The 50 MGM Films That Transformed Hollywood: Triumphs, Blockbusters, and Fiascos

The 50 MGM Films That Transformed Hollywood: Triumphs, Blockbusters, and Fiascos

by Steven Bingen
The 50 MGM Films That Transformed Hollywood: Triumphs, Blockbusters, and Fiascos

The 50 MGM Films That Transformed Hollywood: Triumphs, Blockbusters, and Fiascos

by Steven Bingen

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Overview

Movies don’t exist in a vacuum. Each MGM movie is a tiny piece of a large, colorful (although often black-and-white) quilt, with threads tying it into all of the rest of that studio’s product, going forward, yes, but also backward, and horizontally, and three-dimensionally across its entire landscape. Not necessarily a “best of” compilation, this book discusses the films that for one reason or another (and not all of them good ones) changed the trajectory of MGM and the film industry in general, from the revolutionary use of “Cinerama” in 1962’s How the West Was Won to Director Alfred Hitchcock’s near-extortion of the profits from the 1959 hit thriller North by Northwest.And there are the studio’s on-screen self-shoutouts to its own past or stars, in films like Party Girl (1958), the That’s Entertainment series, Garbo Talks (1984), Rain Man (1955), and De-Lovely (2004), or the studio’s acquisition of other successful franchises such as James Bond. But fear not—what we consider MGM’s classic films all get their due here, often with a touch of irony or fascinating anecdote. Singin' in the Rain (1952), for example, was in its day neither a financial blockbuster nor critically acclaimed but rather an excuse for the studio to reuse some old songs it already owned. The Wizard of Oz (1939) cost almost as much to make as Gone With the Wind (also 1939) and took ten years to recoup its costs. But still, the MGM mystique endures. Like the popular Netflix series The Movies that Made Us, this is a fascinating look behind the scenes of the greatest—and at times notorious—films ever made.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493067008
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 11/01/2022
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 389,733
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Steven Bingen is an author, archivist, lecturer, and Hollywood insider who has written or contributed to dozens of books, articles, and documentaries regarding popular culture, film history, and in particular, Hollywood's physical past, including MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot, Warner Bros.: Hollywood's Ultimate Backlot, Paramount: City of Dreams, and recently, Hollywood’s Lost Backlot: 40 Acres of Glamor and Mystery. He lives in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction ix

The Fifty!

1 He Who Gets Slapped (1924) 1

2 Greed (1924) 7

3 The Big Parade (1925) 14

4 Putting Pants on Philip (1927) 19

5 White Shadows in the South Seas (1928) 25

6 The Broadway Melody (1929) 31

7 Hallelujah (1929) 37

8 Freaks (1932) 41

9 Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) 47

10 Grand Hotel (1932) 52

11 Dancing Lady (1933) 57

12 The Good Earth (1937) 63

13 Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) 69

14 The Wizard of Oz (1939) 75

15 Gone with the Wind (1939) 80

16 Puss Gets the Boot (1940) 86

17 Mrs. Miniver (1942) 92

18 Song of Russia (1944) 97

19 Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) 103

20 The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) 108

21 On the Town (1949) 113

22 Battleground (1949) and 23. The Red Badge of Courage (1951) 119

24 Singin' in the Rain (1952) 129

25 The Blackboard Jungle (1955) 135

26 Forbidden Planet (1956) 140

27 Jailhouse Rock (1957) 145

28 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) 151

29 Ben-Hut: A Tale of the Christ (1925) and 30. Ben-Hur (1959) 156

31 North by Northwest (1959) 164

32 How the West Was Won (1962) 170

33 Dr. No (1963) 176

34 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968) 183

35 Doctor Zhivago (1965) 195

36 Blow-Up (1966) 200

37 How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) 205

38 The Dirty Dozen (1967) 210

39 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 217

40 Shaft (1971) 222

41 Hollywood: The Dream Factory (1972) 228

42 The Phantom of Hollywood (1974) 233

43 That's Entertainment! (1974) 243

44 Rocky (1976) 250

45 Coma (1978) 257

46 Heaven's Gate (1980) 261

47 Hero at Large (1980), Being There (1979), or The Formula (1980) 268

48 Pennies from Heaven (1981) 277

49 Running Scared (1986) 284

50 Get Shorty (1995) 290

Appendix: Fifty More Times the Lion Roared 295

Notes 319

Selected Bibliography 323

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