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Watch Paul Mertons Birth of Hollywood online: Episode 3 Part 3

Paul Merton traces the rise of the studios through the story of MGM - the biggest dream factory of them all, which boasted of 'more stars than the heavens'. Metro Goldwyn Mayer's studio system was perfected by its young producer Irving Thalberg, the boy genius of Hollywood's silent era. The programme shows how he challenged the power previously wielded by the director of a film, taking on a much more creative role as the producer. This involved dealing with some of the most notorious egos in movie-making, such as that of flamboyant director Erich Von Stroheim. It was famously said of Thalberg that he didn't just make movies - he 're-made' them. He may have turned MGM into what Paul Merton calls 're-take valley' but Thalberg never put his name on any of his films, even the original Ben Hur or Mutiny on the Bounty - which may explain why you might never have heard of this remarkable man who did more than anyone to steer 1930s Hollywood from the silent to the sound era.

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