The Encyclopedia of Feature Players of Hollywood

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The Encyclopedia of Feature Players of Hollywood, Volume 2

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Overall rating No ratings yet 0. How to write a great review Do Say what you liked best and least Describe the author's style Explain the rating you gave Don't Use rude and profane language Include any personal information Mention spoilers or the book's price Recap the plot. Close Report a review At Kobo, we try to ensure that published reviews do not contain rude or profane language, spoilers, or any of our reviewer's personal information. At the age of 12, he was apprenticed to a store owner for whom he swept, ran errands, and did chores. He attended night school twice a week.

Zukor got paid nothing for his work, but received clothes and shoes from an orphans' fund. Learning of America from letters sent by immigrants, Zukor decided that he wanted to travel there. In , he asked the orphans' fund for money to travel to America. In , at the age of 16, he emigrated to America. Zukor stayed there for two years.

When he left to become a "contract" worker, sewing fur pieces and selling them himself, he was nineteen years old and an accomplished designer. But he was young and adventuresome, and the Columbian Exposition in Chicago , commemorating Christopher Columbus ' discovery of America, drew him to the Midwest. Once there, he started a fur business. In the second season of operation, Zukor's Novelty Fur Company expanded to twenty-five men and opened a branch. Over the years, he saved several thousand dollars.

Around age 21, he returned to Hungary for a visit. He married Lottie Kaufman, also a Hungarian immigrant, in The couple had two children, Mildred and Eugene. With his wife's uncle, Morris Kohn, as a business partner they moved their company to New York City in They got involved in running a penny arcade that featured phonographs and short movies as well as peep machines, a shooting gallery, punching bags, stationary bicycles, and candy. He built his penny arcade business, the nucleus of his cinema empire, with the money he had made from inventing a patent snap for furs. Zukor decided to get out of the fur business and devote all his time to the arcade.

He also invested in a nickelodeon theater, "Hales' Tours of Kansas City. But the loss was only a slight setback and he continued to open nickelodeon theaters with a fellow fur merchant, Marcus Loew. He became involved in the motion picture industry in when his cousin, Max Goldstein approached him for a loan. Mitchell Mark needed investors in order to expand his chain of theaters that began in Buffalo, New York with Edisonia Hall. The arcade salon was to feature Thomas Edison 's marvels: Phonographs, electric lights, and moving pictures. Zukor not only gave Goldstein the money but insisted on forming a partnership to open another one.

Another partner in the venture was Marcus Loew. Loew's and Zukor's company, Loew's Enterprises, adapted ordinary shops to serve as film exhibition halls. The makeshift theaters attracted audiences, but Zukor faced innumerable challenges in getting the exhibition rights to films. His frustrations led him to a single conclusion: He would have to produce films himself. A perceived obstacle to his ambitions was the fact that movies, or "flickers" as they were called, were very short, usually no more than 12 minutes.

Others in the industry felt that American audiences would not want to see anything longer. Zukor felt that audiences would sit through a movie for an hour or more, if it had a good story. Zukor tested his theory by buying the rights to a three-reel European religious movie, Passion Play. Zukor described the audience's reaction in his autobiography: "The scene was one of the most remarkable I have ever witnessed.

Many women viewed the picture with religious awe. Some fell to their knees. I was struck by the moral potentialities of the screen. Soon afterward, Zukor learned of a French producer, Louis Mercanton, who wanted to make a four-reel movie starring the famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt, in her successful play Queen Elizabeth.

Mercanton's project was being delayed for lack of funds. That transition was spurred by the emergence of Humphrey Bogart — as a top star in two films, High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon ; he secured his status as Warner's most important wartime star a year later in Casablanca. Bogart's value to the studio was underscored by the departure of both Cagney and Robinson in , although the rise of John Garfield — in war films like Air Force , Destination Tokyo , and Pride of the Marines also helped offset those losses. The acute reduction of Warner Bros.

It accelerated in early when Warner Bros. The Wallis deal, which committed him to four pictures per year for the next four years, signaled Warner's shift away from a "central producer" system; it was especially significant because Wallis's first independent project was Casablanca , a huge hit that gave Warner Bros.

By then Warner had moved completely to a unit-producer system, with top contract producers like Henry Blanke and Jerry Wald — as well as quasi-independent producer-directors like Hawks and John Huston — enjoying unprecedented control over their pictures. Like all of the studios, Warner Bros. Moreover, Warner's lates fade was not as severe because it was producing fewer pictures and unloading its contract talent and other resources at a rapid rate. Two especially telling postwar star vehicles were Key Largo , which teamed Bogart and Lauren Bacall b.

Robinson, and White Heat , a low-budget crime thriller starring James Cagney. More than any of Warner Bros. When the movie industry's postwar collapse caught up with Warner Bros. Conditions became so dire, in fact, that, despite a suspension of production for several months to regroup, the studio still failed to place a single film in the top twenty-five box-office releases in Deep budget cuts and personnel layoffs offset falling revenues in , when Warner Bros. The company continued to struggle in the early s, gradually and grudgingly coming to terms with an industry geared to freelance talent, independent production, and a burgeoning blockbuster mentality.

Warner's most important films at the time were produced by independents and bore little resemblance to its classical era films—as with Charles K. Cooper — and directed by his long-time partner, John Ford — Even projects involving former contract talent were distinctly at odds with the filmmakers' earlier work for the studio.

Hawks and Huston returned as freelance producer-directors in the mids, for instance, and their respective productions, Land of the Pharaohs and Moby Dick , were lavish color spectacles that bore no resemblance at all to their preceding Warner's films, The Big Sleep and Key Largo. Warner's move to "bigger" independent movie productions in the s was a matter of necessity, but its venture into telefilm series production evinced the boldness displayed when the company pioneered talkies three decades earlier. In early , Warner's entered a deal with the ABC-TV network to produce an hour-long series, Warner Brothers Presents , designed to expand three of its feature films, Casablanca , Kings Row , and Cheyenne , into rotating series, with the last quarter-hour of each program devoted to promoting the studio and its upcoming movie releases.

After the initial — season only Cheyenne remained, becoming a major hit and a watershed in network television's move to studio-produced hour-long telefilm series—especially Westerns, with Warner Bros. Television generating a remarkable run of hits from to , including Sugarfoot , Maverick , Colt. By Warner Bros. Warner's motion picture operation continued to adapt as well, turning out big-budget musical hits in the early s like The Music Man , Gypsy , and My Fair Lady , and then, later in the decade, producing several of the key films in a veritable American new wave—a "director's cinema" that redefined the independent movement and marked yet another significant break with studio tradition.

Warner's contribution to the movement was extensive and quite impressive, and it included Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? These auteur films scarcely evinced a consistent studio style, although they did manifest a coherent market strategy and a sustained effort to court a new generation of filmmakers and a younger, hipper, more political and cine-literate audience. These began when Jack Warner, the last of the original owner-operators, decided to sell his stock to the Canadian company Seven Arts, leading to the studio's brief — incarnation as Warner Brothers-Seven Arts.

A severe market slump in led to another sale, this time to a heavily capitalized, highly diversified conglomerate, Kinney Service Corporation. WCI , which he built over the next two decades into a model media conglomerate, with Warner Bros. Ross immediately brought in three new top executives to run WCI's movie division: former agent Ted Ashley as chairman and CEO, independent producer John Calley as head of production, and attorney Frank Wells as studio president.

In the course of the s, the trio turned massive losses into steady profits, thanks mainly to a few huge hits like The Exorcist , All the President's Men , and Superman , as well as a steady output of more modest successes involving Clint Eastwood b. Studio and parent company underwent further changes in the s, as Warner's steadily adapted to the current era of global media conglomerates.

Ross began an aggressive campaign to expand WCI's media holdings in the early s, and he also replaced the studio management team with Robert Daly, who became Warner Bros.

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Daly and Semel took charge of the movie division just as Ross was shifting his focus to WCI's video-game division, Atari, whose fantastic profits led to overly aggressive expansion and, by , record losses for WCI. At that point Ross retrenched, selling Atari and refocusing on more "traditional" media—movies, television, cable, music, and publishing. The studio was generally successful despite it widely diverse output, with the only real consistency coming from Eastwood's male action films, the Superman sequels, and the increasingly inevitable impulse to turn film hits into movie franchises, as with Police Academy , Lethal Weapon , and many others.

Moreover, Warner Bros. The year was a watershed for Warner Bros. One was the release of Batman , a feat of blockbuster filmmaking that effectively redefined the creation and propagation of the movie-driven global entertainment franchise. The release of Batman and the Time Warner merger took the studio, the parent company, and the industry at large into another realm, mobilizing an array of merchandising and other tie-ins.

Meanwhile, the movie studio surged to unprecedented heights, as Warner Bros. The studio's success was spurred by the Batman and Lethal Weapon series, as well as its Eastwood films most notably Unforgiven , and a steady output of top hits like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves , The Fugitive , Twister , and The Perfect Storm Designed as global entertainment machines, all three added billions to the parent company's bottom line while indicating how complex and multifaceted even the movie division itself had become.

Only the Harry Potter films were actually produced and distributed by Warner Bros. The success of those three franchises helped offset the truly catastrophic losses that accompanied Time Warner's merger in early with AOL, the Internet giant that promised to give the media company an insurmountable lead over its competitors in the burgeoning Digital Age. By then Time Warner could count on Warner Bros. Given the state of the global entertainment industry and the media conglomerates that dominate and control it, however, Warner Bros.

Both Warner Bros.