FSF: Fool for Hollywood

By David Luhrssen
Express Milwaukee

donaldson_fool coverFor Fitzgerald, Hollywood became the last station before the end. He arrived in 1937, desperate to earn money with his career, linked the departed Jazz Age of the 1920s, in arrears. He impressed the moguls as dedicated to learning the new craft of screenwriting. Fitzgerald described his script job as “like fitting together a very interesting puzzle.” What he might not have realized at first was that his work was a puzzle piece that players higher up in the studio hierarchy would fit together. Screenplays then and now were labored over by teams of writers; they were not the fruit of a solitary author. Fitzgerald received credit for only a single film, Three Comrades, and accused producer Joe Mankiewicz of ruining it. MGM did not renew his contract in 1938.

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