Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hollywood: The Dream Factory

I've mentioned quite a few times before that I like how TCM runs documentaries on Hollywood history. One that I haven't seen before is Hollywood: The Dream Factory, which is coming up tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM on TCM.

The reviews on IMDb diverge wildly, but I have a feeling the less positive ones are going to be closer to the mark. This is apparently one of the earlier Hollywood-on-Hollywood documentaries, dating to 1972, and focusing on MGM two years before That's Entertainment! came out. It was a time when the studios were facing difficult cicrumstances, and MGM would be a few years away from selling off the backlot -- I think That's Entertainment! was one of the very last movies made on the MGM backlot. Hollywood: The Dream Factory apparently has as its framing story the auction of some MGM movie memorabilia. In some ways, it would have been a shame for a studio to have to sell off its memorabilia like that, but to be fair, what was anybody going to do with a mock-up of the HMS Bounty?

The film runs 51 minutes, which I think is probably the biggest reason it would deserve a criticism. It's tough to do a history of an entire studio in that little time, and with TCM having been around for 20 years, I can't believe there would be anything new to those of us who watch the channel faithfully and have seen a whole bunch of the documentaries TCM runs. For audiences in 1972, I suppose the material would have been rather fresher, what with the subject not really having been covered before. And of course there are a lot of clips; sometimes part of the fun of watching a movie like this is trying to identify the films or faces in the clips.

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