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It's Alive!

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The only thing harder than raising the dead is making a movie about raising the dead. In the summer of 1931, life was good for Junior Laemmle. Though only twenty-three years old, he was the head of all movie production for Universal Pictures, and under his reign, the studio flourished. So much so, he was about to be bestowed with the greatest honor a young executive can The only thing harder than raising the dead is making a movie about raising the dead. In the summer of 1931, life was good for Junior Laemmle. Though only twenty-three years old, he was the head of all movie production for Universal Pictures, and under his reign, the studio flourished. So much so, he was about to be bestowed with the greatest honor a young executive can receive in Hollywood: a promotion to vice president of the entire company. What’s more, Carl Laemmle, his father and founder of the studio, was returning to California for the first time in years to personally present the honor to his son. Or so Junior thought. When his father arrives, Junior discovers that instead of being grateful for transforming and catapulting the out-of-date studio into the future, his father is obsessed with Junior’s next production: Frankenstein. Like the year before, Carl is fervently against making another grisly and gothic film, despite Dracula becoming a huge hit—a project which Junior fought for and personally oversaw through production. Also not helping Junior’s cause, though the film is just days away from beginning production, the final choice between Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff to play the role of the Monster, has yet to be made. It’s Alive! is a thrilling and vibrant portrait of 1930s Hollywood centered around the chaotic and exciting days just before the filming of the beloved cult-classic film, Frankenstein. Woven with hopeful passion, emotional vulnerability, staunch determination, and creative fulfillment, readers will be swept along with breathless cinematic pace through events that will not only change the lives of everyone involved, but Hollywood itself.


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The only thing harder than raising the dead is making a movie about raising the dead. In the summer of 1931, life was good for Junior Laemmle. Though only twenty-three years old, he was the head of all movie production for Universal Pictures, and under his reign, the studio flourished. So much so, he was about to be bestowed with the greatest honor a young executive can The only thing harder than raising the dead is making a movie about raising the dead. In the summer of 1931, life was good for Junior Laemmle. Though only twenty-three years old, he was the head of all movie production for Universal Pictures, and under his reign, the studio flourished. So much so, he was about to be bestowed with the greatest honor a young executive can receive in Hollywood: a promotion to vice president of the entire company. What’s more, Carl Laemmle, his father and founder of the studio, was returning to California for the first time in years to personally present the honor to his son. Or so Junior thought. When his father arrives, Junior discovers that instead of being grateful for transforming and catapulting the out-of-date studio into the future, his father is obsessed with Junior’s next production: Frankenstein. Like the year before, Carl is fervently against making another grisly and gothic film, despite Dracula becoming a huge hit—a project which Junior fought for and personally oversaw through production. Also not helping Junior’s cause, though the film is just days away from beginning production, the final choice between Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff to play the role of the Monster, has yet to be made. It’s Alive! is a thrilling and vibrant portrait of 1930s Hollywood centered around the chaotic and exciting days just before the filming of the beloved cult-classic film, Frankenstein. Woven with hopeful passion, emotional vulnerability, staunch determination, and creative fulfillment, readers will be swept along with breathless cinematic pace through events that will not only change the lives of everyone involved, but Hollywood itself.

30 review for It's Alive!

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    It’s Alive is a tale of behind-the-scenes shenanigans that ushered into existence one of the greatest movie monsters of all time. Eventually, Universal became inextricably associated with Universal Monsters just as It’s Alive is a call inextricably linked to one of its most famous ones, but back in the day the very fate of the movie hung in the air, batted between the powers that be like a tennis ball at Wimbledon. Universal studio owner Carl Laemmle and his son Junior Laemmle was firmly in the It’s Alive is a tale of behind-the-scenes shenanigans that ushered into existence one of the greatest movie monsters of all time. Eventually, Universal became inextricably associated with Universal Monsters just as It’s Alive is a call inextricably linked to one of its most famous ones, but back in the day the very fate of the movie hung in the air, batted between the powers that be like a tennis ball at Wimbledon. Universal studio owner Carl Laemmle and his son Junior Laemmle was firmly in the opposing camps. Junior, the youngblood, believed in the project passionately, his much more conventional dad wanted nothing to do with it. They couldn’t even agree on the casting, yo-yoing between two actors who later came to be (once again inextricably) associated with the monsters they played on screen. You probably have to be a movie buff to really appreciate all this, but if you are, this book will certainly hold your interest. Its author is a man who’s no stranger to the movie industry and appears to know a thing or two about weaving a compelling narrative about it. The book, as a result, does a great job of bringing a black-and-white movie to life in technicolor. It’s enjoyable to read, well-paced and reasonably succinct. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley. This and more at https://advancetheplot.weebly.com/

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bernd

    Came across this book on Netgalley (who kindly provided me with a copy). Said to myself about the title: "This is the line from Frankenstein." This book indeed deals with the creation of the movie, especially how the role of the monster seemed to bounce between Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. We know who got it so it reads like sort of a "Columbo" where we find out how it all came about. Of course this is strictly for movie buffs, especially fans of the old Universal monster pics. Tough to say how Came across this book on Netgalley (who kindly provided me with a copy). Said to myself about the title: "This is the line from Frankenstein." This book indeed deals with the creation of the movie, especially how the role of the monster seemed to bounce between Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. We know who got it so it reads like sort of a "Columbo" where we find out how it all came about. Of course this is strictly for movie buffs, especially fans of the old Universal monster pics. Tough to say how much is fiction and how much is based on facts. After a few run-on sentences on page 1 and 2, it developed into a very breezy read about the three protagonists Lugosi, Karloff and producer Carl Laemmle jr. Enjoyed it very much, my only beef: While so many books (and movies) are far too long nowaways, this one could have benefitted from being a tad more fleshed out, especially at the end. I know the movies and a little bit of the background but would have liked to read how Laemmle dealt with Lugosi after he did not get the role in the end. Would wholeheartedly recommend this book to movie buffs...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Olesya Lyuzna

    This was one of my most anticipated reads on Netgalley, so I was really excited when they provided me with a free copy (thanks, Netgalley!). It's Alive! didn't disappoint: a fast-talking read charged with the exciting energy of the early years of Hollywood, this book is a must for film and history buffs interested in the era. The book covers the tumultuous days before Frankenstein started shooting, and even though I knew the outcome, I still found myself on the edge of my seat as the fate of the This was one of my most anticipated reads on Netgalley, so I was really excited when they provided me with a free copy (thanks, Netgalley!). It's Alive! didn't disappoint: a fast-talking read charged with the exciting energy of the early years of Hollywood, this book is a must for film and history buffs interested in the era. The book covers the tumultuous days before Frankenstein started shooting, and even though I knew the outcome, I still found myself on the edge of my seat as the fate of the movie and its leading actor was decided. The author's skills truly shine when describing the details of the movie-making process, and I learned a few new things about early 1930s Hollywood. I loved the descriptions of each location, from the soundstages to Hollywood nightspots to the dazzling villas of top executives. It was also interesting to read about Junior Laemmle's struggles with anxiety, and the way this conflict was resolved in the end added an interesting emotional layer to the story. While the prose isn't perfect in places (particularly the opening pages), it doesn't detract from the energy of the story, and the author's solid understanding of both the era and the industry makes up for any run-on sentences. Overall, a solid four-star read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rosalie Kicks

    As a fan of universal horror flicks from the bygone era I truly enjoyed this fictional tale! I’ll be writing a full review for MovieJawn.com.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Read and enjoyed - will post a review after it's been printed in Parsec magazine Read and enjoyed - will post a review after it's been printed in Parsec magazine

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Greenleaf Book Group for an advance copy of this novel about Hollywood and the making of a classic film. Hollywood in the early 1930's was going through quite a lot of growing pains. Movies had gone from silent to talkies, and though many stars, especially ones who seemed unable to transition to sound thought that talkies were a fad, sound in movies was here to stay. Another debate was what the people wanted. Did they want the same old movies, romance My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Greenleaf Book Group for an advance copy of this novel about Hollywood and the making of a classic film. Hollywood in the early 1930's was going through quite a lot of growing pains. Movies had gone from silent to talkies, and though many stars, especially ones who seemed unable to transition to sound thought that talkies were a fad, sound in movies was here to stay. Another debate was what the people wanted. Did they want the same old movies, romances, dances, westerns, safe stories that made lots of money in the past, or did they want new ideas, like the film Dracula which had been a recent success, though few studio executives thought it would be. This battle of ideas is told in the novel It's Alive!, a fictional telling of the creation of the movie Frankenstein by Julian David Stone. A novel about film, family and Frankenstein, and the fight to create a classic. Junior Laemmle is riding high in Hollywood. Son of Carl Laemmle founder of Universal Studios, Junior had taken a studio doing okay while repeating the past glories, to a studio with big ideas, bigger hopes and a success in the movie Dracula. Made head of production at a very young age, Junior is expecting an even bigger role vice president of the studio when his father arrives for the first time in awhile. Instead of a promotion talk is of the new film, a dark gothic movie with no dancing, a tad of romance, and no slapstick, something his father had always made money on. Junior is banking on the success of these movie to push him and the studio in the big leagues, though he has had a problem landing a star for his film. Which begins shooting on Monday. A entertaining glimpse of classic Hollywood and the old studio ways of controlling everything. Stone has a very good grasp of the actors and studio people and the dialogue seems true to the era, and believable. The narrative never really drops and while not a thriller does keep the reader flipping to see if and how the movie gets made, which I won't spoil. This is not a behind the scenes film study, there is no making of or makeup tricks, this is more a of family story, about fathers, sons, and creativity and the magic of Hollywood. Recommended for film buffs and lovers of old Hollywood. Some of the names might not mean much to modern readers, but Stone really captures the feeling and the attitudes of those in power, and those trying to create.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David Chudwin

    By Julian David Stone (Greenleaf Book Group, 2022) I usually don’t review novels, but Julian David Stone has written a gem of an historical fiction story. It is set in Hollywood in 1931 in a period of great change in the movie industry, with the introduction of “talkies” instead of silent films. Big studios ran the industry hiring actors and actresses for long-term contracts which favored the studios. The Stock Market crash of October 1929 had not yet hit the movies as studios competed to produc By Julian David Stone (Greenleaf Book Group, 2022) I usually don’t review novels, but Julian David Stone has written a gem of an historical fiction story. It is set in Hollywood in 1931 in a period of great change in the movie industry, with the introduction of “talkies” instead of silent films. Big studios ran the industry hiring actors and actresses for long-term contracts which favored the studios. The Stock Market crash of October 1929 had not yet hit the movies as studios competed to produce popular films at the box office. The protagonist of the novel is Carl Laemmle, Jr. His father, after emigrating from Germany, founded Universal Studios in 1915. The novel describes their troubled relationship as “Junior” tries to make “modern” movies, such as his successful Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. The characters of the novel are real people in a fictional context. The plot of It’s Alive revolves around Junior’s next project, a film version of Frankenstein. Plot twists and turns revolve around Junior getting authority to make and cast the movie. The novel moves at a rapid pace up to a satisfying conclusion (no spoilers here). The characters are memorable, and the description of Hollywood in the 1930s rings true. The writing is fast paced—it was hard to put the book down. If you are a fan of the movies, as are most of us, and are fascinated by Hollywood’s history, this is the book for you. Highly recommended!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Owens

    I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I originally thought this was a non-fiction book about the making of Universal Studios’ 1931 horror classic, Frankenstein. However, once I began reading it, I found out it was a novel that mainly focused on Universal head of production Carl Laemmle Jr. and the decision whether to cast Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff as Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. I do not know enough about the making I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I originally thought this was a non-fiction book about the making of Universal Studios’ 1931 horror classic, Frankenstein. However, once I began reading it, I found out it was a novel that mainly focused on Universal head of production Carl Laemmle Jr. and the decision whether to cast Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff as Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. I do not know enough about the making of the film to tell you whether the book’s contents are truthful or fabricated, but at a ‘big picture’ level, the book is accurate – Lugosi wavered multiple times on whether or not he wanted to play the part. Karloff, virtually unknown at the time, saw the part as the role that would establish him as an actor and launch his career toward stardom. There isn’t a lot of action involved, but the plot is fast-paced. I gave It’s Alive four stars on Goodreads. It was a quick read that held my interest well. It reveals a lot about Hollywood’s studio system during the 1920s and 30s.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Rohrs (words we love by blog)

    It’s Alive is an in depth look at how the movie Frankenstein came to be! “Bring me the future” and the future is what Junior got! Carl Laemmle Jr or Junior as he was known had a vision for Universal that was far before it’s time! He loved the unknown, the scary, the gore! His movies are what we call cult classics because they started a trend before it’s time! This story doesn’t read like your typical biography or autobiography! The story was written in a way to make you the reader feel a part of It’s Alive is an in depth look at how the movie Frankenstein came to be! “Bring me the future” and the future is what Junior got! Carl Laemmle Jr or Junior as he was known had a vision for Universal that was far before it’s time! He loved the unknown, the scary, the gore! His movies are what we call cult classics because they started a trend before it’s time! This story doesn’t read like your typical biography or autobiography! The story was written in a way to make you the reader feel a part of what was taking place! I could picture Boris Karloff’s face as he faced defeat, I could see Juniors face as he fought for the movie that was dear to him. This story is a very nostalgic read! I felt I placed I a time machine and transported back in time! I loved getting to see how everything unfolded. A great book not just because of the historical movie content but over all it was a very enjoyable read! Just as complicated as Frankenstein was to build so was his movie!

  10. 5 out of 5

    John

    It helps to know the history behind the early days of talking movies in 1920s and early 30s Hollywood. This (sort of) historical novel revolves around the conflicts of creative ideas between Universal Studios Head Carl Laemmle and his eponymous son, Carl, Junior in the weeks leading up to the making of the classic horror movie “Frankenstein”. The main events are essentially true, though the fictitious part is the actual conversations between principal characters that the author uses to fill in t It helps to know the history behind the early days of talking movies in 1920s and early 30s Hollywood. This (sort of) historical novel revolves around the conflicts of creative ideas between Universal Studios Head Carl Laemmle and his eponymous son, Carl, Junior in the weeks leading up to the making of the classic horror movie “Frankenstein”. The main events are essentially true, though the fictitious part is the actual conversations between principal characters that the author uses to fill in the human aspects of Hollywood workings, such as casting and competition for acting roles as well as social interaction among the titans of the movie industry. Having been in Los Angeles and covered some of the ground helped me to appreciate locations and geography. I read this book in less than three days and found it to be entertaining, a pleasant diversion from far more serious topics that I have recently pursued.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Thompson

    A vibrant portrayal of classic Hollywood! It's Alive paints a detailed, captivating portrait of a specific moment in the industry and some of the personalities that made that era so fascinating. Stone has created a vivid, dramatic narrative, infused with real-life characters and their real-life travails as the classic film, Frankenstein, is about to be made. The book chronicles Junior Laemmle's attempt to make a blockbuster horror film and all the ins and outs that went into that process, includ A vibrant portrayal of classic Hollywood! It's Alive paints a detailed, captivating portrait of a specific moment in the industry and some of the personalities that made that era so fascinating. Stone has created a vivid, dramatic narrative, infused with real-life characters and their real-life travails as the classic film, Frankenstein, is about to be made. The book chronicles Junior Laemmle's attempt to make a blockbuster horror film and all the ins and outs that went into that process, including navigating his relationship with his father, Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Studio. Based on a true story, the book gives readers an intimate and detailed look at 1931 Hollywood through a very human and quite insightful lens. Highly recommended!

  12. 4 out of 5

    April Taylor

    It’s Alive presents a fictionalized take on Carl Laemmle and his son, Junior, along with Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and many others. The main focus is on whether or not Universal should make the movie Frankenstein. Although Frankenstein was a horror film, this book is not at all. As long as you’re aware there won’t be any horror, it should satisfy you. Both of the Laemmle men were complicated, but I still found myself rooting for Junior, along with Karloff. What’s funny is that all the filming It’s Alive presents a fictionalized take on Carl Laemmle and his son, Junior, along with Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and many others. The main focus is on whether or not Universal should make the movie Frankenstein. Although Frankenstein was a horror film, this book is not at all. As long as you’re aware there won’t be any horror, it should satisfy you. Both of the Laemmle men were complicated, but I still found myself rooting for Junior, along with Karloff. What’s funny is that all the filming of Frankenstein was skipped, and there are only a few scenes that are discussed. It works for this book, though. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    Stone describes the different people involved with the film and the world in which they inhabit in a way that really makes you feel like you’ve stepped out of a time machine and onto the Universal lot in 1931. It has a quality that is almost like a movie itself. The pacing of the storyline moves in a way that I couldn’t help but find myself at the end of the story very quickly. Stone creates the feeling of being a fly on the wall of Universal Studios when silent films were on their way out and t Stone describes the different people involved with the film and the world in which they inhabit in a way that really makes you feel like you’ve stepped out of a time machine and onto the Universal lot in 1931. It has a quality that is almost like a movie itself. The pacing of the storyline moves in a way that I couldn’t help but find myself at the end of the story very quickly. Stone creates the feeling of being a fly on the wall of Universal Studios when silent films were on their way out and talking films were on the rise. See the full review on: https://www.girl-who-reads.com/2022/0...

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Hoggan

    I was fortunate enough to have read an advance copy of Julian David Stone's new novel "It's Alive," which I found to be a tremendously entertaining work of historical fiction concerning the birth of the Universal Studios series of Monster Movies. There are plot twists at every turn, and the author deftly sets up story elements that are satisfyingly paid off as the novel approaches its exciting climax. Whether you are a film geek like myself or want to gain a vivid look into the early days of the I was fortunate enough to have read an advance copy of Julian David Stone's new novel "It's Alive," which I found to be a tremendously entertaining work of historical fiction concerning the birth of the Universal Studios series of Monster Movies. There are plot twists at every turn, and the author deftly sets up story elements that are satisfyingly paid off as the novel approaches its exciting climax. Whether you are a film geek like myself or want to gain a vivid look into the early days of the motion picture industry when the talkies indeed took over, I would wholeheartedly recommend "It's Alive," a novel that I had a hard time putting down.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David T.

    Terrifically entertaining read!! This book of historical fiction is set amidst the drama surrounding events leading up to the making of the 1931 film, "Frankenstein" — but trust me, you don't have to be a fan of Universal monster movies to enjoy this book. The author makes the colorful era of early Hollywood come alive with vivid details and characters (many of whom you'll recognize). Mr. Stone's passion for the subject matter is evident on every page and his research is impeccable. I was sorry Terrifically entertaining read!! This book of historical fiction is set amidst the drama surrounding events leading up to the making of the 1931 film, "Frankenstein" — but trust me, you don't have to be a fan of Universal monster movies to enjoy this book. The author makes the colorful era of early Hollywood come alive with vivid details and characters (many of whom you'll recognize). Mr. Stone's passion for the subject matter is evident on every page and his research is impeccable. I was sorry when I got to the end, only because I wanted to keep reading. Highly recommended!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Zachariason

    Fabulous I don't know how much of it is true and what is fantasy, and it doesn't matter. This is, after all, a story about old Hollywood. A and what a great story it is. A wild ride through an incredible weekend, I couldn't put it down. And then, suddenly, it was over and I wanted more. If you're reading this it's because you have some interest in the subject matter of the book, so all I can say is read it already! You won't be disappointed! Fabulous I don't know how much of it is true and what is fantasy, and it doesn't matter. This is, after all, a story about old Hollywood. A and what a great story it is. A wild ride through an incredible weekend, I couldn't put it down. And then, suddenly, it was over and I wanted more. If you're reading this it's because you have some interest in the subject matter of the book, so all I can say is read it already! You won't be disappointed!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Jennings

    Here's the story of the creation that's become legend... Stone is an amazing writer... When you want a great read, that covers this complete story, this is it... Highly Recommended! Here's the story of the creation that's become legend... Stone is an amazing writer... When you want a great read, that covers this complete story, this is it... Highly Recommended!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Staci Rice

    3.5 stars

  19. 4 out of 5

    Russell Guagenti

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christine Debany

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kallie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Louise Mcmann

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Conlon

  24. 5 out of 5

    Johnny Villar

  25. 5 out of 5

    jghrist

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rlsalvati

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

  28. 5 out of 5

    Edward Newman

  29. 5 out of 5

    John Dimoia

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jane

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