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.