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Goldwyn  By  cover art

Goldwyn

By: A. Scott Berg
Narrated by: Roddy McDowall
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Publisher's Summary

In this adventure, which would have played well in one of his own films, Schmuel Goldfisz left the Warsaw ghetto in 1895. He walked 300 miles to the Oder River, where he paid someone to row him across, smuggling him out of the Russian empire into Germany, past border patrols to another long walk to Hamburg. The gleam in his eye was America, "a far-away country, a vision of paradise."

Schmuel Goldfisz became Samuel Goldwyn, one of the producers who created the Hollywood film industry. His pictures, notably Stella Dallas, Wuthering Heights, and The Best Years of Our Lives, were famous for "the Goldwyn Touch". And Goldwyn himself was one of the most colorful of the vivid personalities of his time. The Saturday Evening Post called him "the central figure of the great comic legend". Americans still indulge in "Goldwynisms" when they order somebody to "include me out" or "stop biting the hand of the goose that laid the golden eggs." Goldwyn's son calls this book "the biography my father would have wanted"—a very special look at Hollywood and one of its leading figures.

©1998 A. Scott Berg (P)2009 Phoenix

Critic Reviews

"A. Scott Berg's big, rich, graceful biography of Sam Goldwyn brings the 'movie book' to a new rarified plateau.... The book proves worthy of what would be, in context, the highest praise of all: It has the Goldwyn Touch." (The Washington Post Book World)

What listeners say about Goldwyn

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting story; annoying narration

There is a lot of good info here not only about Sam Goldwyn himself, but also the early days of film. All tied up nicely in a 3 hour package.
Roddy McDowall's naration, on the other hand, didn't do it for me. Whenever he was quoteing Goldwyn, he would do it with an old lady type voice that made it almost unbareable. It took me about half an hour to get to where I could just ignore it and enjoy the story.
If you a fan of old movies, then I do recommend this one; just be sure to listen to the sample before you buy it.

4 people found this helpful

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The worst audiobook I've ever heard

Amazon/Audible, please give me my money back!

My friend strongly recommended this book (he read the print version). So I bought this from the Audible.com app. Unfortunately, on the little screen, I didn't see that it was ABRIDGED.

Abridging any book is dangerous. Done by an incompetent it's fatal. THIS BOOK IS INCOHERENT.

And what is up with the guy reading --- IN FALSETTO?

Can you think of any other way to ruin it?

Just give me my money back, please.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting read

Short, interesting story of Samuel Goldwyn. Great way to spend a flight. or a couple of rainy day hours too.

2 people found this helpful

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Great story, terrible performance

Would you try another book from A. Scott Berg and/or Roddy McDowall?

Yes, love his books.

What didn’t you like about Roddy McDowall’s performance?

What was with the voice of Samuel Goldwyn, why was it so ridiculously high? Did he actually talk like that?? Sounded completely ridiculous and ruined the book.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story, great narrator BUT...

Great book. Roddy McDowell gives a fine reading BUT Audible needs to let people know when a book is abridged. I am tired of wasting my money on a 2 hour distillation of a great book. It's downright theft

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Great short bio

Loved it, wish it were more in depth but thankful for this books research as it brought us the book Kate Remembered.

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  • Honest reader
  • 10-27-22

Empty bio of a man whose legacy is his work

There is a yawning gap (or two) in this biography of possibly the greatest ever independent film producer. While we learn about (or have validated) all of his supposed character quirks, and of his background and of the origin connections he shared with other moguls of the era, there doesn’t seem to have been any attempt to try to understand or explain the key thing that makes his life of interest, I.e. that he all but invented the role of the independent producer and was supremely successful at it.
We don’t even learn what the Producer really does.
There’s a short allusion to the fact that he (Sam) made thousands of key decisions about all his movies, but this is undermined by a more concerted attempt to afdiem him as uncultured and uncreative.
Roddy McDowell reads well enough but chooses to impersonate what I suspect is a reasonable approximation of Goldwyn actual voice (because Rodsy would probably have know it and there seems no other reason to fashion such a curious timbre) but it’s very distracting and feels like the action of playground bullies (to exaggerate an aspect of a persons speech to ridicule them).
There are few if any stories about the genesis of his movies, and with the exception of Stella Dallas and Best Years of Our Lives, no insight into the process of movie making at all, much less the specific contributions of The Producer.
An interesting question is posed about ‘what is the signature of a Sam Goldwyn movie’, but the apparent absence of an obvious trope or stylistic quirk, is then used to suggest he brought nothing to his own films and perhaps they are just a collection of other peoples successes (Directors).
I say this, see his very long list of wonderful films and make your own mind up about him from those, what’s in here is rather petty and small. Imagine hearing all the kids who knew Churchill as a ten year old complaining about his personality traits and being asked to judge the man, knowing he led Britain through WW2 to victory, but being given no clue as to how he did it.
I’m still watching and enjoying many his films, as are many millions of people, and I say that’s enough.