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Nice Guys Don't Work in Hollywood
Nice Guys Don't Work in Hollywood

Nice Guys Don't Work in Hollywood

The Adventures of an Aesthete in the Movie Business


272 Pages, 5 x 8

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $19.95 (US $19.95) (CA $20.95)

Publication Date: June 2013

ISBN 9781937112073

Rights: US & CA

Drag City (Jun 2013)

Sorry, this item is temporarily out of stock


A charming, often barbed observation of the evolution of American mainstream filmmaking over the course of its first century, this memoir chronicles the unusual, multidecade career trajectory of Curtis Harrington. Conveyed in a witty and campy style, it follows the strange arc of a man who created avant-garde films as part of Kenneth Anger’s inner circle, directed critically acclaimed and cult-adored horror films like Night Tide and Games, and then descended down the "slippery slope" of television work by directing episodes of Charlie’s Angels and Dynasty. As a fast-paced view of Harrington's journey through the kaleidoscope of the movie business, it acts alternately as personal memoir and cultural history from a veteran of the entertainment business. As Harrington was living as a gay man in Hollywood, the book additionally gives a rare peek into the hidden world of what was then an elite subculture. Doubling as both a serious study of film aesthetics and a gossipy tell-all, this truly unique look at the Hollywood dream includes an unlikely cast of characters, including Dennis Hopper, Christopher Isherwood, Shelley Winters, Marilyn Monroe, Stanley Kubrick, and Aaron Spelling, as it reveals a portrait of the machinations of the film and television business.


"From the grindhouse to Beverly Hills, Curtis Harrington saw a very special era of the American film business from every angle, and those illustrious, luminary-filled pages share the inside dope on a mind-boggling caset of charecters that include Dennis Hopper, Marlene Dietrich, Kenneth Anger, and Lew Wasserman. [The book] is a film memoir classic."  —Gillian McCain, coeditor, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

"A bitter-sweet journey through a unique Hollywood career, as well as an entertaining key to the charming enigma that was Curtis Harrington."  —Monte Hellman, director, Two-Lane Blacktop and The Shooting

"Curtis Harrington was the only avant-garde filmmaker of his generation to become a Hollywood director. His posthumous memoir provides valuable insights into the extraordinary short films he made in the late 1940s while telling a tragi-comic story of selling out to the industry."  —Adams Sitney, author, Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde

"There is an afterlife, and this memoir, so very Curtis, is his. Whatever other afterlife his aesthetic soul may have found, his is here. His early love of E.A. Poe and the flickering visions it inspired in him are here tranformed onto the written page, House of Usher to Usher, along with his erotic confessions and his revenge on those he hated. A nice guy did work in Hollywood."  —Jack Larson, actor and screenwriter

Author Biography

Curtis Harrington was a film and television director whose work included experimental films, horror films, and episodic television. He was a close associate of groundbreaking cult film pioneer Kenneth Anger and is considered one of the forerunners of New Queer Cinema.