Distilled (un-credited) from Kevin Brownlow's 1968 book "The Parade's Gone By...", this 13-part mini-series follows the rise and fall of the American silent film industry. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of silent film history and production. Several silent film makers - stars, writers, directors, producers, stunt-men and crew - and their family and friends are interviewed. Also included are hundreds of film clips and behind-the-scene photographs, how-did-they-do-that spoilers and lots of trivia. Written by
Steven W. Siferd <email@example.com>
Agnes de Mille:
Whenever they finished a picture, which would be roughly every week... you know, they didn't waste time, they just got ahead and shot it, not always with a scenario... then they'd run it. They'd paste it together and run it. And they asked everybody, all the families, all the children, all the cousins, neighbors sometimes: "Come in, come in! See our picture! We're running it." And then they'd ask everybody what they thought. I cannot believe that it was that simple. But it was. And I think some...
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This series is a definite must-have for silent film buffs and film lovers in general. Several years in the making (late 1970s), "Hollywood" covers the directors, stars, and films that made Hollywood world famous in the 1920s. Rare clips from silent classics are presented with James Mason's wonderful narration.
The big draws are the interviews with surviving silent stars who lived into the late 1970s. Interviews with Colleen Moore, Ben Lyon, and many others permeate the series with their unique perspectives. Of particular note is a rare interview with Louise Brooks -- a "must see" for Brooks fans.
"Hollywood" also discusses the scandals that made the film industry shiver, such as the deaths of William Desmond Taylor and Wallace Reid.
The series concludes with a review of the coming of sound and how many silent stars were forgotten with the coming of talkies; the faded careers of Clara Bow, John Gilbert and many others are discussed and analyzed.
I first saw this series on television as a teenager in 1981 and became hooked on silent films thereafter. There has never been a period when movies were more thrilling and popular than the silent era; I heartily recommend "Hollywood" to prove this assertion. The best documentary series about the silent era ever produced. 10 out of 10.
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