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Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians…
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Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood (2001)

by William J. Mann

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As a historian I found this book lacking the clarity and strength in sources that appear in the biographies that he has written.
As a social history this lacks sufficient sources to make some of the arguments. He also uses sources that would be better used in a cultural history. ( )
  bla2 | Nov 10, 2008 |
Fascinating and readable. Examines the subject field by field (screenwriters, set designers, directors) and era by era (early Hollywood, WWII, twilight of the studio system). Sources are clearly cited, whether they're dinner-party stories recalled from memory or period employment records. ( )
  sumirechan | Sep 9, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0670030171, Hardcover)

If your last piece of golden-era Hollywood gossip is that Greta Garbo and Cecil Beaton kissed at a rooftop party, you need to steep yourself in William J. Mann's social history of gay Hollywood, a treasure trove of fresh anecdotes and observations of a period and place in which homosexuals enjoyed tremendous freedom and influence--within certain obvious limits. In choosing subjects for his study, Mann cast his net widely, hauling in a great number of uncelebrated but essential workers in the "queer" areas of the film industry--mainly costume design and props, but also writing, directing and acting. This is not principally a look at famous figures, in other words, but at a subculture as a whole, in which Dorothy Arzner, George Cukor, and Charles Laughton are just part of larger circles of gay life and work. Certain to become essential to gay film studies, Behind the Scenes provides a rich, accessible history of pre-Stonewall Hollywood. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:33 -0400)

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Mann looks at the influence of gay actors, directors, and set and costume designers on the development of the motion pictures.

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