Hollywood: Season 1, Episode 1

Pioneers (8 Jan. 1980)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | History
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Contrary to popular belief the silent film in general had reached a high state of sophistication by the late 1920s.

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Title: Pioneers (08 Jan 1980)

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Episode credited cast:
Himself / Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson ...
Himself (archive footage)
Karl Brown ...
Gaylord Carter ...
A. Arnold Gillespie ...
Actress in 'Julia of Bethulia' (archive footage)
Chauncey Haines ...
Anita Loos ...


The opening episode of this epic, landmark series belies the commonly held misconception that silent films are crudely-made historical curiosities but a vibrant art form that had reached a high degree of sophistication by the late 1920s. Film clips from silent classics as well as interviews with surviving silent stars and filmmakers are featured. Written by duke1029@aol.com

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Release Date:

8 January 1980 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Hollywood Episode 1
28 August 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Hollywood: Pioneers (1980)

**** (out of 4)

The first part of this landmark documentary tries to tell people that not all silent films were hokey, sped-up and laughable like some of the earliest films out there. Instead we're shown amazing clips from epics such as BEN HUR, THE WIND, WINGS, THE BLACK PIRATE and THE FIRE BRIGADE. Those unfamiliar with silent movies are introduced to some of the amazing images that really made the entire period a true example of art and it's briefly discussed how things changed once THE JAZZ SINGER came along. Towards the end of the film we hear about the making of THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY and the effect this had on the format leading up to D.W. Griffith taking the format into a new place before eventually creating the masterpiece THE BIRTH OF A NATION. King Vidor, Lillian Gish, Jackie Coogan, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Blanche Sweet and Viola Dana are just a few of the people who are interviewed here and if you're a fan of silent movies then hearing from these people will be a very big treat. If you're unfamiliar with silents then this is still a highly enjoyable episode as you'll get a great idea of the power behind images without words and why many, myself included, believe that this was the greatest period for movies. I think the film does a very good job at showing the grand scale of movies and we get some terrific clips from NOAH'S ARK and are told how dangerous it was making the film, which led to many injuries and apparently some deaths as well. We also get clips from BIG BUSINESS, the Laurel and Hardy short, which is easily one of the duo's best and these clips show why comedies could be enjoyed throughout the world. We even get a funny story from Hal Roach on what happened while filming the scene in question. Hollywood: PIONEERS features a lot of great clips but there's no question that it's the interviews that makes this so priceless.

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