DEATH IN HOLLYWOOD (V)(director/writer: Nick Bougas; screenwriter: F.B. Vincenzo; editor: Sandy Weinberg; cast: Paul Durris (Narrator), Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, Vic Morrow; Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nick Bougas; SRS Cinema; 1990)
WHEN THE APPLAUSE DIED (V)(director: Nick Bougas; screenwriter: F.B. Vincenzo; editor: Sandy Weinberg; cast: Paul Durris (Narrator), Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer, John Belushi, Judy Garland, Fatty Arbuckle, Spencer Tracy, William Holden, Errol Flynn; Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nick Bougas; SRS Cinema; 1990)
“For the film buff who wants the inside dope on the stars, this film is encyclopedic.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Death in Hollywood and When The Applause Died is the double feature presented in the DVD put out by SRS Cinema. They are similar themed, as they point out the travails of Tinseltown has on some of its most famous stars. The straightforward documentary offers nothing new but through archival film clips presents a fair number of Hollywood stars who were overcome with either their drinking or drug problems. The macabre themed film lets us know how mortal the stars are by telling us about their tragic deaths.
Death in Hollywood casts its focus on the tragic deaths of stars who succumb to accidental deaths like James Dean, suicides like Albert Dekker, murders like Sharon Tate, or dying of a heart attack while the cameras were rolling for Tyrone Power while shooting Solomon and Sheba. In an ironical note Dean, who died while speeding on the highway, made a Public Service announcement shortly before his demise urging his fans to drive safely.
When The Applause Died traces the tragic lives of some of the most famous Hollywood stars who couldn’t overcome their alcohol or drug problems. The boozers were John Barrymore, W.C. Fields, Spencer Tracy, Errol Flynn, Buster Keaton, and William Holden. The druggies were John Belushi and Bela Lugosi. Much is made of child stars not being able to handle their short-lived fame coming to a sudden halt and thereby leading tragic adult lives. The child star from the Our Gang series Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer becomes the poster boy for not being able to handle his adult life without fame and fortune.
Both films make use of a narrator and archive footage to show in graphic details the hidden secrets of the silver screen stars, and in some cases reveal tragedies that might have escaped the public’s attention. For the film buff who wants the inside dope on the stars, this film is encyclopedic.
REVIEWED ON 9/24/2005 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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