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when exactly did the studio era come to an end?


classiccinemafan
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Some say the 1950s. Others say the mid-late 60s. Which is it ?

 

My guess is it ended at around '64, '65.

 

In the 50s , there was the blacklisting. And there was the threat of Television. Studio moguls lost theaters they had. Some passed away such as Louis B. Mayer. By 1968, the studios were run by different people and old studio stuff was auctioned or destroyed. Movies changed as did the country back in the 60s.

 

Edited by: classiccinemafan on Mar 11, 2014 12:37 AM

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The studios were still producing movies well into the 1960s- think of *Sound of Music* (1965), *Oliver!* (1968) as well as *In the Heat of the Night* (1967), *To Sir with Love*, *Two for the Road*, and *2001* (1968),

*Planet of the Apes* and *Charly* (1968).

 

 

*Easy Rider* in 1969 is often cited as the big turning point and by 1971, the studios were no longer run by any of the studio era moguls -Jack Warner still produced films for WBros and had his final producing credit in 1972 with *1776* but no longer ran the studio and Darryl Zanuck, who returned to run Fox in 1962, got into a power struggle with the Fox Board of Directors and his son, Richard who was Head of Production- and Zanuck stepped down for good in 1971.

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Also, the Breen Code that had been chipped away at for almost fifteen years was replaced in 1968 with the MPAA ratings system. Jack "Boom Boom" Valenti (sorry, couldn't resist) called the old Breen Code "outdated" and thought it close to censorship.

 

In their attempts to duplicate the success of *Sound of Music*, studios went all out producing extravagant musicals such as *Star!*, *Camelot* (produced by Jack Warner), *Paint Your Wagon*, *Doctor Doolittle* *Finian's Rainbow* and *Hello Dolly!* that all landed with thuds at the box office.

 

A recession hit Hollywood in 1969 which caused Vincent Canby of The New York Times to comment, "It would be difficult not to come to the conclusion that the American film industry is coming apart."

 

While many of the classic era stars were still making movies, Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Joseph Cotten, to name a few, most of the classic era directors such as Howard Hawks, Norman Taurog, William Wellman, King Vidor, and John Ford had retired.

 

By the late 1960s misjudgment of the audiences, bad timing and especially changing tastes were taking their toll in the Hollywood studios.

 

Fox had sold their back lot in the late 1950s to developers of Century City and demolition began in 1961 but continued to face financial woes throughout the 1960s. Even the success of *The Sound of Music* could only stave off the inevitable..

 

MGM began selling their off their back lots in the 1970 to housing developers. Columbia Studios merged with Warner Brothers to form the Burbank Studios and moved to Burbank to share the WB lot. The large studio movie ranches were sold off. And in 1971, MGM, long on the ropes but struggling to survive, finally gave up the ghost and began auctioning off its history.

 

By the time *Easy Rider* arrived on screens, the writing on the wall was becoming apparent and Hollywood, which had always found it difficult to adapt quickly to those changing tastes, realized that an era and a way of doing business that had sustained the studios for so long was ending and a new and different way of doing business was beginning.

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There is no exact date, only landmarks.

 

In 1957 the MCA talent agency was able to force Fox to hire Dean Martin for The Young Lions (in a role intended for TCF contract star Tony Randall), after threatening to withdraw their clients Brando and Clift from the project. For me this is a key turning point in the power shift from studios to agents.

 

FWIW Universal continued to have contract players well into the '70s.

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Didn't many studios, in an effort to retain some financial clout, sell interests to non-film making corporate entities? I can remember movies starting with something like, "a Paramount+ Gulf Western production" and the like.

 

Sepiatone

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Mark Harris provides a great snapshot of the way Hollywood was in 1967 in his *Pictures at a Revolution*, discussing the five movies nominated for Best Picture: *Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner*, and *Doctor Dolittle*.

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Paramount entered the 1960s on shaky financial ground. The 1948 "Paramount Decree" had cost them and they had to split the studio away their theaters (1500 of them nationwide).

 

By the mid-1960s, Chairman emeritus Adolph Zukor was 93 and Chairman Barney Balaban was 77. With their age working against them in the face of changing times, they sold off their flagship building in NYC, Gene Autry bought their KTLA station and the studio was sold to Charles Bludhorn's Gulf+Western. Bludhorn took charge of the studio and brought in Robert Evans as head of production. Evans brought *Rosemary's Baby* and *Love Story* to the screen and would helm Paramount film production for eight years, producing *The Godfather* (and its sequel) and *Chinatown* in the early 1970s.

 

Warner Brothers in the early 1960s was in better financial shape but Jack Warner was feeling his age. Warners was sold to Seven Arts Productions and became known as Warner Brothers-Seven Arts.

 

Jack stayed on as studio president (which came as a surprise to his brothers) until 1967 when *Camelot* (one of his pet projects) failed at the box office. Warner remained at WB as an independent producer and studio vice-president. *Bonnie and Clyde* (which Warner hated) was a box office winner for the studio in 1967.

 

In 1969. Seven Arts sold WBros to the Kinney National Company. One of the companies that was part of Kinney was a talent agency, Ashley-Famous headed by Ted Ashley. Ashley became the head of the studio.

 

Jack Warner retired in 1972 after producing *1776*. Like Robert Evans at Paramount, Ted Ashley began turning WBrothers towards the New Hollywood.

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