Goldwyn Pictures

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Goldwyn Pictures
Industry Film studio
FoundedNovember 19, 1916 (1916-11-19); 105 years ago
Founders Samuel Goldwyn
Edgar Selwyn
Archibald Selwyn
DefunctApril 17, 1924;98 years ago (1924-04-17)
FateMerged with Metro Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer Pictures to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
SuccessorsStudio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Library:
Warner Bros.
Headquarters,
U.S.
ProductsMovies

Goldwyn Pictures Corporation was an American motion picture production company that operated from 1916 to 1924 when it was merged with two other production companies to form the major studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was founded on November 19, 1916, by Samuel Goldfish, an executive at Lasky's Feature Play Company (later Paramount Pictures), and Broadway producer brothers Edgar and Archibald Selwyn, using an amalgamation of both last names to name the company.

Contents

The studio proved moderately successful, but became most famous due to its iconic Leo the Lion trademark. Although Metro was the nominal survivor, the merged studio inherited Goldwyn's old facility in Culver City, California where it would remain until 1986. The merged studio also retained Goldwyn's Leo the Lion logo.

Lee Shubert of The Shubert Organization was an investor in the company. [1]

History

Goldfish had left Lasky's Feature Play Company, of which he was a co-founder, in 1916 when Feature Play merged with Famous Players. Margaret Mayo, Edgar Selwyn's wife and play writer, and Arthur Hopkins, a Broadway producer, joined the trio as writer and director general. [1]

At the beginning, Goldwyn Pictures rented production facilities from Solax Studios when it and many other early film studios in America's first motion picture industry were based in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The company's first release was Polly of the Circus , an adaptation of Mayo's 1907 play of the same name, released in September 1917 and starting Mae Marsh. [2] [3] By April 1917, Goldwyn Pictures agreed to rent the Universal Pictures studios in Fort Lee, then having the second largest stage, and had two film companies operating at the time with plans for more production companies. The company management planned on having 12 films done by September 1, 1917, without distributing the films so as to be able to show advanced footage to the theaters. Goldfish also associated the company with Columbia University via Professor Victor Freeburg's Photoplay Writing class in 1917 to increase the company's artistic standings. [1] The company also released other production companies films with Marie Dressler's Dressler Producing Corporation film, The Scrub Lady, in 1917. The company was forced in October 1917 to switch out The Eternal Magalene for Fighting Odds , both starring Maxine Elliott, after the National Board of Review cleared the Magalene movie while censors in Pennsylvania state and Chicago city did not approve the film. Thais starring Mary Garden was released in late 1917 which was a costly loss. [1]

In January 1918, Goldfish signed director Raoul Walsh and prematurely announced it as there were two years left on Walsh's contract with Fox. With Thais being the company's second costly loss, Goldwyn decreased film budgets partly by not using theater divas to cross over to film and reducing design driven films. Instead, he relied on comedies starring Madge Kennedy and Mabel Normand. In August 1918, Goldwyn Pictures signed Will Rogers, at that time a Broadway Follies favorite, to star in a Rex Beach production, Laughing Bill Hyde, filmed at the Fort Lee studio for release in September. [1] The company purchased the Triangle Studios in Culver City in 1918. [2] [4] Goldwyn then headed west to Culver City, California in 1918; opening operations there also caused an increase in film expenses. [1] Seeing an opportunity in December, Samuel Goldfish then had his name legally changed to Samuel Goldwyn.

In 1919, Frank Joseph "Joe" Godsol became an investor in Goldwyn Pictures. [5] Since 1912 Godsol had been making deals for the Shubert organization in the U.S. and abroad. [6]

Goldwyn began looking to follow other film companies, like Loews Theaters/Metro Pictures and First National, into vertical integration. Goldwyn and the company backers were looking at renting the Astor Theatre for movie premiers. Instead, with the Capitol Theatre's financial problems in May 1920, the backer purchased a controlling interest in that theater. Shubert and Godsol, however, did not want the theater to rely only on Goldwyn films and operated it separately from the company. [7]

By 1920 in addition owning its Culver City studio, Goldwyn Pictures was renting two New York studios and operations in Fort Lee. [2]

After personality clashes, Samuel Goldwyn left the company in 1922. Godsol became Chairman of the Board and President of Goldwyn Pictures in 1922. [8] In 1923 Lee Shubert of Shubert Theater contacted Marcus Loew about merging the company with Loew's Metro. Loew agreed to the merger. Louis B. Mayer heard about the pending merger and contacted Loew and Godsol, [9] about adding his Louis B. Mayer Productions into the post merger company, which became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. [10]

Feature staff

Filmography

A 1965 fire in an MGM storage facility destroyed many negatives and prints, including the best-quality copies of every Goldwyn picture produced prior to 1924; over half of MGM's feature films from before 1930 are completely lost.[ citation needed ] On March 25, 1986, Ted Turner and his Turner Broadcasting System company purchased the pre-May 1986 MGM films (including Goldwyn Pictures films) from Kirk Kerkorian for $600 million.

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Koszarski, Richard (2004). "18. Goldwyn". Fort Lee: The Film Town. Indiana University Press. pp. 286–311. ISBN   0-86196-653-8.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Studios and Films". Fort Lee Film Commission. Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  3. Fort Lee Film Commission (2006). Fort Lee: Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN   0-7385-4501-5.
  4. "Lot History". Sony Picture Museum. Sony Pictures Entertainment. p. 1. Archived from the original on February 5, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  5. Lewis, Kevin; Lewis, Arnold (June–July 1988). "Include Me out: Samuel Goldwyn and Joe Godsol". Film History. Indiana University Press. 2 (2): 133–153. JSTOR   3815031.
  6. Berg, Scott (September 1998). "Goldwyn – A Biography". Film History. Riverhead Books (1): 95. ISBN   1-57322-723-4.
  7. Melnick, Ross (March 4, 2014). "Part One Roxy and Silent Film Exhibition". American Showman: Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908–1935 (Reprint ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 187. ISBN   978-0-231-15905-0 . Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  8. "Godsol Heads Goldwyn Pictures". The New York Times. March 11, 1922.
  9. Masek, Mark. "Hollywood Remains to Be Seen – Louis B. Mayer". Hollywood Remains to Be Seen.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. History. International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 25. St. James Press. 1999. Retrieved December 20, 2014.