Edmund Goulding’s Dark Victory: Hollywood’s Genius Bad Boy
University of Wisconsin Press, 2004

Edmund Goulding’s Dark Victory: Hollywood’s Genius Bad Boy is the first biography ever written about this eccentric genius of early-twentieth-century filmmaking. Goulding (1891–1959) was by turns a writer, producer, composer, and actor, but it is as a director that he made an indelible impression. He is most remembered today as the director of Grand Hotel, the great Event Movie of the Depression. At the dawn of sound, he wrote the story for the Academy Award–winning musical The Broadway Melody and collaborated memorably with Gloria Swanson and Joseph Kennedy for The Trespasser. He excelled at anti-war drama (White Banners, The Dawn Patrol, We Are Not Alone), fantastic Bette Davis weepies (Dark Victory, The Old Maid, The Great Lie), lilting romantic dramas (The Constant Nymph, Claudia), big-budget literary adaptations (The Razor’s Edge), and even film noir (Nightmare Alley). The London-born Goulding was a complicated and contradictory man whose notorious orgies, bisexuality, drinking, and drug addictions were whispered about in Hollywood for years. Yet his well-crafted plots and compelling characters set a new standard in American cinema and had a profound influence on the future of filmmaking. With a forward by preeminent film historian and documentary filmmaker Kevin Brownlow, Edmund Goulding's Dark Victory charts the unjustly neglected legacy of a gifted, impulsive artist.

Praise for Edmund Goulding’s Dark Victory: Hollywood’s Genius Bad Boy

"This is an excellent biography . . . . A long overdue look at the achievements and importance of this highly interesting man and filmmaker." —greatoldmovies.blogspot.com

"Kennedy has gone a long way toward rescuing Goulding from obscurity . . . . Recommended for all cinema collections." —Library Journal

"Terrific . . . . Kennedy's style is lively and erudite. Readers shouldn't be put off by this being a university press book: it's well illustrated, informative, funny, and fascinating, not remotely academic. Anyone interested in classic Hollywood or how creativity can simultaneously flourish and flounder should buy it at once." —Bay Area Reporter

"It's an absolutely wonderful book." —Wahl's Winners, KRON-TV

"Kennedy does his life justice . . . . It's a fascinating read." —The National Board of Review

"Long overdue . . . . [Kennedy has] balanced scholarship with spice." —San Francisco Weekly

4.5 rating (out of 5) among on-line reviewers at amazon.com

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Read Alternative Film Guide's Q&A with Biographer Matthew Kennedy

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