In the wake of the success of HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD in 1950, every studio in the city began making its own contribution to the mythology of the screen. One of the lesser efforts was Universal's HOLLYWOOD STORY. Roughly borrowing its basis from the unsolved murder of director William Desmond Taylor in 1922, it tells the story of Conte, an independent producer...read more
In the wake of the success of HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD in 1950, every studio in the city began making its own contribution to the mythology of the screen. One of the lesser efforts was Universal's HOLLYWOOD STORY. Roughly borrowing its basis from the unsolved murder of director William Desmond
Taylor in 1922, it tells the story of Conte, an independent producer who comes to Hollywood to make a movie about the murder of a silent-film director. He locates Hull, the dead director's scriptwriter, and puts him to work on the screenplay. Eventually it develops that Hull is actually the
brother of the dead man, jealous of his sibling's talents (which extended to writing, too; he used Hull's name as a pseudonym). This could have been a much better film if it had more closely followed the actual facts in the case of Taylor. A successful director who, shortly before his death,
testified before federal authorities on narcotics use in the film community, he was apparently shot and killed sometime on the night of February 1, 1922. Witnesses saw a man (or possibly a woman in a man's clothes) leaving the victim's apartment just after they heard a shot. Later investigation
found packets of love letters and monogrammed handkerchiefs from silent star Mary Miles Minter, then 20 years of age, and more love letters from actress Mabel Normand, a well-known narcotics user. No charges were ever brought in the case, but Minter's career was ruined. She lived long after as a
recluse and eccentric. Universal tried to capitalize on the presence in this film of several silent stars, some of them appearing as extras. At the press screening, where the old-timers were displayed like museum pieces, a bitter Elmo Lincoln, the screen's first Tarzan, told a newsman, "Every time
they want to exploit something like HOLLYWOOD STORY they call on us. We're not getting any money out of this...All of us who worked in HOLLYWOOD STORY got $15.56 a day, the minimum rate for a day's work. Principals like Helen Gibson and Francis X. Bushman, who had speaking parts, got $55 for their
day's work. They paid us for that one day and they've got $15,000 worth of free publicity out of it. If I had the opportunity, I'd stand right there on that stage tonight and say: `Why don't we get work?'...The motion picture business is the most unappreciative, selfish business in America
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