Publishers Weekly, 2004-01-26
Samuel Goldwyn (born Schmuel Goldfisz) will be known throughout history for his films-which include The Best Years of Our Lives and Wuthering Heights-and his "Goldwynisms" ("I had a great idea this morning, but I didn't like it"; "When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you"). Berg (Kate Remembered) was granted complete access to the Goldwyn archives and has produced what Goldwyn's son calls "the biography my father would have wanted." From his birth in a Warsaw ghetto and his 500-mile walk to Hamburg to his rise as tyrannical movie producer, this amazing rags-to-riches tale paints Goldwyn as a complex, difficult yet sympathetic character. (Oddly, Goldwyn's contemporaries, the Hollywood moguls Louis B. Mayer, William Fox, the Warner Brothers, Adolph Zucker and Lewis Selznick were all born within 500 miles of Warsaw and made similar exoduses to the United States.) McDowall's smooth, British-accented voice is a fine vehicle for delivering the narrative. However, his impression of Goldwyn's voice is distracting in its strangeness: high-pitched, heavily accented and cracking, it is the one flaw in this otherwise engrossing production. Based on the Knopf hardcover (Forecasts, Feb. 3, 1989). (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 1990-03-23
``This comprehensive, amusing account of Goldwyn's private life and lengthy career as a Hollywood studio head depicts an often unscrupulous businessman, gambler, woman-chaser and inadequate father,'' wrote PW . ``This is a thoroughly engrossing book about an unadmirable man.'' Photos. (Apr.)
Publishers Weekly, 1989-02-03
In his first 40 years, poor, Warsaw-born Shmuel Gelbfisz walked 500 miles to Hamburg, then from London to Liverpool, arrived in America at 19, became a U.S. citizen as Sam Goldfish, worked as a glove salesman, established a company to produce and distribute films and took the name Samuel Goldwyn. This comprehensive, amusing account of his private life and lengthy career as a Hollywood studio head--by the author of Max Perkins: Editor of Genius --depicts an often unscrupulous businessman, gambler, woman-chaser and inadequate father, who frequently burst into tears when overcome by emotion or frustration and who was married for more than 40 years to a charming, witty, tough-as-nails social lioness. The book is peppered with hundreds of Goldwyn's famous and infamous malapropisms, dozens of anecdotes about his critical and commercial failures as well as his outstanding successes ( Wuthering Heights ; The Little Foxes ; The Best Years of Our Lives ), and details of his relationships with, among scores of others, Eddie Cantor, Ronald Colman, Merle Oberon, Gary Cooper, George Cukor, William Wyler, Billy Wilder. This is a thoroughly engrossing book about an unadmirable man. Photos. 45,000 first printing; first serial to the New York Times; Movie-Entertainment Book Club dual main selection; BOMC featured alternate. (Apr.)