Warner Bros.: Hollywood's Ultimate Backlot

Taylor. Sept. 2014. 276p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781589799615. $29.95. FILM
OrangeReviewStarBingen, former archivist at Warner Bros. and coauthor of MGM, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Warner Bros. studio lot. In this very well-organized and meticulously researched book, he describes the start of the company, how the movie studio in Burbank came into being, and how it is used to produce films and TV shows. The photos contained are absolutely amazing, ranging from a picture of the ranch house that was on the original farm property when it was bought to build the studio, Audrey Hepburn posing in front of the makeup department, images of the famous Warner Bros. water tower, and James Dean lounging near the iconic Midwest Street church. The stories behind some of the physical structures are exciting—for example, Stage 7 was raised 30 feet by William Randolph Hearst in 1935 by cranking the building up inch by inch while constructing a new structure underneath for a movie starring his mistress Marion Davies. This really enjoyable read makes history come alive while also giving one an idea of what a lot of work it takes to create "movie magic."
VERDICT Highly recommended for all who enjoy film history, history, California history, and Warner Bros. movies.
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