Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Review - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, by Juliette Michaud, Flammarion, 2013

This recently released 288 page, hard cover edition measures 9 1/2" x 12 1/4" and is loaded with 380 color and black and white illustrations.  Movie buffs and those interested in the golden age of Hollywood will treasure this volume.  The pictures alone are worth a thousand words.  Stunning full page photos of many of the leading stars of every era grace the pages.  Movie stills, publicity shots, and behind the scenes photos grace almost every page.  The photo quality and resolution are top notch and you will delight in the images at every turn of the page.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood chronicles the rich history on the origins of Hollywood and the cinema.  Learn about silent films, the dawn of the "talkies," and the first Academy Awards ceremony. The book reads like a who's who of Hollywood royalty starting with the first major stars such as Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Theda Bara, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., John Gilbert, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino and Clara Bow.  Find out who was nicknamed "America's Sweetheart" or "The King of Hollywood."  Read the stories behind legendary power couples like Bogie and Bacall, Tracy and Hepburn or Leigh and Olivier.  Femmes Fatales graced the silver screen in the 1940's - which of your favorites made the list?

What role did censorship play and how did Hollywood side step the restraints imposed upon the way films were made?  Top notch directors created film after dazzling film with their masterful direction and attention to detail.  Love stories, westerns and musicals  - the public was entertained!

The maze that is Hollywood twists and turns with every step -  through the studio system stars were nurtured and/or exploited, CinemaScope on the wide screen competed with television and brought us films with lavish color.  Suddenly everything on the silver screen appeared magical.  Huge budgets, scandals, delays, and power plays orchestrated the rise and fall of major studios. 

Scattered throughout the book are rare actor interviews, and other than the photos themselves, I enjoyed reading these the most.  I relished the interviews with Kirk Douglas, Jane Fonda, Tippi Hedren, Shirley MacLaine, and Mickey Rooney most of all.  It was enlightening to read the actor back stories and the personal insider aspects of their lives that you never get to hear - the parties they attended, who was involved in different films, the affairs, the nostalgia. 

The list of films mentioned and discussed in the book is long and in-depth.  Here's just a sampling although the list goes on and on....

  • The Whales of August
  • The Apartment
  • Klute
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • National Velvet
  • Singing in the Rain
  • Captains Courageous
  • Guys and Dolls
  • Gone With the Wind
  • Houseboat
  • How to Marry a Millionaire
  • Some Like it Hot
  • East of Eden
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  • Easy Rider
As I read the book I kept two lists going.  The first is a list of film's that I've never seen but now want to, movies like....
  • Citizen Kane
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • Julia
  • Singing In The Rain
  • Funny Face
  • Irma La Douce
  • Hawaii
The second is a list of old favorites that I'd like to see again....
  • Hello Dolly
  • Mary Poppins
  • Boys Town
  • African Queen
  • Lilies in the Field
  • Pillow Talk
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is the ultimate reference book about the magic of Hollywood, from its humble beginnings to the New Age of the 1960's.  It's all here, the great films, the studio heads who started it all, the producers and directors who turned visions into reality and the scores of actors and actresses who will live on forever because of the magic and mystery that most of us can only dream about.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.   Get your copy here

(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent)


  1. YOU'VE NEVER SEEN SINGIN' IN THE RAIN? Run, do not walk, to get a copy! I could shout about Citizen Kane too, but I'll show a little mercy. Looks like a great book. Should add it to movie book collection.

    1. Believe it or not, I haven't seen it. I think that movie is at the top of my list!

  2. Why don't they let you edit comments? I mean MY movie book collection.

  3. That sounds like a wonderful book! We would like to watch a lot of those old movies too! Thanks for the reminders. :-)

    1. I've started going thru my "On Demand" to see which ones I can get. Good thing it's so cold out - its a great time for movie watching.

  4. How cool it is to have an opportunity to read about the 'good ol' days' of glamour!! It sounds so interesting....I love old movies!! There are very few "modern' movies I would want to see these days!!

    I just don't know how you find the time to do all you do!! You are an amazing woman Kim!!!!

    Thanks for taking us on a little journey !!

  5. This looks fun, and interesting, Kim! I love old Hollywood! So much more than what is going on now. Thank you for the review...you've peeked my interest.

    1. It's a good book for reading in front of the fireplace at that lake house... :-)

  6. What a fabulous book! It makes me think of a scene in The Holiday where Kate Winslet asks the man next door if Hollywood really was that glamorous as she had heard and he says, more so! I see some movies I've never seen on the list, too. I love old movies! Wish we could watch them together! Hugs!

    1. OMG - Diane, that was the EXACT same thought I had. The whole book reminded me of that scene in the movie. I wish we could watch them together too. Wouldn't a classic movie night be fun?? xo

  7. This book sounds like a winner! I always enjoy back stories .... even if something 'bursts my bubble.' Ah, if only I remembered important stuff, the way I do trivia!


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