This documentary provides a behind the scenes look at the making of movies in 1925 at the M-G-M Studios in Culver City, California. The studio itself is a small city, encompassing forty-five buildings, including fourteen sound stages (number fourteen which is currently under construction), connected by three miles of paved roads over the forty-three acre property. The stories, the soul of any movie, are vetted through a story department headed by Mrs. M.F. Lee. The approved stories are passed to the scenario writers, supported by the research department, who ensure factual accuracy. Taking the script, the director makes up the storyboards, and casts the lead roles. The director has a plethora of big name stars available at his disposal. The casting office, headed by Robert McIntyre, fills the supporting roles. His office is filled with aspiring actors, hoping to be the next big star. Being M-G-M with many of the movies being "musicals", a large subgroup of the performers are dancers, ... Written by
Although this film has no titles for cast and crew at the beginning of the film, the intertitles identify many of the MGM employees shown, including Joan Crawford under her real name of Lucille LeSueur, "a recent MGM discovery". See more »
A fascinating documentary about the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio in 1925.
Untitled and without any crew credits, this 32-minute silent documentary takes you on a tour of MGM in 1925, meeting the people who create the movies, and watching some of them do it. I found it fascinating, especially when some of the moviemakers were identified by the inter-titles. It was nice to be able finally to attach a face to some familiar names such as writers Agnes Christine Johnston, Jane Murfin, Waldemar Young and others who are identified and shown in closeups. I noted that Howard Hawks was included as a writer - he didn't start directing until later. Less interesting were the showing of groups of unidentified crew members: about 50 cameramen lined up in a row, each hand cranking their cameras, seemed to serve no useful purpose. Unlike the writers, who were identified individually, the directors were all identified first in an inter-title, and the camera then panned across them standing in a row, but you could not tell which name belonged to which director. I did recognize Erich von Stroheim, but only because he was also a famous actor. When the actors and actresses were introduced as a group by inter-titles, it was much more fun, because identifying them became a game. I also saw three unlisted actors: Ford Sterling, William Haines and Sojin, and there are probably others.
Later on, some actors and some crew members were identified and shown in closeup. I finally got to see what famed art director Cedric Gibbons looked like. And it was delightful to see "the world's foremost designer," Romaine de Tirtoff Erte, fitting a gown on "M-G-M's 'find' of 1925," Joan Crawford, when she was still known as Lucille Le Sueur. I enjoyed famous actors clowning around: John Gilbert puts his hat in position to hide his kissing Zasu Pitts, and Norma Shearer mugs the camera while 'accidentally' dropping hundreds of fan letters.
Most interesting were shots of the filming of two movies: Tod Browning directing a scene for Mystic, The (1925), and Edmund Goulding directing Conrad Nagel and Lucille La Verne in Sun-Up (1925). And there's much more to this enjoyable documentary. It eventually acquired a music soundtrack, which is the way it is shown every once in a while on the Turner Classic Movies Channel (TCM). Unfortunately, it has never been scheduled (probably because it has no title), but is a filler whenever a two-hour slot is scheduled for a silent film that runs less than an hour and a half. It's worth looking for such a case.
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