The World’s First Male Sex Symbol
Francis X. Bushman was once celebrated as the “handsomest man in movies.” But it all ended when he was caught in an illicit love nest with his co-star. After five years of being “cast aside” by Hollywood, his casting in the epic “Ben-Hur” has finally put him on the road to redemption.
Month after month of being stranded in Rome, however, has made him fear he has been forgotten again. In desperation he hires a hotshot L.A. newsman to stir up publicity—even to invent things if necessary. This Lewis Tremayne is sympathetic to Bushman’s plight. He himself was blackballed by studios for moral transgressions of his own.
But things in Rome are more complicated than Tremayne was told. Bushman may be using him to divert the media from the truth about his beautiful Italian traveling companion—and dictator Benito Mussolini has spies everywhere, keeping tabs on the company for any signs of Hollywood debauchery.
“Cast Aside: With Bushman at the Unmaking of ‘Ben-Hur’ in Italy” is a morality tale of propaganda, media manipulation and the pursuit of power in the formative years of motion pictures.
From the headlines about a “trunk murder” at Lake Como; to the civil strife over the grip of Fascism in Rome; to MGM’s doomed re-enactment of an ancient sea battle off Livorno — here for the first time is the full, unauthorized account of the “unmaking” of “Ben-Hur” in Italy.
About The “Ben’Hur” Saga
As exciting as it is, “Cast Aside” is just the first part of the amazing “Ben-Hur” saga. That chronicle is completed in “The Ben-Hur Murders: Inside the 1925 ‘Hollywood Games.’”
After pulling up stakes in Rome, the company returns to Culver City, California, where the action is taken up from a new perspective. The story is set during just one day— October 17, 1925 — as L.A.’s ruling elite turn out to watch a group of displaced cowboys and downtrodden stuntmen re-enact the film’s brutal Roman chariot race.
There on a replica of the coliseum at Antioch, bets are made, careers are decided, and reality becomes forever linked with make-believe in the tear-stained annals of old Hollywood.
Both novels are based on primary documents and original research, weaving real people and events into a colorful tapestry of mainstream fiction.