Hollywood: Its Morals and Manners


Read by Chuck Williamson

(3.9 stars; 9 reviews)

Serialized in Shadowland from November 1921 to February 1922, Hollywood: Its Morals and Manners is Theodore Dreiser's shocking four part expose on the motion picture industry. In it, he shares his observations from his extended stay in Los Angeles, and gives us an intimate look at the seedier underside of Hollywood. (Summary by ChuckW) (1 hr 33 min)

Chapters

01 - The Struggle on the Threshold of Motion Pictures 45:21 Read by Chuck Williamson
02 - The Commonplace Tales with a Thousand Endings 18:28 Read by Chuck Williamson
03 - The Beginner's Thousand-to-One Chance 15:02 Read by Chuck Williamson
04 - The Extra's Fight to Exist 15:08 Read by Chuck Williamson

Reviews

Highly recommended Librivox reading


(5 stars)

Theodore Dreiser's exposition about the trials and tribulations of making a profession, particularly as an actress or actor in Hollywood, is classic. I don't think is is as much a work describing the "seedier" side of Hollywood, as it is a description of the seedy, exploitative hiring processes pursued when supply of talent outstrips demand. It is entirely fascinating-- and a warning to any aspiring artist. No matter what one's profession-- people will here recognize similarities to the way most workers are treated so long as pressures remain for employers to seek the greatest profits at the least cost. The illusions of the Hollywood Dream... or more broadly, the American Dream function chiefly because of the rare exceptions to the rules which insure that a majority of people will still bear any cost or indignity to succeed against the odds. Dreiser wraps up his work with a satirical nod to such exceptions. Chuck Williamson reads this work flawlessly. This is one of the best readings from Librivox.

Excellent recording


(4 stars)

This is a really interesting work, originally published as four lengthy magazine articles. It’s about how people get ahead in the Hollywood of the 1920s, and lifted the lid on the casting couch, and other abusive practices. Short, punchy and a great antidote to Hollywood’s myth-making about itself. Recommended for film history fans.