Publishers Weekly: Forecasts
"HOLLYWOOD RENEGADES: The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers" by J. A. Aberdeen.
Independent scholar Aberdeen
engagingly details the cutthroat, nasty business that lurks behind
the silver screen in this account of the dramatic rise, extraordinary
success and eventual decline of the Society of Independent Motion
Picture Producers. The organization struggled for decades to help
producers and artists work outside of the entrenched studio system,
which controlled the production and distribution of nearly all films.
U.S. government had repeatedly attempted to regulate the almost absolute
monopoly of the studios (particularly their practice of "block booking,"
which required theaters to screen all of a studio's releases ), it
wasn't until 1941 that eight producers - including Charlie Chaplin, Mary
Pickford, Walt Disney, Samuel Goldwyn and Orson Wells - formed SIMPP to
gain leverage against the larger studios and help the federal government
with an antitrust suit.
The studios fought back with press releases
claiming that SIMPP policies would ruin the industry, asserting blatant
untruths about SIMPP practices and proposing a host of compromise plans
that would not substantively decrease their power.
This complicated, intense legal fight continued until the Supreme Court
banned block booking and other monopolistic practices in 1949, opening
the door for the independent producing system that has developed since
Drawing upon previously unpublished SIMPP documents, court records
and a complete examination of trade newspapers, Aberdeen has
reconstructed the fascinating legal showdown over the production of an
important aspect of American culture. (October 2000 release.)
Publishers Weekly - August 21, 2000 - p. 56