Hollywood in the years between 1929 and 1948 was a town of moviemaking empires. The great studios were estates of talent: sprawling, dense, diverse. It was the Golden Age of the Movies, and each studio made its distinctive contribution. But how did the studios, “growing up” in the same time and place, develop so differently? What combinations of talents and temperaments gave them their signature styles? These are the questions Ethan Mordden answers, with breezy erudition and irrepressible enthusiasm, in this fascinating and wonderfully readable book. Mordden illuminates how the style of each studio was primarily dictated by the personality, philosophy, and attitudes of its presiding mogul—and how all these factors affected the work and careers of individual actors, directors, writers, and technicians, and the success of the studio in general.