Plot & Details
Old-time Hollywood director Vincent Sherman brings a glossy studio-bound look to The Dream Merchants, a two-part, four-hour adaptation of Harold Robbins' novel. The story follows the career of a pioneer filmmaker (Mark Harmon), who comes to Hollywood in the early 20th century with a pocketful of dreams and helps build the sleepy California orange-grove community into the world's entertainment capital. Typical of the Harold Robbins ouevre, most of the characters are based on real-life movie personalities: Robert Goulet's vainglorious matinee idol is a combination of John Barrymore and Douglas Fairbanks, while Vincent Gardenia's vitriolic mogul can be taken as a low-budget Louis B. Mayer. The film is rife with historical inaccuracies (Goulet is informed that the closeup has "just been invented by D. W. Griffith" as a means to convince him to sign a long-term contract assuring him plenty of closeups!), while the haircuts and speech patterns are firmly locked into the 1980s. All the same, The Dream Merchants was a profitable entry in the syndicated "Operation Prime Time" series of TV specials.