One of the biggest and most well-known movie studios out there is Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, or MGM, known for its classic logo with the lion roaring during the opening credits – an almost expected introduction to many of our movies from the last 85 years.
MGM was primarily involved in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM founded in 1924, is known for such classics as “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind.” Which has been bought and sold countless times. Also the distributor of the James Bond and Rocky movies.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the ultimate movie studio when Hollywood was in its infancy. Sure there was Fox, Warner, RKO and Universal — but there was no place like MGM. They had the best stars, the best scripts, the best stories, and of course, the best musicals.
While many may differ with this opinion, MGM raised the bar in movie-making. The height of movie-making in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s belonged to MGM. Their slogan, “More Stars Than There Were In the Heavens” was not just a brilliant slogan, but was true.
From the end of the silent film era through World War II, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the most prominent motion picture studio in Hollywood.
THE STARS OF MGM
These stars epitomized Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. There was a certain class, style and individuality never before seen. Many lived long lives; others passed before their time.
Judy Garland (Larger than Life), Mickey Rooney, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Joan Crawford, Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra.
MGM was one of the first studios to experiment with filming in Technicolor. Using the two-color Technicolor process then available, MGM filmed portions of The Uninvited Guest (1923), The Big Parade (1925), and Ben–Hur (1925), among others, in the process. In 1928, MGM released The Viking, the first complete Technicolor feature with sound (including a synchronized score and sound effects but no spoken dialogue). MGM’s first all-color, “all-talking” sound feature with dialogue was the 1930 musical The Rogue Song. In 1934 MGM included a sequence made in Technicolor’s superior new three-color process, a musical number in the otherwise black-and-white The Cat and the Fiddle. The studio then produced a number of three-color short subjects including 1935’s musical La Fiesta de Santa Barbara, however MGM waited until 1938 to film a complete feature in the process, Sweethearts with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, the earlier of the popular singing team’s two films in color.
From then on, MGM regularly produced several films a year in Technicolor, The Wizard of Oz and Northwest Passage being two of the most notable. MGM also released the enormously successful Technicolor film Gone with the Wind, starring Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler. (Although Gone With the Wind was produced by Selznick International Pictures, it was released by MGM as part of a deal for producer David O. Selznick to obtain the services of Clark Gable. However, the film, being a Selznick International production, begins with that company’s logo, rather than the usual MGM roaring lion.)
In animation, MGM’s distributed a series of cartoons, the first cartoon in this series (entitled Fiddlesticks) was the first sound cartoon to be produced in two-color Technicolor. The Tom and Jerry cartoons won seven Academy Awards between 1943 and 1953. Along with successes like Red Hot Riding Hood, Swing Shift Cinderella, and the Droopy series, were MGM’s biggest cartoon stars.
November 2010, MGM filed for bankruptcy in Manhattan federal court and the judge has agreed to the bankruptcy motion. Now, MGM is on target to emerge from bankruptcy in 30 days. (Nov 4)
Premier Theatres has been showcasing MGM product movies for over 70 years and yes that is a long time, hence as long as people are watching movies the studios will keep producing and entertaining the world. MGM has deep roots in Hollywood and will overcome the financial challenges its facing.
We at Premier Theatres believe that the audience recognizes the importance of having true dream houses like MGM Studios. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer will hopefully once again rise, grow, and flourish. The lion will roar again, and MGM at the prospect of leading one of Hollywood’s most iconic studios into its next generation of unforgettable filmmaking, global television production and distribution and aggressively pursuing, developing and exploiting new digital entertainment platforms, That is what they do best.