You’ve made it to Friday, which means you are probably looking forward to putting your feet up and relaxing with a good flick this weekend! Hollywood Week continues with this fun contribution from Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader. I was clued into Jen’s love for classic Hollywood based on some of her recent book purchases and she was gracious and enthusiastic enough to put together a list of some of the most renowned films of the 1930s. Have you seen any of these? Do you love black and white films too? Be sure to leave your thoughts and have a super weekend!
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The 1930’s have long been regarded as one of the most successful and illustrious decades of the film industry. Known more simply as the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood, it was responsible for producing some of most iconic films in Hollywood’s history that remain critically-acclaimed favourites to this very day. In the wake of the stock market crash of 1929, the resulting Great Depression, the aftermath of World War I and the rise of threatening totalitarian regimes abroad, people increasingly sought out forms of escapist entertainment with which to distract themselves from a bleak and increasingly more threatening reality, and no institution offered more of a respite than the film industry.
The ten films I’ve chosen below are what I consider some of the best and brightest the Dirty Thirties have to offer, often laying the groundwork for what was to follow in their respective genres. These range from the big budget blockbusters to more specific niche genre pictures and re-makes of beloved classics. This decade also saw the launch of the careers of a number of stars who have since become household names now synonymous with Old Hollywood glitz and glamour like Errol Flynn, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Jean Harlow, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Vivien Leigh, John Wayne and Shirley Temple. I hope you’ll enjoy what I consider to be the perfect introductory compilation of movies in a decade of film that was as exciting as it was enduring!
Date: 1931, Directed by: Tod Browning, Starring: Bela Lugosi & Helen Chandler
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes
The Public Enemy
Date: 1931, Directed by: William A. Wellman, Starring: James Cagney & Jean Harlow
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes
Date: 1933, Directed by: Leo McCarey, Starring: The Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, Chico & Zeppo) & Margaret Dumont
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes
It Happened One Night
Date: 1934, Directed by: Frank Capra, Starring: Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes
Date: 1935, Directed by: Mark Sandrich, Starring: Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
Date: 1937, Directed by: William Cottrell & David Hand, Starring: Adriana Caselotti, Lucille La Verne, Et. Al
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes
Date: 1939, Directed by: John Ford, Starring: John Wayne, Claire Trevor & Andy Devine
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
Date: 1939, Directed by: Frank Capra, Starring: James Stewart, Jean Arthur & Claude Rains
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes
Gone With The Wind
Date: 1939, Directed by: Victor Fleming & George Cukor, Starring: Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes
The Wizard of Oz
Date: 1939, Directed by: Victor Fleming & George Cukor, Starring: Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Et. Al
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes
So, what are you waiting for? Dim the lights and pass the popcorn – We have some movies to watch!
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Big big hugs to Jen for contributing to our Hollywood Week series!
(She had all of these lovely graphics, too!)
For a combination of snazzy graphics, thoughtful book reviews, and more,
be sure to visit her at Pop! Goes the Reader!
» THIS IS HOLLYWOOD WEEK! For info on STARSTUCK: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Rachel Shukert «
Last July, Alexa and I teamed up in double posts about Hollywood stories that would make awesome YA books. We were so so excited about everyone’s responses, and have been anxious to serve up another Hollywood to Your Bookshelf post. Well, what’s better timing than Hollywood Week? That’s right — nothing!! (Refresh your memory: McGosling + Taylor Swift.)
Because I feel like we are friends, I can comfortably confess to you that I’ve been a little obsessed with Lea Michele lately. It’s a problem. Is it her perfect bangs? Her new album? (Which I downloaded Sunday night at midnight, and like a lot.) Or is the fact that I have no idea how this girl has made it through what had to be the toughest year and can still be so productive in her career, and have that brilliant smile on her face? It’s almost baffling to me. She is one tough lady.
I could probably sit here and write a million words on why I think her and Cory Monteith’s story would make a great YA novel but honestly, the wound is still too fresh and I can’t really talk about it. (All these clips from her recent interviews promoting her album have gotten to me.) So today I’m focusing on BEST FRIENDS. Lea met her best friend (Broadway star, recent Frozen supporting actor and friend to all reindeer) Jonathan Groff back in 2005, when they were starring in the off-Broadway musical, Spring Awakening, and remain just as close today.
Originally, when the image of the two of them popped in my head, I was like: female main character with her gay best friend. Ding ding ding! I couldn’t even think of many examples in my YA lit of this kind of relationship. (Of course, I turned to Twitter for some suggestions: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover; Something Real by Heather Demetrios [ sister + brother characters]; Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally.) Is there the risk for a friendship like this to become stereotypical? Absolutely, but if it reflects the intimate and easy-going nature of Jonathan and Lea’s relationship — it could definitely work.
I’ve never had a best friend like you. I never had the person who’s the person. The person you call, the person who’s there, the person who gets you, the person who makes you laugh. You know, that person… for the first time, I feel like I’m number one on the list. You are my first best friend. There is so much relief when you’re with the person who gets you the most. — lea on jonathan, teen vogue (march 2014)
So many times the emphasis is placed on the romance in young adult books and I think the longevity of Lea and Jonathan’s relationship through so many changes (careers, distance, partners) can definitely play into how their connection can grow and change through the years. Were they ever competitive with each other? Did they ever not like who the other was dating? Did some people just not get their friendship?
Since Glee, she’s inspired people across the world with her unapologetic ambition, insane talent, and astonishing grace. Me, especially.” — jonathan on lea, teen vogue (march 2014)
In the wake of a horrific situation, it’s obvious (even from a distance) that Jonathan stepped in as kind of protector, and has been there to support his best friend. I really admire that because it can’t be easy to see someone you love in so much pain, and be powerless to stop any of it. And on the other hand, even though Lea has displayed so much personal strength … everyone needs to accept help sometimes. They compliment each other well.
Anyway, enough with the sad stuff. I want more best friends and they don’t even need to be a female character and her gay best friend. How about just best friends of the opposite sex? Or best friends in general? Because they make really, really good stories and make us appreciate the people around us who we can lean on, and who believe in us and love us just because.
Until that time comes, here are a few suggestions to tide us over:
The Vow by Jessica Martinez | Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna | Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
Would you like to see more friendships like Lea and Jonathan’s in books? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Be sure to stop by Alexa Loves Books to check out her From Hollywood to Your Bookshelf pick!
Thanks to Betty, Judith + Ellice, and Racquel who tweeted in title suggestions!
Hello, hello! Today we are very excited to welcome STARSTRUCK author, RACHEL SHUKERT, to the blog. She’s discussing all things Hollywood, which means many of the wonderful spots featured in the first two books of her young adult series. If this doesn’t make you want to jump on a plane (or even better, pick up Starstruck — the fiscally responsible option!), I don’t know what will. Palm trees, celebrities, fancy drinks… sigh.
Take it away, Rachel!
When I started writing the STARSTRUCK books, my life was totally different. I was living in Manhattan, in an apartment in the East Village above a pizza place that used to blast music through our bedroom floor at 4 in the morning. I never slept, because there was so much to do, so many people to see. I was a New York girl through and through, who could count the number of days I’d actually spent in Hollywood–my imagination is another story—on my fingers. I loved it.
Four years and two and a half books in (I’ve turned in the first draft for Number 3!) and everything has changed. I’ve made it to what my friend calls: “the end of America.” I’m living in Los Angeles now, in a Spanish-style stucco house built in 1926, probably to house some of the very first employees at the nearby Paramount Studios. I’ve got a hibiscus tree filled with hummingbirds that I see every morning through my bedroom window. I spend most of my days on the phone or at my computer, dealing with notes on television projects, and I go to bed by 11 at the latest. I don’t drive anywhere without seeing the Hollywood sign looming in the middle distance, reminding me and everyone who sees it just what’s at stake here. I love it.
There’s a lot to love about LA after so many years as a New York City girl—the weather, the ocean, the ability to go to Target and the grocery store and the post office and the bank not only all in one day, but all before lunch (seriously, the first few months I was there, my only answer to anyone when they asked me what I liked best so far was: “Is it weird if I say running errands?”)
What I love most of all is how so much of it feels preserved. LA is a town with real nostalgia for the past. Sure, many of the places I researched and described as the STARSTRUCK girls stomping grounds have made way for the new—Schwab’s Pharmacy, where Margaret Frobisher (soon to be Margo Sterling) is discovered over a sandwich and an ice cream soda, was torn down to make way for a shopping complex; the famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub, where Gabby, Margo and Amanda get up to so much glamorous trouble, was demolished along with the Ambassador Hotel in 2005, despite all efforts by some of Hollywood’s leading lights to save it.
But the majority of places on the Starstruck grand tour are still alive and thriving, and I’m so excited to take you on a little virtual tour!
First stop is the gorgeous Beverly Hills Hotel, a place I have been in love with every since Phyllis Nefler took the rain-drenched Wilderness Girls there in Troop Beverly Hills. (Roughing is one bathroom for 9 people!) It’s been restored completely to its former glory, complete with the iconic Martinique pattern of lush green palm leaves on every wall. And the pink tufted couches. And the white wrought iron chairs. And I’ve gotten a little obsessed with interior design now that I’m living in more than 500 square feet. Please excuse.
But the hotel is amazing, truly. You can have the famous McCarthy salad at the famous Polo Lounge, where Margo fights with her leading man Dane Forrest and desperately tries to fend off the leading inquiries of the malicious gossip columnist Perdita Pendleton, or you can pretend to be a hopeful young starlet desperate to be discovered at the counter of the totally vintage and museum-quality Fountain Coffee Room in the basement (it’s not exactly Schwab’s but it’ll do, pig, it’ll do. And yes, I am unable to use the phrase “that’ll do” or “it’ll do” without an allusion to Babe.) And the pool, my God, the perfect turquoise pool where you get that very particular kind of LA light that makes you feel very tan and like you have very red lips and your life is perfect.
Or for something a little sexier, the Chateau Marmont, where Margo discovers Jimmy in one of the poolside bungalows doing something they never told her about at the Orange Grove Academy for Young Ladies, is just a short drive down Sunset. Decadent and gothic as ever, it’s still full of celebrities doing things they shouldn’t. (I maaaaayy have been a secret witness to a screaming fight there once between a certain blonde female rock star and her teenage daughter. If I hadn’t been cleverly concealed in the stairwell I might not be alive today.) For food you can actually afford, the original Barney’s Beanery, where Amanda likes to go drown her sorrows and not run into anyone, is still there on Holloway Drive. The televisions blasting sporting events are not strictly vintage, but the famous chili is, and it’s amazing. (Chasen’s famous chili, so good Elizabeth Taylor used to have it overnighted to her in London when she was married to Richard Burton, is sadly long gone. But you can pretend.) Speaking of Amanda, Bullock’s Wilshire, where she indulged in so many bouts of ill-advised retail therapy, isn’t actually a store anymore (she might have put them out of business,) but the gorgeous and landmarked art deco building is still there, at 3050 Wilshire Boulevard. Pay homage, and then go shopping for real at Saks Fifth Avenue, in the original Beverly Hills location that opened in 1938, just in time for Margo’s mother to buy her the blue serge suit she wears to her very first screen test. (It was supposed to be for her debutante luncheon…but, you know.)
Gabby’s a Downtown girl, and while the Dunbar Hotel, where Eddie Sharp takes her to take in some jazz (and some other things) is now a private residence apartment building, the Central Avenue Jazz Festival still swings every July. And there are so many amazing restaurants around there now (although I can’t promise that any of them serve chili.) Or if you’re hungry in Hollywood, check out Harry Gordon’s favorite hot dog stand, Pink’s on La Brea, which has had lines snaking around the corner onto Melrose since 1938. And the price is right (Harry’s a cheap date.)
For a taste of old Pasadena the way Margo experienced it, check out the Gamble House as in Proctor & Gamble (not to mention Evelyn Gamble), an architectural masterpiece that makes you wonder why she ever wanted to leave. And finally, Griffith Park at sunset. Named after early Los Angeles grandee Griffith J. Griffith, it was also where the legendary film director D.W. Griffith (no relation, if you can believe it!) shot his landmark (and super creepy racist) silent film Birth of a Nation. Olive Moore probably had an affair with him, back in the silent era. You can see her house from your cliff-top perch. It’s whichever one you want it to be.
Happy reading, and LA loves you!
For more on Rachel Shukert » Website | Twitter | Our interview with Rachel | Starstruck / Love Me on Goodreads
Beware: since this is book 2 in series, there may be a few spoilers from STARSTRUCK.
Keep in mind I’m going to try really hard not to let this happen because I so so so want
you to experience this series and get excited to pick it up.
Love Me by Rachel Shukert ( web | tweet )
Part of the STARSTRUCK series.
Publication Date: 2/11/2014
Publisher: Random House Kids / Delacorte Press
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: Hollywood, Oscars, friendships, romance
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley! (Thanks!)
Summary: After an overabundance of drama, romance, and Hollywood glamour, Love Me picks up where Starstruck left off: Margo is dying of anticipation as a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination, Gabby is trying to break out of her “little girl” persona the studio continues to push on her, and Amanda is lost — without her man and without her career. Where will she turn?
What struck me the most in Love Me is just how much Margo, Gabby, and Amanda were willing to sacrifice for what they wanted. Margo wants to be well-known in the industry — a leading lady, while Gabby wants to be seen as a woman with needs and true talent, and Amanda just wants to be in love with her man and be taken care of.
Margo allows her relationship with Dane gradually dwindle because of her ambition (but she still remains so sweet) and she lets the studio’s demands navigate her love life and her future. She’s a measly puppet, and when Dean tries to be honest with her (I loved him for that because it couldn’t have been easy) — she was still the new girl on the block, that momentous occasions in their relationship should be THEIR decisions and theirs alone, that she needed to give everything time to breathe and grow — she just wouldn’t listen.
Gabby, who spends her time flirting with older guys and making love to bad habits, wants what Margo wants. (Or what she thinks Margo wants?) She finished playing the sidekick. She wants to make a splash. If only someone would let her. She lies to her mother, uses her friends, and falls for Eddie Sharp, who shows her a whole new side of Hollywood. But is he just another horrible addiction? Does he really care for her?
And lastly, Amanda — she’s desperate to escape her past and is equally desperate to get the love of her life back. She’s spending more money than she is making to guarantee looking like a million bucks every time she goes out and to make an impression, to get word back to the only guy who treated her well. She thinks a guy can save her. From everything. Wipe the slate clean. Is she in total denial or is it possible?
It’s tough to be a headstrong lady and to want what you want in this world, where everyone wants a piece of you and everyone knows the right way to manage you. When do you take your life back? When do you regain control? There was so much at stake — everything each of these ladies worked for — but it wasn’t exactly making them happy either. Did that even exist? Being happy and getting what you want? It’s hard to say at this point in Love Me.
And what about friendship? I so wanted to believe in the bonds that Margo, Gaby, and Amanda had with one another. But how can you truly be friends with one another when in the back of your mind you are always competing with one another and always trying to stand out? Is there a balance? Sure. But I don’t think these three found it yet. It made me think about just how tough it is to be a good friend when you don’t even know who you are. When part of you is always jealous, always comparing. Being a girlfriend can be so complicated.
As you can see, there’s a ton happening in Love Me. An absolute ton. But Shukert, once again, treats her readers with respect and makes them think, makes them earn the good parts. I’m amazed by how compulsively readable these books are, especially because they aren’t exactly action-packed, just lovingly detailed, subtly sexy, and so thought provoking. While I could have used some more dialogue between the characters, my love for this series grew even more with book 2. (Plus it was nice to have a few reminders from book 1 folded in so I didn’t feel like Ms. Forgetful.)
For multi-dimensional female characters and a lively (and complicated) 1930s Hollywood setting (gorgeous outfits!), you must pick up Starstruck and Love Me as soon as you can.
Add to Goodreads | Buy on B&N | Buy on Amazon
Welcome to Day 2 of Hollywood Week, celebrating Rachel Shukert’s STARSTRUCK series. I am beyond thrilled to welcome Andi from AndiABCs to Rather Be Reading today! She was one of the first people to pop into my head when I was planning this blog event because 1930s Hollywood was all about the fashion and Andi is the queen of shopping, trends, and has a great weekly feature called ABCs — sharing accessories, books, and clothes each Wednesday.
Big thanks to her for playing stylist and dressing some incredible leading ladies in 30s-inspired fashion!
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I can’t confirm or deny this, but I may have done a little dance with Estelle asked me about doing a guest post for her Hollywood themed week on Rather Be Reading. One because Estelle is awesome, two because I love all things Hollywood, especially the Hollywood Glam that the Oscars bring, and three, this is my first ever guest post on a blog and what an awesome blog it is.
Since this week is geared towards a Hollywood theme, 1930s inspired ideas and the Oscars happened this weekend, one idea came to mind after reading Estelle’s “pitch”, dress some of the best actress nominees in 30s inspired garb for the Oscars. I will admit it was easier in theory as finding 1930s looks that are modern is hard. But I am really pleased with what I ended up with. I think each look speaks to the 4 actresses I selected and I could see each and every one of them in these looks. I pretty much stuck to the silhouettes of the 1930s and kept accessories minimal and to the same time period. I found pictures of each actress with a hair style I think would work and voila, 4 modern actresses, Academy nominees, in 1930s inspired looks.
Sandra Bullock is almost always stunningly put together during award season. She hardly ever has a miss and I love that about her. She is all about detail and clean lines. Based on her body shape I thought this dress would be perfect for her. It has just enough sparkle to show off her gorgeous shoulders and arms and the silky material with the loose draping seemed to go with her laid back vibe. The shoes and the bag fit with everything nicely. Plus who doesn’t love a good Whiting and Davis clutch?? And the ring was to add a little color for show.
Amy Adams has been rocking the low cut front this award season, as she should in my opinion. When I saw this dress I just knew it was for her. The loosely draped back screams 1930s. Add the art deco clutch and shoe not to mention the ring and earrings and you have Amy Adams. A little daring and risqué, but also done so the look doesn’t come off as cheap.
Cate Blanchett can pretty much wear anything and I have seen her do just that. I wasn’t really going to dress her when I started off, but I came across this gorgeous dress in my research and she was the one and only actress I could see pull it off. The draped top and tighter bottom silhouette are perfect examples of modern 1930s glam. And every girl needs a little red bag to add a punch.
And what kind of Young Adult Reader would I be if I didn’t include the girl everyone wants to be friends with, Jennifer Lawrence. Not going to lie, I was a little scared to “dress” her. I know it is pretend and all, but her style is so her and she always looks AMAZING!(yes I was one of the ones that liked her Golden Globes dress). But when I saw this dress I couldn’t help but picture our little Katniss is it. It’s fun without being trendy. The art deco pattern is what makes this dress 1930s and since Jennifer can rock just about anything I added a fun hand bag and some more sparkle with her jewelry.
I may be bias, but I think these ladies look fabulous.Thanks for having me. It was fun.
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Don’t forget to stop by Andi’s blog and say hello (hold on to your wallets too because she has great taste)!
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