Hollywood: Rewriting the glitz and glamour of the golden age of cinema


Courtesy of Medium

What would the movie industry look like if it would have taken the necessary decisions toward diversity we take today, back in the golden age? Netflix’s highly anticipated limited series by screenwriter Ryan Murphy, Hollywood, attempts to show us within its seven episodes. The cast includes celebrities such as Darren Criss, Laura Harrier, Samara Weaving, Jim Parsons, Queen Latifah, Patti LuPone and more.

Luis Ponce, Features editor

On May 1, Netflix released its brand new limited series Hollywood, produced by acclaimed producer Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, American Crime Story, Pose, etc). The series follows the stories of various people, both fictional and real, in the golden age of Hollywood. Taking a similar approach as Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, the limited series creates a historical revisionist (the reinterpretation of a historical account) view of what the movie industry of the time might have looked like if it made more creatively progressive decisions. 

Hollywood focuses on a variety of struggles that the film industry suffered (and still suffers) from, such as racism, sexual assault, homophobia and misogyny. We watch as the main characters fight to make it big in the town however they can, whether it be taking small roles in movies, sending copies of scripts knowing studios probably will not make them (due to the writer’s race) or even resorting to prostitution to make ends meet. Everything changes when an aspiring director reads an amazing script, and he and ACE Studios do everything and anything they can to make this the perfect film, even if it means losing everything. 

The series combines history and fiction into an extremely powerful story about the importance of equal representation and overcoming adversity. The story brings in real-life Hollywood personalities such as Anna Mae Wong (the only Asian actress of her time),  Hattie McDaniel (the first person of color to receive an Academy Award) and Rock Hudson (a closeted gay actor whose career stood on a very thin line due to the extremely toxic and manipulative relationship with his agent) and gives them the life and success they deserved.

From the very beginning, the audience can see how much hard work went into the series. One example stands at the actors’ portrayals of the characters. They all brought exceptional amounts of charisma that makes the audience immediately connect with the story and has you rooting for the team the whole way through. 

Throughout the series, the audience follows the process of how studios produced movies at that time in history with the focus on the fictitious movie Peg or later known as Meg, based on the story of Peg Entwhistle, a woman who took her life by diving off of the Hollywoodland sign in 1932. We see the struggles of working under a budget, finding the right stars to cast and differences of opinions when it comes to creating something that will stand as an extremely controversial product. The clips they show of the film could make the audience with a project like this could have actually existed in Hollywood’s complex past. 

The Chant’s Grade: A+