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Not everybody can live on a secluded parcel of land in the Hollywood Hills. But for a long time, Shulman's potent images helped convince Southern Californians that their goal should be to live in a single-family house with a private garden somewhere -- even if it were to be built by companies like the Irvine Corp. on property a lot more than two miles from Hollywood Boulevard.

For all those reasons, the documentary operates, however indirectly, as a long proof in support of what might be called Shulman's Law of Unintended Consequences.

Shulman's best photographs undoubtedly qualify as art. But he was very much an artist for hire, and his work was in nearly every case patently promotional, as he was happy to admit. What remains out there, waiting to be tackled, is the question of what, in the broadest sense, he was promoting -- and what the runaway success of that effort has meant for architecture and for Los Angeles.
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