Rudolph Valentino

Film on Friday

So many movies, so little time.  If you love movies, but simply don't have the time to watch them, we have an alternative for you:  come to the American Treasure Tour to enjoy our collection of vintage movie posters.  We know it's not the same thing, but it counts for something, and we have a wide array of variety in the posters we display; however, as with our music, much of it does ultimately come back to Elvis Presley.  Why?  Because he made so many top-selling records at the height of his popularity.  AND he was in so many movies!  

Elvis’ nineteenth film (out of thirty, give or take) was released in 1965 (one of three films he put out that year).  It tells the story of an American movie star, Johnny Tyrone, who travels to the Middle East to premiere his newest film. He is seduced by an exotic local, then kidnapped by a man who tries to get him to help assassinate the king. Johnny meets a slave girl named Shalimar, who also happens to be the royal daughter. Of course, Johnny frees her, saves the king, and is a hero to all.  Much of this film would likely seem familiar to fans of silent film, as it not only used the set upon which Cecil B. DeMille shot his famous 1927 silent The King of Kings, but is loosely based on the story made famous by Rudolph Valentino in 1921’s The Sheik.  A harmless film, it actually has the distinction of being a favorite among “so bad their good” movie fans.  It received a special call out by the founders of the Golden Raspberry Awards.  And if you don’t know what they are, here you go:

Paramount Pictures

QUESTION:  Which is not the name of a major American movie studio?
A). Universal
B). United
C). 20th Century Fox
D). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

So yes, the 1928 film Underworld has triggered a significant discussion since we debuted the subject last week. Talk of the actors and the director lead us quite directly to the studio without which the film would have never been produced. Paramount Pictures.  Everything and everyone has a story - and Paramount has its own. One thing people today forget is that, like all the companies that produced the cars we drive every day, the film studios often have stories that stretch around one hundred years. Paramount is one of fifth oldest film companies that remain in existence today, and the second oldest in the United States (Universal beat it out by - no kidding - eight days). 

Paramount Pictures was formed on May 8, 1912 and went by the name of Famous Players Film Company. Just about two years later they changed their name to Paramount, after a film distribution company purchased by Famous Players' founder, Adolph Zukor. Zukor contracted twenty-two famous 'stars' to work exclusively for Paramount, including such notables as Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Rudolph Valentino (these original twenty-two are still honored with stars on the Paramount logo to this day). Zukor created something of a monopoly in film - producing and distributing his films in a theater chain owned by the company. Anti-trust suits were thrown at him, which eventually compelled Zukor to break up the company. He did remain in control, though, and continued to retain many of the most famous actors of each respective era, while also embracing new technology. Talkies became Paramount's bread and butter during the late-20's and into the 30's. Fleischer's Studios rivaled Disney in their cartoon creations such as Popeye and Betty Boop.  Like all companies, Paramount had its ups and downs over the years, and has survived a number of buyouts and downsizings. In 1994, the media megapower Viacom bought them up, and twelve years later they bought out the Dreamwork's Animation Studios. Paramount continues to make engaging films to this day, all thanks to the vision of one man: Adolph Zukor. 

ANSWER:  B). United.  That's a major airline instead.