Golden Age of Hollywood

This page contains links to all the posts in the Golden Age of Hollywood series, along with some films to get you started and source material for further reading.

I will update each Wednesday with the current week’s post.


Posts by Series/Category

Directed by Dorothy Arzner

Bogie & Bacall

Remake Rumbles

The Dueling de Havillands

Focus on Ferber: The Work of Edna Ferber Onscreen

Hitch and Grace In Three Acts

Rowboat Murders

Birth of the Talkies: The Early Films of the Sound Era

Pre-Code Standouts

Screwing Around: The Screwball Comedy Emerges

The Case for Barbara Stanwyck: Greatest Actress to Never Win an Oscar

1939: The Greatest Year in Movies

The Fabulous Forties

Bette Davis: The Shrew Who Would Not Be Tamed

Other Films

Five Films To Get You Started

If I’ve piqued your interest on classic films but you don’t where to start, you can’t go wrong by beginning with these five stellar films. If you don’t love these, then classic Hollywood films are not for you.

  • The Philadelphia Story (1940)
    • Katharine Hepburn’s funniest–and best–film. Also Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, and the best script in Hollywood history
  • The Lady Eve (1941)
    • Barbara Stanwyck tortures poor Henry Fonda in this tale of her revenge between losing and regaining his love.
  • Casablanca (1942)
    • Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, Bergman walks into Bogie’s.
  • All About Eve (1950)
    • Bette Davis at her absolute best. As relevant today as it was seventy years ago.
  • Rear Window (1954)
    • Hitchcock directs Grace Kelly, the cool blonde that got away.


Actor/Actress/Director Biographies

  • Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford, Donald Spoto
  • Joan Crawford: Hollywood Martyr, David Bret
  • Clark Gable: A Biography, Warren G. Harris
  • Screwball: The Life of Carole Lombard, Larry Swindell
  • Stanwyck, Axel Madsen
  • Starring Miss Stanwyck, Ella Smith
  • Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis, Ed Sikov
  • A Talent for Trouble: The Life of Hollywood’s Most Acclaimed Director, William Wyler, Jan Herman
  • William Wyler: The Life and Film of Hollywood’s Most Celebrated Director, Gabriel Miller, 2013.
  • Cary Grant: A Biography, Marc Eliot
  • Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and his Leading Ladies, Donald Spoto
  • High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly, Donald Spoto
  • Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud, Shaun Considine
  • Sisters: The Story of Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, Charles Higham, 1984.
  • Olivia de Havilland and the Golden Age of Hollywood, Ellis Amburn, 2018.
  • No Bed of Roses, Joan Fontaine, 1978.
  • My First Hundred Years in Hollywood, Jack Warner
  • Irene Dunne: First Lady of Hollywood, Wes D. Gehring
  • Bogart, A.M. Spencer and Eric Lax, 1997.
  • Bogie & Bacall:  Love Lessons from a Legendary Romance, Cindy De La Hoz, 2015.
  • By Myself, Lauren Bacall, 1978.
  • Howard Hawks:  The Grey Fox of Hollywood, Todd McCarthy, 1997.
  • Jimmy Stewart: A Biography, Marc Eliot, 2006. 
  • Doris Day:  The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door, David Kaufman,  2008.
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut.  1966.
  • Veronica: The Autobiography of Veronica Lake, Veronica Lake. 1969.

Cinema History and Film Essays

  • Sin In Soft Focus: Pre Code Hollywood, Mark Vieira
  • The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking In The Studio Era, Thomas Schatz
  • A World of Movies: 70 Years of Film History, Richard Lawton
  • The Noir Style, Alain Silver and James Ursini
  • American Cinema of the 1930s, Edited by Ina Rae Hark
  • American Cinema of the 1940s, Edited by Wheeler Winston Dixon
  • American Cinema of the 1950s, Edited by Murray Pomerance
  • The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies, David Thomson.

Other Books

  • Memo from David O. Selznick, edited by Martin Behlmer
  • A Peculiar Treasure, Edna Ferber, 1939. 
  • A Kind of Magic, Edna Ferber, 1963.
  • Ferber:  A Biography of Edna Ferber and Her Circle, Julie Goldsmith Gilbert, 1978. 


  • Jensen, Oliver O. “Sister Act.” Life Magazine, May 4, 1942
  • “Cinema.  Olivia de Havilland and The Snake Pit.”  Time Magazine, December 20, 1948.