Friday, November 20, 2009

Fitzgerald in Hollywood

An interesting discussion about the many reasons for F. Scott Fitzgerald's downfall in Hollywood. Goodness knows he burned with talent but not the kind of talent that could lead to success in Hollywood like the kind of success he had enjoyed in the '20s. The reasons for Fitzgerald's failure are many but one I hadn't thought of before may have been his political incorrectness - Fitzgerald was never really concerned with the social issues like the rest of Hollywood was in the '30s:
Of course, Patsy Ruth is describing the emerging cells of Hollywood Reds. The love of humanity at the expense of the individual is at the core of Communist ideology. Too often Communist purges, where thousands if not millions are murdered, are justified by the charming dictum: “You have to break a few eggs in order to make an omelette.”

Patsy Ruth observes:

His work was condemned, they said, and he believed them. He denounced himself even more harshly than his judges, accusing his work of being trivial and superficial.

“He actually told me he’s ashamed of The Great Gatsby,” John fairly snarled. “Those cursed Do-gooders… they’ve got him believing his work isn’t worth a tinkers damn just because he wasn’t waving a banner or marching in a picket line. They’ve destroyed him, as sure as God made little apples.”

That shouldn’t keep him from writing,” I protested.

The Hell it doesn’t,” John said. “Who can write when you’ve been told, when you’ve been convinced that anything you have to say is a bunch of crap. He can write rings around every one of those bastards who’ve done this to him, but he doesn’t believe it any more, and if you don’t believe it, you can’t do it.”

I think that's reaching a bit - Fitzgerald's downward spiral can be traced back to his post-Gatsby days. Still, it's good to see that despite whatever outside pressures he was feeling, Fitzgerald stayed as true to his vision as he could. That's no small thing.

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