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The RKO Story


joyrider
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I'm sure there are experts in Film History on this board who are knowledgable on this subject. And I welcome your input.

From what I know RKO was a low budget operation but had such great craftsmen that their pictures looked much better than their cost. RKO proved what could be accomplished by a large amount of people working together. RKO became politicized by Citizen Kane & this is where the rock met the hard place. Its common knowledge Mayer tried to buy the movie to destroy it. Pressure was brought to bear on RKO from the govt. to get Welles out. A fake US Govt. situation was cooked up to get Welles out of the country after he finished The Magnificent Ambersons & with him gone - the movie was destroyed. The locks were changed & The Mercury Players scattered to the winds. But life went on. Mayer was behind the lawsuit involving The Ghost Ship & according to my knowledge, it was ordered destroyed. Mayer evidently thought he was the model for the insane captain. After the war just about every RKO picture had a Democrat good guy vs. a Republican bad guy. They used these incidents as story subplots. 3 years of this & another plot was hatched & thru Howard Hughes takeover RKO was destroyed forever.

I saw Criminal Court 1946 yesterday & it had a subplot of a hidden camera film showing criminal Republican activity & they were trying to convince Tom Conway to destroy the film. Sound familiar? The film showed a guy giving an envelope of money to a vice squad cop. It was produced by Martin Mooney who made a similar movie at PRC called Crime Inc. in 1945. They used a film in that movie.

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I know TCM has aired CRIMINAL COURT before, but yesterday was the first time I paid attention to it. I liked it so much that I searched Tom Conway's filmography to see what other crime films he made at RKO (besides the Falcon entries).

 

I agree that this was a very well-made B-film. Every comment posted about it on the IMDB gives it a thumbs up.

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>A fake US Govt. situation was cooked up to get Welles out of the country after he finished The Magnificent Ambersons & with him gone - the movie was destroyed.

 

The movie wasn't destroyed. It was released. I've seen it a couple of times. But it is so boring with nothing but talk, talk, talk, and all the talk was boring. The star of the movie was the fancy stairway to the second floor.

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Ok Fred - film expert - on the spot. according to such and such

 

"Welles lost control of the editing of The Magnificent Ambersons to [RKO|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RKO|RKO], and the final version released to audiences differed significantly from his rough cut of the film. More than an hour of footage was cut by the studio, which also shot and substituted a happier ending. Although Welles's extensive notes for how he wished the film to be cut have survived, the excised scenes were lost."

 

The scenes weren't "lost" ... I mean they didn't drop out of somebodys pocket on the subway. They were burnt. What I said "Destroyed" proving Fred Flintstone needs to go back to Stone Age college & leave this board to people who know the facts.

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> {quote:title=joyrider wrote:}{quote}I'm sure there are experts in Film History on this board who are knowledgable on this subject. And I welcome your input.

 

> {quote:title=joyrider wrote:}{quote}What I said "Destroyed" proving Fred Flintstone needs to go back to Stone Age college & leave this board to people who know the facts.

 

If that's how you "welcome" input, you need to read the flame war thread.

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Input does not mean calling me a liar - especially when the fact was common knowledge. People get up here & think they own the joint. Nobody "Owns" TCM board. (except TCM) :)

 

I'll elaborate. Louis B. Mayer was a Republican Party Big Shot. When Citizen Kane was made he blew his top & used his connections in the Govt to get Welles kicked out. First he tried to buy Citizen Kane intending to burn it. When that didn't work, they cooked up some phony scheme in 1942 whereby Welles great talent was needed in Brazil to make a film. & Welles fell for it & as soon as he left Mayer had his people pressure RKO into destroying Magnificent Ambersons. Not satisfied with that Mayer had his people cook up a phony plagiarism lawsuit against RKO & The Ghost Ship in 1943 - which resulted in a verdict the film had to be destroyed. Not content with that, Mayer brought in the Feds to cook up a phony communism situation in 1947. All this because the GOP could not get elected.

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Vanity Fair

January 2002

 

*Magnificent Obsession*

One of the great tragedies in cinematic history was the fate of Orson Welles?s 1942 epic, The Magnificent Ambersons, which was cut, reshot, and mutilated by studio functionaries while its visionary director was working on another project in Brazil. Sixty years on, the 132 minutes of the original version - if indeed they exist - are still the holy grail of certain film buffs. The author follows the making, and unmaking, of a movie that Welles believed was the death of his Hollywood career.

by David Kamp

 

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/classic/features/magnificent-obsession-200201

 

Everything I've read about the film points to poor audience reception being the reason for the editting and reshoots. That's Robert Wise's story and no one should have any reason to doubt it.

 

I don't understand why Louis B. Mayer keeps being mentioned here. And I wonder if you think the "fake gov't situation cooked up" at that time was responsible for gettting Walt Disney to send many of his filmmakers to South America too? Making pro-American war era propaganda was far from being a "fake gov't situation" in 1941/1942.

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For those interested in learning more about the history of RKO studios, film professor, historian and author, Rick Jewell, has a new book on the studio.

 

This is in addition to Rick's original history of the studio, The RKO Story, the new book is:

 

RKO Radio Pictures: A Titan is Born and both are well worth reading.

 

If you live in the City of Angels, Rick is giving a presentation on RKO at the Academy's Pickford Center's Linwood Dunn theater next Tuesday, Sept. 18th. After his presentation, there will be a screening of *Bachelor Mother*

 

And it was Nelson Rockefeller, not Louis B. Mayer, who wanted Welles to travel to South America on that propaganda mission. (And Rockefeller was also behind Walt Disney and his animators going to South America on another propaganda mission as well).

 

RKO had a serious vault fire in the 1950s and the fire destroyed the negatives to various RKO films, including *Citizen Kane*. It's possible that the negative to the original ending of *Ambersons* was lost in that fire.

 

Edited by: lzcutter on Sep 11, 2012 8:32 PM

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lzcutter,

 

That book sounds fascinating.

 

YouTube has an excerpt from the documentary The RKO Story (made from Jewell's first book, I assume) that describes the film Welles went to South America to make:

 

http://tinyurl.com/9j76zq4

 

"What's it about ?" asked the press upon his arrival in Brazil . . . "Ask me again in 6 months, " he replied.

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Louis B. Mayer used his GOP connections to get Rockefeller involved. I am sure Welles would not have accepted a Mayer offer to voluntarily leave the country & allow his film to be destroyed. I don't claim to be an expert on this sordid affair. Mayer was completely insane from the 20's & like J. Edgar Hoover was allowed to be in his job too long. Just look at any picture of Mayer. A real sicko perv. It is rumored MGM had holes in walls thru which actresses could be watched undressing. Hughes another right wing wacko sold the films & allowed the credits to be chopped up.

If you look at RKO pictures you'll see lots of Mayer type characters. & also fat nosy women with big hats = Hedda & Louella. Hollywood was loaded with parasites in positions of power who used their influence in insideous ways. Mayer was jealous of RKO. That is the element that can drive a human being to do incredibly bad things. Like create a blacklist. He was obsessed upon destroying RKO. MGM had alot of money but somehow made so many bad movies. An MGM movie is always stars in search of a story. Like Mayer, Hoover was jealous of Melvin Purvis. Mayer was so insane that employees were petrified of having to deal with him. MGM was an insane asylum.

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I strongly advise you to not buy the RKO Story book. These books are written to wallpaper over the truth. What I told you cannot be written in a book. The authors are hired to give a candy coated version of the events. Its your money - you are free to use it anyway you want. But don't expect to get the story I told you.

One other movie I left out that was destroyed: "All That Money Can Buy" The original credits are "Lost" as in burnt. Not "Lost" as in fell out of your pocket. Although the movie has been restored, it took 60 years to do so & still is missing the credits. .

RKO had so many great people working for them that they were clearly the best studio in Hollywood. And the Studio owned movie palaces in every major city.

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