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The Hollywood Studios: House Style in the Golden Age of the Movies: Library Edition (Anglais) MP3 CD – Livre audio, 1 juillet 2010


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13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A marvellous read 3 décembre 2009
Par Miss Yoka - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
If you're a fan of good movies (that's silents to the golden age for we in the know), this book offers a valuable overview of the old Hollywood studios and those who made them work (or not).

Always insightful, this book helps you realize why a certain film could only have been made by a certain studio, and clearly distinguishes the style of one studio from the next. Author Ethan Mordden writes so knowledgeably and entertainingly that you slow your reading pace down, just to make the pleasure last longer. Although written in a highly conversational tone (what books aren't these days?), Mordden considers his reader to be an active film viewer (i.e. "I hear murmurs in the house -- isn't 'Lady in the Dark' a musical? Not after Paramount got hold of it."). His apt criticism of Lewis Stone as MGM's all-American father ("How many of you, boys and girls, had a judge for a father?"), is a refreshing change from the far too many authors who merely rehash common facts in order to publish a film book with their name on it. Mordden respects his reader's film knowledge much more than that.

You may not agree with his opinion of certain films/directors/producers etc., but this book does what a good book on film ought to do, which is make you dash to your dvd/vhs collection and pull out a film to remind yourself of a particularly good scene or actress (or soundtrack). He describes cinematic moments in a suitably visual manner (you can almost see the smoke wisp away from Bette Davis's revolver in "The Letter") and his often witty analysis creates laugh aloud moments ("Screwball comedy, at heart, is about having money and fun. Warners is against both."). This is a very enjoyable read.

Any filmbuff would be pleased to have this in their reference library, whether to round out their knowledge of the studio systems or to make them appear just a bit more witty to their film-loving friends. Recommended.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Literate and Informed Guide to What Movie Studios Used to Be 3 juin 2010
Par Michael Shepley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
In an era in which MGM musicals are released on Warner Home Video; in which Selznick International films are co-released by MGM and 20th Century-Fox Home Video; in which early Paramount films are owned by Universal -- and at a time when no one young really knows or cares about a studio identity, particularly when present-day movies are preceded by a stunning handful of corporate logos -- this is an invaluable guide to how the old movie studios had their own personalities and styles.

Mordden really defines the identities of the studios, even though his writing can be precious and sometimes irritating. As a boomer who was introduced to the 1950s films of 20th Century-Fox on NBC-TV's "Saturday Night at the Movies" in the 1960s, I became a rabid Fox fan. Yet Mordden opened my eyes to a whole new way of viewing the studio and its output. And I was caught off guard (and almost persuaded) by his preference for Paramount as the best studio of all.

Studios meant something, and the films we see largely on Turner Classic Movies are the products of those specific places and their crazy, charismatic leaders. Do we know or care who has produced or distributed "Twilight" or "Sex and the City 2"? We'll never see the likes of these studios again, and Mordden's book -- along with other key volumes -- will be an invaluable tool in remembering them.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A lot of endless rambling 8 mars 2012
Par B. Gould - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I am a huge fan of the old Hollywood studio era but was pretty disappointed in this book. It's probably a good place to start for someone who hasn't done alot of previous reading or research. To me it was a bunch of babbling and Mr. Mordden kept repeating the same point over, and over, and over(albeit changing the characters)... It didn't offer me anything new so I skimmed thru the first couple chapters and struggled to finish it, but finally just put it back on the shelf.

If you have an interest in the Hollywood studios, I would HIGHLY reccomend "The Glamour Factory" by Ronald Davis and "City of Nets" by Otto Friedrich, I found both of these very interesting - another great read is "Irving Thalberg: Boy Wonder" by Mark Vieira.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Many Cultures of the Film Colony 4 août 2014
Par Allen Smalling - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This well-contented and -illustrated book from the late Eighties is a fast and informative read. Movie/Theater/Opera critic Ethan Mordden looks at "Golden Age" Hollywood film studios not in the traditional way that crosscuts "trends" across the entire industry but instead analyzes the big studios (and to some extent, the not-so-bigs) in terms of what marketing experts have come to call their "core competencies" -- what they do best and how they responded to the challenges of changing technology, economics, and U.S. history through the lens of past experience. Thus Warner Bros. with its gangster flicks was always the most "proletarian" of the big studios that developed a larger vision during World War II (think of "Casablanca"), but despite its increasing competence in big-novel adaptations was never really at home with screwball comedy, or musicals beyond the Thirties. MGM had the most lustrous star system with the most money but was also the most conservative; Paramount had a distinctly "European" tone to its directors and stars until well into the Forties; Fox kept a small town/rural orientation; RKO kept a northeastern U.S. bias based on the vaudeville chain from which it sprang--never wealthy, it suffered and headed toward death at Howard Hughes' whims. And Universal? Home of the programmer, it was uncomfortable with longer features until it merged with International in the Fifties.

Some of what Mordden says is brilliant, as when he wonders out loud how well Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland would have fared if Deanna had been kept on at MGM and Judy left to Universal. Most of what he says is solid, and it is no mistake that other critics have been silently cribbing from this work for the last 25+ years, especially regarding the essential "character" of the big studios and the reasons why Columbia rose to prominence. Some is less than admirable, as when he pursues Universal-International into the Fifties just to excoriate the melodramas of director Douglas Sirk and the pseudo-sophisticated Rock Hudson / Doris Day vehicles like "Pillow Talk," which is shooting fish in the barrel of Fifties film conservatism. (It is fairly rare, in fact, for the author to pursue his topic much beyond the 1948 court decision that divested motion-picture production from its exhibition and which, along with television, sent the studios into inevitable decline.) Mordden is also not without the occasional sin of omission, as when he remains so fixated on 20th Century - Fox's small-town orientation in charmers like "State Fair" (1945) that he ignores the crime dramas and noirs such as "Nightmare Alley" (1947) that suddenly proliferated under studio head Darryl Zanuck in the late Forties. And his contempt for the 1953 production of "The Band Wagon," a Fred Astaire-Cyd Charisse backstage musical from Arthur Freed's production unit which most critics consider a peak MGM offering, is stunning: he consistently misspells the film "Bandwagon" and inveighs against its alleged lack of theatrical realism, almost putting himself in a minority of one.

Still and all, THE HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS remains a solid, fun and useful book which contemporary readers at all levels of cinematic expertise can enjoy.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
For the aficionado or the newbie 6 mai 2014
Par L. S. Tucker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Subtitled: House Style in the Golden Age of the Movies.

Mordden takes you through the various studios who were the beginning of Hollywood as well as the moguls who shaped them. He discusses how each studio had their individual strengths as well as a unique focus. Paramount, MGM, RKO, Universal, Warner Brothers and more are discussed and compared. They all struggled to make films that would bring in the audiences, that generated respect and prestige, and ultimately make money.

I love Mordden's style of writing, informative yet accessible, a bit snarky with the research and knowledge to back up his criticisms. Anyone with an interest in the development of the studios should read this book. Yes, because so many studios are included in this book there may not be the depth you would get in a single studio focused book, but you wouldn't really know it while reading this book. The author has done a marvelous job. From character tropes to film types, from genres to financial considerations, we are given examples of all. Definitely a 5 out of 5.
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