Hundreds of insiders--from stars to stuntmen--recall the Golden Age of Hollywood and how Tinseltown became a business dominated by four major studios. By the author of Hollywood Beauty. Simultaneous.
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A history of the Hollywood factory system that leaps, handy- dandy, between the intimate and the commonplace, drawing from hundreds of interviews with Tinseltown folk conducted by the Southern Methodist University Oral History Program, which Davis (Hollywood Beauty, 1991) founded. Davis's foreword thanks his undergraduate students who took his ``American Society through Film'' course, youngsters who in most instances ``were delving into Hollywood's Golden Era for the first time....'' Meanwhile, older film buffs may begin reading with the terrible feeling that they've read all this before, many times- -but they'll find that tasty garnishings to the familiar are added by the intimate thoughts of film editors like Robert Wise, who slaved on his own over the timing of the famed breakfast scene in Citizen Kane, or of staffers like Lillian Burns, secretary to Columbia Pictures studio head Harry Cohn, who belies Cohn's reputation as an obscenity-spouting ogre. Davis covers all the major studio chiefs, directors, and producers; the creating of stars; lives of actors and actresses (who discover that despite being stars, they're only human); supporting players (``Who am I and what stage are we playing on?''); publicity; writing; music; editing; and much more. Despite a framework of obligatory material erected with no personal voice, Davis keeps most pages lively with the unexpected quote: Asked about his method, Claude Rains says, ``I just learn the lines and pray to God.'' Eventually, the stars grow restless with the contract system, the independents arise, and TV takes over. ``Now, studios are nothing but the Ramada Inn,'' says Billy Wilder. ``You rent space, you shoot, and out you go.'' A cake you eat for its raisins. (Twenty b&w photographs) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
Anyone who has ever doubted that filmmaking is a collaborative craft should consider Davis's (history, Southern Methodist Univ.) book. Under the studio system of Hollywood's Golden Age, making movies was a business based on assembly line-like production, with many departments contributing to the finished film. Drawing primarily from the oral history collection on the performing arts at SMU, Davis uses the recollections of former employees to illustrate this process. Each chapter is devoted to a specific department or an aspect of film production and how it was handled. Use of quotes from both famous and unknown people adds freshness and authority. Davis successfully proves that filmmaking during Hollywood's Golden Age was far from glamorous and that those involved considered it a business rather than art. For serious film collections.
- Marianne Cawley, Kingwood Branch Lib., Tex.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Southern Methodist Univ Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110870743570
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