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Cobblestone presents:
Hollywood Renegades
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Cobblestone Entertainment.
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BOOK REVIEW


Publishers Weekly: Forecasts

"HOLLYWOOD RENEGADES: The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers" by J. A. Aberdeen. (Cobblestone Entertainment).

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.

Although the 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 then.

Drawing upon previously unpublished SIMPP documents, court records and a complete examination of trade newspapers, Aberdeen has reconstructed the fascinating legal showdown over the production of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