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Leading Couples: The most unforgettable screen romances of the studio era Paperback – September 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Turner Classic Movies is widely considered the definitive resource for classic films, featuring movies from all the major studios.

Robert Osborne is the prime-time host and anchor of Turner Classic Movies and a columnist-critic for the Hollywood Reporter.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1st edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811863018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811863018
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #726,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As the third in what appears to be a trilogy of golden-era Hollywood portraits from Turner Classic Movies, this glossy compilation focuses on the leading on-screen couples of the studio era. This handsome paperback is the natural successor to 2005's Leading Ladies: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actresses of the Studio Era and 2006's Leading Men: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actors of the Studio Era, all in the exact same format. Unsurprisingly, many of the stars in the previous books show up here partnered with another fellow luminary. Film historian and longtime TCM host Robert Osborne again provides the introduction and explains the rather arbitrary rules that allowed the editors to winnow the list to the 37 classic pairings presented. Consequently, key omissions - the inevitable outcome of any surveyed list of favorites - appear to have a greater impact here than with the first two compilations. We are told a panel of ten movie aficionados is responsible for the final, agreed-upon choices.

Some couples are inarguably spotlighted - Astaire and Rogers, Tracy and Hepburn, Powell and Loy, Bogart and Bacall, Olivier and Leigh. Several are worthy of inclusion though not quite in the same league - Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, Doris Day and Rock Hudson, Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy, John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler, Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan - simply because one star is marginally more intriguing than the other or their joint output is not as consistent in quality.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. Jans on February 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i have all three of these books now: leading men, women, & couples. i love them all, there are lots of great pics & facts about the best actors/actresses in classic movies!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. M Mills on October 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
Leading Couples is the third volume in the series dealing with luminaries of Hollywood's glitzy past. The first two volumes Leading Men and Leading Women were well received. The books are written by Fred Miller working in conjunction with film historians from Turner Classic Movies. TCM is the cable channel which runs uncut films from all eras of film history from silents to recent films.
The Introduction to the book is by TCM host Robert Osborne. He is a famed film critic and has written a huge book on the Oscars.
And now let the show begin...Leading Couples examines in a few pages devoted to each couple such famous pairs as: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers; Bogie and Bacall; Fay Wrang and King Kong; Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn; John Gilbert and Greta Garbo; Marie Dressler and Wallace Berry; Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney; Clark Gable and Jean Harlow and also Gable and Vivein Leigh; Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler and several more. Note that these are all male and female couples. Famous all male comedy teams such as Laurel and Hardy are not covered.
Each couple is covered in this book by:
a. A short essay on each couple and why they are important in film history and popular culture.
b. Behind the Scenes-short anecdotes and factoids on the couple.
c. Essential Team-Ups-The most important movies made together by the couple during their careers are listed and briefly reviewed.
d. Basic Facts on each of the partners: Date of Birth, Height, Place of Birth, Star Sign and Marriage Partners.
e. Key Quotes from their films.
f. Several glossy black and white photos are included on each couple.
The book also includes a listing of each person profiled posting every movie in which they appeared.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Dake on December 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved the book! I might have added a few more couples, and even exchanged some of the couples listed (I think they did that in the movies quite often!) Still, it was a great read for someone who loves watching classic movies.
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Format: Paperback
I've adored this series of books from the start, and think they're not only excellent reference books for the classic movie enthusiast but also offer good insight and little known information about each actor or actress for the the most devoted fans.

I was especially excited to learn of the Leading Couples addition. I think the way the books are set up with gorgeous shots, essays on their partnerships and relationships (on and off the screen) throughout their careers, his and her general information (DOB, DOD, spouses, children, etc.), quotes (from film and real life), and behind the scene tidbits make the books a wonderful read for old and new, casual and serious fans alike. I find myself pulling out the books constantly to find out "was this one in that movie", "was that person married to this one", "when did this one pass away", etc.

I have to give kudos to the selection committe (for the most part), ESPECIALLY for this book. I can imagine this may have been the hardest one to decide on. Picking the who's is one thing, deciding which ones should be paired together is another (especially at a time where it seems that every big star played opposite every other big star at least once). Of course there were the ones that were an obvious given and basically picked themselves (ie. Gable and Leigh, Bogart and Bergman, Wayne and O'Hara, Flynn and De Havilland, etc...). But then there were people like Gable who could only be listed once more (with someone who he'd been partnered with more than once) and that could've easily been Joan Crwaford or Myrna Loy (or even Carole Lombard, if for only their legendary off screen romance alone) if you were going by numbers.
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