Edison hired detectives to un-earth non licensed equipment on production sets and got armed thugs to seize pirate films, evict audiences from outlaw theatres and smashed production equipment of rivals who defied him. Phil Mitchell wasn't a patch on The Edison Trust. Laemmle along with Adolph Zukor who went on to found Paramount Pictures envisioned a film industry with longer films. So on the 30th April, Laemmle along with a few other independent studios (who were eventually bought out by him) formed Universal Film Manufacturing Company, now known as Universal Pictures.
|Logo's over the years|
In 1928 Laemmle made his son Carl Jr, head of Universal Pictures as a 21st birthday present, wow that's just a tad bit better then getting a silver necklace. How do you write a thank you letter for that? The business was really a family one and it is reported that at one time 70 of Laemmle's relatives were on the payroll. Carl Jr, encouraged his old daddy to bring Universal up to date and his noticeable efforts include Edna Ferber's novel Show Boat, the lavish musical Broadway (1929) which included Technicolour sequences, the first all colour musical feature for Universal, King of Jazz (1930) and the famous All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). He also created a great horror niche for Universal Horror and produced some great movies including Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy and The Invisible Man. Let the screaming and eye covering commence.
During the war Universal continued to please the public with low-to-medium budget comedies, musicals, adventures, westerns and tv serials including the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. A man with a pipe and a Deerstalker hat solving mysteries is bound to raise the country's morale.
Now in 2012 Universal is world wide and is an extremely respected film company. They have also made a huge amount of struggling actors movie stars and if it wasn't for Universal we wouldn't have Marilyn Monroe's dresses to drool over or Elizabeth Taylor's jewellery to gaze in awe at. So that's two big reasons to thank them already. Plus they gave us not one, but TWO Bridget Jones's films. What we would do without that lady in our lives I do not know.
To celebrate being 100 Universal are restoring 13 classic movies, who were chosen by a team of historians, executives and archivists. They have picked films that span every decade, from 1931's Frankenstein to 1985's Out of Africa. Other films include 1930's All Quiet on the Western Front, 1933's Schindler's List, 1962's To Kill a Mockingbird, 1975's Jaws and two of my favourites 1973's The Sting and 1959's PillowTalk. Who doesn't like Paul Newman and Rock Hudson looking yummy in suits?
All restored films are being released on Blu-ray & DVD, with several of them being shown at UCLA'S Film & Television Archive's celebration of Universal, that begins on Friday at the Billy Wilder Theatre in LA and ends on the 24th June. So if you are lucky enough to live in the area, pop down there with a big bag of popcorn and go and cuddle up to your boyfriend to watch Jaws, just don't have a bath straight afterwards, it will scare the sh!t out of you.
Along with Universal making it OK to have the pleasure of staring at sexy men for 120 minutes without being arrested, they have given us some fabulous film posters. I adore old film posters and love looking through the archives of them ie. staring at a very yummy Cary Grant.
So let's all celebrate a hundred years of Universal and sing them a big happy birthday.
It's an excuse to snuggle down and watch one of your favourite Universal films, whether it's E.T. or Pride & Prejudice (Colin Firth in a wet t-shirt, no contest).
Although just having some chocolate cake and a bag of popcorn to yourself is allowed. Butterkist you beauty.
Second Hand Rose