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"The best place to make spaghetti is Italy, the best place to make wine is France, and the best place to make movies is Hollywood," says Dino De Laurentiis, producer of the 1976 King Kong, in this piquant pictorial homage to Tinseltown. To season that thesis, last May 20 an international squad of 75 noted photographers set out to capture, in a single day, the complicated smorgasbord called the movie business: the stars, the soundstages, the wannabes and the watering holes. Boiled down from over 100,000 pictures, the 225 images in Hollywood offer a colorful feast for the eye but, curiously, leave one hungry for substance.
Part of the problem is the subject itself. Unlike countries (including Japan, Canada and Ireland) covered in previous Day in the Life volumes, Hollywood has a narrow focus: business. Missing here, for the most part, are nourishing moments of personal, family and social life. There is plenty to dine on nonetheless. Robin Williams cracks up director Barry Levinson on the set of the forthcoming movie Toys; Steven Spielberg cuddles with one of Jurassic Park's animatronic dinosaurs; and Sean Young starts her day with instructions to her handlers, using a bedside computer.
The moguls serve up more intimacy than the stars. In his Beverly Hills bedroom, producer-manager Sandy Gallin does yoga wearing a Jewish prayer shawl from an earlier morning ritual, and Columbia Pictures head Mark Canton helps wife Wendy Finerman get their kids ready for bed before heading out to—what else?—a working dinner at Morton's.
Despite the color, the clothes and the celebrity, the flavor that comes through in Hollywood is the rather tiring banality of the fantasy biz. "My impression," says Randy Quaid's wife, Evi, "is that it's a lot of hard work and not much glamor." Maybe the movies are like sausages. You love to consume them, but you don't really want to know how they're made. (Collins. $45)