The American movie business started as peepshows and grew into a near-mythical art form that used an exciting new technology to create drama, laughter and adventure bigger than life.

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jeanine Basinger ...
Herself - Interviewee
Cari Beauchamp ...
Herself - Interviewee
A. Scott Berg ...
Himself - Interviewee
...
Himself - Interviewee
Donald Bogle ...
Himself - Interviewee
Scott Eyman
Gary Giddins ...
Himself - Interviewee
...
Himself - Producer
Aljean Harmetz ...
Herself - Interviewee
Molly Haskell ...
Herself - Interviewee
Stanley R. Jaffe ...
Himself - Interviewee
Miles Kreuger ...
Himself - Interviewee
Carla Laemmle ...
Herself - Niece of Carl Laemmle
Tony Maietta ...
Himself - Interviewee
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The American movie business started as peepshows and grew into a near-mythical art form that used an exciting new technology to create drama, laughter and adventure bigger than life.

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Release Date:

22 November 2010 (USA)  »

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Soundtracks

Steamboat Bill
(uncredited)
Music by Bert Leighton and Frank Leighton
Whistled by Mickey Mouse
Clip from Steamboat Willie (1928)
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User Reviews

 
Trying To Make It In The 'Era Of Sound"
22 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This fourth episode covers the period from 1929-1941. It's primary focus remains, as the title to this series notes, the movie "moguls." It was in this era that the one-man boss was over. Oh, the big-shots still had a lot of say, but not the money anymore to make costly "sound" movies. Once the public, narrator Christopher Plummer says, got a taste of sound, the silent movies were over - almost immediately.

What also happened to the big boys, men like William Fox and Sam Warner, to name two, wasn't just the stock market crash of 1929 but sudden illness and death. Soon, banks were funding the films.

Anyway, this episode gives us more very interesting looks at the famous people of the era: Jimmy Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, The Marx Brothers, screenwriter Ben Hecht, Busby Berkely, Bette Davis, Fred Astaire, Shirley Temple, Mae West, the Selznick brothers, Irving Thalberg, Howard Hughes, Katharine Hepburn, Jean Harlow, Darryl Zunuck, Harry Cohn, Frank Capra, Clark Gable, Paul Muni, Judy Garland, on and on.

It explains the hows-and-whys of the big change in films from the silent to "talkies," why some performers made it and others didn't, how the musicals were transformed and much more. Clara Bow's story was most interesting.

The series just seems to be getting better and better, although part of that might be the familiarity of all these names. I think most of us know these actors, for one, better than we do the names of the era before it.


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