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RKO Radio Pictures: A Titan Is Born Paperback – April 1, 2012

5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Jewell not only makes great use of this primary material, but presents a clear, fair-minded narrative that puts the facts into proper context."--"Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy"

"The author is clear and candid. . . . A readable, thought-provoking analysis."--S.R. Kozloff, Vassar College"Choice" (09/26/2012)

The author is clear and candid. . . . A readable, thought-provoking analysis. --S.R. Kozloff, Vassar College"Choice" (09/26/2012)"

From the Inside Flap

"Enjoying exclusive access to RKO archives before they were dispersed to the winds, Rick Jewell has crafted a powerful and unprecedented company history that is rich in detail and sharp in insight. Pinpointing both industry ambitions and corporate shenanigans, Jewell offers a tale both gripping and instructive. A major contribution to Hollywood studio history in the classic era."

—Dana Polan, author of Scenes of Instruction: The Beginnings of the U.S. Study of Film



“Richard Jewell has written a definitive portrait of a major Hollywood studio during the heyday of the movies. Enriched by a lode of archival material, Jewell’s RKO story reconstructs the dynamics of the studio system; its stresses and strains; its logistical challenges; and its in-house rivalries. Some big names are vividly brought to life: David Sarnoff, Pandro Berman, Fred Astaire, Katharine Hepburn, Orson Welles, to name a few. Jewell interweaves RKO’s corporate maneuverings and production agenda with great skill. A more compelling history of a Hollywood major is hard to imagine.”

—Tino Balio, author of The Foreign Film Renaissance on American Screens, 1946–1973



“A painstakingly researched and lucidly written business history of RKO Studios from its founding through 1942, Richard Jewell’s RKO Studios: A Titan is Born not only traces the shifting economic fortunes of the studio that gave us King Kong, the Astaire-Rogers musicals, and Citizen Kane but also fills an important gap in our understanding of how the studio system survived and at times even thrived during the Golden Age of Hollywood.”

—Charles Maland, author of Chaplin and American Culture

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520271793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520271791
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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If you are a fan of movies, especially the old classics, this is a great book. If you are a fan of film history and fascinated by the ins and outs of Old Hollywood, this is a WONDERFUL book. Much has been written about the golden years of 20th Century-Fox, MGM and Warner Bros., but the Hollywood community of old had an abundance of talent and many true stars - both in front of and behind the camera - worked in studios that get less attention today, such as RKO, Republic, and even Columbia to a degree. As I read this book names kept jumping off the page at me because I had no idea they were at RKO.

This is an exceptionally well researched book that is fun to read. I'm happy to have this one in my collection.
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Format: Paperback
Having found great enjoyment in Richard Jewell's RKO Radio Pictures, I want to share the good news. It has the excitement of a good novel despite its careful grounding in research. Its fair-minded appraisals of the famous and not-so-famous people involved gives readers a new appreciation of the stars' capacity for self-promotion as well as the combined business and aesthetic intelligence of those worrying about the bottom line.

The book is a healthy corrective to romantic, star-based views of many movie-goers. It is hard to bring an institution to life on the page, but this work does so splendidly.
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Format: Paperback
I was given this book as a gift and I could not put it down. A unique view into RKO not from the glitter and glamour side of Hollywood but from the business side. But its NOT boring. The amount of research by the author makes you feel as if you were at the studio as it tried to make great movies but couldn't really sustain success. You learn so much interesting trivia and behind-the scenes details about old Hollywood, the RKO studio system and the unknown studio bosses that came and went from RKO through its history. This book is part one of a two-part book about RKO. I absolutely can't wait to read the next book that details the last decades of RKO and its final demise. Entertaining to read, full of facts, unique in its perspective, a lot of name-dropping of the stars and directors who came and went (with new facts about their history) and totally unlike any other Hollywood-studio book I have ever read.
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RKO Radio Pictures: A Titan Is Born
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