A documentary about the glorious history of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and its decline leading to the sale of its back lot and props. By extension this provides a general history of Hollywood's Golden Age and the legendary studio system.
MGM Studios, which was formed the result of a merger between Metro Pictures (owned by the Loews Company) and the Goldwyn Company, was the premier Hollywood movie studio from the mid 1920's to the end of the 1950's, when a court ruling dissolved the close association between movie studios and movie theaters leading to the end of the studio system that controlled what happened in Hollywood, and when television became a rival form of accessible entertainment. Led by Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg but not with obstacles, MGM was the best of the studios at perpetuating the dream that anything was possible, both in front of the cameras and in the lives of Hollywood royalty, namely the movie stars. Within a generation, movies became the largest money making form of entertainment. The public went to see movies in droves even during the depression, wanted to learn about and be close to the personal lives of the Hollywood rich and famous, and aspired to be part of that Hollywood royalty.Written by
Himself - Narrator:
Once upon a time, in the place called California, there was an enchanted kingdom. It was said the streets were paved with gold and it was inhabited by gods and goddesses, sorcerers and elves, wise men, jesters, and kings. For three decades the kingdom flourished, it was loved, for it offered human multitudes a rare and precious gift - escape from the mortal coil into wondrous flights of fantasy.
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Pretty good, but there are simply better documentaries that cover the same material.
Had I never seen documentaries like "MGM: When the Lion Roars", I am sure I would have enjoyed "Hollywood: The Dream Factory" lot more. However, when you compare the two you realize just how poor this earlier documentary is--mostly because 50 minutes is way too short to adequately explain the history of MGM studio. Plus, with so many zillions of clips, it would have been nice had the documentary labeled them so you know what you're seeing.
The film begins with one of the most depressing scenes I can think of--the 1970s auction of the back lot and props from almost 50 years of MGM. Seeing the wonderful pieces of history sold off just breaks your heart. Then, after seeming to stay with this way too long, Dick Cavett begins narrating. He has a nice voice and way of speaking and I think he had nothing to do with the documentary coming up short--as I said, there was too much material. And, oddly, at the end, instead of continuing to talk and explain the studio's history, they just showed VERY long clips with no narration--essentially wasting time that SHOULD have been on the history of MGM!
Overall, not all that bad a film...but just not enough.
By the way, this film was included as a DVD extra with "Meet Me In St. Louis". I have no idea why it was included with this particular film, as the only relationship with the full-length film is a brief shot of the back lot showing the house from the film. BUT, it was never identified as it and Cavett said nothing about this film. Hmmm.
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