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Definitive Books of history of MGM, Warners, Fox, Columbia & Paramount


Shane91
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I am starting to flesh out my classic film book collection. And I have been trying to track down the best books on the history of the studio era, Scott Eyman's Lion Of Hollywood has been recommended to me as the definitive book about MGM, and there are others about Warner Bro's I am considering purchasing. I was wondering if anyone here can give me some recommendations, particularly for books about Fox, as there does not seem to be many out there.  Thanks

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I am starting to flesh out my classic film book collection. And I have been trying to track down the best books on the history of the studio era, Scott Eyman's Lion Of Hollywood has been recommended to me as the definitive book about MGM, and there are others about Warner Bro's I am considering purchasing. I was wondering if anyone here can give me some recommendations, particularly for books about Fox, as there does not seem to be many out there.  Thanks

 

There are the celebrated "Story" picture books that were done for (if memory serves) MGM, RKO, Warner Bros, Paramount, Universal, and I think United Artists. A similar book in a different format was done for TCF. These are all worth reading.

 

A must-read on Warners is Rudy Behlmer's book Inside Warner Bros, which consists of inter-studio memos sent by executives, producers, directors, writers, etc throughout WB's history. Behlmer had earlier edited the classic must-read Memo From David O. Selznick, and would later publish Memo From Darryl F. Zanuck, which of course deals with Twentieth Century Fox.

 

Another classic dealing with TCF is John Gregory Dunne's The Studio. Dunne was given unprecedented access to behind the scenes meetings, and he writes in fascinating detail about Fox's 1967 production slate, especially Dr. Dolittle, which he follows from conception through production to release.

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Shane91--Also Clive Hirschhorns' "The Hollywood Musical" (1981) which is a coffee table book--same format as the "Story" books Richard Kimble listed.

 

Jeanine Basinger's "The Star Machine" (2008).

 

Add "The Columbia Story" to Richard Kimble's list.

 

Foster Hirsch's biography of Otto Preminger gives a good description of Premingers' battles with 20th Century-Fox management in the 40's and early 50's.

 

Michael Barson's "The Illustrated Who's Who of Hollywood Directors: The Studio System in the Sound Era" is invaluable--covers who directed what for which studio.  Excellent overview.

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A must-read on Warners is Rudy Behlmer's book Inside Warner Bros, which consists of inter-studio memos sent by executives, producers, directors, writers, etc throughout WB's history. Behlmer had earlier edited the classic must-read Memo From David O. Selznick, and would later publish Memo From Darryl F. Zanuck, which of course deals with Twentieth Century Fox.

 

Thanks - I looked into these and I'm going to read them, myself!

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Shane91--Also Clive Hirschhorns' "The Hollywood Musical" (1981) which is a coffee table book--same format as the "Story" books Richard Kimble listed.

 

Jeanine Basinger's "The Star Machine" (2008).

 

Add "The Columbia Story" to Richard Kimble's list.

 

Foster Hirsch's biography of Otto Preminger gives a good description of Premingers' battles with 20th Century-Fox management in the 40's and early 50's.

 

Michael Barson's "The Illustrated Who's Who of Hollywood Directors: The Studio System in the Sound Era" is invaluable--covers who directed what for which studio.  Excellent overview.

Is Basinger's "The Star Machine" a good read? I heard it was rather disapointing.

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I received The Fox Film Corporation, 1915-1935: A History and Filmography  by Aubrey Solomon, for Christmas. I've only skimmed through it, but it looks good so far.

 

I would definitely recommend this book. I bought it a few years ago and it was well worth it. Any in depth information on the Fox studios (pre 20th Century Fox) is as rare as the Fox movies themselves.

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