Taylor was a popular player in the early days of the motion picture industry. He directed 59 silent films between 1914 and 1922. He also acted in 27 films between 1913 and 1915. He directed the legendary Mary Pickford as well as Mary Miles Minter, a serious rival to Pickford, in the silent version of Anne of Green Gables. Taylor was widely respected and beloved by many in the movie business, but he had his secrets. Did these secrets have something to do with his murder?
During the time of Taylor’s murder, the movie industry was under attack by reformers to clean up its act. Many believed that Hollywood was corrupting the youth of America and early movie moguls like Adolph Zukor and Marcus Loew feared their empires were in danger. There was talk of censorship and government regulation which no one in the movie business wanted.
|William Desmond Taylor|
|Mary Miles Minter was|
in love with Taylor.
Mann’s book has been compared to The Devil In The White City because of its similar narrative style, reading more like a novel than a work of nonfiction. Mann weaves a fascinating tale of early Hollywood and the scandals that almost destroyed the movie business. It’s to Mann’s credit that he doesn’t wallow in the details of the various scandals, but instead focuses on the possible motivations of the individuals involved. I came away feeling that I knew Mabel Normand, Mary Miles Minter, Adolph Zukor, Marcus Lowe, and William Desmond Taylor, so good were Mann’s descriptions of the major players.
Tinseltown is a great read and a must for movie buffs and film historians.
Tinseltown’s publication date is October 14, 2014, but can be pre-ordered at Amazon.