Add a Review

  • I first encountered this tape, along with its companion, "When The Applause Died," in a video store in North Dakota and rented it often because the archival footage and plain-speaking accounts of the deaths of some of Hollywood's greats were just irresistible to me for their historic value.

    I moved away from the Peace Garden State and for years couldn't find this title. Thank goodness for Ebay, that's all I can say. I eventually won both (and if there's a third part to this series, I'd love to find that, too!), and I hope that eventually this will come onto DVD, perhaps updated.

    I like this documentary and I think you will too.
  • Death in Hollywood (1990)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    This documentary pretty much does exactly what the title says and gives us countless stories about various deaths in Hollywood. We start off taking a look at the curse of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and hear about the strange deaths of James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo and others. From here we take a look at some famous suicides including George Reeves, Lupe Valez, George Saunders and sadly many more. From here we get into bizarre murders including Sharon Tate, Elizabeth Smart, Roman Navarro, William Desmond Taylor, Thelma Todd, Bruce Lee, Jayne Mansfield and others.

    DEATH IN Hollywood isn't the greatest documentary out there and it's even rather old-fashioned for 1990 standards but there's a lot of information on display here. Pretty much from start to finish we hear one story after another about various deaths in Hollywood. For the most part the film is entertaining but at the same time most of the stories are interesting enough to where the one or two minute time devoted to them just isn't enough. Just about every case talked about here is out there in more detailed documentaries. There's some misinformation here including Mansfield being decapitated but for the most part what's here is good enough.
  • Greatly informative for those who know little about the deaths of celebrities, of few "enjoyment" (can't find a better word) for those who know a lot about those, like me. "Death in Hollywood" presents a minor background of artists, why they were famous and their ultimate tragic deaths. Briefly analyzed in here are: James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Gig Young, Jean Harlow, Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood, Thomas H. Ince, Rock Hudson, Marvin Gaye, Ricky Nelson, Nick Adams, George Sanders, Charles Boyer, the Black Dahlia case, Ramon Novarro, Jayne Mansfield, Ernie Kovacs, Vic Morrow (yeah the footage is there, haunting), and a few lesser known like Thelma Todd, and of the film director whose death remained unsolved until years later when King Vidor revealed important facts about the victim and the case; or even some speculation like Steve McQueen. They left a lot of people out, but still managed to do a good job. An update with more names would be interesting now.

    The narration work was fabulous, quite morbid and very suiting to the project. The clips presented were nostalgic, very fun to watch, a little bittersweet because it all ends in telling about those great artists demise but some of the clips shouldn't stay there for too long. You almost forget the purpose of what's been presented to you when they focus on a comedian doing his number, or one female artist entertaining the crowd. This is mostly about the way they're all gone and not a detailed account on their work. The only long clip which was brilliantly shown was a press conference with Marilyn Monroe and you can tell how exhausted, depressed and anxious to get out of there she was. I've never seen that before and it's such a powerful image that reveals a lot of Hollywood and the newspapers pressures and demands, wearing people with their photos and publicity's.

    If inclined to morbid topics or have a fascination for those, this is perfect. The informative values are tremendous and that's the highest peak this can reach. 7/10