Fred, Motion Picture Marketing and Distribution--Getting Movies into a Theatre Near You, Focal Press, 1991, 158.

Goldman, William, Adventures in the Screen Trade, Warner Books, 1983.

Gomery, Douglas, Movie History: A Survey, Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1991.

Gomery, Douglas, The Hollywood Studio System, MacMillan, 1986; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986.

Goodell, Gregory, Independent Feature Film Production, St. Martin's Press, 1982.

Goodman, Ezra, The Fifty Year Decline and Fall of Hollywood, Simon & Schuster, 1961.

Gribetz, Judah, Greenstein, Edward L. and Stein, Rigina, The Timetables of Jewish History, Simon & Schuster, 1993.

Hearst, William Randolph, Jr.. & Casserly, Jack, The Hearsts--Father and Son, Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1991.

Herrman, Dorothy, S.J. Perelman, A Life, Simon & Schuster, 1986.

Higham, Charles, Howard Hughes--The Secret Life, Berkley Books, 1993.

Hill, Geoffrey, Illuminating Shadows: The Mythic Power of Film, Shambhala, 1992

Holsinger, Ralph L., Media Law, McGraw-Hill, Inc., (2nd edition), 1991.

Houghton, Buck, What a Producer Does--The Art of Moviemaking (Not the Business), Silman-James Press, 1991.

Houseman, John, John Houseman--Run Through, Simon and Schuster, 1972.

Hurst, Walter E., Minus, Johnny and Hale, William Storm, Film-TV Law--3rd Ed, Seven Arts Press, Inc., 1976.

Johnson, Paul, A History of the Jews, Harper & Row, 1987.

Katz, Ephraim, The Film Encyclopedia, Harper Collins, 1994.

Kennedy, Joseph P., ed. The Story of the Films, W. W. Shaw Company, 1927; reprint, Jerome S. Ozer, 1971.

Kent, Nicolas, Naked Hollywood--Money and Power in The Movies Today, St. Martin's Press, 1991.

Kim, Erwin, Franklin J. Schaffner, Scarecrow Press, 1985.

Kindem, Gorham, The American Movie Industry--The Business of Motion Pictures, Southern Illinois University Press, 1982.

King, Morgan D., California Corporate Practice Guide--2nd Ed, Lawpress Corporation, 1989.

Kipps, Charles, Out of Focus, Century Hutchinson, 1989.

Koppes, Clayton R. and Black, Gregory D., Hollywood Goes to War--How Politics, Profits and Propaganda Shaped World War II Movies, University of California Press, 1987.

Kosberg, Robert, How to Sell Your Idea to Hollywood, HarperCollins, 1991.

Kotkin, Joel, Tribes--How Race, Religion and Identity Determine Success in the New Global Economy, Random House, 1993.

Lasky, Betty, RKO--The Biggest Little Major of Them All, Rountable Publishing, 1989.

Lasky, Jesse, Jr., Whatever Happened to Hollywood?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1975.

LeRoy, Mervyn and Kelmer, Dick, Mervyn LeRoy: Take One, Hawthorn Books, 1974.

Levy, Emanuel, George Cukor--Master of Elegance, William Morris, 1994.

Linson, Art, A Pound of Flesh--Perilous Tales of How to Produce Movies in Hollywood, Grove Press, 1993.

Litwak, Mark, Dealmaking in the Film & Television Industry--From Negotiations to Final Contracts, Silman-James Press, 1994.

Litwak, Mark, Reel Power--The Struggle for Influence and Success in the New Hollywood, William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1986.

Lucaire, Ed, The Celebrity Almanac, Prentice Hall, 1991.

Lyman, Darryl, Great Jews on Stage and Screen, Jonathan David Publishers, 1987.

Maltin, Leonard, Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1994.

Martin, Mick and Porter, Marsha, Video Movie Guide--1989, First Ballantine Books, 1988.

McClintick, David, Indecent Exposure, Dell Publishing, Company, 1983.

Medved, Michael, Hollywood vs. America--Popular Culture and the War on Traditional Values, Harper Collins, 1992.

Medved, Harry & Medved, Michael, The Hollywood Hall of Shame--The Most Expensive Flops in Movie History, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1984.

Moldea, Dan E., Dark Victory (Ronald Reagan, MCA, and the Mob), Penguin Books, 1987.

Monder, Eric, George Sidney: A Bio-Bibliography, Greenwood Press, 1994.

Murphy, Art, Art Murphy's Box Office Register, 1990.

National Association of Securities Dealers, NASD Manuel, September 1990.

National Association of Theatre Owners, Encyclopedia of Exhibition, 1990.

Navasky, Victor S., Naming Names, Penguin Books, 1980.

O'Donnell, Pierce and McDougal, Dennis, Fatal Subtraction--How Hollywood Really Does Business, Doubleday, 1992.

Palmer, James & Riley, Michael, The Films of Joseph Losey, Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Parrish, James Robert, The Hollywood Celebrity Death Book, Pioneer Books, 1993.

Penney, Edmund, Dictionary of Media Terms, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1984.

Phillips, Julia, You'll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again, Julia Phillips, Penguin Books, 1991.

Powdermaker, Hortense., Hollywood: the Dream Factory; an Anthropologist Looks at the

Movie-Makers, Reprint of 1950 ed. New York: Ayer, 1979.

Pratley, Gerald, The Cinema of John Frankenheimer, A.S. Barnes & Co., 1969.

Prifti, William M., Securities: Public and Private Offerings--(Rev Ed), Callaghan & Company, 1980.

Prindle, David F., Risky Business--The Political Economy of Hollywood, Westview Press, 1993.

Rappleye, Charles and Becker, Ed, All American Mafioso--The Johnny Rosselli Story, Doubleday, 1991.

Ratner, David L., Securities Regulation--3rd Ed, West Publishing Company, 1989.

Rawlence, Christopher, The Missing Reel, Atheneum, 1990.

Research Institute of America, Inc., Federal Tax Coordinator 2d, 1990.

Reynolds, Christopher, Hollywood Power Stats--1994, Cineview Publishing, November, 1993.

Rollyson, Carl, Lillian Hellman--Her Legend and Her Legacy, St. Martin's Press, 1988.

Rosen, David and Hamilton, Peter, Off-Hollywood: The Making & Marketing of American Specialty Films, The Sundance Institute and the Independent Feature Project, 1986.

Rosenberg, David, The Movie That Changed My Life, Viking Penguin, 1991.

Rosenfield, Paul, The Club Rules--Power, Money, Sex, and Fear--How It Works in Hollywood, Warner Books, 1992.

Russo, Vito, The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies, rev. ed., Harper & Row, 1987.

Sachar, Howard M., A History of the Jews in America, Vintage Books, 1993.

Scheuer, Steven H., Movies on TV and Videocassette, Bantam, 1987.

Schwartz, Nancy Lynn, The Hollywood Writers' Wars, McGraw-Hill, 1982.

Shapiro, Michael, The Jewish 100--A Ranking of the Most Influential Jews of All Time, Citadel Press, 1994.

Sherman, Allan, A Gift of Laughter--The Autobiography of Allan Sherman, Atheneum Publishers, 1965.

Siegel, Eric S., Schultz, Loren A., Ford, Brian R. and Carney, David C., Ernst & Young Business Plan Guide, John Wiley & Sons, 1987.

Silfen, Martin E. (chairman), Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry (seminar book), Practicing Law Institute, 1989.

Simensky, Melvin and Selz, Thomas, Entertainment Law, 1984.

Sinclair, Andrew, Spiegel--The Man Behind the Pictures, Little, Brown & Co., 1987.

Sinetar, Marsha, Reel Power: Spiritual Growth Though Film, Triumph Books, 1993

Singleton, Ralph S., Filmmaker's Dictionary, Lone Eagle Publishing Co., 1990.

Sklar, Robert. Movie-Made America: A Cultural History of American Movies, Random House, 1975.

Sperling, Cass Warner and Millner, Cork, Hollywood Be Thy Name--The Warner Brothers Story, Prima Publishing, 1994.

Squire, Jason E., The Movie Business Book, (2nd edition), Simon & Schuster, 1992.

Stanger, Robert A., Tax Shelters--The Bottom Line, Robert A. Stanger & Company, Publisher, 1982.

Steel, Dawn, They Can Kill You...But They Can't Eat You--Lessons From the Front, Pocket Books, 1993.

Tartikoff, Brandon and Leerhsen, Charles, The Last Great Ride, Random House, 1992.

Trager, James, The People's Chronology, Henry Holt & Co., 1992.

Ursini, James, The Fabulous Life & Times of Preston Sturges, Curtis Books, 1973.

Van Doren, Charles, Webster's American Biographies, Merriam-Webster, 1984.

Vidal, Gore, Who Makes the Movies?, (a collection of essays), "Pink Triangle and Yellow Star", published by William Heinemann, Ltd., London, 1982.

Vogel, Harold L., Entertainment Industry Economics--A Guide for Financial Analysis, Cambridge University Press, 1986 & 1990.

Von Sternberg, Josef, Fun in a Chinese Laundry, Mercury House, 1965.

Wakeman, John, World Film Directors (Volumes One & Two, 1890-1985), 1987.

Walker, John, Halliwell's Film Guide, Harper Collins, 1991 & 1994.

Wallis, Hal and Higham, Charles, Starmaker, The Autobiography of Hal Wallis, MacMillan, 1980.

Warshawski, Morrie, Distributing Independent Films & Video, The Media Project (Portland, Oregon) and Foundation for Independent Video and Filmmakers (New York), 1989.

Waxman, Virginia Wright & Bisplinghoff, Gunther, Robert Altman--A Guide to Reference & Reason, G.K. Hall & Co., 1984.

Wigoder, Dr. Geoffrey, The New Standard Jewish Encylopedia, 7th Edition, Facts on File, 1992.

Writers Guild of America Theatrical and Television Basic Agreement, 1988.

Yule, Andrew, Picture Shows--The Life and Films of Peter Bogdanovich, Limelight Editions, 1992.



John W. Cones is a securities and entertainment attorney based in Los Angeles, where he maintains a private solo practice advising independent feature film, video, television and theatrical producer clients.

A frequent lecturer on film finance and distribution, his lectures on "Investor Financing of Entertainment Projects" have been presented in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, Boise, Sacramento, Portland, San Francisco, Nashville, Charleston and Washington, D.C. and have been sponsored by the American Film Institute, IFP/West, state film commissions, independent producer organizations and American University. He has also lectured for the USC Cinema-TV School, the UCLA (graduate level) Producer's Program, UCLA Extension and the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management.

His previous publications include Film Finance and Distribution--A Dictionary of Terms, Film Industry Contracts (a collection of 100 sample film industry agreements, available in hard-copy form or on computer diskettes) , 43 Ways to Finance Your Feature Film, The Feature Film Distribution Deal--A Critical Analysis of the Single Most Important Film Industry Agreement, and numerous magazine and journal articles on related topics.


Film Finance & Distribution--A Dictionary of Terms--Definitions of some 3,600 terms used in the film industry in the finance and distribution of feature films. In addition, to the definitions, examples of usage and commentary are provided for some terms.

Film Industry Contracts--
A collection of 100 sample film industry agreements relating to acquisition, development, packaging, employment, lender financing, investor financing, production, distribution, exhibition, merchandising and licensing.

43 Ways to Finance Your Feature Film--
A comprehensive overview of film finance with a discussion of advantages and disadvantages of forty-three different ways to finance feature films and other entertainment projects.

The Feature Film Distribution Deal--
A provision by provision critical analysis of the single most important film industry agreement. The book also provides samples of five different film distribution agreements in its appendix.

Patterns of Bias in Motion Picture Content--An anlayis of the various populations in the diverse U.S. society that have been consistently portrayed in Hollywood films in a negative or stereotypical manner.

Who Really Controls Hollywood--A re-examination of the question raised earlier by Neal Gabler, Michael Medved, Joel Kotkin and others with respect to who really controls the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry and is therefore primarily responsible for the decisions made with respect to which movies are produced and released, who gets to work on those movies and the actual content of such films.

How the Movie Wars Were Won
--A comprehensive analysis and discussion of hundreds of the specific business practices used during the nearly 100-year span of control of the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry by the so-called Hollywood control group (or traditional Hollywood management).

Motion Picture Biographies--A study of the specific genre of biopics, designed to determine what patterns of bias exist in such films.

Motion Picture Industry Reform
--A discussion of various techniques, strategies and methods that may be useful in bringing about the long-term reform of the U.S. motion picture industry, which is considered by the author to be one of the most significant media for the communication of ideas yet devised by human beings.


Law Office of John W. Cones

| F.I.R.M. Home | Mission | Background Info |
| Dialogs | Discussion Forum & Archives | Press Releases |
| Research | Help F.I.R.M. | Bookstore |