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Hollywood at Play: The Lives of the Stars Between Takes Hardcover – February 1, 2017
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"If you share my affection for candid shots of the stars you'll love Hollywood at Play: The Lives of the Stars Between Takes (Lyons Press), compiled and annotated by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory, and Stephen X. Sylvester. Whether you're looking for uncommon photos of William Boyd or Doris Day, you'll be happy with this delightful collection."
"The new book Hollywood at Play: The Lives of the Stars Between Takes is like flipping through a compact photo album of vintage photos of actors having fun barbecuing, bowling, and hanging out at Disneyland."
From the Inside Flap
"It's all here - and more - in a delightful return to the Golden Era of the silver screen, when life was fun, and everyone was beautiful and glamorous, without even trying. It's a nostalgic trip down memory lane that is well worth taking!"
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyway, apart from histories of Hollywood's greatest bars, restaurants and watering holes, the next best thing is stars cavorting around pools. (As to the former, nothing beats Mark Bailey's "Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling Through Hollywood History", which would be perfect paired with this book.)
The photos are a gift wrapped nostalgia parade. Of course, we have the stars. But look behind and around them, too. Banquet tables loaded with "Old Crow" bourbon bottles and littered with ashtrays and crushed red Pall Mall unfiltered cigarette packs. Argyle socks, half inch wide belts, fedoras, and more Lionel "Prairie Steamer" train sets and celebrity dads than you would have thought possible. (As a sort of bonus there are also shots of memorabilia like old hotel adverts, playbills, advertisements for various Hollywood attractions, matchbook covers from the old nightclubs, and that sort of thing.)
The authors describe this as a "celebration of celebrity and simpler times", and it does seem like this was a simpler, milder, and more comfortable celebrity culture than we have now. To be fair, the authors freely acknowledge that this classic-era, (1925-1960), Hollywood has been sanitized here for your viewing pleasure, with all of the nasty and unjust bits swept under the carpet. Sure, these images were staged, and were intended to serve ulterior purposes - maintain a sense of glamour, paper over trouble with marriages and kids, deflect attention from various indiscretions or problems with those "Old Crow" bottles. But, we are wisely reminded that these photos, at heart, capture the time's prevailing idea of play and relaxation and escape, (including, apparently, bowling and playing golf in high heels).
So, read the book as a collection of metaphors of how we wanted life to be, or read it as something of a coded historical document, or just look at it as an unashamed and affectionate nostalgia piece. If you grew up with these people as your entertainers and as your celebrities, you might be surprised by how many memories a book like this can trigger.
And as I said, as these sorts of books go this one is thorough and good-natured, but also just a touch ironic and just a bit edgy, because it is at bottom and ultimately a collection of dreams, and dreams are just such tricky stuff.
(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
A very interesting collection of photographs from Hollywood's early days. Those who are fascinated by the stars of yesteryear will be highly pleased with this book. Photographs are accompanied by interesting information pertaining too each photo. An outstanding collection.