By L.S. Klepp
Updated November 24, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

It may not be true that the Hollywood Hills are composed of old memoirs of Hollywood. But the massive anthology The Grove Book of Hollywood is — it offers 87 years’ worth of fond memories and character assassinations. The book offers the occasional surprise — did you know Chaplin wanted to star in a proposed movie about Jesus? Often, though, it’s familiar but entertaining stuff. And the winners are… Best Bugging of Directorial Sex: Peter Lorre’s practical joke on Casablanca director Michael Curtiz, as relayed by Paul Henreid. Best Mafia-Greased Deal: Robert Evans landing Al Pacino for The Godfather with the help of a Vegas-Mob-connected lawyer. Best Financial Equivalent of a Car Chase Scene: Steven Bach trying to stop Michael Cimino’s spending spree on Heaven’s Gate. Most Withering Cynicism: Joan Didion on Hollywood politics. And so forth. There are dull patches, but for anyone who enjoys the rich folklore, strange tribal rites, and tarnished idols of the celluloid jungles, the book is a feast. A-