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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Viva Hollywood: The Legacy of Latin and Hispanic Artists in American Film

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) celebrates Hispanic Heritage month with the publication of a new book by author Luis I. Reyes, Viva Hollywood: The Legacy of Latin and Hispanic Artists in American Film.

Through an authoritative narrative and lavish photography, Viva Hollywood: The Legacy of Latin and Hispanic Artists in American Film is an in-depth history of the stars, films, achievements, and influence of the Hispanic and Latino community in Hollywood history. Reaching as far back as the silent era and covering ground right up to the present day, Reyes shares tales of overcoming obstacles, prejudice, ignorance, and stereotyping. The book also explores the contrast of experiences between those of lighter skin tone, and those with complexions the studios once referred to as "exotic". Some of the world's most beloved stars come from the Hispanic world whether the Eurocentric world realizes it or not. And some of the screen's most indelible stories come from the same culture. Viva Hollywood examines the stars in front of the screen as well as the people behind-the-scenes who have created a rich legacy across more than 100 years.

The stories of these and many others begins through a lens of stereotyped on-screen personas of Latin Lovers, sexy spitfires, banditos, and gangsters. World War II saw an embrace of Latin culture as the “Good Neighbor Policy” made it both fashionable and patriotic to feature stories set south of the border. Social problem films of the 1950s and '60s brought fresh looks at the community, with performances like Katy Jurado in High Noon, the cast of West Side Story, and racial inequality depicted in George Stevens's Giant. Civil Rights, the Chicano Movement, and the work of activist actors such as Ricardo Montalban and Edward James Olmos influenced further change in Hollywood in subsequent decades and paved the way for modern times and stars like Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The book covers the films and careers of actors ranging from silent screen idol Antonio Moreno, to international Oscar-winning star Anthony Quinn, to Andy Garcia and Antonio Banderas. A particular focus is placed on the role of Latin women on screen through the professional lives of Dolores Del Rio, Rita Hayworth, Raquel Welch, Salma Hayek, Penélope Cruz, and many more. Reyes also examines the work of Hispanics off screen with craftspeople who elevated the medium with their artistry, such as visionaries like cinematographer John Alonzo, Citizen Kane scenic artist Mario Larrinaga, and Oscar-winning makeup artist Beatrice de Alba. No corner of the silver screen is left untouched by the pen of Luis I. Reyes.

Illustrated by more than 200 full-color and black-and-white images, Viva Hollywood is both a sweeping history and a celebration of the legacy of some of the greatest art and artists ever illuminated by the tinsel created in the Hollywood dream factory.


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