Glamour and Scandal: Old Hollywood Booklist
November 17, 2023
The Golden Age of Hollywood holds a unique and beloved place in cinema history due to its unparalleled contribution to classic films, legendary stars, technological innovations, and an unmistakable sense of glamor and extravagance. This era introduced enduring classics and iconic actors, while also pushing the boundaries of filmmaking technology and storytelling. It remains cherished for its ability to provide an escape from the challenges of its time, leaving an indelible mark on the world of entertainment and continuing to captivate audiences with its timeless allure. Dive into the glamor, and scandal, of a bygone era with these nonfiction, fiction, and biographic picks.
This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars and Stories by Carla Valderrama
This compelling and visually stunning nonfiction read reveals the forgotten past of the film world in a dazzling visual package modeled on the classic fan magazines of yesteryear. From former screen legends who have faded into obscurity to new revelations about the movies’ biggest stars, this quick read unearths the most fascinating little-known tales from the birth of Hollywood through its Golden Age. Stories include the scandal of Clark Gable’s secret love child, the film that nearly ended Paul Newman’s career, and a former child star who, at 93, reveals her #metoo story for the first time.
Scandals of classic Hollywood: sex, deviance, and drama from the golden age of American cinema by Anne Helen Petersen
Craving a heavy dose of gossip? Look no further! Part biography, part cultural history, these stories cover the stuff that films are made of: love, sex, drugs, illegitimate children, illicit affairs, and botched cover-ups. But it’s not all just tawdry gossip in the pages of this book. The stories are all contextualized within the boundaries of film, cultural, political, and gender history, making for a read that will inform as it entertains.
All the Stars In the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani
In this novel, go back in time to Tinsel Town’s golden age -a complex, brutal, yet glamorous world. Sister Alda Ducci is forced to leave her convent, only to end up in Hollywood as the assistant to actress Loretta Young. Over the course of decades, Alda and Loretta encounter scandal and adventure, choose love and passion, and forge an enduring bond of love and loyalty that will be put to the test when they eventually face the greatest obstacle of their lives.
I Loved Her in the Movies: memories of Hollywood's legendary actresses by Robert Wagner
In a career that has spanned more than sixty years Robert Wagner has witnessed the twilight of the Golden Age of Hollywood. During that time he became acquainted, both professionally and socially, with the remarkable women who were the greatest screen personalities of their day. I Loved Her in the Movies is his intimate and revealing account of the charisma of these women on film, why they became stars, and how their specific emotional and dramatic chemistries affected the choices they made as actresses as well as the choices they made as women. Among Wagner’s subjects include two actresses whom he ultimately married, Natalie Wood and Jill St. John, in addition to Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer,Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy Lamour, and more.
The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler's exiles in the golden age of Hollywood by Donna Rifkind
This book gives Salka Vierte long overdue credit for her influence on old Hollywood. She was the screenwriter for five of Greta Garbo’s movies and also her most intimate friend. At one point during the Irving Thalberg years, Viertel was the highest-paid writer on the MGM lot. Meanwhile, at her house in Santa Monica she opened her door on Sunday afternoons to scores of European immigrants who had fled from Hitler. Dozens of distinguished writers, artists, actors found a home in her home and countless cinematic, theatrical, and musical partnerships were born.
A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott
Julie Crawford left Fort Wayne, Indiana with dreams of being a Hollywood screenwriter. Unfortunately, her new life is off to a rocky start. Fired by the notoriously demanding director of Gone With the Wind , she’s lucky to be rescued by Carole Lombard, whose scandalous affair with the still-married Clark Gable is just heating up. As Carole’s assistant, Julie suddenly has a front-row seat to two of the world’s greatest love affairs. Julie is caught up in a whirlwind of outsized personalities and overheated behind-the-scenes drama … not to mention a budding romance of her own.
Hedy's Folly: the life and breakthrough inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the most beautiful woman in the world by Richard Rhodes
She was considered the most beautiful woman in the world and was a major star, yet few know her for the brilliant scientist she was. Read how Hedy Lamarr, a ravishing film star, and an avant-garde composer invented spread-spectrum radio, the technology that made wireless phones, GPS systems, and many other devices possible. This book weaves together Hollywood’s golden era, the history of Vienna, 1920s Paris, weapons design, music, a tutorial on patent law and a brief treatise on transmission technology. This work of nonfiction is a remarkable narrative adventure about spread-spectrum radio’s genesis and unlikely amateur inventors collaborating to change the world.
Myrna Loy: the only good girl in Hollywood by Emily Wortis Leider
This first ever biography of the wry and sophisticated actress best known for her role as Nora Charles, wife to dapper detective William Powell in The Thin Man, offers an unprecedented picture of her life and an extraordinary movie career that spanned six decades. This highly engaging biography offers a fascinating slice of studio era history and gives us the first full picture of a very private woman who has often been overlooked despite her tremendous star power.
The Glamorous Dead by Suzanne Gates
Set in the dream factory of the 1940s, this glittering novel follows a young Hollywood hopeful into a star-studded web of scandal, celebrity, and murder . . . Beautiful and talented Rosemary, the girl who stood out from all the other extras on the Paramount lot is found murdered near a Hollywood nightclub. It isn’t long before her best friend Penny Harp is a suspect. Determined to prove her innocence, Penny finds support from none other than her famous co-star Barbara Stanwyck. But there’s something Penny isn’t telling her famous partner in crime solving: a not-so-glamorous secret that could lead them to Rosemary’s killer–or send Penny to the electric chair . . .
Me: stories of my life by Katharine Hepburn
Admired and beloved by movie audiences for more than sixty years, four-time Academy Award winner Katharine Hepburn is an American classic and an extraordinary, enduring presence on the international cultural scene. Yet her private life has been obscured by mystery. Now Miss Hepburn breaks her long-kept silence in this absorbing and provocative memoir. With characteristic gusto and candor, Katharine Hepburn reflects on the events, people, and places that have shaped her life. She talks about the ups and downs of her career, her long friendship with Spencer Tracy, and of course, her close collaborations with several of the leading actors, directors, and producers of the past half century. Illustrated with 165 photographs from family archives, many of which have never been published, it is an unforgettable portrait of Katharine Hepburn as we have not seen her before.