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Moguls and Movie Stars

Peter Bogdanovich By Peter Bogdanovich | Peter Bogdanovich November 2, 2010 at 3:48AM

TCM’s 7-hour documentary, Moguls and Movie Stars, which began running today, is a sincere, engrossing and generally very well executed history of Hollywood, focused largely on the business side---the moguls and the studios---rather than the movie stars and directors. It is rich in facts and details about the beginnings of the movies, going from the primitive early work of the Lumiere brothers and Edison, and running with equal interest all the way through the rise and fall of the studio system. Christopher Plummer narrates with warm authority, and the whole endeavor is certainly worth the effort to see all seven hours. Of course, another seven hours---or twice that--- could valuably be spent documenting the artistic history of Hollywood, and perhaps TCM has such plans up its sleeve. One way or the other, what they do over at Turner Classic Movies is essential to the health of moving picture history, virtually the lone TV voice in the wilderness of film culture in our country, which has contributed so enormously, so memorably to this precious medium. (Complete disclosure: I am one of the vast number of people interviewed for this epic documentary.)
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TCM’s 7-hour documentary, Moguls and Movie Stars, which began running today, is a sincere, engrossing and generally very well executed history of Hollywood, focused largely on the business side---the moguls and the studios---rather than the movie stars and directors. It is rich in facts and details about the beginnings of the movies, going from the primitive early work of the Lumiere brothers and Edison, and running with equal interest all the way through the rise and fall of the studio system. Christopher Plummer narrates with warm authority, and the whole endeavor is certainly worth the effort to see all seven hours. Of course, another seven hours---or twice that--- could valuably be spent documenting the artistic history of Hollywood, and perhaps TCM has such plans up its sleeve. One way or the other, what they do over at Turner Classic Movies is essential to the health of moving picture history, virtually the lone TV voice in the wilderness of film culture in our country, which has contributed so enormously, so memorably to this precious medium. (Complete disclosure: I am one of the vast number of people interviewed for this epic documentary.)

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