The Hollywood Years

Large Print - 2008
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The bestselling author of Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart offers a new look at Ronald Reagan's neglected and misunderstood career in Hollywood, shining a spotlight on how it took him from leading man to world leader. b&w photo insert.
Publisher: Detroit : Thorndike Press, c2008
Characteristics: 641 p. (large print), [44] p. of plates : ill. ; 23 cm
ISBN: 9781410412010 (hardcover : alk. paper : lg. print)
1410412016 (hardcover : alk. paper : lg. print)


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roycerowe Feb 29, 2012

"Reagan: The Hollywood Years" by Marc Eliot is one of the most sloppily written books I've ever seen. Constant errors, beginning on page one:

--"Howard" Taft was president when Reagan was born.

--Warner brothers was making 75 films a week in the 1930s (actually 75 per year).

--Frank McHugh "starred" in more than 90 films for Warner. (He was almost always a "supporting: player.)

--Hearst owned 600 newspapers. (At his peak he owned 28 major newspapers and 18 magazines.)

--Vitaphone was invented by General Electric (Vitaphone was a sound-on-disc system developed by Bell Telephone Laboratories and Western Electric.)

--Reagan appeared in a 1938 movie “Accidents Will Happen” with “fading A actress Gloria Blondell.” (She had appeared in only one previous film, which was a “B”, not an “A”. Eliot obviously has confused her with her older sister, Joan Blondell. (p. 68)
Joan went on to tally 155 movie and television appearances in a long career, according to the Internet Movie Database. Some fade!

The constant errors makes one wonder what the author got right.
Eliot takes about 100 pages describing Reagan's 1930s movies as mostly lackluster, with Reagan not showing much ability or sex appeal. His breakthrough as the Gipper in "Knute Rockne," in 1940, changed that, forcing the writer to conclude:

"Nonetheless, as 1940 ended, 29-year-old Ronald Regan was at the top of his game. After less than three years in Hollywood he had a lucrative contract at a major film studio and (had) appeared in 25 feature films..."

It would have been fair to mention that Humphrey Bogart was 36 before his breakthrough part in "The Petrified Forest," put him into starring roles.

There were probably many more errors, but I decided this book wasn't worth finishing.



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