Host Gene Kelly takes a nostalgic look at silent films from their earliest beginnings to the introduction of sound with "The Jazz Singer."



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Credited cast:
Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Himself (archive footage) (as David Wark Griffith)


Host/narrator Gene Kelly takes a nostalgic look at silent films from their earliest beginnings in New York and New Jersey with primitive features like "The Great Train Robbery" to the migration of the independent filmmakers like Cecil B. DeMille to the sleepy suburb of Los Angeles called Hollywood to avoid lawsuits from the film trust controlled by Thomas Edison. There the industry flourished when they created the star system with personalities like Maurice Costello, Florence Lawrence, Theda Bara, Clara Kimble Young, and Francis X. Bushman, movies' first matinée idol. The industry grew in stature in the Teens and Twenties led by the technically innovative D.W. Griffith with epics like "The Birth of a Nation" and Intolerance" and blossomed with such superstars like Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charles Chaplin. Scenes from some of the great silent classics like "The Big Parade, "King of Kings" and "Wings" are shown. The silent era comes to an end with Warner Bros. historic ... Written by

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Release Date:

13 March 1966 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Hollywood: Los años dorados  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although Gary Cooper and Carole Lombard are mentioned in conjunction with other big stars of the Silent Era, in reality, although their careers did start in the last years of the period, they did not become stars until after sound films arrived. See more »


Narrator Gene Kelly includes Darryl F. Zanuck with the other pioneering studio executives like Jesse L. Lasky, Adolph Zukor, and William Fox. Actually Zanuck did not become a studio executive until the mid-1939s when he formed Twntieth Century Pictures. See more »


Himself - Host: Thomas Edison, given principle credit for the invention of the movie camera, assembles the major film companies of the day. They plan to monopolize the film business by eliminating all competition. Harrassed by this newly-formed trust, the independent moviemakers flee west to California - legend says for the sunshine - but the truth of it is most come to be close to the Mexican border to escape lawsuits and injunctions. On the outskirts of Los Angeles they settle in a small rural committee ...
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Features The King of Kings (1927) See more »


"Toot Toot Tootsie (Goo' Bye!) (uncredited)
Music: Dan Russo and Ernie Erdman
Lyrics: Gus Kahn
Sung by Al Jolson
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