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  • If you're coming to this seven part series expecting something like Brownlow's encyclopedic work "Hollywood" you'll be disappointed. This history really limits itself to the joint story of Hollywood and the moguls that formed and sustained the industry from the 1890's until the 1960's. The end of this period is marked by the retirement of Jack Warner, the last of the founding fathers of the industry and the last movie mogul.

    What may confuse some people is that the first episode of the series really concentrates on the beginning of the movies and what led up to the invention of the motion picture. The early moguls are mentioned but not stressed in this first episode as they are in all the others. Movie stars are mentioned throughout the series as are important directors, but ultimately it is the story of the men who founded the first motion picture studios and how they navigated an industry through the changing times and the first 80 years of film history.
  • I enjoyed the first episode which explains in some good level of detail how the actual film camera was invented, then became a competition globally to improve the quality of the camera and film, and only then did the European immigrants who arrived in America assess that the film industry could become a very lucrative business.

    Even with seven (7) episodes in total and over 7 hours of movie history which touched on the Hollywood motion picture industry leaders which were the studio presidents of the largest production theaters such as MGM, Paramount, Warner and Fox, this documentary series barely touches on how these movie moguls created their movie empires and more importantly held off at bay the many lawsuits which were to follow both for personal and commercial reasons. In fairness there is over 120 years of history to cover in this trillion dollar movie industry if you include anyone who made their living from the movie industry.

    I did learn a few new personal things about the moguls and movie stars but overall I found this documentary exaggerated the "cinderella stories" of some of the moguls and movie stars and deliberately refrained from providing any real insight into the personal lives of the most influential moguls and movie stars.

    I didn't find that any of the seven (7) episodes other than the first episode enticed me to want to watch each successive episode. There are quite a few instances in this series where we hear directly from the children and/or the grandchildren of these famous movie moguls, directors and movie stars, but rarely did they provide any real insight into the pros and cons of their famous fathers/grandfathers, rather, they kept their images as if they were all kind and hard working renaissance men/women.

    Let's face it, the Hollywood of the 1900's -2000's was a cess pool of debauchery, lawsuits, lies and backstabbing. That's what made Hollywood and America great.
  • This series shown during the holiday season on TCM has recently been re- broadcast. Narrated in part by the prolific Christopher Plummer, it gives one the sense of the origins, of film, the earlier Swanson and silent film era, and the later studio system, and then TV culture.

    You will see many different episodes here, and the facts are well-delineated. The early silent films, with the candle light effects of the film "Queen Kelly" starring Gloria Swanson and produced by financier Joseph P.Kennedy (JFK's father.) This type of series is so very valuable when we see other networks offering serial tripe (Greg Kinnear as JFK on "Reelz" channel).

    The era of the movie moguls, Samuel Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer, and his grandson, talking about the business.

    We also see the era of the 1950's, Monroe, John Wayne, Jane Russell and the power of Howard Hughes at that time.

    There are also some wonderful interviews with Carl Laemmle's niece who recalls the experience of working on "The Phantom of The Opera" ( an amazing original DVD collection now available). There remains an historical Laemmle theater on the Santa Monica promenade today.Visit it if you are in town.

    Overall this is a wonderful series which delineates old Hollywood, the star system and many of the past actors who now only leave their indelible, yet fleeting presence. James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Billy Wilder, Marilyn Monroe, Lana Turner.

    How amazing those films were, and we know we shall not see a repetition of this history ever again, sadly, in American cinema. 10/10.
  • WITH ALL OF the documentaries about movies that we've had compete for our attention during the years., one would think that all had been said and everything had been covered. Well, that's what we thought until in 2010, TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES aired this multi-episode gem.

    THOROUGH AND QUITE unpretentious, the series clearly rejects plush modern sets and high priced & well known on screen personalities; who are employed as "Host/Narrator." Instead, the series opts for solid research, the rarest of available surviving films, excellent writing and a very memorable original score on the soundtrack.

    AS FAR AS the Historical aspects, MOGULS & MOVIE STARS traces the origins of the Movies, not just to Edison or Lumierre, but deep into the 19th Century. It was during this period that we find some of Motion Picturs ancestors; prominent in this Genelogy is an invention known as "The Magic Lantern". Using powerful lights and a series of slides, it was among the Modern Wonders of the World.

    ONE ASPECT OF the story of Movies is covered quite well. That would be answering the question of just how did how did the phenomenon known as the Studios come into being? How did we wind up with such names as MGM, Warner Brothers, 20ty Century-Fox, Paramount, RKO, Universal, etc., become household words in just a few years? Moguls & Movie Stars does a fine job in shedding plenty of light in this area.

    WHEREAS PREVIOUS Documentaries have told of how motion picture came to be and how people would plunk down their hard earned nickels to watch short filmed records of a guy chopping wood, Batleships in Havana harbor or Cowboys and Indians of the contemporary West. MOGULS goes far beyond that; even to informing that the Movie Industry once rivaled that of Steel, Oil, Railroads and Automobile.

    TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES has rerun the series and most likely will again. It is also available on a set of DVD's for the home entertainment market. Either way, if you haven't seen it, do it. It is a great primer for the Movie Buff, The Serious Film Student or a Historian of the American Experience.
  • I should be clear that I am a film history buff, and i really thought I knew pretty much everything there was to know, until I saw Moguls and Movie stars.

    The documentary starts off in the penny arcades, where we are told that films are considered the entertainment choice of the poor and less educated. This quickly dismissed medium soon takes the world by storm.

    We then learn how powerful women where at the beginning stages of Hollywood, working as writers and directors, and producing some of the biggest films of the era. The documentary examines the pre-Hayes code films, and what Hollywood did to clean up its own image.

    Hollywood's handling of Hitler and World War II is told with amazing insight, and it contains a real eye opening story on how Casleblanca may never had been made if it weren't for Pearl Harbor.

    We then move on to the films of the 50's and 60's, and the story of James Dean is told. The series does end way too soon, as the 1970's, and the era of the cheap drive in flick don't get this stories told.

    Christopher Plummer is amazing as the narrator, and makes the entire series enjoyable. Hopefully, another installment will be produced, connecting a hundred plus years of Hollywood. This is a must series for not only the true film buff like myself, or the novice with a new interest in the history of Hollywood.
  • boblipton6 November 2010
    This series of documentary shows which has been running on the Turner Classic Movies cable station in the United States, gives a very good if standard view of the history of motion pictures -- anyone who has read a lot on the subject will find many 'facts' offered which he or she 'knows' to be false.

    Nonetheless, this is a very good introduction to the history of the movies and will give people just discovering old films a good idea of the general thrust of their evolution. Filled with sound bites from experts as well as clips and images, it shows, first that movies did no arise from nowhere, but grew out of half a millennium of technical evolution and the peculiar combination of events that led diverse people to become the leaders in what was the major entertainment industry for a good part of the 20th century.
  • This is an outstanding documentary chronicling the rise of the motion picture moguls and the movie stars that evolved about them in the 1920s and 1930s.

    Our moguls were mostly Jewish and unfortunately, they had conveniently abandoned their faith for fame and fortune in their attempt to totally assimilate into American society, a society they felt that they'd be better off keeping their Jewishness to themselves.

    Only Carl Laemmle, who eventually was forced out of the industry by bankruptcy, was the only person to speak up against the threat of Hitler. In fact, he was able to arrange for about 500 families to escape Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, Laemmle died at 72 in 1939.

    The studio bosses were controlling forces who manipulated their stars to their advantage in their never ending attempt to make trunk loads of money for the studio.

    Stars such as Bette Davis and James Cagney defied the studio bosses in their attempt to assert their independence and demand quality roles for themselves.