Hollywood (1980)

If you have the slightest bit of interest in documentaries or in silent movies, this is the series to watch. Not only is it a great wealth of info on the silent era…it’s one of the best documentaries I’ve ever watched. It is made up of 13 different one-hour sections. It’s quite a series at 676 minutes.

All of these are on youtube. I have them listed at the bottom… just click on the links I gave. If a link doesn’t work…just copy the title of the episode on youtube and it will show up. If you want to watch a couple give it a try…I would suggest Episode 8: Comedy – A Serious Business and Episode 12: Star Treatment (The Great Stars Of The Silent Films).

There is one misconception about silent films that most have. When you think of a silent film what do you think of? Some people think of the hard-to-see Keystone cops running about like they snorted Peru… that is NOT what most silent films looked like. They played at normal speed and the cinematography was breathtaking in many of them. They are as clear as any movie you will watch if the print has been taken care of or restored.

Kevin Brownlow's Outstanding 1980 Documentary Miniseries HOLLYWOOD is  Online | Austin Film Society

There was a problem with some prints after the silent era. The holes in the film were at a different gauge for the then-modern film projectors and they played them fast and transferred them fast…that meant everything was sped up.

This documentary is to the Silent Era what Ken Burns Civil War doc is to the Civil War. It starts with the pioneers of the movies to the very end when sound took over and changed and some people say ruined an art form. When movies were silent…they were international…no need for translations…just different text. The sound changed all of that and silent movies were at their height.

You get to know the great directors, actors, actresses, cameramen, stuntmen, and movie moguls.

They interviewed these ladies and gentlemen in the late seventies and it was many of their last appearances on film before they passed away. I’m thankful that Kevin Brownlow got this finished and we now have first-hand knowledge of films’ most exciting eras.

I do wish sound pictures would have been held off a few years. The studios weren’t ready for talking pictures. The first “talky” pictures were clumsy and still. The mics had to be placed in flower vases and other stationary places. The silent artists perfected the art of pantomime. Most had great quality (especially in the 20s) that looked better than movies 40 years later. One problem was with the early transfers from the films…now with Criterion and others cleaning up the transfers…we can watch these beautiful movies the way they were intended.

Just like today, you had your formula movies and your great movies. In my opinion, I think the best genre of silent movies is comedies. Not Keystone Cops…they are more like cartoons than films. For me, it would be Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. They both had some of the most subtle and genius gags. Many of their gags have been copied to this day. There were others like Harry Langdon and Harold Lloyd that were popular.

I know it’s a big task BUT…if you like documentaries or silent movies…this series is worth it! Every episode is out there on youtube.

Critically Acclaimed: We've Got Mail #10 | Buster Keaton vs. Charlie  Chaplin!

Here are the different episodes.

Episode 1: Pioneers (Groundbreakers Of Film)

Episode 2: In The Beginning (Birth Of Cinema)

Episode 3: Single Beds And Double Standards (Censorhip) 

Episode 4: Hollywood Goes To War (World War I)

Episode 5: Hazard Of The Game (Stunts And Stuntmen) 

Episode 6: Swanson & Valentino (The 2 Great Hearthrobs Of The Silent Films)

Episode 7: Autocrats (The Great Directors) 

Episode 8: Comedy – A Serious Business

Episode 9: Out West (Westerns) 

Episode 10: The Man With The Megaphone (The Evolution Of Directors)

Episode 11: Trick Of The Light (The Cameraman) 

Episode 12: Star Treatment (The Great Stars Of The Silent Films)

Episode 13: End Of An Era (The Birth Of Talking Pictures)

Clara Bow - Hollywood Star Walk - Los Angeles Times

This is the 12th episode and it is about two people…John Gilbert and Clara Bow. Clara Bow is my favorite actress of all time…and yes that includes today.

The cast listing is below the video.

Actors

  • Mary Astor
  • Eleanor Boardman
  • Louise Brooks
  • Olive Carey
  • Iron Eyes Cody
  • Jackie Coogan
  • Dolores Costello
  • Viola Dana
  • Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
  • Janet Gaynor
  • Leatrice Joy
  • Lillian Gish
  • Bessie Love
  • Ben Lyon
  • Marion Mack
  • Tim McCoy
  • Colleen Moore
  • Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers
  • Gloria Swanson
  • Blanche Sweet
  • John Wayne
  • Eva von Berne
  • Lois Wilson

Directors 

  • Dorothy Arzner
  • Clarence Brown
  • Karl Brown
  • Frank Capra
  • George Cukor
  • Allan Dwan
  • Byron Haskin
  • Henry Hathaway
  • Henry King
  • Lewis Milestone
  • Hal Roach
  • Albert S. Rogell
  • King Vidor
  • William Wyler.

Choreographer: Agnes de Mille,

Writer: Anita Loos,

Writer: Adela Rogers St. Johns,

Press Agent/writer: Cedric Belfrage,

Organist: Gaylord Carter,

Cinematographers: George J. Folsey, Lee Garmes and Paul Ivano,

Writer:  Jesse L. Lasky, Jr.,

Special Effects Artist A. Arnold Gillespie, Lord Mountbatten

Agent Paul Kohner

Producer/writer Samuel Marx

Editors William Hornbeck and Grant Whytock

Property Pan: Lefty Hough

Stuntmen Bob Rose, Yakima Canutt: Paul Malvern, and Harvey Parry, Rudolph Valentino’s brother Alberto Valentino

English set Designer Laurence Irving

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

22 thoughts on “Hollywood (1980)”

    1. It’s almost impossible to find…I ordered a bootleg of it years ago and then someone uploaded it to youtube…I’m glad they did.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Sounds right down your alley! It sounds kinda interesting but not one I’d watch 13 episodes of…if there was sort of a highlights reel, I’d be in! I’m glad you found it though…bet any real film buff would learn quite a bit from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is why I picked out two… to try first… comedy in the silent era was fantastic and most people know Chaplin and some know Keaton

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s good but now known to be full of false things…like the Ty Cobb descriptions are known to be false now

        Like

    1. I worked in photography for quite a few years , and there is a quality to B&W film that has yet to be duplicated by the best of digital video. I can’t quite describe it, but there is an oomph, a brilliant subtle gradient between the shades that is beyond compare.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You add that with parts of the country that were still virgin in a lot of ways…you are seeing things like they were before mankind trampled over everything…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I look at silent movies not only for entertainment but as an authentic look back at history and culture of the period. Th ask for sharing.

    Like

    1. I don’t think so….do you remember what it’s called? When was it on?
      I think you would like this…

      Like

  3. I’m not all that keen on silent movies and so probably won’t watch it. That said, I definitely know where to find the list with links if I do. I’m sure you were in heaven watching the series.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I somehow missed this series when it aired in 1980. I watched Episode 6, because I remember Gloria Swanson fondly from ‘Sunset Boulevard’ and seeing her on TV shows like ‘The Carol Burnett Show’, but didn’t know much about Rudolph Valentino, who died decades before even old me was born. I’ll watch more as time permits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was really well done Jeff. What got me into it was Clara Bow…I happen to catch that one series about her and I got hooked on the complete series.

      Liked by 1 person

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