• Arnon Z. Shorr

"Mank" Appreciation - Required Reading

I loved David Fincher's "Mank" on Netflix!


But much of my enjoyment stemmed from a familiarity with the rich history (and associated personalities) of that particular Hollywood era.


As I watched the film, I found myself connecting the scenes with bits of history that I learned from three fantastic books, which I highly recommend to anyone who's looking to understand where our movies (and culture) come from:


"An Empire of their Own" by Neil Gabler - which explores the Jewish immigrant roots of Hollywood. I was introduced to this book via a great "Jews on Screen" course at Brandeis University by Professor Sharon Rivo.

"Show Trial: Hollywood, HUAC, and the Birth of the Blacklist" by Professor Thomas Doherty - also of Brandeis.

"What Happens Next" Marc Norman's fantastic history of the art, craft and culture of screenwriting. (and no, as far as I'm aware, Marc Norman has no Brandeis connection... but this book was given to my by journalist Scott Feinberg, who is a fellow alum!)

All three books are stuffed with wonderful anecdotes and revealing stories about the people who made The Movies. If "Mank" is a window into that crazy world, these books throw open the door. Happy reading!

-Arnon

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