The history of the movies is the history of America. Pat Silver-Lasky has woven personal letters by Hollywood pioneer Jesse L. Lasky to his son, Jesse Jr. into an insider's view of one of early Hollywood's most influential families. The Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company produced the first feature film in Hollywood, The Squaw Man in 1913. When his final credits rolled on January 13, 1958, Lasky had produced more than 1,000 films, making him in 1927, the eighth wealthiest man in the movie capital. Yet in a few short months he was forced out of the company that no longer bore his name––to rise as an independent producing some of the greatest films of his career at Warner Brothers and RKO. Lasky’s adventurous personal life was every bit as dynamic and challenging as the stars he fashioned. Screenwriter Jesse Jr. wrote 48 films, 8 for Cecil B. DeMille. Letters continue through World War II when First Lieutenant, Jesse, Jr. made training films for the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and served as Captain in the South Pacific.
REVIEWED BY: Michael G. Ankerich… FILM HISTORIAN - AUTHOR
Just when I think no more books can be written about early Hollywood and its beginning from a personal and intimate perspective, along comes Hollywood Royalty: a Family in Films. The author has taken personal letters written from the hand of a true Hollywood pioneer to his son and woven them into an illuminating view inside one of early Hollywood's most influential families. A rare and unique perspective of a man who shaped the film industry. Intimate details about the Lasky family; Lasky's complex relationship with his wife; with Adolph Zukor, Samuel Goldwyn, Cecil B. DeMille; behind-the-scenes negotiations and development of some of Hollywood's finest classics; and perhaps most interesting, fatherly advice Lasky gives his son about life in general and his son's career in films. The beauty of the book is Silver-Lasky's use of personal letters between Jesse Sr. and Jesse Jr. and her own personal recollections and anecdotes provided her by husband Jesse Jr. Of wide appeal to fans of classic cinema. Beginnings of Hollywood and the film industry, silent films, transition to sound films, day-to-day development of a film (from adaptation to premier).
Kevin Brownlow FILM HISTORIAN (Who received the first Governors Award from AMPAS for his work in film preservation and chronicling of the cinematic parade)
Michael Ankerich's quote says it all. I would add: Now that it is no longer possible to interview the last veterans of the silent era, any more than we can talk to survivors of the Civil War, there is one last, precious resource; letters. Pat is offering film historians and enthusiasts an incredibly rare opportunity to enter the lives of one of the supreme moguls of the classic era and his son. To turn this down - well, I'd better not write what I think! It reminds me of the old silent director who told me, “There are more horses’ asses in the world than there are horses.
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