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Sometimes it's hard to think of exactly the right title for a book. It's easy, of course, if you have the title in advance. You just write the book to fit. But on this occasion, my aim was to provide a wide-ranging, general introduction to the wonderful world of classic movies that thrilled audiences from 1925 through 1965.
NOTE: All ebook editions have a different cover from the printed book, featuring the lovely Hayworth, but the contents are identical,
Hollywood's Miracles of Entertainment
To represent 1925, I chose "The Eagle" which showcases Rudolph Valentino at his most ingratiating. For 1965, I envisaged my favorite Agatha Christie adaptation, "The Alphabet Murders". For 1928, "Our Daring Daughters" (starring the entrancing Joan Crawford) was a natural. For 1931, it was impossible to go past Jean Harlow's "Platinum Blonde"; and for 1933, who could refuse admittance to either "King Kong" or "The Invisible Man"?
It soon became apparent, however, that a year-by-year breakdown was not going to work, because there were too many years in which Hollywood produced a bumper crop of movie treasures. Take 1944, for instance: "The Conspirators" (a delightful extravaganza, intended as a box-office follow-up to "Casablanca"), with Hedy Lamarr, Paul Henreid, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre; "Cover Girl", one of my all-time favorite musicals, starring Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly, directed by Charles Vidor; "The Curse of the Cat People", starring that quintessential object of fantasy, Simone Simon; "In Society", one of Abbott and Costello funniest outings; "The Man in Half-Moon Street", Paramount's elaborately atmospheric answer to "The Picture of Dorian Gray"; two entries in Universal's justly famous "Mummy" series, both starring Lon Chaney; and "Standing Room Only", a side-splitting comedy of manners that rates with me as one of the Ten Best ever made.
So I asked myself what did all these marvelous movies have in common? They were all simply Hollywood miracles of entertainment. Here are 120 of the best vintage, brought together with full credits, background information and up-to-date reviews in this well-produced, large-format, 248-page book that also includes a monograph on director Charles Vidor ("Cover Girl", "Gilda", "Rhapsody", "Love Me Or Leave Me", etc.).