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1920s

The film industry's studio system was well established by the 1920s, but it was with the release of The Jazz Singer by Warner Bros. in 1927, the first full-length film with synchronised dialogue, that the 'talkies' heralded in what became known as the 'Golden Age' of Hollywood.

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Greta Garbo and John Gilbert for Flesh and The Devil
by Bert Longworth, 1926

'If only those who dream about Hollywood knew how difficult it all is'

Swedish-born Greta Garbo arrived in Culver City in the summer of 1925 and by November was working on her first film, The Torrent (1926), followed by The Temptress (1926) and Flesh and The Devil (1927) in which she was paired with Gilbert, Hollywood's great lover at that time. Directed by Clarence Brown, Flesh and The Devil was the first of four films Garbo and Gilbert made together and their off-screen romance added to the passion of the film's love scenes.

Bert Longworth (1893-1964) was stills photographer for Garbo's first three pictures. This portrait of the actors embracing became a highly publicised shot to promote the film. In 1937 Longworth published a limited edition book Hold still… Hollywood!

photo of photo of Greta Garbo and John Gilbert

Greta Garbo and John Gilbert for Flesh and The Devil
by Bert Longworth, 1926