A Year in Books/Day 102: LIFE Goes to the Movies

  • Title: LIFE Goes to the Movies
  • Editor: David E. Scherman
  • Year Published: 1975/This Edition: 1986 (Time-Life Books, Inc./Pocket Books)
  • Year Purchased: 1990s
  • Source: On clearance at a forgotten store (likely Waldenbooks).
  • About: The binding of this book is falling apart; if you pick it up carelessly, random pages tumble to your feet. I’ve retrieved the disordered middle third of the book from the floor more than once. It’s that kind of volume-delightful, informative, unique and just damn good to ogle. It’s light on text but big on informatively captioned photographs. The staff of this quintessentially American periodical had a degree of privileged access to film studios and stars that today would be unthinkable. The best of forty years of their coverage is stuffed into 304 kaleidoscopic pages.
  • Motivation: LIFE magazine employed top-notch photographers; many of the images they published are instantly recognizable classics. I knew that I would never tire of looking through it, which I haven’t (apparently to the point of nearly destroying it from the inside out).
  • Times Read: Countless
  • Random Excerpt/Page 86: “In the Hollywood of the ’30s and ’40s, stars were not born; they were mass produced. The machinery that swallowed up legions of girls with pretty midwestern faces and that ground out sultry vamps and sexy hoydens gave each young hopeful a buildup that can only be described as relentless.”
  • Happiness Scale: 9

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