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Screen Deco Book Review
The towering skyline of "Metropolis" (1927). The glitz of the swing clubs where Fred and Ginger were found dancing in. The fantasy and wonder of Busby Berkeley's musicals. The visual gourmet of the Art Deco style in film can be found throughout the 1920s and 1930s and thanks to the art designers of the movie studios, it was diverse throughout any and every film genre. It not only decorated the background but filled in the screen and burst through with personality and ambiance. The environment came alive around the films' characters with its clean lines and geometric shapes. It continues to serve as a time capsule to allow future generations to marvel at the nostalgia of fanciful decadence that was in the midst of many changes happening in the world at the time.
The book I highly recommend to learn more about how Art Deco was used on film is titled, "Screen Deco: A Celebration of High Style in Hollywood" by Howard Mandelbaum and Eric Myers. The introduction explains the term "Art Deco" and the terminology used accordingly to describe Art Deco, which is fascinating in and of itself. The rest of the book's text details the masterminds behind creating some of the most spectacular sets put onto film. Cedric Gibbons, the genius Art Director of MGM Studios, is a name that frequently appears throughout the book, as he was responsible for many of MGM Studios' box office successes. The book is cleverly divided into eight chapters, each dedicated to a specific way Art Deco was used on film. Chapter two directs itself towards how the style was used to decorate the interior settings of apartments and housing, while chapter four is entirely dedicated to the setting of nightclubs. And there's even a chapter called "Fantasy and Futurism" to show how Art Deco was used to visually expand exotic locations, such as the 1935 adaptation of "Cleopatra" or used in the horror genre in "The Black Cat" (1934).
The book boasts 250 rare photographs that instill the details that sometimes a film camera is too quick to catch while we are watching the film. In addition to the photographs, you will bee a number of your favorite stars, most of which is of their younger selves. You will spot Carole Lombard, Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Cary Grant, just to name a few of them.
My final word on this book is, every film lover must have this in their collection. It does not disappoint.
*I was not endorsed in any way to review this book. The book is from my personal collection.*
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