F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Last Tycoon
Fitzgerald’s last novel was incomplete when he died. This is a pity because the bits he did complete as well as the notes he left show that it would have been a very interesting novel. Even what is left is well worth reading. The book is about Monroe Stahr, a movie producer apparently based on Irving Thalberg. Like Thalberg, Stahr rules his studio with a rod of iron and is on top of pretty well everything that goes on. You might not like him, though he is not too unsympathetic, but you cannot help but admire him. He is thoroughly on top of his game. He knows how to make movies but he also knows how to deal with movie people, make movie decisions and to get his way. He deals with the money men, the important visitors, the stars and the ordinary film people and he deals with them all in such a way that you cannot help but admire how he deals with them. He even falls in love but, of course, when he has to choose between love and the studio, it is no contest. How would it have been if Fitzgerald had ended it? His notes indicated that Stahr is killed in a plane crash but we don’t see that in what he had written. However, it does seem that he might have had troubles, including money and unions, troubles that faced the real-life film studios. But it’s a pity he didn’t finish it.
First published 1941 by Scribner’s