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Hollywood Legends: Elizabeth Taylor and Shirley Temple (2001)

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Title: Hollywood Legends: Elizabeth Taylor and Shirley Temple (Video 2001)

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Able Documentary Team Provides Engrossing Work For Film Enthusiasts.
24 August 2006 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

New York State based producer Marino Amoruso, also credited here as director and writer of the narration for this documentary has, through his company North Shore Entertainment, created a significant number of other non-fictional chronicles that never lack for authenticity, most very well-received and displaying a variety of subject matter, ranging from sports and entertainment personalities to the Emmy award-winning "Italians in America", and although this item will not be very enlightening to most cinephiles, it nonetheless is well-made and always interesting. A segment titled "Elizabeth Taylor: A Hollywood Life" is a brief, approximately thirty minute overview of the star's off- as well as on-screen actions, with the text read by Warren Schafer happily not soaked with saccharine as some other such productions have been. Because her private life is as frequently discussed as are her film appearances, a documentary showcasing Taylor, to be fully effective, must report solely upon well-known information and that is the case in this instance, but included are substantive dollops of welcome footage from FATHER'S LITTLE DIVIDEND (Taylor and Spencer Tracy), THE LAST TIME I SAW Paris (Taylor and Van Johnson), and BUTTERFIELD 8 (Taylor, Susan Oliver, and Eddie Fisher). Amoruso's scripted voice-over frequently incorporates irony, suitable here and specially when compared with that treatment generally awarded Taylor, whose earliest years of her cinematic career are far more pleasing and identifiable to viewers of her feature films. It would seem that the greatest number of Taylor's motion pictures, including the eleven that she made with Richard Burton, are in some manner, and to a tedious extent, closely connected with an off-screen persona described here as "obsessed with diamonds", and also as the first actress to receive one million dollars to act in a film (CLEOPATRA). Taylor truly is, in the words of Amoruso, "tabloid journalism's pinup girl." The second section of the pair included in a Madacy DVD titled CINEMA LEGENDS, centers upon "The Biggest Little Star: Shirley Temple", and as with the Taylor portion is principally composed of often-reproduced stills along with scenes offered beneath relation of the producer's script. There are, however, a fairly lengthy pair of sound reproduced excerpts, a "Baby Burlesk" from 1932 (WAR BABIES) that includes Temple's exaggeration of speech and gesture and the 1939 THE LITTLE PRINCESS, wherein Ian Hunter and the Hollywood waif milk the script for its sentimental excesses. A brilliant career beginning for Temple, in 1931 at the age of three, continues throughout her performances in 26 shorts, and many feature films produced by Twentieth Century Fox that readily appeal to the emotional needs of an American movie viewing public beleaguered by the Great Depression. This documentary emphasizes that only Will Rogers enjoyed more popularity with film fans during Temple's heyday (for her seventh birthday she was given 135000 gifts!). It was, in fact, the numbing experience that the Depression became for many millions of Americans that caused United States moviegoers to elevate Temple and her particular mode of fantasy to its high level of popularity, as Amoruso clearly points out in this enjoyable work.


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