Sign in to follow this  
Jayo

"Moguls and Movie Stars"

312 posts in this topic

Lynn,

 

Opinion of the series thus far has definitely been rather mixed. Read this thread from Nitrateville.

 

 

http://nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?t=7630&sid=dd56a9fed2684cfd9d53625333d32e1b

 

 

 

The prevailing feeling is that they should have expanded each episode to 90 minutes. An hour just doesn't cut it. Chapter 3 in particular promises to be a real hodgepodge, and allot of it will probably be about the coming of sound. Not much on the art of the Silent film at it's greatest during the 20's at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I, too, wish each episode could have been 90 minutes but given the budget that wasn't in the cards. This is, I believe and Kyle will correct me if I'm wrong, the most expensive TCM Original Productions documentary done to date.

 

They had a budget they had to stick to and still tell the story they set out to tell. As I mentioned earlier, Kevin Brownlow already covered this era brilliantly in *Hollywood*. Rather than do the impossible and try to best Brownlow and *Hollywood*, TCM chose to tell a different story. They are devoting three episodes (almost half the series) to the silent era.

 

They could have just devoted the first episode to the silent era and moved on from there. But they didn't. They chose to go into detail not only about the stars of the era but American history, American culture and the men who became the moguls as the silent era reached its zenith.

 

There is a great deal of information packed into each hour, especially from the relatives of the original moguls. For fans like you who love and know a great deal about the silent era, I can see why you and others wish it had more time to devote to the subject. But it isn't just dedicated to the silent era. The documentary is trying to tell the story of the rise and fall of the moguls and the studios they created over the course of 50-60 years.

 

That's a big story to tell and to their credit, John Wilkman and the staff at TCM are trying to tell that story.

 

Yes, the title is *Moguls and Movie Stars* but the movie stars are the secondary story in this series. They take a back seat to the primary story, that of how a group of diverse immigrants came to America and through sheer tenacity and hard work, got in on the ground floor of film making and transformed a ragtag industry into dream factories.

 

It's a story that doesn't get told very often outside of books.

 

I give TCM credit for making this documentary possible. Without their support, this series wouldn't have gotten made.

 

Perhaps, it will be successful enough that it will allow TCM Original Productions to take on other multi-series documentaries.

 

Guess we will all find out together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some good stuff so far, but some inexplicable omissions. Why was nothing said about the first movie star known by name, Florence Lawrence? (And I concur with the fear that Constance and Norma Talmadge will be ignored in part 3, and that we will likely see more screen time devoted to Louise Brooks, who was at most a star with the late twenties equivalent of the art-house crowd, than Colleen Moore.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*. . . and that we will likely see more screen time devoted to Louise Brooks, who was at most a star with the late twenties equivalent of the art-house crowd, than Colleen Moore.)*

 

I concur that more should be featured on the Talmadge sisters as well as Brooks, but that 'equivlent of the art-house crowd happened not in the late twenties, but decades later, when Brooks and some of her films "Pandora's Box" were rediscovered and she became a cult idol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rats! I fell asleep after Traffic in Souls -wonderful by the way; I can't believe it's nearly 100 years old-and missed Birth of a Nation. After contributing to the thread on it I was waiting to see it again taking into account what I had heard and read. Maybe the next time it will be at a decent hour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

>

> As for the film clips, it all comes down to budget. You can blow through your budget obtaining the very best looking clips available very quickly. Make no mistake, film clips for this type documentary are not cheap. And the rights clearances may have something to do with the versions chosen as well.

>

 

 

The owners of the best prints may well want a small fortune to use their material, but I don't think rights would be an issue. Short clips in a documentary should all be fair use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*The owners of the best prints may well want a small fortune to use their material, but I don't think rights would be an issue. Short clips in a documentary should all be fair use.*

 

Kevin Brownlow's wonderful *Hollywood* series has been held up coming to DVD for years due to rights issues over the clips he used.

 

Sometimes, who you think holds the rights to the movie turns out not to be the case. Most productions of this type cover their backs by getting rights clearances whenever possible. They have to because they are thinking further down the road to DVDs and whatever new technology down the road.

 

For the series to be sold on DVD or Blu (plus whatever technology is on the horizon), I believe they need the rights cleared to the clips they use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*"This is, I believe and Kyle will correct me if I'm wrong, the most expensive TCM Original Productions documentary done to date."* - lzcutter

 

No need to to correct ya because,,,

Yes, it is. By leaps and bounds and bushels of money. I don't think TCM has ever spent a larger amount of the budget on any endeavor before. Not even the TCM Classic Film Festival. This is all new territory for TCM as a producer of non-fiction films.

Prior to "Moguls And Movie Stars", the longest (biggest?) TCM production would be (I believe) the two-part, nearly three-hour documentary *Brando* made in 2007 or 2008.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think if you want to see anything about Hollywood if TCM is involved fuhgeddaboudit. This whole idea of Louis B. Mayer as a kindly old gent is neuseating. Nobody gave two craps about silent movies & so when Brownlow made his history of Hollywood THEN all of a sudden the clips he used are worth a fortune. Well now nobody is going to bother teaching future generations about the film past when the Brownlow Hollywood history is suppressed. You already have the best history youre going to get & not using it! Thats TCM for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> Sometimes, who you think holds the rights to the movie turns out not to be the case.

 

A little off topic, but a fantastic illustration of this concept is Nina Paley's brilliant film "Sita Sings The Blues".

Paley made a great indie animation film using depression era Annette Henshaw (public domain) recordings as the soundtrack.

Apparently the estates of the writers of the music sued her. This wasn't some big animation corporation, just one creative individual making a film to express herself.

 

Not interested in a crazy legal battle, she took her film off the "market" and decided to give it away free. No money involved. It's available for free download http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/|http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/

 

Nina Paley's my hero for not giving in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gagman, Intolerance is on in December. Do you have any idea which version TCM is likely to show? Is there any chance it could be the Photoplay version? I assume that it, like their excellent edition of The Birth of a Nation, is the best restoration of the film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if it will be the Thames Silents version from the 80's, or the new David Shepard restoration which premiered in Arte Network in 2007? Both of these are much better than the Kino or Image DVD releases.

 

Hey, don't forget the TCM premier of the new Milestone version of Pickford's *POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL* is on tonight! A fresh Orchestral score from the renowned Philip Carli. In addition, TCM is premiering *THE HOODLUM* later in the month during the AMPAS showcase. I have never seen either film, so I am pretty excited about these broadcast's.Nor sure why they are not running the newly restored *SPARROWS* though. Hopefully, it will be shown sometime early next year.

 

By the way, TCM is also running *YANKEE DOODLE IN BERLIN* this evening. I'm assuming this is a new transfer and another debut? A young Marie Prevost appears. This is quite a funny film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Jackie, you sent me scrambling to the schedule. I now have Marie scheduled for DVR treatment. And the other silents as well. Lovely pics of Marie. I especially love the second one. Oh those eyes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wendy,

 

Well, Marie isn't in the film very much. Not unless more footage has been found. The guys Theda Berra impression is positively hilarious! Apparently, he is spoofing Thea's provocative Dance sequence from *CLEOPATRA.*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I missed some of these AWESOME silent films too! I wish they would compile them onto some box sets in honor of this series of films! I'd certainly scoop them up, they are GREAT and I'd love to see them again and again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I was sure hoping for a really nice print of *YANKEE DOODLE IN BERLIN,* but obviously one doesn't exist anymore. Still some very funny moments, even though the material was in rough shape with lots of deterioration.

 

The Pickford's will be a different story. *POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL* should be struck from the best 35 Millimeter material. I have not seen the Charles Ray film *THE COWARD.* So that will be new to me too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=TikiSoo wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> > Sometimes, who you think holds the rights to the movie turns out not to be the case.

>

> A little off topic, but a fantastic illustration of this concept is Nina Paley's brilliant film "Sita Sings The Blues".

> Paley made a great indie animation film using depression era Annette Henshaw (public domain) recordings as the soundtrack.

> Apparently the estates of the writers of the music sued her. This wasn't some big animation corporation, just one creative individual making a film to express herself.

>

> Not interested in a crazy legal battle, she took her film off the "market" and decided to give it away free. No money involved. It's available for free download http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/|http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/

>

> Nina Paley's my hero for not giving in.

>

Soo,

Glad to see that you too are a fan of "Sita Sings the Blues". Several years ago a friend who's a friend of Nina's lent me a copy of the original one-reel version, made before she thought to make a feature-length movie out of it. Even then everyone I showed it to found it unique and refreshing. And it didn't hurt that I've been a long-time Annette Hanshaw fan, so hearing her songs in the film just made it even more fun.

And isn't that just about the funniest intermission ever?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder: If these 7 episodes of "Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood" garner as large an audience and favorable a critical reception as they should, is there a good chance that TCM will greenlight a sequel, taking the history from 1970 through the end of 2000?

 

Also, any news on a companion volume to the original series?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was on time and on schedule for the west coast 8:00 pm screening. I watched it in real time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good episode, with one huge mistake. Louise Brooks did NOT popularize the page-boy hairstyle of the 1920s; that honor belonged to Colleen Moore, who 1) wore it several years before Brooks; 2) was a far bigger star than Brooks, especially in America; and 3) wasn't even mentioned during the episode (her fame during the 1920s was about the same as Clara Bow's). What gives, TCM?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us