The most thunderous roar to come out of the West in recent years has been caused by Hollywood stars stampeding toward that newer, more refreshing substitute for the old water hole—the tax hole. As stars went into business for themselves or took percentages instead of salaries, Hollywood's finances have become more spectacular and complex than its love life.

Of all the financial dipsy-doodling, none is more involved than a deal set up by a pair of film writers named Martin L. Rackin and John Lee Mahin. Ten months ago the team found a loose option on Harold Sinclair's Civil War...

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