Such Mad Fun: Ambition and Glamour in Hollywood's Golden Age

Robin R Cutler

Her life began as a gutsy tomboy from a hardscrabble Arizona mining town — she was also a literary prodigy who published her first story at the age of ten. In 1930, fifteen-year-old Jane Hall became an orphan who soon found herself living on Park Avenue, swept up in the surprising world of Depression-era debutantes, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s birthday balls, and the dazzling nightlife of Manhattan’s Café Society. Once her clever romances about life among the smart set began selling to national magazines, Hollywood’s top agent got her contract as a screenwriter with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. While in Hollywood Jane lunched with Rosalind Russell, dined with Walter Pidgeon, danced with Jimmy Stewart, and reported from the sets of Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. She wrote the story and the script for what the New York Times called the “best social comedy of 1939,” These Glamour Girls, and established a lively camaraderie with F Scott Fitzgerald, who worked in the office next door to hers. But Jane’s fierce ambition and desire to be an independent woman conflicted with the expectations of her friends, her family, and the era in which she lived. Drawing on her mother’s diaries and scores of letters, Robin Cutler takes us on an unforgettable journey through 1930s Manhattan and Hollywood as Jane wrestles with who she was meant to be. Such Mad Fun is both coming-of-age story and a cautionary tale set in the cultural and social context of a decade that has surprising parallels with American life today. FROM THE ADVANCE REVIEWS: .. . Jane Hall’s story mirrors those of many female professionals even today, who face immense pressures to maintain a certain look. Hall’s brushes with Hollywood and literary celebrities make great reading . . . This portrait of a more literary mass-market America offers much food for reflection on modern culture. A valuable, absorbing contribution to the history of women, golden-age Hollywood, and America’s magazine culture of the 1930s and ’40s. KIRKUS REVIEWS' BEST BOOKS OF 2016 Such Mad Fun is . . . a seamless story of twentieth century life narrated with style and verve and empathy. SCOTT EYMAN, New York Times bestselling author of John Wayne: The Life and Legend . . . an always fascinating tribute to a complex woman torn between home and career. . . .Diary entries provide a window into the mixed emotions of a gallant woman trying to live an independent life, but shaped by the expectations of her class and time. MOLLY HASKELL, author of From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies Such Mad Fun . . .provides a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the studio system during its heyday . . . Robin Cutler tells the story of a remarkable woman and ably brings to life the milieus, both social and professional, Jane Hall inhabited during a fascinating life. RICHARD A. FINE, author of West of Eden: Hollywood and the Profession of Authorship. . . .A beautifully written page-turner of Hollywood's Golden Age and the role of the woman wunderkind writer who was the author's mother. In the end, you'll understand better your twentieth-century matriarchs, and most likely yourself. BETTY BOOKER, long-time reporter Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch and Boomer Magazine Robin Cutler is pitch-perfect in her description of the glittering social worlds of 1930’s New York and Hollywood. Such Mad Fun chronicles the adventures of Cutler’s prodigy mother, Jane Hall . . a gifted young writer whose wit and creativity assured success though Jane ultimately had to choose between her creative ambitions and the glamorous life she cultivated . . Working from her mother’s writings and diaries, and written with the momentum of a page-turning novel, Cutler’s excellent new book is a must read. LINDSAY C. GIBSON, PSY.D. author of Who You Were Meant to Be: A Guide to Finding or Recovering Your Life's Purpose. For more reviews, a gallery and movie trailers: https://robinrcutler.com

View Tree Press 328 pages

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