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Twentieth Century-Fox

The Zanuck-Skouras Years, 1935–1965

By Peter Lev

Publication Year: 2013

This sweeping and vivid history presents the innovative studio from its initial merger to the enormous success of The Sound of Music, combining film analysis with the interconnected histories of the studio, its executives, and the industry at large.

Published by: University of Texas Press


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p. c-c

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Let me begin by thanking the Film Scholars Program, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for generously supporting my work. Sid Ganis, past President of the Academy, was welcoming and helpful; he even gave me an interview about his work at Fox in New York. To the Institutional Grants Committee and Andrew Marlowe, chair of the Committee, my profound thanks. Shawn Guthrie handled ...

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pp. 1-6

My preparation for this project began about the year 2002, when I was writing a book on Hollywood in the 1950s. I noticed that among the studios Twentieth Century-Fox had the best story to tell—huge triumphs and failures, excellent films, extraordinary characters. With a little research I found that Twentieth Century-Fox’s first thirty years covered a great sweep of film history, from the ...

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1. The Merger, 1935–1939

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pp. 7-42

In the late 1920s William Fox, founder and president of the Fox Film Corporation, executed a daring plan to take over the American film industry. First, in 1927 Fox Film bought the Wesco Theaters chain, the leading chain in California and the states west of the Rocky Mountains. Wesco’s assets also included 20 percent of First National ...

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2. Wartime Prosperity, 1940–1945

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pp. 43-101

By the first half of the 1940s, Twentieth Century-Fox had established itself as one of the three most powerful studios in Hollywood, along with MGM and Paramount; this was the same triumvirate that had dominated the late 1920s, except that William Fox was long gone and Fox Film had merged with Twentieth Century. At the Fox production studio Darryl Zanuck had assembled an impressive group of ...

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3. Peak Achievements, 1946–1950

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pp. 102-160

Fox’s profits were impressive in the immediate post–World War II period, continuing and even accelerating the wartime trend. In 1946 the studio earned a profit of $22.6 million, by far the largest figure in the young company’s history, and in 1947 profits were a still-robust $14 million.1 Both returning servicemen and home-front workers had money to spend, and they were pouring money into ...

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4. A Slow Decline, 1951–1960

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pp. 161-227

The early 1950s were an anxious time for Twentieth Century-Fox. The film-going audience in the United States dropped about 10 percent in 1951; in 1952 attendance started strong, but in the fall it suddenly dropped another 10–20 percent. The split between Fox’s production and exhibition businesses was also ...

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5. Bust and Boom, 1961–1965

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pp. 228-266

When Buddy Adler died in mid-1960, he was not really replaced as head of production at Fox. Spyros Skouras named low-budget producer Robert Goldstein as the new head of production, but he kept most of the decision-making power for himself. Goldstein had done well as the head of Fox’s London production office, but that also meant he did not have a strong power base at the Los Angeles ...

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Epilogue, 1966–2011

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pp. 267-276

The amazing mid-sixties revival of Twentieth Century-Fox continued for a few years. The studio was solidly profitable in 1966, 1967, and 1968, fuelled by hits such as The Blue Max (1966), Our Man Flint (1966), Valley of the Dolls (1967), and Planet of the Apes (1968) as well as the worldwide release of The Sound of Music. Fox television was in solid shape as well, with several hit series, including ...


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pp. 277-290

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 291-300


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pp. 301-314

E-ISBN-13: 9780292744486
E-ISBN-10: 029274448X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292744479
Print-ISBN-10: 0292744471

Page Count: 326
Illustrations: 29 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2013