Moguls & Movie Stars: Brother, Can You Spare a Dream? (2010)
*** (out of 4)
Fourth installment in TCM's look at the history of Hollywood suffers the same problems as the previous films but this is probably the best of the bunch so far. In the film we kick off with THE JAZZ SINGER pretty much killing silent movies and their stars and then we look at a few big folks who didn't make it in the sound era including Clara Bow who would be forced out of movies at the age of 28. We then see how many major players would push for sound only to die before their dreams came to be but we also see Hollywood's new line of stars including Cagney, Robinson, Hepburn and of course Mae West who proved that sex could still sell. The documentary comes to an end just as GONE WITH THE WIND was breaking records and Hitler's impact was about to be felt. Once again, if you've got the smallest knowledge of Hollywood then it's doubtful this thing is going to teach you anything you didn't already know but this episode also benefits from better story telling. I'm really not sure what it was but the history is told a lot better here and one reason might be because the documentary centers more on the stars and the power that they held. Previous entries were quite uneven because of the story jumping back and forth from the stars to the moguls but it's quite clear here that the stars were winning the battles. With that said, there are still countless major names that don't get even a brief mention and you might also scratch your head as to why D.W. Griffith wasn't mentioned when there was talk about the big guys no longer in the game.
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