Friday, August 24, 2012

Paramount's Hundred Year Anniversary - Minus 50 years.

I am a little confused by the advertisements for the celebration of Paramount's 100 year anniversary.

©Paramount Pictures and © Vanity Fair - <-Click for larger image

While I recognize a few faces from a bygone era there (Borgnine, Rooney, Douglas), in most of the events around town it seems the studio has all but omitted the first 50 years of their history.  From films they are showing to the museum archive they plopped down at Hollywood Heritage (The original Lasky-Demille studio), none of the advertising has really any draw for classic film fans, which is sad, seeing as how the studio is one of the largest, oldest, and only one still operating from Hollywood.

©Paramount Pictures

Technically, Paramount was the Lasky's Player's Film Company until 1914. Their first employee was Cecil B Demille.  Their first blockbuster hit (by today's standards) was 1921's The Sheik. 1927's Wings was the first film to ever win best picture. The studio's current location was built in 1917, but not procured by Paramount until 1926.  While I'm sure this information is not lost on the marketing dept. at Paramount, I for one would think they would play on the amazingness (is that a word? It is now) of their meager beginnings to educate folks on the impressive amount of power this studio has acquired and held since the 1920s.

While doing research on this issue, I read that Paramount  SOLD OFF most of their pre-1948 filmography to MCA (Which merged with Universal in 1958) for Tv-right profits in 1955.  they kept a handful of silents and a few Sturges films, but apparently none of the studios thought these nitrate-based stocks were worth anything and those that weren't trashed or torched were left to rot in warehouses. Oh, the humanity.

© Paramount Pictures
On this poster there are only 9 films portrayed pre-1960 (you can find the whole list and bigger pic here).  Is it the rights issue?  Surely there could've been a deal worked out with Universal for this event. Or is it they think no one is interested in older films?  It seems more and more of my peers are becoming interested in classic films due to the lack of substance in current releases.  Someone's not paying attention.

©Paramount Pictures

What Paramount films and stars would you focus on for the celebration? The complete list of Paramount films is HERE.   I would like to see more Pickford, Valentino, Hope, and Swanson, just off the top of my head.  So strange that a city with so much important American history seems to have little interest in it's preservation. The movies are pretty much all we have left.  time to start acting like it, Hollywood. 

1 comment:

  1. I too, am a little confused by Paramount's marketing strategy for their centennial. There are so many great film makers from their early years - why no focus on them?

    However, you've presented a great post with some interesting bits of history.