A Year in Books/Days 199 and 200: MGM Posters/MGM When the Lion Roars

DAY 199: MGM Posters The Golden Years

  • Title: MGM Posters The Golden Years
  • Text: Frank Miller
  • Year Published: 1994 (Turner Publishing, Inc.)
  • Year Purchased: 1990s
  • Source: I have no idea!
  • About: There’s nothing like an old movie poster. When art and commerce combine with history and nostalgia, the result is a visually stunning social commentary. In looking at the representative posters of five decades, changing attitudes and mores are as obvious as changing aesthetics. MGM was known for the luxuriousness of its productions, and the top talent of its employees. Although designed as throwaways, the posters that advertised its movies were no exception, and neither were their artists. My favourite era for this exciting medium is definitely the 1920s.The posters are stunning. At the risk of sounding like a crotchety hundred year old, it has been all downhill since then.
  • Motivation: Old movies are my friends. We’re tight. I’m pretty close with art, too.
  • Times Read: Several
  • Random Excerpt/Page 6: “Dream-making was big business, and like any business, Hollywood depended on advertising to make its product, its dreams, an essential part of people’s lives. Nobody did this better than MGM. Within two years of the company’s creation in 1924, MGM led the industry in the quality and popularity of its movies. It also set the pace in advertising, spending $1.5 million a year in the twenties and $3 million a year by the late thirties.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10
Valentino in Blood and Sand (1922), courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Valentino in Blood and Sand (1922), courtesy Wikimedia Commons

DAY 200: MGM When the Lion Roars

  • Title: MGM When the Lion Roars
  • Author: Peter Hay
  • Year Published: 1991 (Turner Publishing, Inc.)
  • Year Purchased: 1992
  • Source: It was a gift from my mom.
  • About: I’m not going to lie. It’s all about the photographs! The text is nice, it’s educational. You might want to read it again someday, but in the meantime you’ll come back for the brilliant and decadent images. You can tell just by looking at them that MGM productions were polished to perfection. Nothing was spared, and nothing is missing. MGM When the Lion Roars is one of the best books about the Hollywood dream machine aver published. It covers the years 1924-1959 and features 700 photographs. The companion mini-series of the same name aired in 1992, and remains the definitive look at the house that Marcus Loew built.
  • Motivation: I was a teenage theatre student who loved old movies.
  • Times Read: 2
  • Random Excerpt/Page 155: “Whenever he was asked for a raise, the MGM boss would tailor his response to the individual star. For instance, he was delighted to learn that Walter Pidgeon had grown up in Saint John, New Brunswick, where he, too, had spent his childhood. When Pidgeon first came to see him about a raise, Mayer hoped this hometown connection would lead to a common understanding. “Mr. Mayer,” the suave actor replied, “I still think I deserve a raise and I’m sure you’ll do right by a Saint John’s boy. I’ll leave it to you.” The mogul felt obliged to double Pidgeon’s salary.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10+++
    Cropped screenshot of Walter Pidgeon and Greer...

    Cropped screenshot of Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson from the trailer for the film Blossoms in the Dust (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



6 thoughts on “A Year in Books/Days 199 and 200: MGM Posters/MGM When the Lion Roars

  1. I totally agree. I love old movie posters! (and old movies) I, too, was a teenage theater student who loved old films. And my college major was communication studies with an emphasis on film studies. Yep, I got to watch old movies on the big screen for college credit. =D

    Lindsay (from the blog) and I made some ornaments from small, printed versions of old Christmas movies last year.



    • Lucky lady! Old movies made me get into acting as a teenager. I was performing in NYC at 16 and later studied Shakespearean theatre for many years. It was so much fun, but I am just a writer at heart. Always have been.

      Those ornament are a fantastic idea! I bet they are lovely.


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