United Artists was a unique motion picture company in the history of Hollywood. Founded by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and director D.W. Griffith—four of the greatest names of the silent era—United Artists functioned as a distribution company for independent producers. In this lively and detailed history of United Artists from 1919 through 1951, film scholar Tino Balio chronicles the company’s struggle for survival, its rise to prominence as the Tiffany of the industry, and its near extinction in the 1940s.
This edition is updated with a new introduction by Balio that places in relief UA’s operations for those readers who may be unfamiliar with film industry practices and adds new perspective to the company’s place within Hollywood.
In this second volume of Tino Balio’s history of United Artists, he examines the turnaround of the company in the hands of Arthur Krim and Robert Benjamin in the 1950s, when United Artists devised a successful strategy based on the financing and distribution of independent production that transformed the company into an industry leader. Drawing on corporate records and interviews, Balio follows United Artists through its merger with Transamerica in the 1960s and its sale to MGM after the financial debacle of the film Heaven’s Gate. With its attention to the role of film as both an art form and an economic institution, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry is an indispensable study of one company’s fortunes from the 1950s to the 1980s and a clear-eyed analysis of the film industry as a whole.
This edition includes an expanded introduction that examines the history of United Artists from 1978 to 2008, as well as an account of Arthur Krim’s attempt to mirror UA’s success at Orion Pictures from 1978 to 1991.