I must admit I bought this book first because of the fact that Norma Shearer was on the cover. I am a big fan of hers and always felt extremely frustrated that she is practically forgotten today even though she had such an impact on our movie culture from the silent days until her retirement in 1942.
When I saw that book on the shelves, I didn't even hesitate and bought it right away, not knowing anything about it or the author. I always buy any book related to actresses from old movies anyway. But as I started to read, I became completely engrossed in the story, the drama, the lives of these pioneer women. These actresses were literally strangled in their creative flow by those stupid, rigid and close-minded officials who in 1934, decided to put a stop to what they felt were abominations, destroying a brilliant path the movies could have gone for if given the chance.
This book is simply superb. There are no words strong enough to express just how much I love it. I had never heard of the author and was amazed at how much he knew about his subjects. His comments are often funny, touching and always right on target. I devoured this book while being on a business trip out of the country and it became my companion on those long hours on the plane.
I recommend this book to everyone. I have read the other reviews and agree with all those who are highly praising. One of them was written by a woman who, saying that it was a must for all women, was wondering how men might feel about this book. Well, I can tell you right now that as a man, I would very strongly recommend to anyone who wants to learn about our movie history.
I have read the book at least 10 times by now and always enjoy it immensely. I only wish there were other extremely good books like this one about that period in film culture which is probably the most fascinating ever, even to this day. And in closing, I really have to say that I was SHOCKED when I realized, like many other reviewers, that many of those pre-code movies wouldn't even be made today. I mean, this is mind-boggling when you think about it! We are in 2002 after all!
An absolute MUST!!!