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City Boys by Robert Sklar
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City Boys

by Robert Sklar

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Discusses the careers of these three important actors of the 30's. A lot of this is about how the studio system worked, but he does discuss their performances as well. All three had iconic status in their day, and, to some degree, perhaps, today. More analysis on the cultural scene which produced them would be good. This is very readable even for the casual reader, and it should spur people to watch the films mentioned mostof which are available on DVD or on Turner Classic Movies. ( )
  echaika | Jan 12, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0691006148, Paperback)

Beginning with "The Public Enemy", produced by Warner Bros in 1931, James Cagney established a new cultural type on the American screen and in the world's imagination. That "type", later developed by Humphrey Bogart and John Garfield, was the urban tough guy - small, wiry, savvy and street-smart. Often presented as a gangster, newspaper reporter or private eye, the "city boy" seemed the quintessential product of urban America, although he was more a model for his audience than a mirror of social actuality. While blending the stories of the professional and political lives of Cagney, Bogart and Garfield into one narrative, Robert Sklar probes the cultural forces that produced this cultural icon and examines its power over masculine self-definition. Cagney and Bogart, whose legends have grown over time, and Garfield, whose work has been unfortunately neglected, are portrayed here in relation not only to their films and their screen personnas but also to their working environment. Sklar gives a real sense of the intensity with which each of them struggled to control his own work in the face of the power of Warner Bros, whose effort to produce socially conscious movies did not prevent it from exploiting its stars. The book also describes the involvement of the three stars with political causes and their response to attacks mounted by powerful right-wing elements against "leftists" in the entertainment industry.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:04 -0400)

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