20th Century Fox Essay Research Paper Wilhelm

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20th Century Fox Essay, Research Paper Wilhelm Fried was born in Hungary of German-Jewish parents, and brought to America while still an infant in 1879. As William Fox, he would preside over a major Hollywood film studio of the teens and '20s — one destined to reach even greater heights in the '30s and '40s as 20th Century-Fox. In 1904 Fox purchased a Brooklyn penny arcade from animation pioneer J. Stuart Blackton, and with its profits soon had a chain of New York City movie houses. He began producing films in 1912, and in 1915 formed the Fox Film Corporation, which produced, distributed, and exhibited films for the next 20 years. The first stars at Fox were the celebrated "vamp," Theda Bara (Carmen, 1915; Cleopatra, 1917; Salome, 1918), rugged leading man William

Farnum (Les Miserables, 1918; A Stage Romance, 1922), and cowboy superstar Tom Mix (The Wilderness Trail, 1919; Just Tony, 1922; The Rainbow Trail, 1925). Director John Ford worked exclusively at Fox in the '20s and made two acclaimed Westerns in 1924, The Iron Horse and Three Bad Men, both starring his discovery George O'Brien. Ford also made numerous dramas, notably Cameo Kirby (1923) with John Gilbert and Four Sons (1928). Howard Hawks directed the silents Fig Leaves (1926) with George O'Brien and A Girl In Every Port (1928) with Louise Brooks; Frank Borzage directed Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell in the hit romantic dramas Seventh Heaven (1927) and Street Angel (1928). Most notably, Fox imported German director F.W. Murnau and writer Carl Mayer, who made the classic drama

Sunrise (1927) with Gaynor and O'Brien. With General Electric, Fox developed Movietone, the first successful process for wedding a sound track directly onto film. The studio's early talkies include Ford's The Black Watch (1929) with Victor McLaglen and Salute (1929) with George O'Brien; the interracial romances Frozen Justice (1929) and South Sea Rose (1929), both directed by Allan Dwan; and the Western In Old Arizona (1929), directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Warner Baxter as the Cisco Kid. Fox had been steadily buying movie theaters, and by the end of the 1920s was one of the great "integrated majors," along with MGM, Paramount, RKO, and Warner Bros. But the stock-market collapse of 1929 crippled the studio, and William Fox was bought out by a group of bankers in

1930; Sidney R. Kent replaced him as president in 1932. At the new Fox, John Ford and writer Dudley Nichols made the war drama The Lost Patrol (1934) with Victor McLaglen and the comedy Judge Priest (1934) with Will Rogers. Spencer Tracy starred in The Power And The Glory (1933), written by Preston Sturges. Frank Lloyd helmed the hit Noel Coward adaptation Cavalcade (1933), and Henry King directed Janet Gaynor in State Fair (1933). But the star who saved the studio in the mid '30s was six-year-old Shirley Temple, starting with Stand Up And Cheer (1934).In 1935, Fox merged with 20th Century, the production company of Joseph M. Schenck and Darryl F. Zanuck, which had been distributed by United Artists. The new corporation, 20th Century-Fox, had Kent as president, Schenck as

chairman of the board, and Zanuck as vice president in charge of production. Shirley Temple remained the gem in the studio's crown; here vehicles included Wee Willie Winkie (1937), directed by John Ford, and Heidi (1937) and Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm (1938), both directed by Allan Dwan. Zanuck produced numerous films in his first years at the studio, including director Ford's The Prisoner Of Shark Island (1936) with Warner Baxter, written by Nunnally Johnson; Call Of The Wild (1935), directed by William A. Wellman and starring Clark Gable; the actioner Under Two Flags (1936), directed by Frank Lloyd and starring Ronald Colman; the Alice Faye musical On The Avenue (1937); the Tyrone Power vehicles In Old Chicago (1938), Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938), and Jesse James (1939), all