At the dawn of the 20th Century, immigrant entrepreneur Carl Laemmle looks to cash in on America's growing fascination with moving pictures; but as he starts to build an industry, he comes up against a powerful cartel headed by Thomas Edison.
Edison's stranglehold on the moving picture industry forces Laemmle and his band of renegade filmmakers to flee to Cuba, but not before he signs a promising young actress named Mary Pickford.
To outdo his rivals, Laemmle builds a massive film factory in Hollywood called Universal City.
As Hollywood goes from a dusty farm town to a bustling metropolis, the balance of power shifts in favor of the stars; titans like Paramount's Zukor are now forced to pay huge contracts to top actors to keep them happy.
By 1925, Zukor's Paramount Pictures, Laemmle's Universal Pictures, and Mayer's MGM are some of the most profitable businesses in the country.
The Warners' film "The Jazz Singer" proves to the world that "talkies" are here to stay.
James M. Reilly
Eve Leo Fox
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