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Hollywood's Victory Lap by Anthony G. Puzzilla - Book Tour & Review

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We're thrilled to kick off the virtual 

book tour for HOLLYWOOD'S VICTORY LAP by  Anthony G. Puzzilla. If 
you would like to follow his tour, visit Pump Up Your Book!


By Anthony G. Puzzilla

Film historians generally agree that 1939 was a banner year for
Hollywood movies during its Golden Era (1915-1963), including such
classics as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Gunga Din, Stagecoach, and many more.

Author and film buff Anthony Puzzilla wouldn’t argue that point, but he has published a new book, HOLLYWOOD’S VICTORY LAP: THE FILMS OF 1940, which
sets out to prove that the following year was just as exemplary. In
essence Puzzilla says, Hollywood took a “victory lap” in 1940, a year
that produced its share of films that have become iconic classics due to
its continuance of the superlative cinematic productions, creative
strides, and technical advances realized in 1939.

Puzzilla’s short list of great movies from 1940 includes The Grapes of Wrath, The Philadelphia Story, Rebecca, The Great Dictator, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Knute Rockne: All American, Fantasia, and The Letter.
An astute film historian and an unabashed movie fan, Puzzilla also
expresses a fondness and deep appreciation for 1940’s serials such as
Flash Gordon; the hilarious shorts made by the Three Stooges, including A Plumbing We Will Go; animated cartoons produced by Warner Bros., such as You Ought to Be in Pictures; and the animated, full-length features created by the Disney studio, which released Pinocchio and Fantasia that year.

“Although 1939 was undoubtedly Hollywood’s greatest triumph during
its Golden Age, much of the directorial vision and skill, profound and
talented acting, superb writing, and technological advances witnessed in
the films of 1939 continued unabated in those produced in 1940,” Puzzilla says.

The ideal readership for HOLLYWOOD’S VICTORY LAP: THE FILMS OF 1940,
Puzzilla notes, would be composed of “people who appreciate the way
movies were made before special effects, car chases, and unabated
violence became the main reasons the general public attends movies today.”

But Puzzilla’s accessible, non-academic writing style makes the book
equally user-friendly to a wide, general readership. To sweeten the pot,
Puzzilla has profusely illustrated his history with evocative photos of
“old” Hollywood, as well as scenes from classic movies, shorts, and
animated features.

Both in subject and style, HOLLYWOOD’S VICTORY LAP: THE FILMS OF 1940 would easily lend itself to film adaptation for theatrical or cable/streaming service release.

Amazon →

It is the general consensus that in the history of motion pictures, the year 1939 was undoubtedly Hollywood’s greatest triumph during its Golden Era. However, much of the same winning confluence of circumstances and events that made 1939 such a monumental and productive year for Hollywood
continued into 1940.  Despite this fact, the overwhelming and enduring
popularity of the movies of 1939 have often overshadowed the importance of
cinema’s superlative productions, creative strides and technical advances realized in 1940. This book talks about the movies, the directors, the actors, and the screenwriters whose talent and creativity so ably continued the excellence in
movie making so clearly established in 1939.

Hollywood's Victory Lap is a fascinating look at the movie business in 1940. According to the author 1939-1940 was the best year for the film industry. Many movies were made. Many won awards. Iconic actors and directors we all know today were just starting out in Hollywood, and by being in the movies in 1939-1940, it launched their careers. Others were already well-known names, but this time frame made them larger than life, if you will.
The book contains an array of intriguing historical facts about major studios, including Warner Bros, Fox, RKO, and MGM. I found the fact that WB started out in Pennsylvania to be pretty neat. As someone who has lived in PA their entire life, it was pretty awesome to discover a studio that makes such big, blockbuster films nowadays got its start in PA.
There's also quite a bit of information about the big moguls of each studio, the directors who worked on films for each studio, the actors who were cast in those films, and even the writers of the films. It's a lot to take in, but there are a multitude of photos included, and that just made it even more amazing to me. 
The chapters of this book tackle award winning films, serials, and even animated movies/short films. There's some backstory about the plot of each film mentioned, the basics (including actors/director), reception of each film, and even critical reviews. I really enjoyed all of the information compiled about each film, and I even discovered movies I hadn't known about. 
I think my favorite chapter was the one featuring the animated films. Disney gets mentioned, as does Looney Tunes, Woody Woodpecker, and even Hanna-Barbera. 
Overall, Hollywood's Victory Lap is a book that will appeal to movie buffs who enjoy learning more about the history of Hollywood and its films. 
4 stars!

Anthony Puzzilla was born and raised in upstate New York. He holds a
master’s degree in economics. After retiring from a 43-year career with
the federal government, he became a writer, publishing two books about
railroading before turning his eye to another lifelong love, the movies.
Puzzilla’s first book in the genre of film history. Puzzilla is a
member and supporter of the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study and
the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study, both in Los Angeles; a
supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures; a member of the
American Film Institute; and a supporter of the AFI Silver Theatre and
Cultural Center, in Silver Spring, MD.

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