What Makes Sammy Run?
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Ryan Holiday (Founder/Brass Check)Budd Schulberg’s (who wrote the screenplay for On the Waterfront) whole trilogy is amazing and each captures a different historical era. His first, What Makes Sammy Run? is Ari Gold before Ari Gold existed–purportedly based on Samuel Goldwyn (of MGM) and Darryl Zanuck. His next book, The Harder They Fall is about boxing and loosely based on the Primo Carnera scandal. All you need to know about Schulberg’s writing is captured in this quote from his obituary: “It’s the writer’s responsibility to stand up against that power. The writers are really almost the only ones, except for very honest politicians, who can make any dent on that system. I tried to do that. And that’s affected me my whole life.” Fiction can do that, and sometimes it does it even better than non-fiction.
The classic book that shaped two generations’ view of the movie business and introduced the is the archetypal Hollywood player Sammy Glick. He’s got a machete mouth and a genius for double-cross. As Budd Shulberg—author of the screenplay On the Waterfront—follows Sammy’s relentless upward progress, he creates a virtuoso study in character that manages to be hilariously appalling yet deeply compassionate.
“Sammy Glick remains at the top of the Hollywood sleaze heap, a hustler nonpareil…. What Makes Sammy Run? Is still the quintessential novel about “the all-American heel.’” – Moredcai Richler, GQ
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