Hollywood Babylon Summary & Study Guide

Kenneth Anger
This Study Guide consists of approximately 23 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Hollywood Babylon.
This section contains 516 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Hollywood Babylon Summary & Study Guide Description

Hollywood Babylon Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger.

Ever since the first silent film was shown in Hollywood, the entertainment world has never been the same. The movie moguls of the early 20th century were enthralled by the up and coming medium, and many also realized the possibilities that were involved - how there was bound to be fame and fortune as all the world clamored to go to the movies.

Kenneth Anger explores Hollywood in "Hollywood Babylon" by introducing the reader to the early days of film, focusing mainly on the lives of the actors and executives, their successes and failures, and of course, the scandals.

The book begins with DW Griffith's vision of Babylon and how the creation of "Illusion City" would forever change the world. Griffith was a brilliant director known for his creativity and éclat.

The stars of the Silent Era and leading into the Golden Age were fascinating and exciting both on and off screen. Hollywood managed to keep a great deal of the stars' lives private in order to protect the image of the studio and its stars, but as the industry grew, that feat became nearly impossible. As gossip became a multi-million dollar industry, privacy went by the way of the dodo bird.

Anger tells tales about many of the most famous stars of Old Hollywood. There are many that may not be recognized by film buffs of today; however, it is important to understand who they were and why their contributions to Hollywood were important. Others are legendary for their work as well as their checkered pasts and penchant for drink, drugs, sex, and mayhem.

The author addresses the temper tantrums, orgies, drunken parties, drugs, murders, suicides, and the rise and fall from fame, complete with broken lives, ruined careers and lost fortunes.

There are many notable people and stories, some of which are almost common knowledge. Included are the exploits of Charlie Chaplin and his many affairs, tales about the most popular starlets of the day, from the "It" girl, Clara Bow to Olive Thomas to Gloria Swanson. Rakish men included Fatty Arbuckle, Rudolph Valentino, Gary Cooper, Wallace Reid, to name a few.

The studios had their hands full in trying to protect its image, keep its stars out of trouble or in some cases keeping them alive, as well as trying to run a business. There was constant interference from all sides, including those who believed that the movies were too revealing, racy, or just plain immoral. The pressure exerted from the moral majority caused a great deal of trouble, causing stars to be blacklisted as Shifty Hays jumped on the bandwagon as Movie Czar and declared what would or would not be considered decent. This was particularly difficult during prohibition when the stars thought that the law did not apply to them. Neither did the illegal use of cocaine, heroin or other drugs, which caused the downfall of many great actors.

Eventually, Hollywood moved onto a new era, one filled with the invasion of privacy for the stars in a tell-all society, even more money, and even bigger scandals.

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This section contains 516 words
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Buy the Hollywood Babylon Study Guide
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