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Golden History of Hollywood DVD Review

Golden History of Hollywood is a compilation of three prior Mill Creek Entertainment releases. Those three sets include the recently released And the Award Goes to… 80 Years of the Academy Awards and two biographical documentary releases that came out earlier this year (Hollywood’s Greatest Screen Legends: 50 of the Best Actresses and Actors of All-Time and Hollywood’s Best & Brightest: 30 Living Legends and the Hollywood History They Made). All together, Golden History of Hollywood is an 11-disc set containing over 45 hours of content that can be had for less than $20 on Amazon. The content isn’t the most entertaining or informative I’ve seen about the history of Hollywood (and the two biographical documentary releases are quite out of date), but the price is certainly right especially for those really into the subject.

And the Award Goes to…: 80 Years of the Academy Awards

This is actually two different series put together for one release. The first series included is 1994’s The Academy Award Winners: The First 50 Years, a ten-part series covering the Academy Awards from the creation of the awards to the late ’80s. The other series included covers the more recent history of the Academy Awards, from 1972 to 2002, in six episodes. There is a bit of overlap between the two series so some of the content provided is repeated in multiple episodes.

Of the two series included in And the Award Goes to… 80 Years of the Academy Awards, I definitely preferred the one focusing on more recent films. The Academy Award Winners: The First 50 Years is quite dry, to the point of being almost boring. It pretty much features a narrator talking over clips from the award-winning films as well as archive videos of production, theaters showing the films, and things like that. The narrator is pretty boring and half the time is basically listing off all of the nominees and winners year by year. I wish either series utilized interviews with film experts, if only to listen to a different voice every so often.

The second series is much better, though still not great. This one also features a narrator (a less boring one) but also includes more interesting footage to round out the episodes. It still goes year by year listing all of the nominees and winners, but it does it in a slightly more interesting way. We actually get to hear from the winners (mostly through their post awards interviews). This part of the release is better but still far too long for all but the most obsessed awards show fanatics though. Overall, this is definitely the best part of this release but I think both series could have been half the length they are.

Golden History of Hollywood DVD Contents

Hollywood’s Best & Brightest and Hollywood’s Greatest Screen Legends

These two sets are very similar (in fact, every episode I watched was part of the same TV series) so I will write about both of them together. All together there are 80 episodes (over 30 hours of content) of a series called Hollywood Remembers in these two sets. Hollywood’s Best & Brightest covers 30 living actors and actresses (more contemporary ones like Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Travolta) and Hollywood’s Greatest Screen Legends features 50 actors from the early days of Hollywood (such as John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe).

Unfortunately, while you get a lot of bang for your buck with these two sets (and pretty much all of the stars you expect are included), the content is not particularly good. First of all, the series is from the ’90s so for a lot of these actors and actresses (especially the ones in the Hollywood’s Best & Brightest set) their episodes aren’t very up to date. For example, the Arnold Schwarzenegger episode doesn’t mention his political career as it hadn’t even happened yet. In fact, the episodes I watched barely even go into their early lives or anything like that. The worst part of these episodes is that they rely almost exclusively on showing film trailers and archive footage from the movies with just a bit of narration as well. You are basically watching trailer after trailer, not learning about an actor’s past (outside of a few minutes spent on other areas of their lives). If you are interested in this release because you are a fan of the actors featured, you likely already know all of the information presented here and have probably watched the films featured. These two sets are definitely an example of quantity over quality.

Hollywood’s Greatest Screen Legends includes the following 50 actors and actresses:

  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Ava Gardner
  • Barbara Stanwyck
  • Bette Davis
  • Burt Lancaster
  • Cary Grant
  • Clark Gable
  • Claudette Colbert
  • Edward G. Robinson
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Errol Flynn
  • Fred Astaire
  • Gary Cooper
  • Gene Kelly
  • Ginger Rogers
  • Gloria Swanson
  • Grace Kelly
  • Gregory Peck
  • Greta Garbo
  • Henry Fonda
  • Humphrey Bogart
  • Ingrid Bergman
  • Jack Lemmon
  • James Cagney
  • James Dean
  • James Stewart
  • Jean Harlow
  • Joan Crawford
  • John Wayne
  • Judy Garland
  • Julie Andrews (she is also featured on Hollywood’s Best & Brightest as well)
  • Katharine Hepburn
  • Kirk Douglas
  • Lana Turner
  • Lauren Bacall
  • Laurence Olivier
  • Mae West
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Marlon Brando
  • Olivia DeHavilland
  • Orson Welles
  • Paul Newman
  • Rita Hayworth
  • Robert Mitchum
  • Sidney Poitier
  • Sophia Loren
  • Spencer Tracy
  • Vivien Leigh
  • William Holden

Hollywood’s Best & Brightest features the following actors:

  • Al Pacino
  • Angela Lansbury
  • Ann-Margret
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Burt Reynolds
  • Candice Bergen
  • Catherine Deneuve
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Dick Van Dyke
  • Faye Dunaway
  • Goldie Hawn
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Jane Fonda
  • Jodie Foster
  • John Travolta
  • Julie Andrews
  • Kathleen Turner
  • Kim Basinger
  • Lauren Hutton
  • Mel Gibson
  • Michael York
  • Raquel Welch
  • Robert DeNiro
  • Robert Redford
  • Robert Wagner
  • Sean Connery
  • Shirley MacLaine
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Warren Beatty

Video Quality and Final Thoughts

As all of the series included in Golden History of Hollywood are a bit on the older side at this point and all were definitely low-budget productions, the video quality is unsurprisingly just acceptable. None of the content is unwatchable but I wouldn’t say any of it looks great either (it looks like early DVD quality at best).

Overall, Golden History of Hollywood is a below average compilation of Hollywood history documentaries. You certainly get a lot of content for a cheap price but I would say the only portion of the collection I enjoyed (or at least thought was average), was the second part of And the Award Goes to… 80 Years of the Academy Awards. Other than that, most of the rest of the content is pretty dull. If you are only interested in that release, you can buy it for approximately half the price of this but you do get a lot more content with Golden History of Hollywood. Overall, outside of possibly the second half of And the Award Goes to… 80 Years of the Academy Awards, I don’t think I can recommend this collection to anyone but the most obsessed Hollywood history fan.

Golden History of Hollywood was released on DVD on November 6, 2018.

Buy Golden History of Hollywood on Amazon: DVD

We would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the review copy of  Golden History of Hollywood used for this review. Other than receiving the review copy we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the review copy had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.

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