Charlie Chaplin;Laurence Olivier;Cary Grant;Gone with the Wind;Vivien Leigh

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‘Hollywood is a chain gang and we lose the will to escape; the links of our chain are forged not of cruelties but of luxuries: we are pelted with orchids and roses; we are overpaid and underworked.’

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‘Hollywood is a chain gang and we lose the will to escape; the links of our chain are forged not of cruelties but of luxuries: we are pelted with orchids and roses; we are overpaid and underworked.’

First there was Charles Chaplin. Then came Stan Laurel, and subsequently a host of well-loved British actors and charactors whose lives, loves, lavish parties and bitter rivalries constitute the sceptred isle’s last empire builders. This unique and comprehensive history of the dream factory starts at the very beginning of cinema history with Eadweard Muybridge, the inventor of moving pictures, and the founder of RADA Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, who starred in a version of Macbeth filmed in a studio before the area was even called Hollywood. The book looks at the golden age of the 1930s, when expat life under the Californian sun revolved around cricket clubs and food parcels sent by family members left behind, before absorbing the impact of McCarthyism. Morley discusses the paradox of establishing oneself as a Beverly Hills player without losing one’s roots, the numerous successes, disasters, murders, suicides, Oscars and scandals that epitomise the British experience in the place where dreams are made.

‘Darling,’ Robert Coote once called across to Gladys Cooper in tones of some disapproval during a weekly gathering: ‘there seems to be an American on your lawn.’

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Bibliographic Data

Category: Biography/Film/Theatre
Publication Date: June 2017
Territories: World
ISBN: 978 1 911579 51 9 (paperback)/978 1 911579 52 6 (paperback)