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From Barnes & NobleOur Review
For as long as there have been moving pictures, there have been movie junkies: those of us sitting spellbound in theaters, basking in the glow of the big screen. An equally fascinating pastime for many has been watching the "real" lives of actors and actresses play out like scripts before our eyes, with all the drama and glamour of their latest box-office project. There is no better place to indulge these habits than between the pages of Vanity Fair's Hollywood, a lavish new collection of photographs, illustrations, and essays culled from legendary Vanity Fair magazine.
The list of celebrities, past and present, that grace the pages of Vanity Fair's Hollywood is extraordinary -- to even begin to name them would take up pages (but if you must know, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Joan Crawford, Charlie Chaplin, Robert De Niro, Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, and Madonna are just a few). However, even more stunning than this lineup of stars is the quality of the images presented in the book. Priceless moments are captured by renowned photographers such as Edward Steichen, Herb Ritts, and Annie Leibovitz. Gorgeous illustrations are rendered by art luminaries such as Miguel Covarrubias, Robert Risko, and David Cowles.
More than just a photographic jaunt through Tinseltown, Vanity Fair's Hollywood also chronicles Hollywood history through written pieces. Gems include a 1918 send-up of the "damsel in distress" cliché by Dorothy Parker, a luminous 1932 profile of Greta Garbo by Clare Boothe Brokaw Luce, an extensive piece on uüberagent Sue Mengers written by Peter Biskind, and a startlingly modern (for 1929) rumination on the power of sex appeal by D. H. Lawrence. Other contributors are gossipmonger Walter Winchell, Patricia Bosworth, Christopher Hitchens -- who also supplied the captions for each photo -- and Dominic Dunne.
Vanity Fair's Hollywood, according to Graydon Carter's introduction, was five years in the making. Clearly a labor of love, it pays magnificent homage to the movies, the people who make them, and the glorious world they inhabit. And above all, it achieves the same end as the best movies do, offering its audience a breathless, heady look inside a world that is as fleeting as a dream.