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Hollywood versus the rest of the world: why America won the movie wars.

We all know that Hollywood is the major player in modern cinema, with American movies dominating box-offices across the world.

Francine Stock examines this early example of globalisation, discovering exactly when and why it happened.

In the first of two documentaries about the rise and (possible) fall of this American empire, she looks at the genres that have become Hollywood staples - the thriller, the comedy, the epic - and finds their roots in Europe and elsewhere.

If you think the stick-em-up, the rom-com and the sword-and-sandal epic began life in the United States, then think again.

The French gave the world a comedian a kinetic form of film comedy, and not only did the Danes perfect the art of the thriller, they gave the world its first bona fide movie star, Asta Nielsen, who scandalised cinema-goers everywhere with her erotic dance in 1910's The Abyss (you can still catch a glimpse of it on the internet).

Once a force in the world market, Britain introduced colour to cinema as early as 1910, but its power-base crumbled during World War I.

Francine will investigate the reasons for this sudden collapse and ask if Hollywood beat the rest of the world simply because they made better movies.

Produced by Stephen Hughes.

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Is Hollywood losing its grip on the global market - or is the empire striking back?

Francine Stock asks if we're witnessing the end of Hollywood as we know it.

In the second of two documentaries about the rise and fall of this American empire, she considers whether the digital revolution will mean the USA is losing its grip on the global market.

Francine will hear from Sally Potter who made her latest drama, Rage, on a telephone and premiered it on the web, and from Tim Bevan, chair of both the Film Council and Working Title, Britain's most financially successful production company, who have a special relationship with a Hollywood studio.

Francine visits the offices of Clare Binns, who's been described as one of the most powerful women in British film, because she personally chooses which movies are screened in the Picturehouse chain that spans the country.

Ken Loach calls for cinemas to be put in the hands of the public, like municipal theatres, while Steven Soderbergh, Joe Wright, Peter Weir and Sam Mendes all agree that it's tougher than ever to make mid-budget, intelligent movies for an adult audience.

The Full Monty scribe Simon Beaufoy considers whether cheaper films means that film-makers no longer have to fix one eye on the global market, and if this will result in a return to a form of national cinema.

Ultimately, Francine discusses whether the death of Hollywood has been greatly exaggerated, as the empire fights back with 3D.

Produced by Stephen Hughes.