The documentary”Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies, and theAmerican Dream”, explains how a number of Jewish immigrants in thebeginning of nineteen century built the most known six movie studios inHollywood. Despite America’s open-door immigration policy for all immigrants,Jews, perhaps more than other minorities, encountered a new form a discrimination.The documakers say that they were viewed as outsiders and were blacklisted fromworking in certain fields such as finance, banking, and other higher educationcareers. Hence, they formed their own communities and their own version of realAmerica, practicing their own religion, opening their own businesses in thegarment industry and movie production.
Because of the intense discriminationagainst Jews, especially those involved in the movie-theater industry in NewYork and Chicago, many of them moved to Hollywood, California building theirown studios and working as screenwriters, directors, and producers. Yet, afterthe World War II, some U.S politicians accused Jews, particularly those inHollywood industry for being pro-communism and affiliated with communism. As aresult, some of the founders of the Hollywood industry were prosecuted andimprisoned by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in the 1950s aswell as others were blacklisted for many years after. Thus, this documentaryfilm explains how Jewish immigrants, despite the barriers of discrimination, createdtheir own Hollywood movie studious accomplishing their version of the AmericanDream. What was most interesting? One interesting point in viewing thisdocumentary is that this documentary could hint that the film industry wasstrictly created by Jews which may lead to the question which producer,director, or actor is Jewish in the movies that were made in the beginning ofthe nineteen century.
Consequently, it may provoke a hint of Anti-Semitism towhoever does any kind of critical analysis of Jewish activities in the world.The other interesting aspect is that often free-thinking ordinary people makedocumentaries, thus, I do not find illegitimate for one group to have anopinion about the traits of another group and raise the issue of Anti-Semitism.Additionally, while I believe that there were Gentile entrepreneurs in the1920s and aftermath, Jews were the ones that controlled the movies’ production,distribution, and exhibition in Hollywood at that time.
These Jewishentrepreneurs also had a brilliant sense of what the public would like to watchalong with the willingness to work hard and have a strong personal drive whichmade them advance in this industry. Overall, the interesting point that I wouldlike to make in regard to this documentary is that besides studying whoinvented the Hollywood, the documakers should be also studying their tacticshow they advanced to become the dominant ethnic group in Hollywood and learnhow to replicate them. What was most surprising? It issomewhat surprising and hard to believe that in America where freedom andrights are at the heart of Americans, many Jews immigrants were stillpersecuted for their ethnicity and other political views. It is also, somewhatsurprising that the entrepreneurs who founded the Hollywood werefirst-generation Eastern Europeans Jewish immigrants who were fortunate notbecause of their ethnicity or connected with elite entrepreneurs or immigratedalready trained to be producers or directors in the entertainment industry.Rather, they were high-risk takers who demonstrated how to manage retail andmarketing industry, while allowed themselves to believe that they could succeedin another kind of industry such film industry. What is your overall reaction to thehistory of Hollywood presented in this documentary? By watching this documentary,I depicted the following views.
First, Jews, as new immigrants wanted to befully integrated and assimilated and they did through their own movies bypresenting to American people their own perception of American values andvirtues. They portrayed American cultureby creating dreams whilst they wanted to assimilate, integrate, and acceptanceinto the American mainstreams culture. Second, while it appeared that Jews immigrants had a particular sense ofwhat a movie-goer liked to watch, they created their own movie productions toplease the American popular culture. Overall, my response to this documentarymovie is that the interest and involvement of Jews in the Hollywood movieindustry is a complex topic that brings a lot of conflicting responses.