martes, 25 de enero de 2011

Universal Studios History

The universal precursor of the Yankee Film Company was founded in 1909. Its founder, Carl Laemmle, was an immigrant from Alsace which had run a clothing store in Wisconsin. Laemmle became interested in the movie business, when on a trip he made in 1905 to found the niquelodeons Chicago. Although it took a while, the brothers convinced Laemmle Stern (Abe and Julius) to partner with him and create the production.

The main problem was that Edison, which was founded in 1908, the Motion Picture Trust, controlled virtually all patents in the industry (especially the patent was the electric motor used in cameras and projectors and also monopolized the market for display and distribution films used in niquelodeons. Laemmle and his partners, Stern found a way to overcome this obstacle.

The Yankee Film Company should be associated with other small businesses autonomous independent association that brought together, to face the giant with certain guarantees, and so was created in 1911 called the Independent Moving Picture Company, whose main goal was the universal interchange of movies. In this partnership joined several companies and the number of partners was gradually thickening: Mark Dintinfass, Charles Baumann, Adam Kessel and Pat Powers, among others. Over time, little by little, Laemmle would buy their parts and getting rid of them.

Laemmle used two weapons to impose their signature and address Edison allowed officers to buy on credit (Edison, no) and I think what we now know as the star-system is still in force. The thing is simple, if your movie stars involved with hook to attract viewers to the cinemas. (However, at that time the star-system was more fierce. The stars signed exclusive contracts with studios, which meant they could only work for another study if the company that owned the ceding or if the acquired was willing to pay the costs of the termination of his contract, which used to be very high).

When California began to attract producers who fled Eastern Edison's pressure and sought facilities (land at great price, etc.). Laemmle was one of the pioneers who embarked on the adventure. Founded the Universal City, a town itself with its own mayor, police, etc.., Intended to house the staff who work in their movies: actors, props, electricians, decorators, makeup artists, musicians, writers, etc. To do this, Laemmle bought the old Taylor Ranch (430 km ² of orange and grasses) situated in the middle of nowhere. Was near, then, a small city of Los Angeles (city came originated from a small town founded in the eighteenth century and the Spanish had named).

Laemmle was, unknowingly, one of the architects of the future Hollywood. Soon, other pioneers like him come, ready to take full advantage (climatic and economic) that California offered and built their studies in the vicinity of Laemmle:

the 4 brothers Warner (Albert, Harold, Jack and Sam) - founders of Warner Brothers Studios, also known as Warner Bros in 1923
The Cohn brothers (Harry and Jack - founders of the company forerunner of what today is Columbia Pictures.
Adolph Zukor - Founder of Paramount Pictures.
Samuel Goldfish and Selwyn brothers (Edgar and Archibald - the company founded in 1916, the forerunner of what is now the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
William Fox - founder of the predecessor company of today is the 20th Century Fox
Many of these pioneers, as Laemmle himself, were Jewish, though, this is a fact often not highlighted. Most historians are cured in health and avoid being branded as anti-Semitic or projudios. However, without going into ratings, this is an undeniable objective fact. The parents of Hollywood, the vast majority were Jews (although in his films there is no reference to this, because they are the creators of so-called American way of life).

Despite being a pioneer as far as the creation of Hollywood is concerned, in relation to the production of films, Laemmle was very cautious and did not have enough foresight or guts to take the risk that the company needed. Laemmle was not willing to borrow, so that only financing those films that could be tackled. With this policy, he specialized in westerns, serials and low-budget melodramas (series B). To this is added the fact that Laemmle, unlike its competitors, Adolph Zukor, William Fox and Marcus Loew, was not provided in a chain of showrooms own, having to settle for placing their films in small towns. All these issues made the Universal were to become a second study.

Laemmle not take this vision of a promising young producer who worked for him in the early 20's, a guy named Irving Thalberg. Thalberg, in 1923, given the lack of boldness of his boss, chose to leave the studio and start a new project on the other hand, studies of Louis B. Mayer (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer).

In 1928, the study gave their son, Carl Laemmle, Jr., as a birthday gift. Carl Junior, thanks to the courage that gives youth, questioned the conservative policies of his father and decided it was time to make changes. Updated the study in all that his father had missed: He created his own distribution network and funded quality films with larger budgets.

Laemmle's efforts paid off very soon, despite his youth, no one could dispute that. Numerous blockbuster movies and some award-winning films, had already endorsed:

1929 - Show Boat (1929). A musical!, One of the early talkies of the study.

1930 - The King of Jazz (King of jazz). Another musical. Has gone down in history as the first film to use color, technicolor in an animated sequence (sequence created by Walter Lantz). The film won the Oscar for Best Art Direction (Herman Rosse) in the 3rd Academy Awards held at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on November 5, 1930.

1930 - All Quiet on the Western Front (All quiet on the western front). In the same third ceremony of the Oscar he won two Oscars: Best Film and Best Director (Lewis Milestone) and was nominated in two other categories: Best Cinematography (Arthur Edeson) and Best Screenplay (George Abbott, Maxwell Anderson Del Andrews). In addition, Carl Laemmle Jr. won the Medal of Honor awards Photoplay and Lewis Milestone film won the Kinema Jumpo Japan, for Best Director of a foreign language film.

1934 - Imitation of Life (Imitation of Life). Chose three awards at the seventh Academy Awards ceremony held at the Biltmore Hotel on February 27, 1935: Best Picture, Best Sound (Theodore Soderberg) and Best Assistant Director (Scott R. Beal). Finally, none failed.
Carl Junior, in parallel, during this period, he also opted for the so-called horror movies or Universal Horror Horror at Universal, who provided bulky box office receipts. At this time, the Universal rolled what today are classics of the genre:

1931 - Frankenstein (1931) (also translated as Dr. Frankenstein.
1931 - Dracula (1931) (Dracula) by Tod Browning.

1933 - The Invisible Man (1933) (The invisible man). James Whale, the director, his work was rewarded with a Special Mention at the International Film Festival in Venice.

1935 - The Bride of Frankenstein (Bride of Frankenstein). The department director of the Universal Sound, Gilbert Kurland, was nominated for Oscar (Eighth ceremony on March 5, 1936 at the Biltmore Hotel).
But really, Jr. Carl's actions were very risky, and when he did the remake of Show Boat (1935) insisted to the eyebrows. So much so that when he could not cope with the debts, the bank took the study, leaving the Laemmle out of business.

Without Carl Jr., the study turned to a gray period. He turned to westerns and melodramas and only second-rate movies from a teen singer Deanna Durbin, providing income to the study. Are films like:

1936 - Three imps (Three smart girls). At the same ceremony in 1937, this film was also nominated in three categories: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (Adele Comandini) and Best Sound (Homer G. Tasker).

1937 - Men and a Girl (One hundred men and a girl). The soundtrack was nominated for an Oscar (which went to the sound department director of the Universal Charles Previn at the ceremony held at the Biltmore Hotel on 10 March 1938. He was also nominated in four other categories: Best Picture , Best Original Screenplay (Hanns Kräly), Best Editing (Bernard W. Burton) and Best Sound (Homer G. Tasker, his second Oscar)

1938 - Queen fourteen (That Certain Age). She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Sound (Bernard B. Brown), at the ceremony number 11 of the Oscar on February 23, 1939 at the Biltmore Hotel.
In this period there are some honorable exceptions such as My Man Godfrey (My Man Godfrey), 1936. Nominated for six Oscars in the September edition of the same held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on March 4, 1937. The nominations were in the following categories: Best Director (Gregory La Cava), Best Screenplay (Eric Hatch and Morrie Ryskind), Best Actor (William Powell, Best Actress (Carole Lombard), Best Supporting Actor (Mischa Auer) and Best Actress sharing (Alice Brady)

The low-budget movies continued during the World War II, but the study was kept safe thanks to Abbott and Costello.

Universal head trying to get teamed up with Walter Wanger and co-produced several films of Fritz Lang, but Universal's participation was very small.

In 1945, the British producer J. Arthur Rank bought a quarter of the shares of Universal, to enter the U.S. market. A year later, 1946, Rank agreed with William Goetz, the founder of the International Pictures and the two companies merged, leading to a Universal-International Pictures. At first, this new impulse came and there were indeed major titles such as:

Outlaws. (The Killers, 1946) Robert Siodmak Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner.
The Egg and I (The Egg and I, 1947) by Chester Erskine with Claudette Colbert.
The Naked City (The Naked City, 1948) by Jules Dassin.
When the actors finally, by law, can control their destiny, The Universal signed an agreement with the broker Lew Wasserman of the Music Corporation of America (MCA), and hires James Stewart. The contract is set that the actor be charged as compensation for benefits a quarter of what he earns the study (after deduction of expenses) with your movies. The success of Winchester 73 (Winchester '73, 1950) by actor Anthony Mann became a wealthy man. Furthermore, the Universal exquisite actor was dispensed to an advertising campaign priceless. He drew attention to the stars, that since that time, saw this study as a good place to work. The CSF was placed into the studio to many of their constituents, including: Doris Day, Lana Turner and Cary Grant. It was expected that the company tried to gain real control of the production, it would not arrive until long afterwards.

In 1952, Goetz lost his patience and interest to maintain its association with Universal, as this continued her cautious behavior (moderate budgets, not to risk too much). Goetz sold his share to Milton Rackmil with Decca Records which takes control of the company, thus losing his chance MCA.

In the late 50's, Universal was in crisis. The disappearance of its chain of showrooms, which was forced to close, coupled with the pressure of television, were seriously injured.

However, thanks to the intervention of the MCA, it was the television that gave him some of the oxygen it needed to Universal, where a string rented 360 acres belonging to the study of 11 million dollars. Gradually, the television was renting more land and modernize the studies.

Finally, in 1962, the MCA would acquire control of the study. The Universal live, from that moment, a period of splendor never before experienced (despite the efforts of Carl Laemmle Jr). The CSF pressure on their constituents to sign with Universal and the study had a cast of actors, directors and professionals of all types of first-order jump to the first division of the movie business.

The Universal experiencing a period splendor and a degree burns almost a week. Most of these films have a duration of approximately 90 minutes, to facilitate their inclusion in television programming. Although, in parallel, followed with his productions for the big screen.

At the beginning of the 70's, get the Universal blockbuster titles such as:

Airport (Airport, 1970) by George Seaton.
The Sting (The Sting, 1973) by George Roy Hill.
American Graffiti (1973) by George Lucas.
Shark (Jaws, 1975) by Steven Spielberg.
In 80, the Universal focuses its efforts on the production of television series, this does not stop to continue his big-screen productions, making blockbusters such as ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (ET The Extra-Terrestrial, 1982) by Steven Spielberg .

Eager to expand its presence in the broadcast and cable television, Lew Wasserman, MCA chief, sought a rich partner. In 1990, Wasserman sold MCA / Universal to Japan's electronics sector Matsushita Electric. This provided a cash injection, but 5 years later, not adapting to the American market, Matsushita Electric turn sold it to Canadian liquor distributor Seagram, Universal Studios to be renamed.

Hoping to build a media empire around Universal, Seagram bought Polygram and other companies. However, he soon realized that the movie business was not as reliable as the whiskey, and in 2000 sold the group of companies that had acquired and grouped the French company Vivendi, became Vivendi Universal.

Vivendi, burdened by debts, had to sell part of the Universal to General Electric, whose group is part of NBC. The new multi-faceted company (which combines film and television) was renamed NBC Universal, and now, is on track, managing to combine economic success with artistic achievement.

At present (2005), General Electric owns 80% of NBC Universal, leaving the remaining 20% owned by Vivendi, though, as agreed, the General Electric Vivendi purchase its share in 2006. In return Vivendi Universal would retain composed Decca Music Group and MCA Records group.

On June 1, 2008, there is a large fire at Universal Studios, [1] primarily affecting part office, film set, and buildings for storage of materials from the film company, located in Los Angeles, fearing its spread. Therefore, and with great haste, performed an operation in which they operate between 300 to 400 firefighters and two helicopters, fire hydrants, in order to prevent the flames from spreading to nearby forests, as well as theme park that has an immense variety of deployment scenarios. The above Fire crews acted vigorously and promptly fire was unknown reported that there had been killed or injured in this situation, but eventually ended up confirming that only 3 firefighters suffered serious consequences. Police and Fire statements in its interim time, considered possibly the cause of the accident, an electrical short likely in an area where sound effects are made, although not ruled out the possibility of an attack, given that local sources reported that had received bomb threats at the site. The latter information was eventually discarded.

Past the hour and after a hard fight against the flames, which reached 30 meters high, the focus of fire could be controlled with the result of three firefighters injured. It was further that destroyed most of what was for some shooting scenarios, including a replica wrought certain streets in New York City, a church-adapted, was used for different films, the stage where they filmed King Kong film, the square that was used in the filming of the movie Back to the future, the famous motel which was the scene of the Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho, and other sets with similar characteristics. Other things of artistic value have been lost, is a number from 40,000 to 50,000 videos and films that were cultural heritage of these studies. On the loss of film material that was heard by an officer of the Universal, that everything was liable to recover. Although the disaster was of tremendous magnitude, this did not prevent the theme park and CityWalk shopping center, which are usually entitled to visitors, locals and tourists alike, "opened its doors as they usually do. It also met with the completion of an awards show "Movie Awards" for MTV, which was not suspended, being restricted only to enter the sector affected by the fire.

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