The Art of Selling Movies by John McElwee


My Review:

I had such fun reading this book, it was well-researched  and I really enjoyed looking at the pictures of movie ads. I found myself excited to turn to the next page to see the next photo. The book itself was very good and interesting. I really enjoyed reading this and recommend it to fans of the history of movies or fans of non-fiction books.

5 out of 5 stars

This book comes out February 28th, 2017


A Never-Before-Seen Look at How the Hearts, Minds & Wallets of Moviegoers Were Won in Hollywood’s Golden Age


From the silents through the mid-1960s, the Classic Era of American Cinema saw men and women with no aptitude for art become artists, wizards with words, master persuaders. Unlike other ad folk, theatre operators sold nothing more tangible than a couple hours’ amusement, and gave customers nothing to carry home beyond memories each hoped would be pleasant. Creating powerful, compelling advertisements wasn’t merely a matter of friendly competition between clever marketers – it was what the very livelihood of small-town theatre managers and cinema bigwigs alike depended on.

In The Art of Selling Movies [GoodKnight Books, February 28, 2017], lifelong film enthusiast and noted historian John McElwee reveals how the promise of happy times was aggressively marketed daily amidst heated competition in the Amusement Pages of U.S. newspapers, creating a thriving industry that continues to influence American culture today.

Unlike other classic film interest books, The Art of Selling Movies shifts the spotlight away from great directors and iconic stars in favor of the “faceless folk” who awoke desire for movies in the masses. A vibrant full-color, 300-plus-page hardcover featuring hundreds of never-before-seen images and clippings (painstakingly restored using technology that has only made such restoration possible in the past decade), in The Art of Selling Movies, McElwee also explores the intersection of commercialism, folk art, fine art, newspaper production, and regional demographics.

“These ads exerted an emotional appeal,” says McElwee, “and sparked a ‘must-see’ mentality that merchandisers still seek to convey today.

“The variety of ads for an individual film were infinite. For as many bookings as Citizen Kane had, there were that many different selling approaches,” he continues. “The best of vintage theatre ads can still teach advertisers a great deal about the art of selling.”

An illuminating and entertaining exploration of how the hearts, minds, and wallets of American moviegoers were won in Hollywood’s Golden Age, The Art of Selling Movies will delight American history buffs, Classic Era film aficionados, and modern-day Don Draper types alike.



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