27 July 2012 | MartinHafer
This documentary goes by two names--"Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream" as well as "Hollywood: An Empire of Their Own". The Netflix title is the latter one--and was billed as a documentary about the Jewish moguls responsible for creating the Hollywood film industry. The former title, however, has MUCH more to do with the film, as it's less a history and more a thesis about the loss of Jewishness of these moguls and the substitution of a Judeo-Christian form of Americanism into the American consciousness. So, instead of a documentary about film history, it's more a discussion of this lack of Jewishness among these men...and it's much, much more intellectual and far less entertaining. Often, I felt like the film was talking above the viewer and also, at times, used the selective use of the facts--ignoring those that did not support their ideas and touting those that did. A few examples:
Talking as if these Jewish men had positive feelings towards Black Americans. While they cited a few examples of positive roles in films, they ignored horrible examples of racism like the popularity of Steppin Fetchit and Willie Best's films.
Saying that the monster films of the 30s and 40s were metaphors for the Jewish experience. Huh?! While some COULD possibly interpret them that way, I am pretty sure that was not the films' intention.
Discussing how these moguls were pretty quiet about the Holocaust (which is true) but ignoring that these same moguls chose to break US laws about neutrality when they portrayed the Nazi regime as evil in films made just before the US entered WWII (yes, in a big departure from free speech, there really was such a law).
Blaming the moguls' performance at the House Committee on Unamerican Activities was why these men soon lost control of the studios. Many lost control because they died...not because of the HUAC and some others lingered (such as Jack Warner) for decades after these hearings.
All in all, I felt I was less seeing a film about Hollywood and more watching a film that was meant to prove some vague concept...a very vague one. Overall, a disappointment.