William Powell: Vintage Movie Magazines Revisited

Innumerable Hollywood biographies and movie history books have been written in retrospect by film historians who relied partially if not extensively on the information provided by the industry’s trade and fan magazines. Long before the modern concept of social media outlets were imagined, these magazines offered the curious public a way to further satisfy their obsession for movies outside the darkened auditoriums of the cinema. These publications, though tightly controlled by the industry, also served as documentation—a window into the popular culture of the day—in feature articles, movie reviews, and product advertisements—and they still do today. In this volume, the first twenty years of William Powell’s life and career are presented unfiltered in a collection of feature articles by contemporary scribes of the industry, along with the generously added illustrative material culled from our collection and the collections of several other dedicated movie enthusiasts. They chronicle the silent introduction of William H. Powell to movie audiences in the 1920s and follow his development from snidely villain to the more charming and sophisticated roles for which he achieved fame in the early talkies. Many aspects of his public and private life are revealed by some of the people who knew him best during the years leading up to the Second World War.

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