Hey, fans of all things Hollywood, the city of dreams, have I got the perfect film for you! Nate Barlow’s A Brief History of Hollywood is a fantastic animated short covering the history of Tinseltown’s iconic Hollywood sign overlooking… Hollywood.
The entire short situates itself on the hillside that is home to the sign. First built in 1923, the sign initially spelled out “Hollywoodland.” Director Barlow uses simple animation techniques, giving the whole production a stop-animation appearance, to go through the timeline of the sign’s various states of neglect and decay, upkeep, and rebuilding. He also includes all the promotional alterations, graffiti, and pranks the Hollywood sign has gone through over the decades. Of course, I’ll never forget the periodic “Hollyweed” phase and the occasional mischief from local sports teams Trojans and Bruins.
“…the history of Tinseltown’s iconic Hollywood sign…”
Along with the sign’s visual timeline, A Brief History of Hollywood includes the history of Hollywood filmmaking. As we’re watching the sign’s history, Barlow presents it in the popular aspect ratio of the specific time period. The movie opens in the old postage-stamp format, then moves to many cinematic phases of widescreen, cinemascope, 3-D, VHS, IMAX, and so on.
As a lifelong Angelino, A Brief History of Hollywood is irresistible nostalgia porn. Also, I can’t end the review without mentioning the wonderful soundtrack by David James Nielsen. Barlow’s short film runs just under ten minutes and is a must-watch for cinema buffs across the board. C’mon, I know you have the time to spare.
"…irresistible nostalgia porn."