Josh Brolin as Eddie Mannix in “Hail, Caesar!” the Coen brothers’ fanciful tale about MGM’s purported “fixer.”
We’re reluctant to write too much about the upcoming film “Hail, Caesar!” the Coen brothers’ comedy scheduled for release Feb. 4. It is a fantasy, after all. Not a documentary.
However, a distressing number of news articles (that would be you, Michael Cieply in the New York Times) casually refer to E.J. Fleming’s “The Fixers: Eddie Mannix, Howard Strickling and the MGM Publicity Machine” as if it were some sort of authoritative book on Hollywood. It is not. And simply because one goes through the motions learned in middle school of properly citing material has no effect on whether it’s the least bit accurate.
Fact-checking all of E.J. Fleming’s “The Fixers” would be a life’s work, but we devoted a great amount of time to debunking the “Wallace Beery beat Ted Healy to death” yarn, and based on what we found in “The Fixers,” we would have to deem the book no more dependable than “Hollywood Babylon.”
I encourage anyone to peruse the following posts before entering the nonsensical world of “The Fixers.”