The glorious, tragic, and truncated careers of American silent stars like John Gilbert, Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, and Greta Garbo are highlighted.
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
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Himself - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cedric Belfrage ...
Himself
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Herself
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Herself
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Himself - 1969 interview (archive footage)
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Himself
Leatrice Joy Gilbert ...
Herself (as Leatrice Gilbert Fountain)
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Herself
Samuel Marx ...
Himself (as Sam Marx)
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Himself
...
Herself
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Himself
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The glorious, tragic, and truncated careers of American silent stars like John Gilbert, Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, and Greta Garbo are highlighted.

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25 March 1980 (UK)  »

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Connections

Features The Big Parade (1925) See more »

Soundtracks

Merry Widow Waltz
(uncredited)
Composed by Franz Lehár (1905)
Instrumental version heard during "The Merry Widow" clip
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User Reviews

 
How NOT to be a long-term top Hollywood star.
13 October 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This episode focuses on the fleeting fame of Hollywood during the silent and early sound era. Instead of focusing on the big-name stars who stayed on top, the show focuses on two actors--Clara Bow and John Gilbert. This is because for a time, both were the most successful and popular in the field--yet were all but washed up by the early 1930s. It discusses their successes, their failures and offers a few suggestions as to why they ultimately imploded.

I appreciate this episode for a variety of reasons. The first is that too often documentaries focus on the mega-stars and ignore the examples where stars do NOT fit nicely into stardom. The second is that the film did a better than usual job in explaining John Gilbert's fall, as too often folks just say 'he had a lousy voice and couldn't make the transition to sound'--even though this clearly was NOT true. Instead, the roots of his adversarial relationship with studio boss Louis B. Mayer as well as Gilbert's own demons are explored in depth.


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