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"Goldwyn: The Man and His Movies" is a 2001 documentary that tells the
amazing story of Sam Goldwyn, who was born in a Jewish ghetto in Poland
and set off on his own at a young age, went through a couple of name
changes and wound up a successful glove salesman after settling in
Gloversville, New York. After he married Jesse Lasky's sister, he
encouraged Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille to enter into film production
Goldwyn eventually went out on his own and produced some of Hollywood's best quality films: Stella Dallas, Wuthering Heights, Ball of Fire, The Little Foxes, Pride of the Yankees, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Bishop's Wife, among others, and a string of very popular films starring Danny Kaye.
Dustin Hoffman narrates the documentary that includes interviews with biographer A. Scott Berg, son Sam Goldwyn Jr., grandson Tony Goldwyn, daughter Ruth Capps, Bette Davis, Merle Oberon, Dana Andrews, Danny Kaye, Farley Granger, William Wyler, John Huston, Lillian Hellman, Laurence Olivier, Sylvia Sidney, Harold Russell and Teresa Wright. And let's not forget the marvelous footage of Goldwyn himself.
Seeing something like this, one laments the loss of this kind of producer in Hollywood - a savvy businessman who loved films. As Shelley Winteres once said, "Those studio bosses were sons of bitches, but they knew how to make pictures." They did indeed.
Goldwyn: The Man And His Movies tells the mesmerizing true story of
Samuel Goldwyn who worked his way out of a destitute ghetto in Poland,
made his way to America and become a self-made Hollywood mogul. The
documentary takes a thorough look at both the good and the bad
qualities of Goldwyn. There is much archive footage here along with
more recent interview clips with the people who worked closely with Sam
The documentary also provides us with interesting clips of some of the very best moments from many of Goldwyn's best films. We get a few clips from Wuthering Heights, The Little Foxes (Bette Davis' and William Wyler's finest work and the clips from The Best Years Of Our Lives - the only film that ever earned Goldwyn himself an Oscar - are outstanding. We learn how Goldwyn was able to come back despite failures; he was a clever albeit neurotic man who knew how to reinvent himself as time passed.
Loved or hated, Goldwyn was certainly a Hollywood luminary who went to amazing lengths to insure that he had the final word on what went up on the screen. Considered by most to be a phenomenal success, Goldwyn always seemed to be fighting an uphill battle against insurmountable odds. A true film genius who is known for the mantra "make less films, make better films", Goldwyn always seemed to be at war with everything around him, while constantly doing what he could to fit in.
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