Basically, there are three measures of success in the cinema.
First off are pictures like "The Crowd" and "Applause" that achieve rave reviews and even go on to win awards, but don't recover their negative costs.
Then there are the movies the critics hate, but the public enjoys.
All three versions of "Back Street", for instance. Finally come the pictures everyone loves, like "From Here To Eternity" or "Sunset Boulevard".
In the annals of success in Hollywood's Golden Age, one name stands out above all others: Cecil B.
DeMille. His famous pictures reviewed here include both versions of "The Buccaneer", "The Crusades", "Sign of the Cross", "The Story of Dr Wassell" and "Union Pacific".
But the book also notes a DeMille "B" movie that tied up a fair amount of money but proved so unpopular it was released in some territories as a support.
The book also covers some of Hollywood's other disastrous failures, including the M-G-M movie that cost over $4 million to make and returned virtually nothing.