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Hollywood Bohemians: Transgressive Sexuality and the Selling of the Movieland Dream Paperback – August 19, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0786439294 ISBN-10: 0786439297

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (August 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786439297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786439294
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,174,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brett L. Abrams is an archivist with the National Archives and Records Administration.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
It's easy to read, has numerous pictures and is very informative.
Rennay
I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the Hollywood dazzle and that includes just about everyone, I think.
Mary Ilario
A brilliant collection of anecdotes about gays and sexual outlaws in pre-WWII Hollywood.
Daniel Emberley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles M. McDonald on January 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
Brett L. Abrams' Hollywood Bohemians drew me as a reader with a fairly simple claim: the studio-era film industry used its social deviants (homosexuals, transvestites, adulterers, etc.) to depict and promote the image of Hollywood as a place of glamour and sexual freedom. As a student of both films and GLBT history, this thesis intrigued me. Unfortunately, this book leans far more heavily towards the 'thesis' than the 'intrigue,' and that thesis is problematic.

The writing is wooden and formulaic in a manner that would make an excellent parody of academic theses were it not an actual academic thesis. In a typical section, Abrams excerpts a gossip column article or movie clip loaded with coded slang for gay men or lesbians, spends another paragraph or three dissecting the excerpt, and then spends another page expounding on the "titillation" this information would have provided for the general public. There is ample repetition from sentence to sentence, and the author appears overly fond of his coined term, 'Hollywood Bohemians'. A few well-placed conjunctions and pronouns might have reduced this book by 20 pages while making it more readable.

The structure of the book, with each chapter devoted to depictions of stars' lives in a different Hollywood setting, is a wreck. Abrams divides the settings into nightlife (restaurants & clubs), public & semi-public parties (premieres & awards shows), private parties, home life, and the studio backlot. This conceit's unwieldly compartmentalization fails in its sheer artifice, as if these "settings" were mutually exclusive categories. It also fails to capture any sort of historical narrative, which results in some literary gymnastics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tim Tate on October 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
What I loved about this book was how it took you behind the scenes in hidden Hollywood and made it so real to read. The author's writing style was clear, concise and easily pulled me forward into this mysterious world. I would recommend this book to anyone as addicted to movies and its industry as much as I am!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ilario on October 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating book about the bohemian lifestyle and how it was accepted,embraced and promoted in Hollywood between the wars. It is a very well documented look at the major part bohemians had in creating the glamorous Hollywood legend. Most of America looked on Hollywood as a sinful, sexy, wild place and most of America wanted to go out there for a personal look at all that hell-raising. Hollywood became known as the film capital of the world and Hollywood stars known as more than just people-maybe mega-people is the right term. I know that ever since I was a kid I've thought of Hollywood as a place I wanted to see for myself and Mr. Abrams has explained why. I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the Hollywood dazzle and that includes just about everyone, I think.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Emberley on November 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
A brilliant collection of anecdotes about gays and sexual outlaws in pre-WWII Hollywood. Abrams uncovered information about the movie industry in obscure and difficult to access archives. He gathered the best stories and spun them together into an absorbing narrative. This book is a must-read for everyone who cares about one of the first self-aware gay and lesbian communities in America.
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More About the Author

Hi All:

I'm a popular culture historian so my interests range from movies and plays to sports. My books focused on transgressive sexuality in Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s, stadiums and sports in the nation's capital.

I work as an archivist saving electronic records created by the US government.

You'll catch me traveling around the world, seeing everything from the big cities to nature reserves.