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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What Makes Sammy Run? (1959)

A young man (Larry Blyden) rises from copy boy at a New York newspaper to the head of a major Hollywood studio by lying, stealing, using people and stepping over bodies. Based on the praised 1941 novel by Budd Schulberg (who adapted his novel) and directed by Delbert Mann (SEPARATE TABLES). This acidic look at the rise of an amoral protagonist at the expense of innocent people was, and still is, highly controversial. Reputedly Samuel Goldwyn offered Schulberg money not to publish the book and according to Schulberg, Steven Spielberg said the book was "anti Hollywood and should never be filmed". I don't know about it being "anti" Hollywood but it's a venal piece of entertainment and I mean that as a compliment. We can see the attraction of the Sammys of this world as they skyrocket to the top but what goes up must come down and we wait for the inevitable comeuppance. Blyden is very good in the title role and he's matched by Dina Merrill as the chilly ice princess every bit as soulless as he. With John Forsythe as the story's conscience, Barbara Rush, Sidney Blackmer, Norman Fell and Monique Van Vooren. 

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