Eugene David
...The One-Minute Pundit

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just now we have come across something we have not seen in ages, which we found here: the main and end titles of David Wolper's NBC documentary series Hollywood and the Stars. I can still recall the open forty-six years later: the camera dollying back through the depressingly lit soundstage, empty but for a rudimentary set, the cameras, the spotlights (which really should be off to match the mood), the boom mike, a ladder and a director's chair, and forever searing my memory Elmer Bernstein's painfully eloquent music. This was a eulogy to Hollywood, to an industry whose best days even in 1964 were in the increasingly distant past. We think of this now that has run an annoying piece about how, in no small way guided by the hacks who CRITICALLY ACCLAIM, ac-TORS have become SFX, indistinguishable in their histrionics from CGI because the movees are nothing but. We cannot console ourselves that the nineteenth-century stage surely burst with the overripest smelliest half-baked ham acting because better techniques did come along, techniques that in time allowed the stage and film to become a pathway to the truth; and now here is a bankrupt business returning to the worst excesses of the days before the glove salesmen because it has trained its diminishing audience to expect more of it while delivering ever less. As we said the other day, this industry's attendance decline, with luck, is permanent.

Cue the music, Elmer.

P. S. on 8/29/2011 at 10:35 p. m. We can now see on that sofa on the set somebody's sitting there -- and appropriately enough, he isn't moving.

I hope to soon post an edited version of the theme using the main and end titles. Bernstein's theme appears at least twice else on the Web -- in a biography on Al Jolson and a vastly overproduced modern version with a lot of extraneous matter, from an Elmer Bernstein tribute CD set.

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