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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
In "Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History", Manny Pacheco presents portraits of character actors who were important yet not widely known in the history of cinema in the United States. He ties the works of these actors with events in American and world history, often remarking on the correlation between the roles they chose, or were cast in, and the social and cultural developments of the times. Some of the actors' names are easily recognizable, such as Lionel Barrymore, Claude Rains and Basil Rathbone, while others, like Ward Bond and Thomas Mitchell, may be less familiar to many readers. The acting career of each actor covered is juxtaposed to historical events and the actual personages these actors portrayed. Pacheco includes relevant photographs both of the actors and historic events and persons.
"Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History" is a fascinating look at the roots of modern-day cinema. I enjoyed learning more about some of my favorite actors, such as Rathbone and Rains, and discovering actors who had just been names to me. The pictures Pacheco has gathered and included in the book are fabulous and make each chapter a tour not only of the covered actor but the history of the times as well. While I was familiar with Lionel Barrymore, his disability and the way he performed around it and led the way for other disabled performers was a revelation. Tonight, I'll be trying to find an online version of the first talking role Rathbone played, as Philo Vance, in a film I never knew existed, thanks to Pacheco's scholarship. Whether you are a classic movie buff or simply curious about this book, I think you'll be as pleased with it as I am.