Film historian Arnie Bernstein, a self-described “movie nut” wrote a book several years ago about the movie industry in Chicago. Fate brought that book to the attention of Michael Corcoran, a certified Chicago Tour Guide who runs the Chicago Cinema Tour. The collaboration of the latter revamped the former’s original work to create a super Second edition of Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100+ Years of Chicago and the Movies.
Hollywood on Lake Michigan takes a comprehensive look at the motion picture industry since its arrival in Chicago with an in-depth look at the silent era through discussions of the Windy City as portrayed in modern blockbusters like The Dark Knight trilogy films. Also included are local independent films and filmmakers.
In sections dedicated to large areas of Chicago – Downtown, North, West and South – Arnstein and Corcoran discuss specific locations like those used in films like The Blues Brothers (1980), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) and Primal Fear (1996), a personal favorite. Early film history is covered with a look at the film companies that set up shop in Chicago in the early 1900s, the development of the earliest camera systems, histories of the grand movie houses that graced its streets and discussions of early players like film pioneer William Nicholas Selig, who made the first version of Baum’s, The Wizard of Oz in Chicago in 1910.
Particularly interesting to this reader are some of the back stories included in the book, such as details of the
crimes that led 20th Century Fox producer, Darryl F. Zanuck to make Call Northside 777 (1948) in Chicago. Northside was directed by Henry Hathaway and stars James Stewart.
Worthy of note is that there’s a lot of television history in Hollywood on Lake Michigan as well. Locations like The Second City where many legends of comedy were born are discussed in detail.
In short, there is plenty in Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100+ Years of Chicago and the Movies to appeal to all manner of enthusiasts, film and history buffs included. The book is written with great affection for the places and the art that resulted, which makes it a highly entertaining read.
I must thank Josh Williams, Publicist of Triumph Books for sending me a copy of Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100+ Years of Chicago and the Movies to review. But that isn’t all. Mr. Williams was also gracious enough to send me three additional copies of the book to offer readers of Once Upon a Screen.
If you’re interested in film, in film history or have an affection for Chicago, Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100+ Years of Chicago and the Movies is a must read and you can win a copy of the book by following these simple steps:
- Post a comment on this post noting your favorite film shot in Chicago or that has a story set in Chicago.
- Do so by Saturday, September 7th at midnight (EST). The three winners will be chosen at random on September 8th.
- Please include either your Facebook or twitter tag, blog name or email address so I can contact you if you’re one of the lucky winners.
(Restricted to those with U.S. and/or Canada addresses only.)
Thanks and good luck!