Hollywood My Home Town (1965)
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*** (out of 4)
Ken Murray hosts this documentary that covers three decades in Hollywood as he shows off his home movies, which feature a large number of major stars. The list goes on for dozens and dozens of names but some of the bigger names include Astor, (John) Barrymore, Bellamy, Capra, Chaplin, Cody, Cooper, Costello, Crosby, Davis, Durante, Fairbanks, Fields, Flynn, Ford, Gable, Gaynor, Grant, Harlow, Hayward, Hope, Karloff, Lancaster, Lemmon, Lombard, Loy, Pickford, Power, Rogers, Rooney, Scott, Sinatra, Stewart, Taylor, Tracy and Turner. Many, many others are showcased here but as you can tell from the list, this documentary has just about everyone you'd want. For the most part the camera footage is in rough shape but this is expected as a lot of the footage is just Murray catching stars as they are walking by. Sometimes third parties hold the camera and one funny sequence has a woman not knowing how to work it. If you're a fan of classic cinema then this here is a must see because of getting to see so many great stars off the set. Chaplin has an extremely nice bit where he's somewhat in his Tramp character and doing a small act for the camera. We see the likes of Cody just walking around the streets of New York and being kind enough to stop for the camera. Other fun stuff includes seeing Barrymore and Harlow golfing, Costello and Ford fishing and a nice sequence with Tracy playing around. It's also fun seeing how these rich people lived, what type of houses, their pools and even how the streets looked back then.
This is a charming black and white escape into a simpler time. Didn't much enjoy the wiggling fish and the Indian sequence was a little bit politically incorrect, but there is certainly plenty to enjoy, as usual, in Murray's home movies.
The documentary also features many celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin and Bob Hope. Chaplin, ever the ham, tries to ride on one of those bicycles with the giant front tire.
Another great shot features two legends mugging for the camera: Jimmy Durante and Sid Grauman.
The documentary runs just under an hour and closes with a shot of Ken's star on Hollywood Blvd.
I would recommend this to any film who wants to look back at old historic Hollywood.