Out There

Reviews and reports from SXSW Film and Interactive 05

Out There


D: Barry Avrich

Documentary Feature Spotlight

The Last Mogul charts the rise of the late Lew Wasserman, the MCA and Universal Pictures head who started out selling candy in a burlesque house at age 12 and went on to become "the most powerful man in Hollywood." Peppered as it is with connections to mobsters, U.S. presidents, and, of course, movie stars, and with its colorful lineup of interviews (ranging from Michael Ovitz to Jimmy Carter), it's easy to forget that The Last Mogul is simply the story of a businessman. The wheeling and dealing that went into bringing us all those Hollywood classics proves fascinating, but the doc's most interesting segments recount how Wasserman forged Hollywood's connections to Washington, D.C., making the entertainment industry the influential force it is today. Radio-Television-Film students avoiding those enormous packets of reading material detailing the business side of the industry will certainly appreciate this film, as will those speculating about how the hell people like Arnold Schwarzenegger get to be governor.

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