As Herman’s grandson, [Davis] is an insider in the Mankiewicz saga ... This kind of perspective gives the book an intimacy that raises the emotional stakes, especially when it comes to dysfunctional family dynamics ... There’s plenty of Hollywood trivia and gossip here as well ... Davis hits the more traditional notes, too, taking the reader behind the scenes of early Marx Brothers movies, Citizen Kane ... Davis is a documentary filmmaker, and he knows how to tell a story. He sharply depicts the brothers’ complex relationship—how they helped each other but were also driven by a fierce and bitter rivalry ... Davis captures it all.
The brothers had a complex relationship, fraught with jealousy and competition but also love, and Davis recounts it with feeling, drawing on fastidious research ... Movie fans and viewers of the recent Netflix film Mank will give two thumbs up to this carefully crafted, fascinating account of two legendary Hollywood figures.
Fans of the movie Mank will be intrigued by this blend of memoir and biography from the grandson of Herman Mankiewicz and great-nephew of Joe ... Davis capably summarizes the two men’s careers, but his reflections on the brothers’ personal lives dance a bit uncomfortably between memoir and biography. As memoir, the story of a grandson attempting to understand more about his famous relatives is thoughtful and engaging, but as a dual biography, the book loses its moorings amid the author’s speculations.