Boston Public Library
Behind the Scenes in Classic Hollywood
Booklists for Adults

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich.  A social and cultural history of the movers and shakers of 1940's Hollywood.

An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood by Neal Gabler.  Carl Laemmle, Adolph Zuckor, William Fox, Harry Cohn, Louis B. Mayer, and the Warner Brothers fashioned the motion picture industry as we once knew it.

The Genius of the System  by Thomas Schatz.  Examines the styles and successes of the M.G.M., Warner Bros., Universal, and Selznick International studios from the 1920's through the 1950's.

The Glamour Factory: Inside Hollywood's Big Studio System by Ronald L. Davis.  Stars, directors, producers, hair stylists, and other employees relate their experiences in the major studios during Hollywood's golden age.

Goldwyn: A Biography  by A. Scott Berg.  Comprehensive study of the studio era's most successful independent producer known for such classics as The Best Years of Our Lives and Pride of the Yankees.

The Hollywood Studios: House Style in the Golden Age of the Movies by Ethan Mordden.  Contrasts the distinct styles of the great studios between 1929 and 1948.

Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards by Mason Wiley and Damien Bona.  Year by year chronicle of the behind-the-scenes campaigning and shenanigans leading up to the presentation of the Academy Awards.

Inside Warner Bros. (1935-1951) edited by Rudy Behlmer.  Memos, letters, and production reports from the archives of Warner Bros. Studios.

Merchant of Dreams: Louis B. Mayer, M.G.M, and the Secret Hollywood by Charles Higham.  His personal beliefs shaped the films and public image of M.G.M. Studios.

Memo from David O. Selznick selected and edited by Rudy Behlmer.    Memos, letters, and reflections by the producer of such classic films as Gone with the Wind and Rebecca.

The Moguls by Norman Zierold.  The complicated personalities, rise to power, and fiercely involved administrative style of the celebrated studio head of the 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Naming Names by Victor Navasky.  Examines the motives and lasting effects of the investigation by the House Committee on un-American Activities into 1950s Hollywood politics.

Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick by David Thompson.  An in-depth profile of the legendary film producer, renowned for his obsessive involvement with every one of his productions.

The Speed of Sound by Scott Eyman.  How the motion picture industry made a rapid yet complex transition from silent films to talkies.

Zanuck: The Rise and Fall of Hollywood's Last Tycoon by Leonard Mosley.  He founded 20th Century Fox and was responsible for The Jazz Singer, The Grapes of Wrath, and many other classics during his five decades in the film industry.

Compiled by Deirdre Sullivan, South Boston Branch, Boston Public Library, 1998.