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Majestic Hollywood: The Greatest Films Of 1939 Book Review

Majestic Hollywood Book

“Majestic Hollywood” is a grand tribute to one of the best years of cinema (if not the best).

In the annals of cinema history, there’s no doubt that the 12 months of film releases in 1939 offered up some of the most beloved films in all of cinema. From the classic western “Stagecoach” and the timeless “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” to the epic “Gone With The Wind” and the iconic “The Wizard of Oz,” 1939 was an embarrassment of riches for cinephiles. In honor of this monumental year, author/lecturer/film expert Mark A. Vieira has created a wonderful book that pays tribute to this groundbreaking time in motion pictures.

“Majestic Hollywood” kicks off with an insightful introduction about the 30’s era, the state of the movie industry in this time period, and movie theaters of the late 30’s. After that, Vieira moves into the heart of the book which is, of course, the diverse slate of films in 1939. While he doesn’t cover each and every film that was released that year, Vieira spotlights the highlights of this particular year. Accompanying each title is a rundown of the film’s story, production information, credits, historical facts, critic quotes, and numerous glossy pictures. While I could spend all day chatting about the book’s fascinating facts about the special effects of the big budget “The Rains Came,” behind-the-scenes stories of William Holden’s pre-prod work on “Golden Boy,” Mickey Rooney’s boffo box office success with “Babes in Arms” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and the incomplete and changing script for “Gone With The Wind” during production, I certainly don’t want to spoil all the juicy tidbits.

As I mentioned before, “Majestic Hollywood” does indeed cover the enormously successful films of 1939, but thankfully, Vieira pays tribute to the overlooked gems (“At The Circus” represent!), and lesser known titles (“Idiot’s Delight,” “In Name Only,” and “Hollywood Cavalcade” to name a few) that readers will be itching to add to their must see list.

Overall Thoughts: Whether you’re looking to further your cinematic education or are simply wanting some classic Hollywood film recommendations, “Majestic Hollywood” is well worth picking up.

December 13, 2014 - Posted by | Book review | , , ,

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