I read this gem twenty years ago and then rediscovered it (along with several other forgotten treasures) when I did my recent book purge. Needless to say, this did not get given away to the Salvos. I can't stop reading about Hollywood's Golden Age at the moment. I try to pick up something else but my mind just goes back to it. So, why fight it? I'm truly fascinated. I did exactly the same thing with books about Ancient Roman history about six years ago and the result was I wrote the first of my 'Empress of Rome' novels. I think I can safely say that a new book (or books) of my own is going to emerge from all this reading about Old Hollywood. I haven't quite decided what this will be just yet, but when I've typed the final word of 'Stealth of Vixens', which will be some months off yet, I'll be ready to embark. Ancient Rome will be rested for a while.

This dense little volume by Alexander Walker is a marvel - incredibly informative. When I read it two decades ago I don't think I appreciated just how good it is. His insights into the birth of the studio system are remarkable and quite unique. He draws conclusions I haven't seen drawn elsewhere - and he was drawing them back in 1970, when this was published. The best revelations (for me) were the chapters concerning the career demise of the 'Great Lover', John Gilbert - which debunked a lot of glib myths - and the responses from audiences, actors and studios to the advent of sound. The latter was far more complex and surprising than I knew. Walker puts so much film 'legend' into the correct context. Excellent stuff.