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I study American cinema as part of my University course, and therefore was keen on watching this documentary about the first 100 years of its history. Although it was very well-made,and the narration by Peter Coyote was excellent, I think that it could have been more detailed. It seems that the people that did it were more interested in the first decades of cinema, because they only spent a small part of the documentary on the 1960's and 70's and almost completely forgot the 80's, and no mention was made on some very important moviemakers and actors of these three decades. Another mistake I spotted was that some famous actors that were interviewed didn't have their names written on the screen. However, in general this was a remarkable try with a very good narrative, editing and background music and could be really useful to those interested in the history of cinema.
Okay, so a previous commenter is correct: this isn't the movie for every detail about film history. But if you want the feel of eras gone by in an entertaining and first-class package, you just can't beat this. Workman's idea seems to have been to capture the essence of cinema, from its electrifying start that wow'd a quieter, slower age, to its post-Hays Code period--NOT our more contemporary times. Thus, you don't see every critical name--it's the story of a medium, not all of its movers and shakers, though you'll certainly see enough of those. Most of all, expect to have a sense for what it was like "then," whichever "then" is under discussion as you go. Cinema is, in a very real sense, time travel: there are few ways we can go back and be there--in the 20s or 30s, for example--but film was there and Workman's project is very credible in the way it transports you, as well. The only question remains how one can get a copy of this feature, since I haven't seen it after its mid-90s HBO debut. Any ideas?
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