‘Viva Hollywood’ by Luis I. Reyes: The Conskipper Review

Viva Hollywood: The Legacy of Latin and Hispanic Artists in American Film by Luis I. Reyes is the latest in a series of high quality books on film by TCM and Running Press. The book will release in stores on September 13th, 2022. Featuring a foreword by Jimmy Smits, a riveting true story narrative, and an excellent collection of photographs, Reyes’ book serves as an essential introduction to the performers and films of the Hispanic and Latino community across the entire history of American film.

Reyes is a scholar, author, and lecturer whose area of expertise is in the history of Latinos in the Hollywood film industry. His prior works include Hispanics in Hollywood, Made in Mexico: Hollywood South of the Border, and more. Reye’s knowledge of the material shines in Viva Hollywood, and this new text serves as a culmination of his prior work which is presented in an accessible manner for newcomers to the subject and film buffs alike. Like all great texts on film, Reyes studies the history of the Hispanic and Latino community in Hollywood through the lens of major American moments in history. The text studies how World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Chicano Movement all shaped the careers of Hispanic and Latino performers, and solidified their impact on the silver screen. Reyes also explores the evolving role of Latin women in film through such iconic performers as Dolores del Rio, Rita Hayworth, Salma Hayek, and more. Readers will learn how the messages and portrayals of films featuring Hispanic and Latino performers evolved from stereotypes to true representation over the years.

Housed in an attractive red clothbound, hardcover presentation with a color dustjacket, Viva Hollywood is a wonderful book to hold in your hands and flip through its pages. The paper stock is thick and colorful, and the images pop on the page. Reyes organizes the text with chapters featuring the major moments of the film industry, such as “Latin and Hispanic Film Origins: How It All Began” and “Latina Protest and Empowerment,” and each of these chapters feature exclusive pages on the performers of each respective time period. The greats are all there, including Cesar Romero, Edward J. Olmos, and even newcomers like Ana de Armas, but Reyes is sure to showcase even the less famous performers who were essential to the industry. Furthermore, Reyes examines such popular films as Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and Chinatown and brings to light the influence of Hispanic and Latino people who helped bring these movies to life, whether it be on screen or behind the camera. The result is a comprehensive and conclusive study which is both fun to read and engaging throughout.

TCM and Running Press have a proven track record on providing expert examinations of so many different aspects of American Film, and Luis I. Reyes’ new book easily sits beside the best of them and deserves a space on the bookshelf of any movie fan who is looking to learn more about the important role Latin and Hispanic people play in the past, present, and future of the American film industry.

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