Established in 1919 by Hollywood's top talent United Artists has had an illustrious history, from Hollywood minor to industry leader to a second-tier media company in the shadow of MGM. This edited collection brings together leading film historians to examine key aspects of United Artists' centennial history from its origins to the sometimes chaotic developments of the last four decades. The focus is on several key executives – ranging from Joseph Schenck to Paula Wagner and Tom Cruise – and on many of the people making films for United Artists, including Gloria Swanson, David O. Selznick, Kirk Douglas, the Mirisch brothers and Woody Allen. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources, individual case studies explore the mutually supportive but also in places highly contentious relationships between United Artists and its producers, the difficult balance between artistic and commercial objectives, and the resulting hits and misses (among them The General, the Pink Panther franchise, Heaven’s Gate, Cruising, and Hot Tub Time Machine). The second volume in the Routledge Hollywood Centenary series, United Artists is a fascinating and comprehensive study of the firm’s history and legacy, perfect for students and researchers of cinema and film history, media industries, and Hollywood.
Table of Contents
Introduction: United Artists in Film History – Tino Balio
Introduction to Part 1 – Yannis Tzioumakis
Chapter 1 ‘One of the United Artists’: Buster Keaton, Joseph Schenck and United Artists – Peter Krämer
Chapter 2 Declarations of Independence: Gloria Swanson at United Artists, 1925-1933 – Mike Mashon
Chapter 3 Going Independent in 1930s Hollywood: Freelance Star and Independent Producer Collaborations at United Artists – Emily Carman
Chapter 4 The Tramp, the Dictator and the Knight: United Artists and the Roadshowing of Prestige Pictures in the 1930s and 1940s – Sheldon Hall
Chapter 5 ‘Look, Ma, I’m A Corporation!’: United Artists and Kirk Douglas’s Bryna Productions 1955-1959 – James Fenwick
Chapter 6 The Magnificent Seven Mirisch Companies: Competitive Strategy and Corporate Authorship – Paul Kerr
Chapter 7 An Artist Under the Influence: United Artists and Woody Allen – Michael Petitti
Chapter 8 No Shot in the Dark: Developing the Pink Panther Franchise – Oliver Gruner
Introduction to Part 2 – Yannis Tzioumakis
Chapter 9 United Artists, Fourth Quarter 1980: The Rhetoric of Hollywood Failure & Success – Justin Wyatt
Chapter 10 ‘Cruising Is A Picture We Sincerely Wish We Did Not Have to Show’: United Artists, Ratings, Blind-bidding and the Controversy of William Friedkin’s Cruising (1980) – Gary Needham
Chapter 11 From Heaven’s Gate to Rocky IV: Reconfiguring Auteurism in United Artists’ Transition to MGM/UA in the 1980s – Nicholas Godfrey
Chapter 12 The Next Step: Orion Pictures as the New United Artists (1978-1985) – Yannis Tzioumakis
Chapter 13 United Artists Films: Re-entering the Specialty Market (1999-2005) – Lisa Dombrowski
Chapter 14 From Star-Producer to Executive: Tom Cruise and/at United Artists (2006-2012) – Sarah E.S. Sinwell
Peter Krämer is a Senior Research Fellow in Cinema and TV in the Leicester Media School at De Montfort University, and a Senior Fellow in the School of Art, Media and American Studies at the University of East Anglia. He is the author or editor of ten academic books, including the BFI Film Classic on The General.
Gary Needham is Senior Lecturer in Film and Media at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of a book on Brokeback Mountain and co-editor of collections on Queer TV and the films of Andy Warhol. He is currently writing a book on the Andy Warhol/Edie Sedgwick films for Bloomsbury and co-edits the Routledge Hollywood Centenary series with Yannis Tzioumakis.
Yannis Tzioumakis is Reader in Film and Media Industries at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of five books, most recently of Acting Indie: Industry, Aesthetics and Performance (2020 with Cynthia Baron) and co-editor of five collections, including The Hollywood Renaissance: Revisiting American Cinema’s Most Celebrated Era (2018). He co-edits the Routledge Hollywood Centenary and the Cinema and Youth Cultures book series.
Tino Balio is Professor Emeritus of Film in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the American film industry, including two monographs on the history of United Artists: United Artists: The Company Built by the Stars (1976) and United Artists: The Company that Changed the Film Industry (1987). He is also the author of MGM (2018), part of the Routledge Hollywood Centenary series.