Book Review: ‘You Must Remember This’ Is A Grand Look Back At Hollywood’s Golden Era

Review by Ann McDonald

For millions of movie lovers, no era in the history of Hollywood is more beloved than the period from the 1930s through the 1950s, the golden age of the studio system. Not only did it produce many of the greatest films of American cinema, but it was then that Hollywood itself became firmly established as the nation’s ultimate symbol of glamor and style, its stars almost godlike figures whose dazzling lives were chronicled in countless features in magzazines like Photoplay and Modern Screen.

This is a look back at the Golden Age of Hollywood, its stars and lifestyles, a wonderful insight into an age before Hollywood and L.A. in particular, came to be. It was founded by Methodists who saw L.A. as a place that would foster temperance so they banned liquor and movies! And we all know how that turned out! This book takes you into the palatial mansions, castles and luxurious houses of the stars in great detail. It will become a great reference book for all lovers of silent and talkie movies and the actors and the actresses who peopled those homes. Fairbanks, Pickford and Chaplin, they are all here amongst many others.

The lifestyle of the actors and the studio moguls reflect a materialism that hasn’t changed much over the years. The press is covered quite extensively and the way the studios protected their assets with glib publicists to cover any wrongdoings by the stars. That all ended when the studios fell on hard times. The accommodating tolerance the studios had towards the stars all went away and they had to fend for themselves. The days that the public only read what the studio wanted them to, were now over.

Of course, the inevitable trappings of stardom meant beautiful homes, the latest in fashionable clothes and expensive fancy cars and the fact that you had to be seen out and about so the public knew you were still around. There is a very enjoyable chapter on the clubs and restaurants patronized by the high and mighty in its heyday that the movie stars of today will never understand because of the constant barrage of press and paparazzi, following their every move. Back then, stars were able to walk down the street and utilize restaurants and other public amenities with no flashing bulbs and cameras being shoved in their faces. Ah, the good ol’ days.

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James McDonald
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