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Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
Jimmy Stewart, Janet Gaynor, Mary Pickford were all stars of the Golden Years. Michael Thomas Barry transports readers back to 1927 - 1950 where he introduces readers to the Hollywood Greats. I must admit that I was not familiar with some of the actors. It was entertaining to read the biography of each one.
Janet Gaynor was a familiar name to me, but I knew little about her. She was described as "The classic virgin-heroine type on screen, her personal life mirrored her onscreen persona." I find this refreshing, I do not know of any actors today who can claim the title of classic virgin-heroine. Mary Pickford was another name that jumped out at me. She was labeled "America's Sweetheart." This award-winning actress was surrounded by controversy for campaigning for votes. As a silent film star she did well, but the move to talkies was not kind to her. The author has included a picture of her and Douglas Fairbanks at their home along with their five dogs. For many, the name Lionel Barrymore will be familiar; he is the great uncle of lovely Drew Barrymore. Helen Haynes is another name that most readers should recognize. This beautiful woman continued to act until 1985.
I could continue dropping names like Katharine Hepburn, Clark Gable, and Walter Brennan, and Betty Davis but that wouldn't be fair. Barry's book not only took me back in time but brought back fond memories of some of the greatest movies ever made: The African Queen, Meet John Doe, A Star is Born and Rear Window. It is obvious that Barry spent much time in research for this book. He includes photos of the stars and often they are laid to rest. This is not a tell-all book. Barry is very respectful of each star's reputation. He also shares information on the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. This book would be a perfect gift for a fan of old movies.