Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Book Review: Hollywood's Hellfire Club: The Misadventures of John Barrymore, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn and the "Bundy Drive Boys" by Gregory Mank

From the Publisher, Feral House:

"They made fans go crazy and censors apoplectic, spent fortunes faster than they made them, forged Rembrandts and hung them in major museums, went on trial for committing statutory rape with necrophiliac teenage girls, reinterpreted Hamlet as an incestuous mama’s boy, and swilled immeasurable quantities of spirits during week-long parties on wobbly yachts.

"They were “The Bundy Drive Boys” and they made the Rat Pack look like Cub Scouts.

"Their self-destructiveness was spectacular, the misanthropy profound, but behind the boozy bravado was a devoted mutuaal affection. The Bundy Drive Boys’ un-Bowdlerized stories have never been illustrated so well or told so completely as within Hollywood’s Hellfire Club.

"Includes remarkable material on Ben Hecht, Gene Fowler, Sadakichi Hartmann, John Decker, John Carradine, Thomas Mitchell, Roland Young, Anthony Quinn and Alan Mowbray.

"Gregory William Mank is also the author of It’s Alive!: The Classic Cinema Saga of Frankenstein, Women in Horror Films, and Hollywood Cauldron.

"Cover Illustration by Drew Friedman"


Greg Mank has left the haunted mansion of golden age horror film critiques and heads into Hollywood Babylon territory with his newest book; and what he finds would have Kenneth Anger gasping for breath. Mank, with his coauthors Charles Heard and Bill Nelson, tells the tale of the Bundy Drive Boys, a collective of fast living and hard drinking Hollywood actors, writers and artists--- all committed to their friendship and the right to destroy their careers, their families and themselves by any means necessary. Among the hell-raisers are John Barrymore, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn, John Decker, William Fowler, John Carradine, Ben Hecht and Sadakichi Hartmann; and their stories of childhood tragedy, incest, rape, cannibalism (in a POW camp), drunken brawls, sexual conquests, and even an art forgery scam, will have your jaw hitting the floor. --- I read HOLLYWOOD HELLFIRE CLUB in one sitting. My morbid curiosity (wondering just how much worse can things get for the Bundy Drive boys) simply would not let me put this book down. If you are a fan of Hollywood's Golden Age... or the last person to leave the scene of a train wreck, this book will surely entertain and/or horrify you! ---Reviewed by Riley

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