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Walter Wanger, Hollywood Independent


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As this thorough and thoughtful biography shows, Wanger's career often parallels the rise of Hollywood. Born of Jewish parents, Wanger (né Feuchtwanger) began his career in the theater, moved to Hollywood when the studio system was in its infancy, and went on to produce over 60 films semi-independently. His career was notable for taste, for sophistication, and also for scandal; in 1951, he caused a sensation by shooting a man he thought was having an affair with his wife, actress Joan Bennett. Having once said that "nothing is as cheap as a hit, no matter how much it costs," he found himself undone by his monstrously expensive but not-so-successful Cleopatra (1963). His career never recovered after this film, which almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox, and he earned powerful enemies. Prepared with the cooperation of Wanger's friends, family, and associates, this well-written and insightful study is recommended for large film collection.-Stephen Rees, Bucks Cty. Free Lib., Levittown, Pa.

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