Curtis Harrington: Nice Guys Don't Work In Hollywood

-> out June 18th, 2013 on Drag City Books


"A bitter-sweet journey through a unique Hollywood career, as well as an entertaining key to the charming enigma that was Curtis Harrington." -Monte Hellman, director, Two-Lane Blacktop and The Shooting


"Curtis Harrington was the only avant-garde filmmaker of his generation to become a Hollywood director. His posthumas memoir provides valuable insights into the extraordinary short films he made in the late 1940s while telling the tragi-comic story of selling out to the industry." -P. Adams Sitney, film historian, author of Visionary Film


What other film director has a) created avant-garde films and was part of Kenneth Anger's inner circle, b) directed critically acclaimed and cult-adored horror films like Night Tide and Games, and c) directed episodes of Charlie's Angels and Dynasty? The answer can only be Curtis Harrington. Nice Guys Don't Work In Hollywood is a fast-paced view of Harrington's journey through the kaleidoscope of the movie business, acting alternately as a personal memoir and cultural history from a veteran of the entertainment business. In addition, Harrington was living as a gay man in Hollywood and the book gives a rare peek into the hidden world of what was then an elite subculture.

What sets this memoir apart is Harrington's unusual career trajectory. Starting in the 1940's avant-garde heyday, Harrington made several deeply intuitive and evocative films which were heralded by the likes of Maya Deren and Anais Nin. Against all odds, he then became a Hollywood insider, working as assistant for the infamous Jerry Wald. As a director, he made the cult classic Night Tide, worked in the Roger Corman stable and helmed several of his own distinctive horror films including Games and What's the Matter with Helen. In the 1970's and 1980s he began what he called his descent down the "slippery slope" of television work and soon found himself directing episodes of Charlie's Angels and Dynasty.

Nice Guys Don't Work In Hollywod chronicles this strange arc with wit and campy style. It is both a serious study of film aesthetics and a gossipy tell-all. Along the way an unlikely cast of characters includding Dennis Hopper, Christpher Isherwood, Shelly Winters, Marilyn Monroe, Stanly Kubrick and Aaron Spelling share space with the machinations of the film and TV business making this a truly unique look at the Hollywood dream. Photos from throughout Curtis Harrington's career are included as well as two supplements: Harrington's 1949 "Index of the Films of Josef Von Sternberg" originally printed in Sight & Sound magazine and the short story "The Secrets of the Sea" which became the basis for Harrington's classic film Night Tide.

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