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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A Consideration For The Ages............

Author: parmrh from Chapel Hill, N.C. U.S.A.
30 May 2006

I both saw and (fortunately) recorded "CLIVE JAMES' FAME IN THE 20TH CENTURY" when it was originally broadcast...and I am SO GLAD that I did!

This is the single most informative and entertaining examination of the nature of FAME in our civilization that has ever been undertaken.

(Any doubt that this is an important topic can be readily dispelled by a cursory glance at the daily news.)

My only regret is that Clive James has not updated his visual thesis; and that the original has never been released on either VHS or DVD.

Given the attention that Ken Burn's "The Civil War" justly garnered, one would think that another insightful treatise on History and Human Nature would attract SOME attention.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A quick zip through the past

Author: Soundbw from United States
19 August 2006

Taking 100 years of film down to eight hours is not easy, and "Fame in the 20th Century" is not perfect. But it is detailed, funny, heartwarming, painful and triumphant, and Clive James interconnects people from all corners of the world to show us that we are truly related.

Most of the footage is clean, from various sources, and some probably hasn't been seen too often. Maybe it's a bit heavy to go through all eight hours in one setting; but I find myself getting into a rhythm listening to him flow from one person (or decade) to the next...

It's similar to what Ken Burns did with "Baseball" and "Jazz". Except Clive is the only voice behind the film, and has a sort of 'prickly' (but witty) commentary which keeps it moving along.

My tape off PBS has gotten a bit soft after 13 years, and like the Burns series, if they released "Fame...", I'd be happy to invest in a DVD box set!. This would make a fantastic historical journey for generations to come!

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

History about being famous in 1900's.

Author: cmyklefty from Philadelphia
30 November 2001

This 8-hour TV mini-series talks about being famous in the twentieth century. Fame captivate our imaginations through the media in this century. The series examines through art, science, politics and sports how people get famous. There more famous people in this century than in any other pointed out in the show. Fame in the Twentieth Century is perfect for a current events class.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"Doris Day Was A Bigger Star Than Marilyn Monroe"

Author: nneprevilo from United States
12 July 2006

This was a wonderful show, but like most of the documentaries on Hollywood stars, the true legends don't get their due. Mr. James DID point out one fact that is true, but if you asked anyone today, they wouldn't believe it: Doris Day was, in fact, a bigger star than Marilyn Monroe.

The way the tragic Monroe is portrayed in countless books, documentaries, etc., you'd think that she was the biggest box office star in the history of films. She wasn't. Doris Day holds that record. In fact, the three biggest female names to this day are: Day, Shirley Temple and Betty Grable.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Just famous

Author: Prismark10 from United Kingdom
4 October 2014

Once upon a time people became famous for their achievements. In the twentieth century with the rise of the media, people became famous faster, notoriety became widespread quicker and people became famous for who they were not their achievements.

This is a personal essay by Clive James examining the nature of fame but the series came out in 1993, during the final year of his exclusive contract with the BBC and there was still some years left for the 20th century. He missed out on the rise of the media savvy spin doctors and politicians such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair and the death of Princess Diana linked to a media frenzy of the paparazzi.

This is Clive James mixing his serious brain with a caustic and satirical populist eye as he examines the rise of fame, the famous and the dark side which emerged with the kidnap of baby Lindbergh and continued with the Manson killings

A brilliant and informative series, I bought the book that was linked with the series which features amongst its pages a poster of the movie 'Objective Burma' that has Errol Flynn talking to a very large mobile phone and battery pack from Motorola radio. I guess the advent of smaller mobile phones with photo and video features give a different spin to fame in the 21st century.

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