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I'd Hate Myself in the Morning: A Memoir

Ring Lardner Jr. Victor Navasky, intro.
Publisher Nation  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
ISBN 9781560253389
Pages/Publication Date 198/2000
Daedalus Item Code 20230
This item is not available.
This memoir by Ring Lardner Jr. is a pilgrimage through the American century. The son of the immensely popular and influential writer, Lardner worked as a reporter in New York before leaving for Hollywood and winning, at the age of 28, an Academy Award for his screenplay for Woman of the Year. In this "irresistibly readable" story (The New Yorker), with such cast members as Carole Lombard, Louis B. Mayer, Marlene Dietrich, Bertolt Brecht, Bert Lahr, Robert Altman, and Muhammad Ali, Lardner recalls the strange existence of a contract screenwriter in the age of the studio system and his memorable confrontation with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

"An Oscar-winning screenwriter and the last surviving member of the Hollywood Ten, Lardner takes the title for his slender memoir from his famous reply to the chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee. 'I could answer,' he said when asked if he had ever been a member of the Communist Party, 'but if I did I would hate myself in the morning.' Responding with humor when others would be indignant is one of Lardner's most appealing characteristics, along with his refusal to exaggerate the importance of the Hollywood blacklist. While quietly elucidating the professional harm and personal suffering experienced by screenwriters, directors and actors denied employment for more than a decade, the author also comments, 'My nine months in prison is hardly to be compared to, say, the punishment endured by Andrei Sakharov or Nelson Mandela'—not even, he adds, to the struggles of civil rights activists. This levelheaded perspective is also notable in passages on the physical indignities of old age where Lardner, 85, remarks of treatment for his many ailments, 'The best you can hope for is essentially a stay of execution.' In addition to his political life, the author sketches his screenwriting career, whose highlights include Woman of the Year in 1942 and M*A*S*H in 1970, and briefly profiles his famous father, Ring Lardner Sr., his mother and three brothers. Most of this material will not be new to readers of his previous book, The Lardners ... but a new generation of film buffs and others interested in the McCarthy era will probably be just as charmed by Lardner's wit and unpretentiousness as their parents were."—Publishers Weekly

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