Producers and Directors
The list will be added to from time to time
DeMILLE, Cecil B.(August 12, 1881 – January 21, 1959) Film producer known for his epic productions - often biblical (King of Kings and two version of The Ten Commandments thought of as a poor director for actors, although his handling of huge numbers of extras and his flair for set pieces is well known He was held to be something of a tyrant on the set. He is known for his appearance as himself in Sunset Blvd.
FREED, Arthur ( born Grossman on September 9, 1894 – April 12, 1973) Lyricist and producer. Worked with Marx brothers and was hired by MGM. Associate producer of The Wizard of Oz. Fought to keep "Over the Rainbow" in the film. Brought many Broadway performers to films and worked on their careers. His films Amercan In Paris and Gigi won Academy Awards but Singin' in the Rain may be his most famous film
GRIFFITH, D.W. (January 22, 1875 – July 23, 1948) Early director who did much to establish film grammar. Famous for his directing Birth of a Nation Intolerance. The Squaw Man.and Broken Blossoms. Quite early he was involved with Edison (as an actor) and then with Biograph Studios and Triangle Films. Later he is involved in the founding of United Artists.
INCE, Thomas (November 6, 1882 – November 19, 1924) Considered the father of the Western. Was involved in Triangle Motion Picture Company with Griffith..Built studio at Culver City which would become MGM. Died on yacht owned by William Randolph Hurst but was rumored to have been murdered by Hurst over Marion Davies
LASKY, Jesse (September 13, 1880 – January 13, 1958) Producer and founder of Paramount pictures with Adolph Zuckor. Lasky's sister married Samuel Goldwyn. Lasky, Goldwyn, DeMille and Oscar Apfel formeed Jesse L. Lasky Featured Play Company and made The Squaw Man which is considereed the first feature film made in Holywood.
LEWTON, Val (1904–1951) (RKO Pictures). Nephew of Alla Nazimova. Producer oflow budget RKO :"terror" films of the 1940's as a response Universal Studio's "horror/monster" films. Teamed with a number of directors who went on to bigger things including Jacques Tourneur and Robert Wise
PORTER, EDWIN (April 21, 1870 – April 30, 1941)
PREMINGER, Otto (1905–1986) Director of film which challlenged the production code: The Moon is Blue, Anatomy of a Murder, Man with the Golden Arm.
SELZNICK, David O. (May 10, 1902 – June 22, 1965) Oscar winning producer (Gone With the Wind RebessaWorked for MGM (assistant story editor from 1926-1928); Paramount (1928-1931) and RKO (head of production).In 1933 returned to MGM when Thalberg became ill and set up a second high prestige unit parallel to Thalberg's.Walter Wanger hired then too.
THALBERG, Irving (May 30, 1899 – September 14, 1936) Producer with a knack for selecting good material and suitable performers. Worked with Cark Laemmle at Universal until lured away to Louis G Mayer Productions which links with Metro to become MGM. married to actress Norma Shearer
TOURNEUR, Jacques (November 12, 1904–December 19, 1977) Paris born son of director Maurice Tourneur. Worked with RKO on B list pictures including the first 3 Val Lewton horror films Cat People. Walked with a Zombie and Leopard Man after which he was promotoed to A level films.
WANGER, Walter(July 11, 1894 – November 18, 1968) (original name was Feuchtwanger, but shortened to Wanger and pronounced it to rhyme with "Stranger") Producer. Along with Selznic, he replaced Thalberg at MGM when Thalberg was ill. Produced Cleopatra
WARNER (Harry, Albert, Sam, Jack (1892–1978) (original family name was Wonskolaser) Founders of Warner Brothers with the oldest and youngest most well known. Friction between Harry and Jack was legendary as was the deal made by Harry with Boston banker Serge Semenenko which pushed Harry out of the company. It caused an irrepairable rift between Jack and his two surviving (Sam had died earlier). One of their most important films is The Jazz Singer which catapulted them into a major studio. They had a huge star list (James Cagney, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford etc.). The studio was known for its gritty social films and was the first studio to take an anti-Nazi stand.
WASSERMAN, Lew(is) (22 March 1913 – 3 June 2002) Talent agent for M(usic) C(orporation) of A(merica). He supported and later was instrumental in the dismanteling the studio system.
WELLES, (George) Orson (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) Multifaceted in stage, radio and film prduction ( film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer) Welles is known for his radio broadcast of War of the Worlds which was taken as real by many and caused a panic; his stage production of a "voodoo" Macbeth and a number of feature films starting with Citizen Kane. His temperment caused serious problems for him and made it more and more difficult for him to raise money for productions.
WISE, Robert (1914–2005) Verstile director who started as an editor, editing such films as Citizen Kane and Magnificentt Ambersons. He later edited Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur's Cat People and ultimately was allowed to replace Gunther von Fritsch as the director of Curse of the Cat People His varied works include The Setup a boxing film, The Day the Earth Stood Still a science fiction film, The Haunting a horror film in the Val Lewton Traditon, and two musicals, West Side Story and The Sound of Music.
ZUCKOR, Adolph (January 7, 1873 – June 10, 1976) Established "Famous Players Company" which had Chelsea Studios in Manhattan. With Jesse Lasky this became "Famous Players - Lasky" which finally became Paramount Studios with which he remained throught his life..
The early history of films is in the NY Metropolitan area. Battles develop between Edison and his company over patents that Edison held and used to try to block other companies from making films. Ultimately Edison and several other comapnies form "The Trust" which tried to force independent producers into using their film and projection systems. There were lengthy legal battles in which Edison either outlasted the other party in the law suit or lost. Most independents could not afford the costs of the lengthy law suits. The companies which banded together to form the Motion Picture Patents Company included Edison, Biograph, Vitagraph, Essanay, Selig, Lubin, Kalem, American Star, American Pathé. A mojor distributor George Kleine and Eastman Kodak the major film supplier were also involved. The Trust was effective in stopping foreign films from coming into the US .
The Motion Picture Patents Company ("The Trust")
The Independents or "Pirates" or "Outlaws"
MINORS (POVERTY ROW) (list not complete)
INDEPENDENTS (list not complete)