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Hollywood: The Dream Factory

Hollywood: The Dream Factory(1972)

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teaser Hollywood: The Dream Factory (1972)

This documentary, patched together by Emmy-winning documentarian Irwin Rosten from newsreels and feature film footage and cemented with soulful narration by Dick Cavett, traces how the merger of Metro Pictures and the Goldwyn Company (under the formidable and iconic leadership of Louis B. Mayer, "the highest paid man in America for 10 straight years") synergized into MGM -- the fullest expression of what the Hollywood studio machine could produce at the apex of its powers and reach. While celebrating the highlights, like the grandiose Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ (1925) shoot that set the bar for the kind of unprecendented projects MGM undertook in its golden era, as well as humanizing footage of stars before they were stars -- Joan Crawford as a smiling chorus girl, Greta Garbo pudgy and snaggletoothed -- there's also mournful scenes of artifacts like Judy Garland's ruby slippers slipping into collector's hands at auction. MGM was lost for many years in the New Hollywood heralded by Warner Brothers' Bonnie and Clyde (1967), but this thoughtful, celebratory documentary is more than a funeral wake.

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