Going With The Wind

TITLE: SHOWMAN: THE LIFE OF DAVID O. SELZNICK

AUTHOR: DAVID THOMSON

PUBLISHER: KNOPF; 792 PAGES; $35

THE BOTTOM LINE: Brilliant writing portrays self-destruction in the high Hollywood manner.

If it was bad for him, movie producer David O. Selznick had to do it. He was a drug addict (Benzedrine), a compulsive gambler (in 1946 alone he lost $581,621) and an equally compulsive womanizer (no star, secretary or script girl was safe from his lunging, oafish passes). He was often drunk, he never smoked less than three packs a day, and he usually worked deep into the night, wearing out ranks of...

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