November 07, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it an A-

Hollywood: A Celebration! would seem to be nothing but photos and the shallowest item here. It even brings on David Thomson, author of ”A Biographical Dictionary of Film” and one of the most erudite critics around, to pen itty-bitty photo captions, which is like hiring James Agee to write fortune cookies. Against the odds, Thomson turns his captions into deft, analytic haiku?that pensive shot of a young Walt Disney shows ”not just a pioneer of animated film [but] the source of a special attitude to merchandised fun, and an inventor who has changed our sense of childhood”?and the photos are not only glorious but unfamiliar enough to revivify American film history for even jaded movie fans. The shot of a feather-bedecked Louise Brooks in itself is enough to produce audible gasps. Squint just right and you may even see her move.

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