Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969

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Viking, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 422 pages
3 Reviews
William Mann's Behind the Screen is a thoughtful and eye-opening look at the totality of the gay experience in studio-era Hollywood. Much has been written about how gays have been portrayed in the movies but no book -- until now -- has looked at their influence behind the screen. Whether out of or in the closet, gays and lesbians have from the very beginning played a significant role in shaping Hollywood. Gay actors were among the earliest matinee idols and gay directors have long been among the most popular and commercially successful filmmakers. In fact, gay set and costume designers created the very look of Hollywood.

With this landmark book, Mann fills a void in the Hollywood history archives. Written in the tradition of Neal Gabler's An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood and based on hundreds of hours of interviews with survivors of this golden age, Behind the Screen is destined to become a classic of film literature.

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BEHIND THE SCREEN: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969

User Review  - Kirkus

Mann (Wisecracker, 1998, etc.) intriguingly chronicles the experience of gay men and lesbians in Hollywood during the studio era: "a haven for homosexuals, a place to thrive and, within parameters ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bla2 - LibraryThing

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. Read full review



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About the author (2001)

William J. Mann is an American novelist, biographer, and Hollywood historian best known for his studies of Hollywood and the American film industry, especially his 2006 biography of Katharine Hepburn, Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn. Kate was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2006 by the New York Times. Mann was born in Connecticut and received his Master's degree at Wesleyan University. His first novel, The Men From the Boys, was published by Dutton in 1997. His other biographies include How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood, and 2014's New York Times bestseller: Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand.

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