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on 19 February 2016
As a record of the exhibition that featured these pictures, the book is useful, and the foreword does give some insight into the way the "gallery" photographers had to work within the studio system. Apart from the two most famous pictures of Louise Brooks with the long string of pearls ( see the cover), most of the shots are not the ones that are most associated with the Stars, they are mostly up exciting and one or two have not aged well at all. As an ex film still photographer, I was very sad to see how badly the photos are reproduced here, I know some of the shots from other books and the results here are very poor in some cases, with blown highlights, murky shadows and an overall lack of sparkle, which the original prints would certainly have had. The book is not expensive and is interesting, but the repro quality lets it down badly. Such a waste of good material.
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on 12 February 2017
Great reference book
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on 20 September 2015
An interesting book if you like the old Hollywood portraits. The printing is not the best, but at the price nothing to complain about.
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on 2 March 2015
Bought to study the lighting techniques of the era, great reference work
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on 25 April 2013
Bought for a friends 70th Birthday she was delighted as she is film star fan and the portraits were fab
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on 11 November 2009
This is a paperback which won't last very long without the edges going curly so not really something grand enough to give as a gift but nevertheless, the photos are artistic, they look nice, but nothing extremely glamorous as I had expected. More pleased with the Marilyn Monroe cover for the 50/60's glamor than this one but still a nice little book to have if you can get it cheap.
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on 11 September 2011
I love this book.

It's great for anyone who is into retro makeup and clothing. Some of the portraits are so close-up you can see the texture of makeup, freckles and details on eyeliner, mascara etc.

Apart from that, there's an really interesting intro with testimonials from some of the photographers, giving a great insight into how the magic was created.

A great line-up of actresses, including some lesser known ones and a few leading men. I would have liked a full page plate of Anna May Wong and maybe Olyvia de Haviland and Joan Fontaine.

I agree that the print quality could be better, but this book comes at a great price - on Amazon, at least.

I spend many an evening poring over these pictures. If you love old movies or vintage fashion, this is a must buy!
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on 4 May 2017
So many from the Kobal collection not on Kindle ebooks such a shame come on Amazon get your Sh** together and start converting, but suppose by keeping them hardback there saving me a fortune lol
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on 5 April 1997
Mr. Kobal has put together the greatest collection of glamor photos anywhere. Hollywood's biggest stars and greatest photographers are represented in this book. I ended up buying two copies. One for my library and one for the photos. I scanned some, framed some, and even sent some away for autographs. Hedy Lamarr liked her photo so much she never returned it.
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VINE VOICEon 13 August 2004
The Hollywood publicity photograph is the subject of this intriguing book. Unlike their more famous counterparts who did fashion and artistic portraits, the Hollywood still photographers were asked to sell a product, the films that the stars were appearing in. Because the films and the publicity were censored, the final products were determined by the Hays office. The photographers were allowed to ask for how they would like the prints finished, but were not allowed to do the work themselves. As a result, the final results often fall far below what the photographer probably intended.
Despite these limitations, the photographers were working with extremely talented actresses and actors who could capture a mood and a moment in unusually powerful ways. Some of the results are arresting, and overwhelm the limitations of the too small pages and the often flawed photographic finishing.
The book also contains many wonderful comments by the leading Hollywood photographers about their views of the task and their experiences. You will definitely feel that these stars were represented as "icons, made to be admired." The chins are uplifted along with the eyes in noble poses that suggest goddesses and heroes rather than mere mortals.
Your interest is captured by the sense of "electric, full of sexual qualities" character of the images. The most successful move beyond iconography to capture "a moment or mood unattainable with the motion-picture camera" to show something about the movie in creating a "poster effect."
You will also appreciate the rivalry among the photographers in seeing who could accentuate glamor the most. Light, shadows, make-up, and props are all carefully composed to add an uplift of excitement that ordinary people could only hope to see on the silver screen during these days of depressed economic times and war.
I graded the book down two stars for the indifferent printing of many of these images from the negatives and for the poor quality of the reproductions on the pages in the book in many other cases. Many of the photographs are also very fuzzy and appear to have been shot through what looks like a nylon. One or two of those would have been enough. But there are many more than that in this volume.
Here are my favorite photographs:
Louisa Brooks, 1928 (2), Eugene Robert Richee, for Paramount
William Powell, 1929, George Hommel, for Paramount
Jean Harlow, 1932, George Hurrell, for MGM
Joan Crawford, 1933, George Hurrell, for MGM
Marlene Dietrich, 1932, Don English, for Paramount
Carole Lombard, 1935, Eugene Robert Richee, for Paramount
John Gilbert, 1932, George Hurrell, for MGM
Sylvia Sidney, 1935, Eugene Robert Richee, for Paramount
Joel McCrea, 1933, Ernest A. Bachrach, for RKO - Radio
Norma Schearer, 1932, George Hurrell, for MGM
Katherine Hepburn, 1935, Ernest A. Bachrach, for RKO - Radio
Greta Garbo, 1930, 1935, Clarence Sinclair Bell, for MGM
Ginger Rogers, 1934, Ernest A. Bachrach, for RKO - Radio
Frances Farmer, 1937, Eugene Robert Richee, for Paramount
Lana Turner, 1939, Eric Carpenter, for MGM
Barbara Stanwyck, 1937, Robert Coburn, for United Artists (Goldwyn)
Eleanor Powell, 1937, Laszlo Willinger, for MGM
Vivien Leigh, 1940, Laszlo Willinger, for MGM
Lauren Bacall, 1946, Scotty Welbourne, for Warner
After you have finished enjoying these wonderful, hypnotic faces I suggest you spend a little time in front of a mirror looking at your own favorite expressions. How would you react to you if confronted with those expressions? Then begin to become more conscious of the impressions you make. Tiny nuances in facial expressions convey more meaning than words in most communications. Be as careful of those nuances as you are of your choice of words.
Project your meaning more accurately and lastingly!
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