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"It's the Pictures That Got Small"


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Foreword by Jim Moore Introduction by Anthony Slide The Diaries 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 Leading Names and Subjects in the Diaries Notes to Introduction Index

Promotional Information

Private revelations from a prominent Hollywood screenwriter and producer who worked closely with Billy Wilder from the 1930s to the 1950s.

About the Author

Anthony Slide is the author or editor of more than two hundred books on the history of popular entertainment. He has served as both associate archivist of the American Film Institute and as resident film historian of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His most recent publications include Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses; Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazines: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers; and Hollywood Unknowns: A History of Extras, Bit Players, and Stand-Ins.


Charles Brackett was an outstanding writer and producer of his era. Like him, I have served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and also like him, I had had a long association with Billy Wilder. I am therefore delighted that Charlie's diaries are being published, providing us with his unique insight into Billy and Hollywood's golden age. -- Walter Mirisch Reading Charles Brackett's diary entries is like stepping into a time machine. It provides a vivid and valuable account of day-to-day life in the heyday of Hollywood's studio system-and a bittersweet chronicle of his volatile relationship with Billy Wilder. I couldn't put the book down. -- Leonard Maltin Charlie would often talk about his diaries as I worked with him and Billy Wilder on the screenplay of. I am thrilled that those diaries are now published and gratified to be a part of them. -- Donald M. Marshman Jr. Charlie was always very kind and friendly to me and I very much look forward to the publication of his diaries. -- Don Bachardy This is a book I was literally unable to put down once I began reading it, and I suspect everyone with a reverence for Hollywood in its glory days will feel the same. Here is a rare chance to read what was going on in Charles Brackett's mind and his world while he made so many of the movies we revere so highly today. -- Robert Osborne, Primetime host of Turner Classic Movies Anyone interested in the golden age of film should enjoy this very entertaining and illustrative look at the film industry of the 1930s and 1940s. Library Journal Above all, "It's the Pictures That Got Small" is an indispensable guide to the complex, increasingly awkward relationship between two men who had next to nothing in common and yet contrived to make a fair number of the studio system's finest films. Commentary Brackett's 1932-49 dispatches from Hollywood's front line, are crammed with sugar-free, often salty observations. The author's honesty is certified by the fact that he can admire a man one minute and put him down the next. When that man is Billy Wilder, which it often is, the result is a day-by-day, year-on-year, pointilliste portrait of a sacred monster, warts and all. -- Frederic Raphael Wall Street Journal Charles Brackett has always lived in the shadow of his high-profile writing partner, Billy Wilder. This valuable compendium of diary entries from 1933 to 1950, painstakingly edited by Anthony Slide, not only sheds light on that renowned collaboration but evokes the reality of daily life in the heyday of the Hollywood studio system. -- Leonard Maltin Indiewire What we see in this volume is a writer much like Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard. At the end of a long day spent negotiating titanic egos, he simply wants to sit down and write the thoughts that race through his head like a dozen locomotives. -- James Hughes Film Comment "It's the Pictures That Got Small": Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood's Golden Age edited by Anthony Slide, offers not only rare insight into their often-stormy partnership but also an insider's view of Hollywood during that era. -- Susan King Los Angeles Times ["It's the Pictures That Got Small"] reveals the conflicts that led to some of the best pictures of the last century. -- Robert Fulford National Post An absorbing chronicle of a tempestuous collaboration and the lifestyles of an era... "It's the Pictures That Got Small" is a plump album packed with tiny but revealing snapshots. -- David Bordwell Observations on Film Art Fascinating passages are lightly sprinkled throughout... The accounts of how Sunset Boulevard arrived on screen in its finished form are among the most entertaining in Brackett's diaries. -- David Gritten The Daily Telegraph Brackett's diaries read like a funnier, better-paced version of Barton Fink. -- Sean Elder Newsweek Brackett's book is a fascinating look at Hollywood in its classic period, and a unique and indispensable must-have for any movie buff. -- Tom Moran Chicago Tribune The diaries give us a view of Brackett, Wilder, the collaboration, and life at the studio with an immediacy that memoirs don't have. -- Tom Stempel Creative Screenwriting This superbly edited and annotated book is a worthy testimony to a troubled individual in an industry he unjustly denigrated but which he undoubtedly enriched. -- Neil Sinyard Neil Sinyard on Film This view from deep inside the studio system at its height is one of the best books ever about Hollywood, as well one of the finest on writing in years. Black Mask A fascinating look into the Golden Age of Hollywood from an insider's personal, unbiased point of view... It's the Pictures That Got Small will find a permanent spot on many a film buff's bookshelf. -- Christopher Forsley PopMatters What is possibly most fascinating about the book is its insight into the operation of Hollywood in the golden years of the studio system. -- Douglas Allen Media Education Journal Slide has culled from Brackett's voluminous diaries a treasure trove of scenes and wit from Golden Age Hollywood... A book to be skimmed and referenced-but primarily relished... Recommended. CHOICE The book is packed with revealing cameos from some of the greatest names of Hollywood's greatest era, and is a valuable record of the texture of life there in those years. -- Henry K. Miller Sight and Sound There are diamonds aplenty in Brackett's diary entries. -- Christopher Silvester Literary Review While anecdotes... sustain readers across almost four hundred pages of diary entries, their value to scholars and historians lies in the ways they exemplify the daily working life of writers in the studio system. -- Mary Desjardins Film Quarterly A collection of Charles Brackett's diaries, expertly edited by Anthony Slide to paint a multifaceted portrait of Brackett's long-term collaborator Billy Wilder. This feels as close as we can get to being in the presence of Wilder's genius, and he emerges as the cruellest as well as the wittiest of men. -- Jonathan Coe The Guardian

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