Designing for the Movies: The Memoirs of Laurence Irving

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Laurence Irving came from a prominent British theatrical family. He was the grandson of the legendary Sir Henry Irving and the son of actors H.B. Irving and Dorothea Baird. Unlike his forebears, however, Laurence chose not to enter the acting profession, but gained an international reputation as an artist, set designer and art director. In this memoir, Irving recounts his World War I flying career, his art studies and painting in the early 1920s - up to the moment in 1927 when Douglas Fairbanks asked him to design The Iron Mask in Hollywood. In Designing for the Movies, Irving vividly recounts working in Hollywood for such distinguished figures as Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and William Cameron Menzies. Upon his return to the United Kingdom, he worked on other notable films including Moonlight Sonata and George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. Irving's time in Hollywood marked the end of the silent film years and this memoir depicts the effect on all those concerned, with astute and penetrating portraits of the professionals who felt this change so dramatically. Anyone with even the slightest interest in the history of filmmaking and the early characters involved with it will not want to miss this insightful account.

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Editorial Reviews

Reference and Research Book News
Unlike other members of his prominent British theatrical family, Laurence Irving chose not to enter the acting profession, and instead worked as an artist, set designer, and art director in film. In these memoirs, he recounts working in Hollywood at the end of the silent film era with such distinguished figures as Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. B&w historical and personal photos are included.
Film Review
A brisk and illuminating tour of an exciting period in film history, it brings to vivid life a cast of intriguing characters working at their artistic peak, and as such is a valuable record of their lives and achievements. FOUR STARS
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810856714
  • Publisher: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Series: The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series , #121
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 7.42 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurence Irvingwho died in 1988, studied art at the Royal Academy School in London. He illustrated books, designed theatre productions and films, and wrote the definitive biography of his grandfather, the famed actor Sir Henry Irving.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Editor's Foreword Part 2 Introduction Chapter 3 Chapter One Chapter 4 Chapter Two Part 5 Chapter Three Part 6 Chapter Four Chapter 7 Chapter Five Part 8 Interlude Chapter 9 Chapter Six Chapter 10 Chapter Seven Chapter 11 Chapter Eight Chapter 12 Chapter Nine Chapter 13 Chapter Ten Part 14 Epilogue Part 15 Index

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