Sunday, August 16, 2015

Book review - "United Artists, Volume 1, 1919–1950 The Company Built by the Stars" by Tino Balio (1976)

The definitive corporate account of one of the most fascinating stories in Hollywood history - the creation and early years of United Artists. Famously set up by four of the biggest names in movies - Fairbanks, Chaplin, Pickford and Griffith - this covers it's first thirty years, struggling to survive in a cut throat industry, enjoying the occasionally success but never getting on a sure footing (it wouldn't until Krim and Benjamin came along... the subject of Volume 2).

It turned out classics from early on though - the four founders would help out but really it was people like Joseph Schenck,  Sam Goldwyn and Alex Korda who gave the company prestige. Indeed, the amount of fighting between Chaplin, Pickford and Fairbanks, it's a miracle the company survived as long as it did... but I guess it was a clarion call for independence in the oligarchy of Hollywood.

Every Hollywood studio deserves a book this good written about it.

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