The history of Hollywood and filmmaking comes alive in this spectacular nine hour celebration of movie magic. It's a mesmerizing, epic analysis that combines rare archival film, key scenes from immortal movies, interviews ... more »with leading filmmakers and commentary from noted film scholars and critics. As seen on PBS, this highly acclaimed series is the definitive chronicle of the American cinema, from its beginning to today. Includes interviews with Robert Altman, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Spike Lee, George Lucas, Sidney Lumet, Julia Roberts, Martin Scorsese, Gene Siskel, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino, and many more! Episodes: The Hollywood Style, The Star, Romantic Comedy, Film Noir, The Western, The Combat Film, The Studio System, Film in the Television Age, The Film School Generation, The Edge of Hollywood.« less
"This ten-installment love letter to Hollywood and American film was originally aired on PBS, and comes on two two-sided DVDs. Introduced by John Lithgow, each segment is then narrated by a different actor and covers the following subjects: The Hollywood Style, The Star, Romantic Comedy, Film Noir, The Western, The Combat Film, The Studio System, Film in the Television Age, The Film School Generation and The Edge of Hollywood.Each segment runs about 54 minutes and is well-written, loaded with illustrative scenes from great films, and filled with interviews by filmmakers, actors and film scholars. I especially enjoyed the Romantic Comedy and The Studio System segments, but each is so well done that you will undoubtedly find favorites of your own.The only weakness here is the lack of any real documentation. When so many films and actors are discussed, it would add value to this collection to have a good index.If you enjoy film and are interested in a thoughtful introduction to this American art form, you can't go wrong with this collection."
The Cheapest Film Class You'll Ever Take
EgusHdus | Hua Hin, Thailand USA | 06/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Writing a screenplay? Trying to do an indie? This set TOUCHES on 100's of important (sometimes obscure) American films...just enough to make you want to find some of them for further study and ignore others. You will see, within catagories or timelines, snippets, some brief but some several minutes, give you the highlights, the substance.This is NOT MGM's "That's Entertainment".This IS a series of entertaining, lucid programs that follow like film school seminars but are easily understood by even the most casual viewer. Note, the series does not play to the lowest common denominator. A true film buff and their film-hating spouse could watch this together, and both walk away amazed. My elementary school kids now understand as much about film making history as many professionals I know.This would be a great gift to your local school.I highly recommend this if you are interestted in Digital Video, especially home filming, guerilla film-making, or just getting ready for film school itself. This set is entertaining, but is an education in itself.The shots, the sounds, the explanations of what works, the experiences of current filmmakers, the reasons for success of prior filmmakers, WHY the public taste changed in every decade(o-o-h, never thought of THAT, eh?)... This is a dream come true if you do not live within commuting distance of a film school or don't have the [money]... Trust me on this one. You will not regret this purchase."
Misses ONE Major aspect of American Cinema
EgusHdus | 08/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Animation. Even Orsen Welles has said on numerous occasions that the single biggest influence on his visual approach to Citizen Kane was Walt Disney's Pinocchio. Disney's impact on cinema with his specific use of sound and especially Technicolor,and its ability of color to support the dramatic stories he told must not be underestimated. Disney even had exclusive rights to 3 strip Technicolor for a number of years. The "integrated" movie musical BEGAN with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and was immediatly co-opted by MGM in it's succesful slew of musical movies. Why he is virtually entirely missing from this documentary is quite simply shocking. Otherwise, it's a fun watch."
American Cinema 101
Kate Hopkins | Sterling, VA United States | 02/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Quick, name an artform that's uniquely American...Sure Jazz comes to mind, and some would argue the poetry in Baseball (yeah, right), but the one artform that's most often overlooked is the influence Hollywood has had on Cinema.And that's where 'America Cinema' comes in.This Collection of DVD's is taken from the PBS series of the same named that was shown in the early 1990's and goes into great detail on Hollywood has changed the Film world. From the Studio System, to the Western and War movies, to the Hollywood blockbuster that developed in the late '70s, this series covers it all in a fair amount of detail.If you consider yourself a cinephile, then you cannot go wrong in adding this series to your collection."
Accessible and Lively Film History
William Gekas | Balboa Island, CA United States | 10/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I use this set for film and history classes because the references are fresh and available to those whose have interest but little knowledge. The absence of academic vocabulary may by off-putting to some, but it makes the viewer feel well-informed and well-entertained at the same time. My idea of education!"