This chapter focuses on George Cukor’s early career as a Hollywood director. Cukor was unusual among stage directors from the East Coast enticed to Hollywood for talkies, in that he found moviemaking—indeed California itself—extremely stimulating. He had arrived with the usual New York mental resistance, sporting a black overcoat and matching fedora—very fashionable back East—which he insisted on wearing despite the warm climate. Within weeks, Cukor had shed not only his coat and hat but many of his trepidations and preconceptions. By 1932, he had his own new house; for half a century, his place was one of the most distinctive and personal among famous residences in Hollywood. It was the 1932 movie A Bill of Divorcement that cemented Cukor’s friendship with Katharine Hepburn, and launched one of the unique director-star relationships in Hollywood history. With Dinner at Eight and Little Women both released in 1933, Cukor vaulted into the front ranks of screen directors, and embarked on his first great run of films.
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