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Drama based on a true story. George Reeves (Ben Affleck) was a journeyman actor who had played a small role in 'Gone With the Wind' and appeared on screen with the likes of James Cagney, Rita Hayworth and Marlene Dietrich, but his career was not exactly booming when he was cast as comic book hero Superman in a 1951 B-movie, 'Superman and the Mole Men'. A year later, the producers of the movie launched a syndicated Superman television series with Reeves returning as the Man of Steel. The show became a major hit, and Reeves was a star at last. However, on June 16, 1959, to the shock of many, Reeves was found dead of a gunshot wound. Police soon declared Reeves' death a suicide and closed the case, but his mother (Lois Smith) refused to believe her son took his own life, and hired Louis Simo (Adrien Brody), a private detective, to find out the truth about her son's passing.
The fact-based mystery of Hollywoodland takes place in 1959, when the death of Adventures of Superman TV star George Reeves cast a pall over the waning days of golden-age Hollywood. As written by Paul Bernbaum, this intriguing whodunit effectively evokes the tainted atmosphere that surrounded Reeves' death (officially ruled a suicide but never conclusively solved), and speculates on circumstances to suggest that Reeves may have been murdered. In combining the melancholy course of Reeves' career with the investigation of a down-and-out private detective into the possible causes of Reeves' death, the film evolves into an engrossing study of parallels between lives on either side of the Hollywood dream. Building upon a distinguished career in TV including episodes of HBO's The Sopranos, Rome and Six Feet Under, director Allen Coulter finds a satisfying balance between the tragic overtones of the Reeves case and the time-honored elements of the gumshoe genre, with Adrien Brody doing fine work as private eye Louis Simo, a fictional composite character who is our conduit to the desperate yearnings of Reeves' final months.
In a critically acclaimed performance, Ben Affleck plays Reeves in moody flashbacks, caught between Superman stardom and financial dependence on his lover Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), the somewhat predatory wife of Hollywood "fixer" and MGM honcho Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins), whose mob connections suggest foul play as Simo's investigation progresses. Reeves' subsequent lover (played by Robin Tunney) may also be culpable, and as Simo's own personal life unravels, his empathy for Reeves takes on added significance. In presenting its mystery as a set of plausible scenarios, Hollywoodland holds interest as a mystery that's refreshingly compassionate toward the fate of its characters. Warts and all, they're likable dreamers in a town where dreams don't always come true. --Jeff ShannonSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Brody and Affleck give outstanding performances playing flawed but likeable characters. You want to see Reeves be a success and you find yourself pulling for Louie to solve the mystery, even though the world seems against him. The lovely Diane Lane does a great job playing the older woman. I think the real star, however, is the director who recreated the time period so lovingly and filmed with dim, atmospheric lighting that made it look and feel like an old Bogart movie. The costumes and sets, hairdos and cars, and the constant smoking all combine to make it feel real. The film is a little long, but the story, stars, and action are riveting. If you remember that period you'll really feel at home here. I enjoyed this thoughtful, character-driven drama.
Have added this to my collection of the 1950's Superman television series released onto DVD.
For those interested in the Superman persona then this is could be for you.
That exceptional ingredient wasn't there. Affleck's acting was wooden and Brody's usual flair for capturing the unusual and transmitting that persona onto the screen didn't come over as the P.I. out to prove everybody,including the cops, wrong.
Not enough of Diane Lane or the late,great Bob Hoskins which might have lifted this over-long drama.
Incidentally the actress who played Lois Lane in the 50's Superman tv series, Noel Neill, just died in July 2016.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Much better than expected.Great casting,interesting story.A keeper.Published 4 months ago by Nice_Lieutenant
This film is ok, but probably an hour too long. Its the story of George Reeves, who played TVs Superman in the 1950s, being found dead in unexplained circumstances. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Graeme Smith
This is an intelligent stylish film centred on the apparent mystery surrounding the death of George Reeves, the American actor who played TV’s Superman in the 1950s. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Call me Al
ZZZZ...there was a recent article in the London Telegraph about the mysteries surrounding the death of George Reeves. I remember the day he died. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Gil Martin
With Affleck about to play Batman, chances are this disc will never see the light of day in the US.....Published 19 months ago by D. Barnes