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Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood
DVD | Box Set
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Moguls & Movie Stars: History of Hollywood Limited Edition w/ Book (DVD)
The true story behind the making of the American movie industry. This seven part series will detail the personalities, relationships, collaborations and conflicts that created an industry and an art form – while also looking at how moviemakers responded to major historical events, such as the Great Depression, WWII and the Civil Rights Movement. Includes footage of Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner and Lou Wasserman among the moguls. Each one hour segment will focus on a different era of American movie history, from the invention of the first pictures to the cutting-edge films of the 1960s. Each installment will feature clips and interviews with historians and major Hollywood figures. Ø "Peepshow Pioneers" (1889-1907) Ø "The Birth of Hollywood" (1907-1920) Ø "The Dream Merchants" (1920-1928) Ø "Brother, Can You Spare a Dream?" (1929-1941) Ø "Warriors and Peacemakers" (1941-1950) Ø "Attack of the Small Screens" (1950-1960) Ø "Fade In, Fade Out" (1960-1969)]]>
A major undertaking for Turner Classic Movies, Moguls & Movie Stars attempts nothing less than its subtitle announces: a history of Hollywood. Across seven hour-long episodes, this documentary miniseries cruises through the major developments of the cinema, with a particular emphasis on how the studio system came to be (and came to collapse). There's even material on the days of pre-cinema--the first episode actually begins in 1889, before moving pictures could be projected on the screen. Even with all that time available to writer-producer Jon Wilkman and his consultants, this is a selective pass through the material; much is left out or glossed over, and certain iconic movie stars stand in for the many left unmentioned. The weight is on those moguls, the ambitious men--mostly hungry immigrants--who saw an opportunity in Southern California's orange groves and created the amazing, vertically integrated system that operated as a "dream factory" for a few silvery decades. The life stories of Louis B. Mayer, Sam Goldwyn, William Fox, and other front-office titans thread through the series, perhaps as a corrective to past Hollywood chronicles that foregrounded the movie star or the director as the real story of the company town. Wilkman also makes sure we know about the indie films of African-American pioneer Oscar Micheaux and the remarkable contributions of female filmmakers of the early silent era, whose stories have often been left out of these accounts. In truth, there won't be much new here for Hollywood history buffs, given the need to hit the high points and then move on to the next thing, but less hardcore enthusiasts will get a pleasant, quick-moving overview. Many talking heads pop up, historians (David Thomson brings his keen critic's gaze to Clark Gable) and insiders (Richard Zanuck, Peter Bogdanovich) alike; the narration is provided by Christopher Plummer, whose patrician tone seems oddly mismatched to this tale of immigrants and scrappers gambling on a disreputable business. Think of the brothers Warner making a fateful decision to sell their father's horse and buy a projector--movie history turns on such risks, and Moguls & Movie Stars has a stack of such stories. --Robert Horton
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Episode 1: Peepshow Pioneers (1889-1907) - The series begins with a look at film in its infancy, taking a look at people such as Thomas Edison, Auguste and Louis Lumière and Georges Méliès. Also covered is the role of the newly arriving immigrants in America and their role in shaping the history of cinema, particularly in starting some of the earliest Nickelodeons for people to view movies.
Episode 2: The Birth of Hollywood (1907-1920) - Most early American movies were filmed in and around large cities, such as New York and Chicago. These locations proved problematic for a lack of variety in shooting locations and for legal reasons. To solve their problems, many key players in the industry began to migrate west to California, establishing Hollywood as a movie maker paradise in the 1910's. Included in this episode are legends such as Charlie Chaplin, Samuel Goldwyn, Cecil B. DeMille, D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish.
Episode 3: The Dream Merchants (1920-1928) - The 1920's proved to be the decade that brought us true Hollywood moguls. Many of the previously mentioned immigrants had accumulated vast amounts of wealth in their Nickelodeons, prompting them to produce their own films. Upon moving to Hollywood, many of them founded their own production studios which lead to the creation of many of the companies we still know today. Included are Louis B. Mayer (MGM), Adolph Zukor (Paramount), Carl Laemmle (Universal), and all four of the Warner brothers.
Episode 4: Brother Can You Spare a Dream (1929-1941) - During this period the film industry faced some major changes and hardships, such as the introduction of "talkies" and the Great Depression. This period also marked the arrival of many European filmmakers to Hollywood (Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock and William Wyler to name a few), bringing with them unique styles and perspectives which would change movies forever.
Episode 5: Warriors and Peacemakers (1941-1950) - When America entered World War II the future of Hollywood was uncertain. Many filmmakers actually joined the military and saw combat, such as Frank Capra, John Ford, William Wyler and George Stevens. The directors took these experiences and made patriotic films and documentaries which helped our countries morale and helped rally us through the end of the war.
Episode 6: The Attack of Small Screens (1950-1960) - As the title says, this episode covers how Hollywood changed in response to growing popularity of Television. Many of the studio moguls were forced out during this decade which lead to a change in how movies were made. Films were now more realistic and a new generation of actors thrived in the new environment. Included are Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Poitier, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.
Episode 7: Fade Out, Fade In (1960-1969) - The last episode of the series covers what was basically the death of the old Hollywood system. Most of the moguls had either died or been forced out of the companies they started. Power shifted to directors and a few other individuals, such as agent Lew Wasserman, who is covered extensively in episode seven. The 1960's also marked another huge landmark in American cinema, the abolishment of the Hays Code, which had restricted movie content for decades. These factors, along with a new appreciation for foreign films, lead to what is now commonly called "New Hollywood".