What Price, Hollywood?…Show us!

2 Mar

Have you ever noticed that in the last several years, there haven’t been films released that show the pitfalls of Hollywood?  Well, back in the day during Hollywood’s Golden Era, there were several made.  In honor of the Oscars, TCM held a 31 days of Oscar special.  One day in particular showcased these films that highlighted Hollywood’s dark side.

“What Price, Hollywood?”, “A Star is Born” (the original and first remake), “The Star” and “Inside Daisy Clover” are all interesting, juicy and insightful movies I thoroughly enjoyed.  Here are my reviews for these movies I think you should check out:

“What Price, Hollywood?” (1932)- Don’t let the year throw you off.  This early talkie during Hollywood’s Pre-Code days is no “Wizard of Oz.”  A working class Hollywood waitress gets discovered by an alcoholic, cynical director.  She rises to the top, marries rich boy, loses rich boy and gets him back.  The problem is she has a co-dependent relationship with her mentor and director friend as she tries to save him from his alcoholic binges and arrests.  Starring Constance Bennett and a superb Lowell Sherman who steals the show.

“A Star is Born” (1937 & 1954 versions)- I love the storyline plot to this depressing but realistic story of a girl who makes it in showbiz and marries a has-been star who loves her more than anything but envies her career.  The original starring Janet Gaynor and Frederic March is my personal favorite because it sticks more to the story than it’s musical remake.  It’s a very sad and moving story and you really want her husband to get better but he has a severe disease.  It’s sequel starring Judy Garland and James Mason has the same premise but it drags toward the end.

“The Star” (1952)- Ah, Bette Davis you should have won the Oscar for this one.  Probably one of my favorite movies of all time, this film should be watched by every aspiring (and working) actor to this day.  An Oscar winner turned broke has-been is fighting to get back to the top despite the realization that her career is really over.  A delightfully young Natalie Wood plays her daughter in this realistic tale of learning to let go of your ego and appreciate what you do have in life, rather than what you don’t.  I can’t give too much of the plot to this one away.  You simply have to see it.  Lindsey Lohan could take notes.

“Inside Daisy Clover” (1965)- Based on the Gavin Lambert tell-all of the same name, this film was panned by critics when it was first released.  Keep in mind that even though the story takes place in the 30’s the wardrobe and costumes are totally 60’s.  There’s also some cheesy music but this one tells it like it is.  A teen from the slums is “discovered” by a slimy studio head (this year’s Best Supporting Actor winner, Christopher Plummer) who is creepy to the bone.  She is used and abused and thrown away in a matter of two years.  Also starring a young and hot Robert Redford as her bi-sexual husband of one day.  I have watched this flick several times since I was a kid.  I wonder how many Disney, Nickelodeon stars of present day can relate?

So come on, Hollywood!  Bring us new material (NO REMAKES) of life in the west coast fast lane.  A whole new generation would just love to see a behind the scenes taboo look of the dirt that goes on present day.  Between the drugs, paparazzi, child stars half dressed on the covers of Rolling Stone and Cosmopolitan magazine…there’s so much to expose.

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