Room 1219 by Greg Merritt
The Life of Fatty Arbuckle, the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe, and the Scandal That Changed Hollywood

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Arbuckle emerges as a sympathetic figure, but many others, including movie moguls, don’t fare as well. The definitive account of one of Hollywood's most notorious scandals.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Part biography, part true-crime narrative, this painstakingly researched book chronicles the improbable rise and stunning fall of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle from his early big screen success to his involvement in actress Virginia Rappe’s death, and the resulting irreparable damage to his career. It describes how during the course of a rowdy party hosted by the comedian in a San Francisco hotel, Rappe became fatally ill, and Arbuckle was subsequently charged with manslaughter. Ultimately acquitted after three trials, neither his career nor his reputation ever recovered from this devastating incident. Relying on a careful examination of documents, the book finally reveals what most likely occurred that Labor Day weekend in 1921 in that fateful hotel room. In addition, it covers the evolution of the film industry—from the first silent experiments to the connection between Arbuckle’s scandal and the implementation of industry-wide censorship that altered the course of Hollywood filmmaking for five decades.
 

About Greg Merritt

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Greg Merritt is the author of Film Production: The Complete Uncensored Guide to Independent Filmmaking and Celluloid Mavericks: A History of American Independent Film. He is a senior writer for American Media, Inc. and has written hundreds of feature articles for numerous magazines. He has an MFA from the American Film Institute.
 
Published September 1, 2013 by Chicago Review Press. 452 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Room 1219
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jun 09 2013

Arbuckle emerges as a sympathetic figure, but many others, including movie moguls, don’t fare as well. The definitive account of one of Hollywood's most notorious scandals.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jul 08 2013

Lovers of film history, media studies, and true crime will enjoy the parallels between the film boom of the early 20th century and the tech boom of today.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Tom Moran on Oct 04 2013

Mr. Merritt grudgingly admits that the prosecution didn't have enough evidence to try Arbuckle for manslaughter. But his agenda is to restore the reputation of Virginia Rappe...He thus crafts a hypothetical scenario for what happened in Room 1219 that is guaranteed to satisfy no one.

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Reader Rating for Room 1219
80%

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