There are arguments about when the Hollywood’s Golden Age actually started and ended. Some say it began in the 1930s, while others believe it started with silent films in the 1910s. However, it’s largely agreed on that the developments in filmmaking and making of movies with plots that started the Golden Age. Thus, began the period of new movie genres and the rise of new stars and mammoth studios. These films and movies stars are still treasured in this day and age.
But not all during this period in movie history was glitz and glam and fame. There was poor treatment of actors and employees in the film industry. Studios (most influential were MGM, RKI, Paramount, Fox, and Warner Bros.) ran the lives of their performers, from what they ate and what movies they were took part to who they were dating and who they married.
We’ve gathered, in this post, books about Hollywood during the rise, peak, and fall of its Golden Era. Learn more about this period with these selections.
DB 25625 City of nets: a portrait of Hollywood in the 1940s by Otto Friedrich
Story of Hollywood's heyday and decline, as part of a sweeping social and cultural history. Takes in everything from Rita Hayworth's electrolysis to give her a higher hairline, to union corruption, to the Zoot Suit riots. Includes a concise account of the fearful time of the House Un-American Activities Committee investigations. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex.
DB 28785 The Hollywood studios: house style n the golden age of the movies by Ethan Mordeen
A veteran movie critic and historian compares Hollywood studio styles in this entertaining aspect of Tinseltown history, and tells how big movie tycoons gave their own personalities to the studios they headed. Mordden devotes a full chapter to each of the different studios in operation during the moguls' reign, among them MGM, Paramount, Fox, and RKO.
DB 31673 The dame in the kimono: Hollywood, censorship, and the production code from the 1920s to the 1960s by Leonard J. Leff
Two university teachers, one whose field is film history and screenwriting, and the other an American constitutional history specialist, chronicle the love-hate relationship between Hollywood and the Motion Picture Production Code. The Code regulated what was portrayed on film.
DB 46174 The speed of sound: Hollywood and the talkie revolution, 1926-1930 by Scott Eyman
An account of the motion picture industry's unsettling shift from silent films to "talkies" in the 1920s. Describes the race to invent a method of recording soundtracks and reveals the far-reaching impact of these changes on the film industry and on the art of cinema.
DB 92650 Nobody’s girl Friday: the women who ran Hollywood by J. E. Smyth
A film historian looks at Hollywood between 1930 and 1950, when more than forty percent of film industry employees were women. Examines the impact made by these women in all aspects of filmmaking, including screenwriting, directing, editing, producing, acting, and even executive- level managing. 2018.