Friday, January 22, 2016
Rec Five: Books About Hollywood's Golden Age
1) The Greatest Movies Ever: The ultimate Ranked List of the 101 Best Films of All Time- There are a lot of great lists of the "All-Time Best" films made by a variety of people. This one isn't composed by the most distinguished film critics, nor is it an exhaustive list. However, it is the one I keep reaching back to time and again because it is more than a list of film names and 3 sentence synopses, and it covers more than just American films. For each film listed, there's the two authors' thoughts on its impact on film and culture, insider info about both critical scenes and the people who made them. Funny, and insightful, if you're looking for a list of movies to watch, this may be it.
2) Classic Movie Crossword Puzzles- The Turner Classic Movie channel releases a monthly TV guide to what it's showing and within each magazine, is always a crossword puzzle for the die-hard movie fan. Gathered within the pages of this book though are all those crosswords they've created and shared over the years. Be prepared- you need to have a pretty extensive list of movie trivia to have a prayer at finishing any of the puzzles, but its fun nonetheless!
3) Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design- gorgeously designed, this oversized book is the one that graces my coffee table. It would be wrong to think it is just pictures though! Taking things a decade at a time, this book moves through the evolution of costume design as a feild in film, as well as looks at how costume influenced fashioned over time, and what inspired some of the most iconic looks in movies. If you like fashion or film, this is a must-have.
4) Classic Hollywood Style- I went all the way to Paris only to come home with a book on Hollywood. But this book is a fascinating read. In fact, it is, hands down, my favorite book on film. Though there are gorgeous and plentiful color images, the real focus of this book are the 50 or so films author, Carol Young, feels influenced style- fashion, architecture, or home design- in the real world. It spans from silent films through to more modern fare such as Bonnie and Clyde, as shown on the cover here. It introduces some films not typically found on "top film lists" because it isn't looking at the best story or the best acting but what caught America's- and the world's eye- on the silver screen and how that all translated back into the real world.
5)Leading Ladies: the 50 unforgettable leading ladies of the studio era, Leading Men: The 50 unforgettable leading men of the studio era and Leading Couples: The most unforgettable screen romances of the studio era- Okay, these is cheating a bit because here are three books, not one. However, how could I choose only one? All made by host of Turner Classic Movies, Roy Osbourne, these books all follow the same format. It lists the top leading actresses, actors or romantic film pairings of the studio era. Each star (or star combo) gets a few pages wherein a page long bio is shared, along with some of their most important films and the most interested film trivia is shared. I'm always looking things up in this trio of books anytime I do a movie review; there's always some new tidbit or piece of information I'm finding! If you like movie history at all, or are looking for more movies to watch beyond the typical "top 100" lists, any one of these books are for you.