The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Last TycoonI’m not so sure it’s fair to review a book that was still in progress when its author died unexpectedly.   One could certainly provide a multitude of arguments as to what Fitzgerald intended or would have added or changed, and some of his notes support these possibilities.  With this in mind, my overall enjoyment factor was not very great.

1930’s Hollywood is the setting of Fitzgerald’s biting expose of the realities of the brutal business of making movies.  Reportedly based on actual famed producers and studio heads, it was written from an insider’s rather sardonic viewpoint as Fitzgerald had relegated himself to studio work in order to contend with serious financial difficulties.

A well-respected film producer, too busy for a life of his own is forced to step back when his health forces him to, and he falls for a woman committed to another.  Lots of Hollywood bashing, glam galore and evil plots abound.

Monroe Stahr is a 33-year-old Hollywood producer, either in a meeting, en route to a meeting or late for a meeting.  His talent for getting the most out of the writers and delivering what has been ordered has made him a much sought after producer.  As his health begins to fail him, he is forced to see the ugliness of the business that he has helped keep thriving for years.

Cecilia Brady, daughter of Stahr’s counterpart, is the stereotypical Hollywood brat; lots of money, nice clothes and car, an education that will not likely yield employment and general self-absorption.  Basically not a bad person considering all she’s been handed and also disillusioned with Hollywood, yet she remains close to it in order to be near the man she loves, Monroe Stahr.  Something about Cecilia made you want her to get her man.

Stahr’s love interest, Kathleen Moore, is something of a mystery woman.  She arrives seemingly from nowhere, leaves cryptic messages for Stahr, and disappears as suddenly as she had appeared.  I wasn’t sorry to see her go.

Rather than ask Mr. Fitzgerald about his dismal time in Hollywood, I’d try to get him to share some tales from his days in Paris and how that time influenced his writing.  I’m sure anything Mr. Fitzgerald would divulge would be fascinating.

My rating for The Last Tycoon is a 7 out of 10.

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Next up, Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find…A Good Man is Hard to Find


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