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Rin-Tin-Tin: The Movie Star Paperback – October 13, 2010

3.3 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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About the Author

Ann Elwood lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with six cats, a desert tortoise, seven box turtles, and a German Shepherd, Louis, who looks something like Rin Tin Tin in his soulfulness. Now, she teaches history part-time at California State University, San Marcos, spends time with Louis and the other animals, and writes the books she has always wanted to write but never had the time for.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453866655
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453866658
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,865,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book tells the true story of Rin-Tin-Tin, and how he came to be one of the great movie stars of American film...a story as fascinating as any of the fictional plots of Rin-Tin-Tin's famous films.

It is also the story of Lee Duncan, the WWI soldier who rescued Rin-Tin-Tin from WWI-ravaged France, brought him back to America and made him famous. Duncan's story itself is fascinating...a complex and ambitious character with a talent for spinning stories who cannot resist the compulsion to mythologize himself as well as Rin-Tin-Tin. Ann Elwood's dogged efforts to disentangle the web of myth and reality are an interesting part of this book.

Also hugely rewarding are the great details of social history gathered by Elwood...stories about the experience of American soldiers in World War I, and of early Hollywood, where movie stars went duck hunting in Venice Beach and the Warner Brothers scrambled to establish a business making movies... and succeeded thanks in part to the popularity of their canine star. Ann Elwood is a great storyteller who has done thorough research and lets the fascinating facts speak for themselves!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Until Ann Elwood brought him alive I could not imagine why anyone would want to know about Rin Tin Tin. Ms Elwood brings him alive and has sorted through the truth and the lies of his history. She has done a thorough, entertaining, study of the dog, his training and his owner. It is fascinating and a very good read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Full disclosure - I am a friend of the author but it doesn't matter. Were I so fortunate as to stumble over this absolute delight of a book in an unlived alternate life somewhere else, I'd still love it! Why? Because it pulled me in to a world about which I knew nothing. RIN-TIN-TIN:THE MOVIE STAR is exhaustively researched yet not remotely pedantic. Ann Elwood's warmth and concern for the actualities of a dog movie star's life dissolve the usual flags indicating academic research, yet leave the quotable facts available. The multi-layered tale of a French WWI puppy and his enigmatic owner, transported to Hollywood in its heyday, is told with humor, accuracy and an expansive analytical style that will fascinate even cat people.

Most readers now extant were not alive during an epoch in American history when studio shots of canine faces adorned movie posters outside a thousand theaters. The rise of the dog movie star is a curious social artifact that Elwood deciphers with intelligent, thought-provoking verve, enhanced by explorations of the storyboards of Rin-Tin-Tin's movies. And the wealth of accompanying archival material, especially photographs, provides a guided tour to a significant but forgotten time.

Highly recommended for cinema buffs, dog lovers, historians of post-WWI American culture and everyone else who loves finding that special, unusual book that turns out to be a goldmine of provocative ideas.
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Format: Paperback
Before reading this book, I knew basically nothing about the original Rin-Tin-Tin, a German shepherd dog who starred in a number of silent films (and few talkies) in the 1920s and 30s. This is not the Rin-Tin-Tin of the famous 1950s television series, nor the considerably less famous early 1990s television series, but rather their predecessor. From his storied (and probably false) origins in war-torn France through his death and legacy, this meticulously researched examination of the first real (canine) movie star leaves no stone unturned. I was less interested in the plots of the films than in the society in which Rin-Tin-Tin lived, this little pocket between World War I and the Great Depression. The ASPCA was just starting to gain mainstream political clout, the first talkies were released, and journalistic integrity was still evidently largely unknown. (Seriously, the number of conflicting newspaper reports cited got a bit silly after a while.) It helps that I have a weird fascination with the turn of the 20th century to begin with, but even so, I found this study of one of the most famous non-human actors in history to be surprisingly engaging. If you are a dog-lover or have an interest in early film history, consider picking this one up.
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Format: Paperback
Though I faithfully watched the "Rin-Tin-Tin" television series in the 1950s, I had no idea that there was a real Rin-Tin-Tin, and that he had quite a story. Ann Elwood's well researched and engagingly written biography is an intriguing detective story, as she teases out the documented facts about RTT from the myths manufactured about him. As a story of one of of Hollywood's earliest stars, the book also offers a thoughtful look at the moment in when the movies began to shape our cultural narrative.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I grew up watching the TV star Rin-Tin-Tin (even had a stuffed German shepherd as my "pal") and thought I would enjoy reading about his movie star ancestor. But the entire first 1/3 of the book is a diatribe about what a liar his handler was - it seems to this reader that the main goal of the author was to diminish and debunk everything previously written about the "true" origins of the first Rin-Tin-Tin's handler and Rinty's entry into motion pictures. Did the writer really think that publicity releases from Hollywood were meant to be taken as God's honest truth? The author also lost points with me due to the many, off-putting typographical errors in the book. Do publishers not offer proofreading services any more? To be fair, there were some good portions of the book, with references to movie reviews and insights into animal training in the 1930's, but overall, this book was a big disappointment to me.
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