Early Hollywood, known to many as Tinseltown, was both alike and different than the place we know of today. Actors and Actresses certainly had many of the same issues, but here was so much more. Movies were silent; new actors struggled to find work, and the moguls of the day were struggling to see who would come out on top. As is today, drugs and ambition ruled the lots of the differing studios.
In Tinseltown by William J. Mann we follow the growth of the industry as it becomes the darling of America, but we are also introduced to the darkness and danger that besieged those who made it to the top. Tragedy and murder including that of William Desmond Taylor, the president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, dogged the industry from the beginning. This crime remained unsolved for countless years until the truth only recently came to light.
We learn about the struggle of the trade and those who will do whatever it takes to be in the limelight. A true story, Mann has written in the venue of suspense, and the nature of the story makes this a perfect foil. There is so much in the background and underground of the developing phenomena that it creates just the right creepiness that keeps you reading into the night. We move into the darkness of those in the drug trade and the actors that are hooked, as well as the sex and symbolism of being a star.
Mann has done a great job of delivering a story of mystery and suspense using the real backdrop of the death of a man who has become a legend partly because of the mystery surrounding the entire event. The friends and enemies are brought to life as an investigation occurs, and we get a view of early police procedural and how sometimes it really does pay to know those in high places. Yet this work is not just about the mystery and the death but also the rise of Hollywood as we know it today. The tracks of tears and pain become best made for heartache and fear, but also created an underworld of tragedy where those who didn’t make the grade, made their own way, often in crime.
If you enjoy romance, suspense, mystery, and glamor you will find yourself enamored of this work. Once started you will find the story holds you in place, and you gain a reluctant understanding of just how much difficulty stood in the way of a business that is now part of our daily entertainment.
This would be a remarkable book for a book club or reading group. With those out to stop the industry as well as those who worked hard to make it work, there is much discussion and robust dialogue available. Mann has done an amazing job of giving us a history of the Motion Picture industry, as well as the backdrop of the movement to grow into the industry of today[amazon asin=B00HYMAUW0&template=iframe image]