United Artists, Volume 2, 1951–1978: The Company That Changed the Film Industry

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Univ of Wisconsin Press, Apr 8, 2009 - 472 pages
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In this second volume of Tino Balio’s history of United Artists, he examines the turnaround of the company in the hands of Arthur Krim and Robert Benjamin in the 1950s, when United Artists devised a successful strategy based on the financing and distribution of independent production that transformed the company into an industry leader. Drawing on corporate records and interviews, Balio follows United Artists through its merger with Transamerica in the 1960s and its sale to MGM after the financial debacle of the film Heaven’s Gate. With its attention to the role of film as both an art form and an economic institution, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry is an indispensable study of one company’s fortunes from the 1950s to the 1980s and a clear-eyed analysis of the film industry as a whole.
This edition includes an expanded introduction that examines the history of United Artists from 1978 to 2008, as well as an account of Arthur Krim’s attempt to mirror UA’s success at Orion Pictures from 1978 to 1991.
 

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Contents

Prelude at EagleLion
9
Gambling on Independent Production
40
The Company in Place
85
Making Them Big
117
The Studio without Walls
161
Selling Them Big
197
International Operations Part 1 Of Art Films and Great Britain
222
007 A License to Print Money
253
Life with a Conglomerate
302
To MGM and Beyond
333
United Artists Domestic Releases 19511978
349
United Artists Principal Producers 19511978
388
United Artists Collection Addition 19501980
398
Index of Motion Picture Titles
423
General Index
431
Copyright

International Operations Part 2 France and Italy
275

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Page 10 - UA's existence, its owners delivered some of the finest pictures of their careers. The premiere UA release was Douglas Fairbanks's His Majesty, the American, which was released on September 1, 1919. Fairbanks went on to produce such spectacular hits as The Mark of Zorro (1920), The Three Musketeers (1921), Robin Hood (1923), and The Thief of Bagdad (1924). Miss Pickford's best-remembered pictures were Pollyanna (1920), Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921), Tess of the Storm Country (1922), and Rosita (1923)....
Page 53 - Monsieur Verdoux. It is against war and the futile slaughter of our youth. I trust you will not find its humane message distasteful. While you are preparing your engraved subpoena I will give you a hint on where I stand. I am not a Communist. I am a peacemonger.
Page 31 - We are considering two different classes of merchandise — one of a moderate grade and the other of a much higher grade — if we take their reception nationally as proof of their real worth, which is what the plaintiffs have done in using the national figures as an adequate basis of comparison. Plaintiffs' argument would presuppose that any such merchandise, no matter what its grade, would do proportionately as well in New York as it does nationally. The economic facts of life show how fallacious...
Page 42 - This was the plan: in return for distribution rights, UA would offer independent producers complete production financing, creative control over their work, and a share of the profits. The strategy turned the company around. UA went public in 1957 and ten years later, had become the largest producer-distributor in the world. Although the other majors shifted to unit production and shared the profits with independents, UA's brand of independent production gave it an edge over its...

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About the author (2009)

Tino Balio is emeritus professor of film studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is author of Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise and editor of The American Film Industry, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

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