As someone who has directed variety/dance film and TV shows I was hoping that this documentary would offer much more - but it was a great disappointment for me!
Firstly, it was a 1990 French documentary (4x3), the quality of which is much to be desired. The quality of the film clips of the MGM, RKO, Fox and Columbia musicals which are included here are terrible, looking as though they were transferred from a very poor VHS tape. Poor old Hermes Pan looked mostly bewildered in all of his interviews and found it very difficult to speak fluently. There are endless aerial shots of Los Angeles by day and by night which serve to fill in the gaps where there was no other footage available. The editing was abysmal, with freeze frames at the beginning and end of some scenes, which should have been edited out or used as means to dissolve from one shot to another. There's also a lot of scratched footage of old 'Soundies' film clips of the 1940s which really had no relation to what Hermes had been talking about.
The so-called studio shots were of Paramount, RKO and MGM, and were also very disappointing. Looking down the empty streets between the sound stages is hardly riveting viewing. One redeeming sequences was flying over the Universal backlot - about the best and interesting location shot.
For younger folk who would not know any of the musical clips and stars, the stars names should have been superimposed. For many older viewers, they might recognise Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, Vera-Ellen and Cyd Charisse through the haze, but as I mentioned the video quality is so lousy, it makes you wonder why they bothered to make this in the first place. It's a shame, because Hermes Pan's story is fascinating and his talent undeniable, but alas, we did not see much of that in this documentary. At the selling price of more than £14 this was not good value for money.