The Cutting Room
Ballantine, Feb 2004, 23.95, 288 pp.
There is a whole culture of “Trivial People,” men and women who are linked by a common interest in movie arcana . There purpose, other than to socialize, is to find lost films or series that are missing from movies that were produced and shown to the public. The most valuable prize a trivial person can find is the long lost version of the original The Magnificent Ambersons the one that the studio cut whole scenes out of while Orson Welles was in South America.
Roy Milano, one of the trivial people and proud of it, gets a phone call from Alan Gilbert who tells him he has the film and is willing to show it to him. When he gets to Alan's apartment, he is dead and the film is missing. A movie radio host has a tip that a famous movie star has the film and is going to star in the remake. Roy follows the trail of the missing film that takes him from Hollywood to Spain, back to L.A. and onto Boston where he becomes entangled in a politician's deadly web.
Laurence Klavan has such a unique voice that if readers were given a manuscript without the author's name, they will recognize it was written by him. In pursuit of a film, the protagonist finds some himself in some hair-raising situations but even the danger does not deter him from trying to get the one object that will make him the envy of trivial people everywhere. THE CUTTING ROOM is witty and irreverent yet also pays homage to the golden age of movies.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner