23 September 2010 | MartinHafer
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.