The acclaimed producer of such classic films as Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields, and the only European ever to head a major Hollywood studio, former Columbia Pictures chief David Puttnam has written a fascinating behind-the-scenes history of the movie business and of the unique and frequently unholy alliance between commerce and art that underpins it.
Puttnam’s story moves from the early days of cinema and the rivalry between Edison and the Lumiere brothers, through the rise of the studio system, and up to the present day, with European filmmakers and politicians struggling to protect their industry and even their cultural identity from a triumphant and all-devouring Hollywood. In the process he introduces a host of colorful characters: from Goldwyn and Zanuck to Eisner and Ovitz. Movies and Money is a groundbreaking book that will change our understanding of the movie business.
"Excellent…. A book so well written that it can easily be read at a single sitting."–San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner
"Puttnam has a dry sense of humor, and most of his book is jammed with astonishing anecdotes and seething portraits of the personalities of film history."– Newsday
About Movies and Money
From David Puttnam—producer of such modern film classics as Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields, Midnight Express, and The Mission, and the only European to have run a major Hollywood studio—an insightful and provocative history that explains the personalities and events which shaped film’s transformation from a technological curiosity into one of the world’s most powerful cultural and economic forces. From the early rivalry between its inventors to the power-brokering and political influence of today’s mega-stars; from Zukor and Laemmle to Ovitz and Eisner; from the serendipitous discovery of Los Angeles ("flagstaff no good," wired Cecil B. De Mille. "want authority to rent barn for $75 a month in place called hollywood") to the exploitation and depredation of Europe’s film culture in the name of the marketplace, Puttnam captures the urgency and wonder that swept through a young industry and set it spinning on an axis of money and power. Movies and Money chronicles the unprecedented collision between art and commerce, and incisively analyzes its implications in today’s global arena. Puttnam’s engaging history is also an impassioned polemic: From the moment Thomas Edison stole the first crude attempt at a movie camera from the French scientist Étienne Jules Marey, Hollywood and Europe have existed, the author claims, in a state of undeclared hostility—hostility that has occasionally erupted into open battle for control of the century’s most powerful artistic medium. And this battle, he contends, will ultimately determine the nature of Europe’s cultural identity. He also argues forcefully for the intelligent application of the language and techniques of cinema to education, urging filmmakers to make films that challenge and inspire as well as entertain. Ten years after his abrupt departure from Columbia, Puttnam re-enters the debate about cinema with characteristic audacity, with the irreverence of an iconoclast and the canniness of a seasoned player. Movies and Money is a book that will change our understanding of the history—and future—of film.