The fight for representation in Hollywood is an important one and certainly one that continues on to this day. The Latinx community’s battle for representation in Hollywood films is no exception–many Latinx artists have made important achievements in the filmmaking industry but have gone overlooked since the days of silent film.
Film historian, journalist, and publicist Luis I. Reyes offers film fans a fascinating authoritative book about the influence, films, achievements, and stars of the Hispanic and Latino community within Hollywood’s history. In Viva Hollywood: The Legacy of Latin and Hispanic Artists in American Film, Reyes offers a thorough and well-researched narrative about the initially stereotyped personas of the Latinx community as well as the stark contrast resulting from the “Good Neighbor Polich” from the World War II years. Of course, his narrative does not end there–while my interest is primarily focused on the days of classic Hollywood, Reyes also brings ups all the way to contemporary film and the present film industry, including documentation of various movements and activists, as well as current Latinx stars.
While Reyes’s book offers a fine narrative, it is also beautifully supplemented with a wide range of color and black-and-white photographs throughout. Due to my interest in classic Hollywood, my favorite chapters were the first three: “Latin and Hispanic Film Origins: How it All Began,” “Matinee Idols: Latin Lovers and Dancing Señoritas,” and “Tutti Frutti Hats and Good Neighbors: Hollywood Goes Latin for World War II.”
Fans of classic Hollywood are sure to enjoy this exciting new addition to the TCM Library.
Viva Hollywood: The Legacy of Latin and Hispanic Artists in American Film is available for purchase via Running Press.