Mad Men-esque — A Dark Look at Hollywood Filmmaking

In this Hollywood, art is all "lies, connivance and darkness." 
 Kindle Edition (Biblioasis, 2016)

Scrolling through the books on Biblioasis' websiteThe Camera Always Lies, a novel by Hugh Hood, caught my eye. It's described as a story about "Hollywood politics and one woman’s struggle to survive them." I was intrigued, not only by the promise of an insider's view, but to boot, the main character is a woman. Sold. (Not to mention Hugh Hood's bio, which in itself is impressive.) I read the novel over two evenings and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Set in 1966-67, this is a very dark look at Hollywood filmmaking. Love and Art are all but extinguished in this Holly-land. The greed, lust and misogyny are palpable. Hugh Hood strikes the right balance by injecting humour into the mix. Even the truly "bad guys" are funny. And the overall statement Hood is making about art versus commercialism/careerism elevates the whole thing. 

At the beginning of the novel, it appears that this is going to be a revenge tale, with two slimy producers as the villains, and one beautiful, refined actress as the victim/avenger. But the plot's much more complex than that. Almost all the characters are implicated in some way – even the landscape of LA is described as inhuman. In this Hollywood, art is all "lies, connivance and darkness." 

What I like best about this book is the way Hood captures the 1960s and of course, his searing psychological insights.The Camera Always Lies reveals the worst of human nature, but it also sheds light on how we might live, love and create real Art. With this novel, Hugh Hood is "authenticating the real...dragging phenomena into undeniable life" and we, the readers, are the better for it. 

The Camera Always Lies (originally published in 1967) is part of Biblioasis’ Renditions Series.

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