1 February 2005 | didi-5
trivial documentaries on film's great and good
Two very separate runs of 'Hollywood Greats' were aired, with twenty years between them. In the late 1970s Barry Norman (then presenter of the BBC's 'Film 1973' etc. and son of director Leslie Norman) took a look at some of the best loved actors from the 'golden era'.
A quick look at the book which accompanied the series reminds me that amongst the first group of subjects were Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland and Ronald Colman. Much in the vein of the later series 'Living Famously' (which focused on movie stars alongside other key people in popular culture) the approach taken was a snapshot of the subject's life punctuated by a look at their films.
When the series returned with Jonathan Ross at the helm in 1999 it seemed more peripheral, although the subjects were interesting - Gene Kelly, Judy Garland (again!), and Richard Harris. There's always a place for the short profile documentary and the 'Hollywood Greats' strand was/is as good as any other.