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...