USA (MIFF 1999 , Documentaries)
Director: Michael Epstein

On December 10, 1938 David O. Selznick burned down Atlanta. On the back lot of his Culver City studio, Selznick had just begun shooting what was to be one ot the greatest, most lavish films of the golden age of Hollywood, Gone With the Wind. As the flames roared, phones at the local precincts rang off the hook. Fearful residents were reassured when they were told that the fire was simply Selznick at work.

A legendary movie mogul, Selznick was a tyrant to work for. No one bore the brunt of his interfering and tantrums with more dignity than Alfred Hitchcock. Michael Epstein's fascinating documentary charts the rise of both personalities, their filmmaking partnership, Selznick's slow decline into a spiral of booze, pills, gambling and women and Hitchcock's eventual escape from his clutches.

Hitchcock, Selznick and the End of Hollywood reveals stage door gossip from former employees and amorous conquests The film presents informed opinion by film scholars together with family and friends reminiscing on Selznick's wild years. This herculean feat of research and dedication to Hollywood history is brought to life with an abundance of archival footage and details Hitchcock's methods for dealing with a man intent on placing his personal stamp on every project.

Perversely, as Selznick's descent entered its final stages, Hitchcock managed to extricate himself from his studio contract and begin one of his most creative and productive periods. Epstein masterfully highlights the key junctures in the careers of both men and lovingly retells a tale of wealth, power and genius enslaved by ego.

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