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The Golden Age Musicals of Darryl F. Zanuck - The Gentleman Preferred Blondes

The Golden Age Musicals of Darryl F. Zanuck

The Gentleman Preferred Blondes

By Bernard F. Dick
Hardcover : 9781496838612, 320 pages, 27 b&w illustrations, March 2022

The first book to explore the impact the innovative studio executive had on American movie musicals


Beginning with The Jazz Singer (1927) and 42nd Street (1933), legendary Hollywood film producer Darryl F. Zanuck (1902–1979) revolutionized the movie musical, cementing its place in American popular culture. Zanuck, who got his start writing stories and scripts in the silent film era, worked his way to becoming a top production executive at Warner Bros. in the later 1920s and early 1930s. Leaving that studio in 1933, he and industry executive Joseph Schenck formed Twentieth Century Pictures, an independent Hollywood motion picture production company. In 1935, Zanuck merged his Twentieth Century Pictures with the ailing Fox Film Corporation, resulting in the combined Twentieth Century-Fox, which instantly became a new major Hollywood film entity.

The Golden Age Musicals of Darryl F. Zanuck: The Gentleman Preferred Blondes is the first book devoted to the musicals that Zanuck produced at these three studios. The volume spotlights how he placed his personal imprint on the genre and how—especially at Twentieth Century-Fox—he nurtured and showcased several blonde female stars who headlined the studio’s musicals—including Shirley Temple, Alice Faye, Betty Grable, Vivian Blaine, June Haver, Marilyn Monroe, and Sheree North. Building upon Bernard F. Dick’s previous work in That Was Entertainment: The Golden Age of the MGM Musical, this volume illustrates the richness of the American movie musical, tracing how these song-and-dance films fit within the career of Darryl F. Zanuck and within the timeline of Hollywood history.


"The Golden Age Musicals of Darryl F. Zanuck is packed with details about some of Hollywood’s most memorable films and biggest stars of the twentieth century. Along with providing a satisfying amount of insider trivia, Bernard F. Dick examines how Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century-Fox functioned, how material was selected, and how the stars were cast. This is an excellent work that will be enjoyed by anyone interested in Hollywood’s golden years. "

- Marion Meade, biographer of Buster Keaton and Woody Allen