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Hollywood Unseen And Hollywood Dogs Hardcover Book Reviews

Hollywood Unseen Hollywood Dogs

“Hollywood Dogs” and “Hollywood Unseen” are two lavish photography books from ACC.

Back in the “Golden Age of Hollywood,” movie studios like MGM and Paramount essentially controlled the images of their contracted movie stars. As a result of this, actors and actresses often took part in publicity photo shoots. In order to showcase some of these lost, rare, and dazzling photographs, publishing outfit Antique Collectors’ Club has compiled hundreds of images from the John Kobal Foundation into two gorgeous hardcover books titled “Hollywood Dogs” and “Hollywood Unseen.”

“Hollywood Unseen” (released in 2012) begins with a Joan Collins foreword and a lengthy introduction that sets up the content of the 240 page book and delves into studio contracts, the history of publicity photos, and provides a wealth of background information on the variety of pictures of celebs like Gary Cooper, Greta Garbo, and comedians such as Buster Keaton. After that, it’s nothing but pages upon pages of funny, cute, and, yes, even sexy images (with captions) of Hollywood movie stars like Ronald Reagan, James Stewart, the Marx Brothers, Alan Ladd (with his cowboy car), and even Leo The Lion!

While photography books such as this may not be for everyone, people who have a love for film and iconic celebs of yesteryear will absolutely treasure this coffee table book. Sure, the sizing of the pictures and the wasted space is a bit frustrating (and odd), but if you can look past that, you will undoubtedly find yourself getting lost in these B&W pictures (and a few color pictures sprinkled in here and there). Among the highlights here are: Buster Keaton with his sons, Laurel and Hardy with a kitten, Boris Karloff eating lunch in Frankenstein costume on the set of “Bride of Frankenstein,” Ingrid Bergman practicing archery, Lauren Bacall talking to Harry S. Truman, Marilyn Monroe seductively posing on a Singer car, Robert Mitchum with a pool toy, Bing Crosby watching Fred Astaire rehearsing, Henry Fonda and James Stewart playing ping pong, John Wayne and Elsa Martinelli with Trumbo the elephant, and an Ida Lupino Halloween still.

In ACC’s follow-up photography book “Hollywood Dogs” (released this past year); the publisher has opted to create a more thematic book. Throughout the book’s 168 pages, readers will see glossy B&W and color images of actors and actresses from the 1920’s-1950’s being photographed with their own pooches or posing with random pups for photo shoots. A few movie star dogs such as Rin Tin Tin, Flash, Lassie, and even the Shaggy Dog himself even have their own pages as well. The book is also accompanied by a great introduction by Robert Dance who details the popularity of dogs in Hollywood from past to present.

Clearly learning from the wasted space and picture size mistakes from “Hollywood Unseen,” ACC’S “Hollywood Dogs” has a much more pleasing design than its predecessor. Virtually every picture is a full page (or in some cases two pages). On top of that, the book’s dog theme is immensely entertaining and adorable (especially if you’re a dog person like I am). While a couple of the pics were featured in “Hollywood Unseen,” the majority of them are new. Stand-outs include: Joan Crawford with Dachshunds (my personal favorite breed), Gregory Peck with a German Shepherd and her puppies, William Powell, Myrna Loy and Asta the Wire Fox Terrier from “Another Thin Man,” Audrey Hepburn and her Yorkshire Terrier, Elvis Presley with a Basset Hound, Judy Garland and Toto, Frank Sinatra and a Cairn Terrier, and Marilyn Monroe with a Maltese.

While these photographs were intended to give people a glimpse into the personal lives (and the softer sides) of big named celebs, they also work as a piece of cinema history. While there are still magazine photo shoots in the modern age, most of the new “photos” of movie stars tend to come from paparazzi who trail their every move. The type of studio photo shoots featured in this book are largely a thing of the past as studios no longer market their stars globally (or have them under stifling exclusive contracts).

“Hollywood Dogs” is also effective in acting as a sort of time warp into the past as we get to see images from film sets (such as “Spartacus” and “The Shining Hour”) and larger than life talents who have inspired and entertained generations of audiences and filmmakers.

Overall Thoughts: “Hollywood Unseen” and “Hollywood Dogs” are filled with fantastic images that will appeal to cinema lovers and dog lovers alike. Both books are highly recommended (especially as a late last minute Christmas gift).

December 19, 2013 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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