Hollywood Bohemians

Transgressive Sexuality and the Selling of the Movieland Dream


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About the Book

Between 1917 and 1941, Hollywood studios, gossip columnists and novelists featured an unprecedented number of homosexuals, cross-dressers, and adulterers in their depictions of the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle.
Actress Greta Garbo defined herself as the ultimate serial bachelorette. Screenwriter Mercedes De Acosta engaged in numerous lesbian relationships with the Hollywood elite. And countless homosexual designers brazenly picked up men in the hottest Hollywood nightclubs. Hollywood’s image grew as a place of sexual abandon.
This book demonstrates how studios and the media used images of these sexually adventurous characters to promote the industry and appeal to the prurient interests of their audiences.

About the Author(s)

Brett L. Abrams has written five books about sports, popular culture, and the Washington, D.C., region. He works as an electronic records archivist for the federal government in the nation’s capital.

Bibliographic Details

Brett L. Abrams
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: 20 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3929-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8247-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Preface      1

Introduction: Bohemians in the Depictions of Hollywood      3

1. Hollywood Nightlife Female Impersonators and Cross-Dressing Females      13

2. The Public Hollywood Party Star Arrivals and Emotions      50

3. The Private Hollywood Party Secret Love at the Wild Party      78

4. The Hollywood Star Home Chic Bachelor and Odd Bedfellow Digs      113

5. Hollywood Behind the Scenes Glamour and Mystery in the Workplace      159

Conclusion: Hollywood Bohemians Today      193

Chapter Notes      199

Bibliography      221

Index      237

Book Reviews & Awards

“an insightful and intriguing read”—Philadelphia Gay News; “handsomely written and well researched…delightful and engaging”—Femspec; “In Hollywood Bohemians, Brett Abrams has provided all film historians with a brand new take on Hollywood. This social study should be must reading for all scholars. Rather than simplistic assertions, Abrams offers documents that will be new to all.”—Douglas Gomery, Professor of Journalism and Film Studies Emeritus, University of Maryland and author of Shared Pleases: A History of Movie Presentation In the United States and the Hollywood Studio System: A History.