Friday, August 30, 2013

Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios

Among the books the LBS highly recommends is Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios, by Frederic Lombardi. The book was published by McFarland in March.

Dwan is a legendary director. His credits include Robin Hood (1922), Stage Struck (1925), and The Iron Mask (1929), as well as Louise Brooks screen test, which was shot in 1925.

Publisher description: "It could be said that the career of Canadian-born film director Allan Dwan (1885-1981) began at the dawn of the American motion picture industry. Originally a scriptwriter, Dwan became a director purely by accident. Even so, his creativity and problem-solving skills propelled him to the top of his profession. He achieved success with numerous silent film performers, most spectacularly with Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Gloria Swanson, and later with such legendary stars as Shirley Temple and John Wayne. Though his star waned in the sound era, Dwan managed to survive through pluck and ingenuity. Considering himself better off without the fame he enjoyed during the silent era, he went on to do some of his best work for second-echelon studios (notably Republic Pictures' Sands of Iwo Jima) and such independent producers as Edward Small. Along the way, Dwan also found personal happiness in an unconventional manner. Rich in detail with two columns of text in each of its nearly 400 pages, and with more than 150 photographs, this book presents a thorough examination of Allan Dwan and separates myth from truth in his life and films."

"No wonder it took seven years, and we should be grateful to Fred Lombardi. This is a thoroughly researched book which no film aficionado can afford to be without." -- Kevin Brownlow, 2010 Honorary Academy Award winner

"Exhaustively researched." -- Dave Kehr, The New York Times

"Totally remarkable book on Allan wonderfully dense with information, insights, judicious speculation, etc, etc.--in short it is an instant classic, one of the three or four finest books on film that I have ever read." -- Kevin Thomas, film critic

"Lombardi has done his homework. His Allan Dwan is a revelation, a testament to the fruits of untiring and solid research. Every page reveals the always reliable Dwan as a prolific and versatile filmmaker, whose work touched upon every genre and aspect of the evolving studio system in Hollywood’s Golden Age. He was the architect behind Douglas Fairbanks’s best pictures, from the early comedies to the swashbuckling costume epic, Robin Hood. Gloria Swanson, John Wayne, and Shirley Temple, among so many others, all benefited from his sure touch. We can only wonder why it has taken so long to restore this master director to his rightful place in the Hollywood firmament. We are profoundly grateful to Mr. Lombardi." --John C. Tibbetts, University of Kansas.

Check out the Louise Brooks Society store on It's stocked with other related Louise Brooks movies, books, music and more.

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