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Just Making Movies : Company Directors on the Studio System - Ronald L. Davis

Just Making Movies

Company Directors on the Studio System

Paperback Published: 14th April 2017
ISBN: 9781578066919
Number Of Pages: 239

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From the late 1930s to the mid-1950s, five big movie studios-Paramount, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century-Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), and RKO-dominated Hollywood's film industry. This "big studio system" operated primarily as a series of assembly-line production factories. Ideally, each churned out fifty-two movies a year, enough to supply showcase theaters across the country with a new lineup each week-with profit being the overriding goal.

Of this era, veteran screenwriter Julius Epstein (Casablanca) said: "It was not called the motion picture industry for nothing. [It] was like working at belts in a factory."

Studios assigned the majority of the lower-tier screenplays to directors under long-term contract and expected them to stick to the script and keep productions within the budget. These filmmakers, known as "house directors," often made films quickly, inexpensively, and with limited resources. Just Making Movies: Company Directors on the Studio System collects twelve interviews with house directors from this era, all conducted by the author during the 1980s. These previously unpublished interviews provide a clear picture of how the big studio system operated, as told by those who knew it best.

Despite limitations, house directors sometimes made enduring film classics, such as Charles Walters's Easter Parade, Henry Koster's The Bishop's Wife, George Sidney's The Three Musketeers, and Vincent Sherman's The Hasty Heart. In these interviews the filmmakers talk candidly about working with such superstars as Joan Crawford, Errol Flynn, Richard Burton, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Cary Grant, Esther Williams, and Lana Turner.

Henry Koster : more lovable than toughp. 3
Irving Rapper : from the dramatic stagep. 27
Charles Walters : the dancing directorp. 41
George Sidney : son of an entertainment executivep. 61
Vincent Sherman : actor turned writer turned directorp. 83
Michael Gordon : leftist intellectualp. 103
Frederick De Cordova : fast enough for television productionp. 125
Henry Hathaway : stern taskmasterp. 139
Joseph Newman : the realization of a boyhood dreamp. 155
Arthur Lubin : comedy and campp. 173
Gordon Douglas : short-changed filmmakingp. 191
Budd Boetticher : struggling for equalityp. 205
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781578066919
ISBN-10: 1578066913
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 239
Published: 14th April 2017
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.71 x 15.34  x 1.85
Weight (kg): 0.42