Hollywood and American Fiction

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch70

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) Hollywood and American Fiction, in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch70

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675



  • Hollywood and American fiction - years between the coming of sound to Hollywood films, The Jazz Singer premiered in 1927 and 1940s;
  • writers, as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Nathanael West - needing income, to relocate to Los Angeles, becoming studio contract writers;
  • attitude of writers, toward what Hollywood represented - an ambivalent one;
  • screenplays, being changed, cut, discarded, or altered beyond recognition - at the whim of a producer;
  • Aldous Huxley, P. G. Wodehouse - Christopher Isherwood, George Bernard Shaw, and Berthold Brecht all having something critical to say;
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, fascinated by romance of Hollywood - resentful of the studios' treatment of his work;
  • Nathanael West, adopting a very practical attitude - toward what was required and what would sell;
  • Irving Thalberg, life of legendary producer - while West's The Day of the Locust (1939), centered upon the bit players, would-be stars, and hangers-on;
  • violence, just below the surface - world of unsatisfied desire, rootlessness, and commercially driven fantasy they inhabit;
  • In The Day of the Locust, a decorative feature - of screenwriter Claude Estee's swimming pool, submerged model of a horse with a prominent hammerhead