Author(s): Peter Biskind
Hollywood is a town of fabulators. The people who dwell there create fictions for a living, fictions that refuse tidily to confine themselves to the screen, but spill over into the daily lives of the men and women who regard themselves as stars in the movies of their own lives. Although this book tells readers altogether more than they may wish to know about the Hollywood of the '70s, I do not flatter myself that I have arrived at "the truth." At the end of this long, twisted road I am once again struck with the force of the old maxim, the more you know, the more you know what you don't know. This is particularly true in the case of Hollywood, where despite the reams of memos and contracts that now gather dust on the shelves of university libraries, very little of what really matters is committed to paper, so that an endeavor of this sort is dependent on memory -- in this case of an era twenty or thirty years in the past. Not only is the terrain distant, but in this period memory has been enfeebled by booze and drugs.
In a town where credit grabbing is an art form, to say that memory is self-serving is to say that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Moreover, defect of memory is a shield that enables people to go to work in the morning, protecting them from the unspeakable behavior that is taken for granted there. As director Paul Schrader puts it, "In this business, you've got to have a selective memory. Otherwise, it's too painful." Kurosawa's "Rashomon" remains one of the truest movies about the movies and the people who make them.
In this maze of mirrors, lucky is the chronicler who does not lose his or her way in the infini, Alice Mayhew gave ither blessing, and Bob Bender, along with his assistant, Johanna Li, helped it to see the light of day. My agent, Kris Dahl, guided me through the shoals of writing and editing.
Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Elizabeth Hess, and daughter, Kate, for their unfailing patience and support.
Copyright Â© 1998 by Peter Biskind