Paradise Lost: Why New Movies Make Us Love Old Movies More

Given the luxurious privilege of having my diary of life among the superstars,Starflacker, excerpted in The Huffington Post and in Saturday Evening Post, why would I instead choose to excerpt from another book not yet even on the market?

It is because readers have read between Starflacker‘s laugh lines to see that Hollywood’s past was not only glamorously delightful, but also that it is the only sane way back to its future. This sharpens my sense of mission to annoy the moviemaking world into reconnecting with the conscience and brilliance of its past glory. And this brief reflection from a may-not-be-published book expresses my fear that Hollywood, without a change of attitude, may not be up to the job.

A weekend of gorging on the beauty and power of Patricia Neal and Marlene Dietrich on Turner Classic Movies has stoked my hunger for Hollywood to get back to great roles for great actresses. New actresses are here, ready to assume their legend, but where are the roles? Who is there today to give Anne Bancroft her Annie Sullivan, Greer Garson her Mrs. Miniver, Vivian Leigh her Scarlett, Meryl her Sophie, Jennifer Jones her Bernadette? They used to come by the score.

So I chose to excerpt not from Starflacker: Inside the Golden Age of Hollywood but from its yet-untitled sequel which will get published only if the first book does well enough. It seems to be holding its own, but who knows. In this already-written possible part two I found the contemplation below on why the movie industry today has such an embarrassingly low batting average of greatness. And here it is:

Let’s talk reasons that we find refuge in the films of our past, that we find art and human contact and legends there.

That is not to say that the present is a time without art. There are marvelous, artful films every year. Every Oscar winner is deserving, even if I voted for or worked for another film. But the golden age was a time of PROFUSION of such films. And the profusion now lies elsewhere. During that different epoch and simpler morality, Bela Lugosi gave us what we needed of vampires. Today, every actor with acne is sucking blood.

Read the rest of this article from The Huffington Post.