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The Studio

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  126 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In 1967, John Gregory Dunne asked for unlimited access to the inner workings of Twentieth Century Fox. Miraculously, he got it. For one year Dunne went everywhere there was to go and talked to everyone worth talking to within the studio. He tracked every step of the creation of pictures like "Dr. Dolittle," "Planet of the Apes," and "The Boston Strangler." The result is a ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 14th 1998 by Vintage (first published 1969)
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(showing 1-30 of 369)
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Moira Russell
There is an episode here (the book is mainly episodes, not chapters, altho the stories about the Boston Strangler and Dr Doolittle pictures are throughlines) detailing Henry Zoster pitching a story to Richard Zanuck ("Will our conductor use the youth symphony, or will he use his own orchestra...") which is one of the funniest things I have ever read. But to call it funny, yuk-yuk-yuk, or even satiric, is to do a real disservice to Dunne, because it's great straight reportage, and he just gets ou ...more
Smiley McGrouchpants
Dec 16, 2014 Smiley McGrouchpants rated it it was amazing
John Gregory Dunne's memorized eyewitness account of a year behind the scenes of Twentieth Century Fox reads like the most interesting boring office job you've ever heard of, involving: lobster costume problems; negotiations with actors' agents over contracts, during which time no-one's really willing to put all their cards on the table; all hands on decks' patience required while the shot needs lining up ... again!; and other assorted mini-nightmares. Somehow it's a hoot and a holler and weirde ...more
Mark Taylor
Nov 08, 2015 Mark Taylor rated it really liked it
John Gregory Dunne’s 1969 book The Studio is a fascinating achievement in writing about the movies. Dunne asked for, and was granted, full access to the Twentieth Century Fox studio for a year. Dunne shows the reader many vignettes, but the main plotline that we follow in The Studio is the publicity campaign for Doctor Dolittle, the 1967 musical starring Rex Harrison as the doctor who can talk to the animals. Fox was hoping that Dolittle would follow the path of the studio’s earlier musical succ ...more
James Perkins
Dec 20, 2015 James Perkins rated it really liked it
In the late 1960s, author Dunne was given unlimited access to Twentieth Century Fox. For a whole year, he roamed the studio, talking with everybody from boss Darryl Zanuck and the key executives, producers, and directors, all the way down through the stars to the lowliest bit-player and members of the crew, continuously observing the goings-on around him in the minutest detail. The result is this book. Its smooth narrative prose reads like a story, but it's not a novel - more a "docudrama" fly-o ...more
Oct 13, 2011 J. rated it liked it
Shelves: cinema, memoir, la-la-land
Time-capsule document from the mid-sixties, years where the studios found themselves in long slow eclipse. Donne amiably taps the bones and kicks at the ashes of the mastodons, as the concept of "big movie studio" morphs in the background.

Seems like Donne was lucky in the sense that 2oth Century Fox chose to green-light some super losers in the year that the book covers. In the later part of the sixties it just seems incredible that studio heads would bankroll flatliner vehicles like Star!, Hel
Luke Devenish
Dec 21, 2014 Luke Devenish rated it really liked it
A jewel found dusty and forgotten in my favourite second hand bookstore. So enjoyable. Recommended for those, like me, whose interest in post-Golden Age studio politics now veers into the arcane. Is there any other kind? Zanuck pere et fils were a couple of hoots. And I knew there was a reason I could never get through Doctor Doolittle.
Jan 16, 2015 David rated it really liked it
Dunne should have stayed around FOX for another year to document the reaction of the Zanucks to the bombs that were Dolittle, Star! and Hello Dolly.
Elton Gsell
Mar 05, 2015 Elton Gsell rated it really liked it
If you are interested in movies, this book is fun.
Nov 10, 2009 Alex rated it liked it
Really a 3.5, because he is an amusing writer, but in general the book fails because when you're constructing something by presenting snippets of events, written down as they happened with no overt editorial commentary and very minimal surreptitious commentary (you know, pointed word choices and all that) to really make something special you need to construct them so that the reader is guided somewhere, to some feeling or idea. That just didn't happen for me with The Studio. I enjoyed all the li ...more
Dec 13, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I feel like it probably would've been more interesting when it was originally published, when people had at least seen movies like Dr. Doolittle and The Boston Strangler or whatever else was going on at the time. Reading it now it feels a little time-capsuley, but not in a good way. I can't really relate to any of the characters and it's not like I don't think the stories couldn't be told better - because Mark Harris did it splendidly in "Pictures at a Revolution" - it just...I don't know. I was ...more
Jul 08, 2012 Al rated it did not like it
This book feels incredibly dated. Maybe I was at a severe disadvantage since I read the wonderfulPictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood before this. Don't bother, despite many calling it a Hollywood classic.
Christopher Pufall
Oct 13, 2015 Christopher Pufall rated it really liked it
Dated, yet a very compelling and insightful read on the behind-the-scenes operation of a film studio during the 60's. Even setting aside my personal affection toward 20th Century Fox, this is highly recommended to lovers of movies.
Hank Stuever
Aug 28, 2013 Hank Stuever rated it liked it
Something of a forgotten classic for people who like to read inside stuff about movie making, especially in the way-back-when.
Sep 02, 2008 Krista added it
Another great one - especially having read it while living in Hollywood.
Mar 25, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, film, 2012
Intriguing glimpse of Fox studio in the 60s.
Dec 18, 2007 Tracey marked it as to-read
Shelves: recommended
NOT AT LIB 12/07 - Ginnie
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John Gregory Dunne was an American novelist, screenwriter and literary critic.

He was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and was a younger brother of author Dominick Dunne. He suffered from a severe stutter and took up writing to express himself. Eventually he learned to speak normally by observing others. He graduated from Princeton University in 1954 and worked as a journalist for Time magazine. He m
More about John Gregory Dunne...

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