IT’S A GOLDWYN PICTURE. part 1

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He might have said,

“Our comedies are not to be laughed at”, or

“I was always an independent even when I had partners”,

but he did say, “I have always felt that on the writer hinges the true quality of any picture, no matter who the producer,the director or the stars.”

Yes, SAMUEL GOLDWYN (1879-1974)  was known as ‘Mr. Malaprop’, but it is more likely that his press agents and others dreamed up the Goldwynisms that have come down through the years.

This is a man whose name still remains part of the biggest studio of them all, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; who became an independent producer as far back as 1923; who survived 30 years as an independent  producer,making only a few A class films a year; who hired people like William Wyler,Bette Davis,Ben Hecht,Laurence Olivier; and who gave us one of the most unforgettable films of the classic era, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES.

 

It was Goldwyn’s studio who originated the Lion logo and ‘Ars Gratia Artis”, as can be seen below.

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When MGM was formed, they didn’t seem too bothered about creating their own logo, and simply took over Goldwyn’s!

(In 1924 Marcus Loewe, who owned a chain of cinemas, had  acquired Goldwyn Pictures and merged it into his own Metro Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Pictures. I’ve often wondered why Sam Goldwyn’s  name  was left in the new MGM title. Goldwyn had no role in MGM.)

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Along with Mary Pickford , Walt Disney and other independent producers, he challenged the big studios monopolising cinema chains. He was prepared to hire halls and auditoriums when the cinema chains refused his terms – he wanted a percentage of sales as well as a flat rental .

Goldwyn had been fighting the big studios over rental arrangements since the 1920s. Finally, in 1948, the US Justice Dept. said,

“If all the theatres they now have continue to be controlled  by the big five companies, the independent producers will find it difficult to get screens for their product.”

The ‘US v Paramount Pictures et al  ‘Supreme Court decision  forced  the studios to sell off their theater  chains.

It’s interesting to note that Goldwyn released 30 films in the 1930’s, 17 in the 1940s, and only 6 in the 1950’s.

This was a man who opted out of the studio system and succeeded more than anyone else. Even David Selznick couldn’t match Goldwyn’s    30 years of film making.

He really was the greatest independent producer of motion pictures.

Below are some illustrations of his film successes.

 

 

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Samuel Goldwyn and his wife

 

 

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