How did we get here? You’re reading Film Threat and, for that matter, this review because you love movies. While there have been countless documentaries about the history of Hollywood and filmmaking, James F. Robinson’s Tinsel – The Lost Movie About Hollywood captures our love of the “business of show.”
Amazingly, the original cut of Tinsel was made in 1990. As Robinson states in the prologue, the cost of securing the rights for all the film clips he used would have cost many times more than any offer he received to buy it. Thirty years later, the ever-evolving “fair use” laws allowed Robinson to finally release Tinsel with additional commentary by the director to bring his story up to date.
“…interviews with average filmgoers, movie theater employees, and aspiring actors…[about] our love of the silver screen…”
The director takes a very personal look at Hollywood. While the documentary features celebrity interviews from the likes of Martin Landau, Sid Ceasar, Beau Bridges, and classic film clips, the movie approaches the subject from the fan’s perspective and through the eyes of young (and old) hopefuls trying to make their mark on cinematic history.
Tinsel‘s storytelling is broken into several chapters. The first one is Robinson’s struggle to release the film in 1990 and what prompted its resurrection today. It was not just all that legal stuff, but even today, he still loves watching movies, evident in his thoughtful narration. The ensuing chapters feature conversations about why we love cinema and how its stories connect with audiences. What sets Tinsel apart from the pack are his interviews with average filmgoers, movie theater employees, and aspiring actors, for whom this documentary may be their only appearance in a movie.
As much as entertainment has changed over the decades, much has stayed the same. With advancements in technology, the fight for diversity in front and behind the camera, and the overabundance of content on streaming—our love of the silver screen has remained fundamentally the same since the birth of film and the dreams of Hollywood stardom are just as alluring.
"…it will put you in a soothing state of bliss for 90 minutes."