OFFICIALLY described as "shocking" and clearly designed as an
expose of Hollywood, "where cutthroat business tactics and
backstabbing practices have reached Faustian proportions," the BBC's
"Naked Hollywood" series goes on the air on the Arts & Entertainment
cable network on Sunday, July 28.
It is a five-part series of hour-long documentaries, produced by
Nicolas Kent and directed by Margy Kinmonth and Alan Lewens. The
first program, entitled "The Actor and the Star," contrasts the
careers and the charisma of actor James Caan and superstar Arnold
Scheduled for subsequent Sundays are "Eighteen Months to Live"
(Aug. 4), about the nervous existence of top studio production
executives; "Four Million is Cheap" (Aug. 11), about manipulative
Hollywood agents; "Funny For Money" (Aug. 18), which deals with
screen writers, and "One Foot In, One Foot Out" (Aug. 25), which
examines the lot of the movie directors.
According to Mr. Kent, it took two years to obtain access to the
key Hollywood figures interviewed in the documentaries. The format
is unusual in that there is no narrator. The camera focuses on
people, events, and clips, and lets them speak for themselves,
though there is a determined attempt to introduce symbolism.
Slow-motion footage is abundantly used.
In the episode dealing with the studio production chiefs, the
mood is set by a long-distance runner who, in the end collapses on
Whoever came up with the title "Naked Hollywood" deserves a
bonus. It promises sensationalism but hardly delivers it.
Based on a preview of the first two episodes, it is difficult to
comprehend what is particularly shocking or revealing about "Naked
Quoted in a British publication, Kent said he found Hollywood "a
company town where the bottom line is making money." There is
nothing either dishonorable or particularly new or surprising about
that. In fact, had "Naked Hollywood" covered the '30s or '40s, it
might have discovered a lot more substance, excitement - and real
"dirt." As is, Kent delivers a kind of visual primer about
moviemaking, marketing, and the studio system. It's pretty tame
stuff compared with some recent books about behind-the-scenes
The first episode, "The Actor and the Star," essentially traces
the career of Schwarzenegger, from his physical fitness/pumping iron
days to his movie debut, the huge success of "Total
Recall,Kindergarten Cop," and his new "Terminator 2."
Schwarzenegger seems like a likable fellow, self-effacing,
personally playing the publicity game with enthusiasm, and
thoroughly aware that his rise to international stardom has been due
to a subservient press and eager publicists working overtime to
manufacture a star image. …