A dear British actor friend of mine, (shall we say, of a certain age and leave it at that?) has been living the dream in Los Angeles for many decades. Once when we were pool-side at the Beverly Hills Hotel admiring the odd life-guard or two, he became slightly loose-lipped after a few small sweet sherries and told me an incredible story. Initially, I found it hard to swallow, not like me at all, but over the years I heard similar stories from various other discrete sources and started to believe there may have been some truth in the matter.
He told me there was once a petrol pump attendant on Hollywood Boulevard who would offer more than just an oil change and tyre pressure check if you catch my drift. He had a caravan in a yard out the back of the gas station, and would entertain the great and the good of Hollywood, (gentleman as well as ladies, he was an equal opportunity chap) and soon enough he became so well known that he was being asked to soirees at the most exclusive addresses in town to help with the ‘entertainment’. He was Hollywood’s best-kept secret. He was repeatedly asked to tell his story, and being the gentleman he was, he always said it would never be told while certain people were still alive, as in his own words, when they die “the truth can’t hurt them anymore”. Now we can see just the level of discretion we are talking about. Fortunately for Netflix, it would appear most of the key players have long since met their maker and the tale is finally being told.
Netflix has simply outdone themselves this time. They really are a force to be reckoned with at the moment. Mark my words, we are living in a golden age of television, and Netflix is most definitely shining the brightest. Hollywood is a seven-part series detailing the lives and struggles of those at the top, and bottom, of the film industry in the 1950s. Aspiring writers and actors who are willing to do almost anything to get their ‘big break’. All the while, Machiavellian goings-on are happening behind the art deco doors where cigar-chomping pinstripe-suited studio execs decide whose dreams to fulfil, and whose shall be shattered.
The ever increasing budgets that platforms like Netflix have, certainly add to the fact that viewing series such as these have now become a visual feast. I have it on very good authority that many of the garments were hand made, with specific colours and textures used to help define certain attributes of the characters we see on screen, such is the commitment to authenticity. The outstanding Art Deco furniture made it difficult at times to keep focused on the action, with wood-panelled-leather-chaired rooms filling my eyes with envy. Sumptuous is the only word I can think of to describe the look the design team have achieved. Bravo chaps, bravo.
The story is a simple one, good guys, bad guys, in-between guys, naive guys, greedy guys, all the usual suspects you would expect from a series about Hollywood set in the mid part of the twentieth century. Admittedly there are one or two stereotypes; loud angry studio executives for one. And I feel one or two issues, such as race and sexuality were shoe-horned in unnecessarily. Although I fully admit they are terribly important factors in the Hollywood dream-making machine, at times it felt a little clumsily expressed. But hey, this is Hollywood. Dream big, or go home buddy. And boy, does this series deliver. Hubby and I enjoyed every minute of it, and we are desperately hoping a second season has already been commissioned. If not, I shall start a petition immédiatement!