Program Details

Hollywood Hates Hollywood: Films Hollywood Made About Itself

Kurt F. Stone
Movies / History
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Shortly after arriving out west, the witty screenwriter Ben Hecht began referring to Hollywood as “The land of mink-lined swimming pools and plastic palm trees.” Not to be outdone, the equally witty Dorothy Parker noted that “The only ‘ism’ Hollywood believes in is plagiarism.” The two were by no means alone in their lowly assessment of the world’s film capital. William Faulkner called Hollywood “A place where a man can get stabbed in the back while climbing a ladder.” And then there was Fred Allen, who claimed: “You can take all the sincerity in Hollywood, place it in the navel of a fruit fly and still have room enough for three caraway seeds and a producer’s heart.” When it comes to having a jaundiced view of the movie industry, nothing and no one is more jaded or funnier than Hollywood itself. And when Hollywood makes films about Hollywood, watch out! This lecture series highlights four films Hollywood made about itself. Beware as cinematic arrows are drawn from a quiver of satire.


  1. What Price Hollywood? (1932): The original A Star is Born, starring Constance Bennett.
  2. Day of the Locust (1975): Donald Sutherland stars in an adaptation of Nathaniel West's classic Hollywood novel.
  3. The Star (1952): Bette Davis in a tour-de-force as a washed-up star looking to make a comeback.
  4. What Makes Sammy Run? (1959): Sammy Glick is the ultimate Hollywood hustler, the film no one thought would ever be made. Starring Larry Blyden.

About the Instructor

  • Kurt F. Stone, DD, is now in his 23rd year with Lifelong Learning. His passion for film is, he says, "genetic," having been born in Hollywood, CA, and raised both in and around the movie industry. Stone is a multi-disciplinary sort of man, who has also written two well-received books on Congress, published nearly 900 essays, is an ordained rabbi and earns his living as a medical ethicist.

    Recipient of the 2004 Excellence in Teaching Award

Upcoming programs presented by Kurt F. Stone.

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