Whom God Wishes to Destroy . . .

Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood

Whom God Wishes to Destroy . . .

Book Pages: 208 Illustrations: 25 b&w photographs Published: June 1995

Author: Jon Lewis

American Studies, Media Studies > Film

In March 1980 Francis Coppola purchased the dilapidated Hollywood General Studios facility with the hope and dream of creating a radically new kind of studio, one that would revolutionize filmmaking, challenge the established studio machinery, and, most importantly, allow him to make movies as he wished. With this event at the center of Whom God Wishes to Destroy, Jon Lewis offers a behind-the-scenes view of Coppola’s struggle—that of the industry’s best-known auteur—against the changing realities of the New Hollywood of the 1980s. Presenting a Hollywood history steeped in the trade news, rumor, and gossip that propel the industry, Lewis unfolds a lesson about power, ownership, and the role of the auteur in the American cinema. From before the success of The Godfather to the eventual triumph of Apocalypse Now, through the critical upheaval of the 1980s with movies like Rumble Fish, Hammett, Peggy Sue Got Married, to the 1990s and the making of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein, Francis Coppola’s career becomes the lens through which Lewis examines the nature of making movies and doing business in Hollywood today.


Whom God Wishes to Destroy is a marvelously entertaining yarn on the perks and pitfalls of a Hollywood player, as well as the cautionary tale of a creative ‘genius’ who begins to believe hsi own publicity. . . . Lewis’s clear and enjoyable prose makes the book a must read for all those interested in the complex exchange between industry and artistry in contemporary Hollywood.” — Justin Wyatt, Detour Magazine

“Lewis has produces a fascinating, informative, and often sobering cautionary tale about the privilege of ownership, power and independence, and ‘the inevitable isolation of the individual artist.’” — Graham McCann, TLS

“With wry wit and rigorous attention to detail, Lewis analyzes how Coppola’s dream operated, how and why it never became reality, and how a celebrated director created a body of work as notable for its agonized genesis as for its creative substance.” — Entertainment Weekly

“Lewis demonstrates a marvelous ability to combine, with both rigor and innovation, a productive attentiveness to the stylistic aspects of filmic works themselves and a sharp capacity to situate those works within the economics and politics of an industry. His book offers the necessary detail on Coppola’s films and career while also using the case of Coppola as a model to say larger, more far-reaching things about today’s Hollywood and the place, or non-place, of the creative figure within it.” — Dana Polan, author of In a Lonely Place


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Price: $24.95

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Jon Lewis is Professor of English at Oregon State University and the author of The Road to Romance and Ruin: Teen Films and Youth Culture.

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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1889-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1602-2
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