So, it was the incredible premiere of a new Netflix series at the beginning of May. “Hollywood” – the groundbreaking story of the first independent steps for the movie production industry in post-war America. Young people – ambitious and talented – are anxious to achieve their dreams – becoming “big screen” stars. From the petrol station where sexual services are available to topics that included upholding the rights of the dark-skinned population – the core plots meander wildly. Mixing colorful screenplays with the authentic style of the series, the story takes us to Hollywood in the ‘40s.
The plot brings together five young actors who seek to conquer the Hollywood studios. Jack (David Corenswet), Raymond (Darren Criss), Camille (Laura Harrier), Rock (Jake Picking), Archie (Jeremy Pope). After traveling different roads, their stories meet at one place – the studio known as “ACE”.
Meanwhile, the plot reveals the social realities of the America of that time: widespread unemployment, racial discrimination, and the non-recognition of homosexual relationships. The first coming out, the risk of being arrested and losing ratings, and millions of dollars re-allocated because of a dark-skinned screenwriter.
Episode No. 1
“I Want to Dreamland”
After the War, the future actor Jack Castello must adapt to a peacetime existence, realize his dream of becoming and actor, get a decent job, and find a home. Meantime, his wife works as a waitress, while Jack looks for a cameo appearance. In the bar where he goes to drink whiskey, he meet an impressive man, Ernie (Dylan McDermott), the owner of a special petrol station. The fact is that only good-looking men work at the station.
But after filling the tank, the service provided includes intimate experiences, either for women or men. “I want to Dreamland” is password that allows you to enjoy sexual pleasures. Once in the job, Jack connects with the “right” people in the cinema world. In addition, he meets the future screenwriter of the film that will bring his dreams to reality.
Episode No. 2
“Prostitution as Temporary Work”
It is probably worth warning readers (and potential viewers) that the series is full of sexual episodes. But hardly anyone would believe that in films about beautiful young people there might be so little visible physical action. In addition, the recent scandals of sexual harassment among directors have thoroughly diminished the naughty scenes in the series. The fact is that everything may not have gone smoothly when you first started acting. But the producers and directors didn’t advertise sex as the only direct way to the stage.
So, the future screenwriter, Archie Coleman, turns out to have been involved in prostitution before writing his script. In the USA in the 1940s, homosexual relationships are illegal and subject to prosecution under the law, so many couples hide in movie theaters. Acquainted with Jack, Archie begins to work at the petrol station, where he meets his lover, Rock Hudson, also a future actor. As the plot unfolds, Archie and Rock come out finally as a couple while standing on the red carpet at the Oscars.
A small spoiler, but the plot of the series is fraught with risks. And by the way, this is not the only on-screen homosexual relationship. Against the background of the rest of the series, it should be understood that the directors gambled with the plot. Pulling the project would not have been difficult – it is so conflicted and multi-faceted.
“Living the Peg Script”
Director Raymond, hiding his Filipino roots, which was triggering in US politics at the time, comes across the script for a drama titled “Peg”, written by the black-skinned screenwriter, Archie, just as a girl jumps from one of the symbolic letters of Hollywood due to her rejection in the tough world of cinema. He decides to make the star his girlfriend, Camille Washington, a dark-skinned actress who is forced to play trivial roles because of her race. For them, this film will be a chance to overcome public protest, to set in motion mass revolution, in the literal sense of the word. They would be spat on, and fire bombs would be thrown at them, with curses screamed and no one predicting that “Peg” would turn out to be successful cinema.
The film was made by Ryan Murphy – one of the most notable screenwriters, producers, and directors of our time. He has produced “American Horror Story”; and the television series “Glee” and “Eat, Pray, Love” came out of his pen. Who has not heard about “Hollywood”? Come on, everyone has! We were waiting for it! The picture itself turns out to be quite bright, eccentric, revealing, with invincible willpower.
It seems quite realistic to anyone who was present in Hollywood at that time. There is mention of Vivien Leigh, the lead actress in “Gone with the Wind”; the playwright Noel Coward; Hattie McDaniel, the first black actress to win an Oscar; and Anna May Wong, the Asian actress and star of American cinema. And also, it is hard not to notice Eleanor Roosevelt, who actually influences the decision to shoot “Peg” with the participation of black artists and a black screenwriter in the credits.
Risking to win one day
This is probably the best descriptive slogan of this series. The entire difficult path to success is presented in the opening intro of the series, as young people climb the giant letters of the Hollywood logo, which is the prototype of all the obstacles that actors meet at the beginning of their careers.
They give hands to each other, supporting one another in failure. At the beginning and at the end, perhaps, will be a frame where at the very culmination of their dreams everyone will see the sunrise – the great beginning and end point of the dream.
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