UFA GmbH is a German film and television production company that unites all production activities of Bertelsmann in Germany. Its history comes from Universum Film AG, a major German film company headquartered in Babelsberg and distributing motion pictures from 1917 through to the end of the Nazi era; the name UFA was revived for an otherwise new television outfit. The former UFA was established as Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft on December 18, 1917, as a direct response to foreign competition in film and propaganda. UFA was founded by a consortium headed by a former Deutsche Bank board member. In 1925, financial pressures compelled UFA to enter into distribution agreements with American studios Paramount and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to form Parufamet. UFA's weekly newsreels continued to contain reference to the Paramount deal until 1940, at which point Die Deutsche Wochenschau was consolidated and used as an instrument of Nazi propaganda. In March 1927, Alfred Hugenberg, an influential German media entrepreneur and Minister of the Economy and Nutrition in Hitler's cabinet, purchased UFA and transferred it to the Nazi Party in 1933.
In 1942, as a result of the Nazi policy of "forcible coordination" known as the Gleichschaltung, UFA and all of its competitors, including Tobis, Bavaria Film and Wien-Film, were bundled together with foreign film production companies Nazi-controlled to form the super-corporation UFA-Film GmbH, with headquarters in Berlin. After the Red Army occupied the UFA complex in 1945 in Babelsberg, after the privatization of Bavaria and UFA in 1956 in West-Germany, the company was restructured to form Universum Film AG and taken over by a consortium of banks. In 1964, Bertelsmann's Chief Representative, Manfred Köhnlechner, acquired the entire Universum Film AG from Deutsche Bank, the main UFA shareholder and which had determined the company's business policy as head of the shareholders' consortium. Köhnlechner bought UFA, in debt, on behalf of Reinhard Mohn for five million Deutschmarks. Only a few months Köhnlechner acquired the UFA-Filmtheaterkette, a movie theater chain, for eleven million Deutschmarks.
In 1997, UFA and the Luxembourgish rival CLT established the joint venture CLT-UFA, following the takeover of British rival Pearson TV, was restructered as RTL Group in 2000. Today, UFA GmbH works as a subsidiary of RTL Group's production division FremantleMedia, formed out of Pearson TV, is responsible for all production activities of Bertelsmann and FremantleMedia in Germany; until August 2013, eight subsidiaries operated under the UFA umbrella: UFA Fernsehproduktion, UFA Entertainment, Grundy UFA, Grundy Light Entertainment, UFA Cinema, Phoenix Film and UFA Brand Communication. In August 2013, UFA underwent an organizational restructuring that simplified the company down to three production divisions. Today, UFA Fiction, UFA Serial Drama and UFA Show & Factual are the three units responsible for production. In February 2019, Universum was sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. An early step towards the founding of UFA was taken on January 13, 1917 with the creation of the Bild- und Filmamt by Germany's Supreme Army Command.
Formed as a reaction to the perceived advantage of Germany's enemies in the realm of film propaganda, Bufa's task was to make use of film for the purposes of psychological warfare. However, the plans envisaged by the German General Staff – those of Erich Ludendorff – went far beyond the creation of Bufa. Ludendorff foresaw a large-scale, state-controlled film corporation that would serve national interests. In this spirit, Universum-Film AG was founded as a consolidation of private film companies on December 18, 1917 in Berlin; the company's starting capital amounted to 25 million Reichsmark: among the contributors were the German government, the War Ministry and Deutsche Bank. The Board Chairman of the new company was Deutsche Bank director Emil Georg von Stauß. Prior to establishing the company, the General Staff had considered taking over the Deutsche Lichtbild-Gesellschaft e. V., founded in 1916. This agency, was far too much under the influence of heavy industry and, in particular, of Alfred Hugenberg, chairman of Krupp.
Hugenberg would take over UFA in 1927. Three main film companies formed the nucleus of UFA from the end of 1917: Messter Film, owned by Oskar Messter, a dominant German producer PAGU formed by Paul Davidson in Frankfurt, with the Templehof Studios in Oberlandstraße in Berlin-Tempelhof and in Weissensee; the studios were owned by Continental-Kunstfilm, whose production had slowed since 1915 and didn't join UFA. Greenbaum-Film joined in 1919, but the deal was disastrous for Jules Greenbaum who died in a mental institution in 1924. Deutsche Bioscope.
A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound. In silent films for entertainment, the plot may be conveyed by the use of title cards, written indications of the plot and key dialogue lines; the idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as film itself, but because of the technical challenges involved, the introduction of synchronized dialogue became practical only in the late 1920s with the perfection of the Audion amplifier tube and the advent of the Vitaphone system. During the silent-film era that existed from the mid-1890s to the late 1920s, a pianist, theater organist—or in large cities, a small orchestra—would play music to accompany the films. Pianists and organists would play either from improvisation; the term silent film is a retronym—a term created to retroactively distinguish something. Early sound films, starting with The Jazz Singer in 1927, were variously referred to as the "talkies," "sound films," or "talking pictures." Within a decade, the widespread production of silent films for popular entertainment had ceased, the industry had moved into the sound era, in which movies were accompanied by synchronized sound recordings of spoken dialogue and sound effects.
Most early motion pictures are considered lost because the nitrate film used in that era was unstable and flammable. Additionally, many films were deliberately destroyed because they had little value in the era before home video, it has been claimed that around 75 percent of silent films have been lost, though these estimates may be inaccurate due to a lack of numerical data. The earliest precursors to film began with image projection through the use of a device known as the magic lantern, which utilized a glass lens, a shutter, a persistent light source to project images from glass slides onto a wall; these slides were hand-painted, after the advent of photography in the 19th century, still photographs were sometimes used. Thus the invention of a practical photography apparatus preceded cinema by only fifty years; the next significant step toward the invention of cinema was the development of an understanding of image movement. Simulations of movement date as far back as to 1828—only four years after Paul Roget discovered the phenomenon he called "Persistence of Vision."
Roget showed that when a series of still images is shown at a considerable speed in front of a viewer's eye, the images merge into one registered image that appears to show movement. This is an optical illusion, since the image is not moving; this experience was further demonstrated through Roget's introduction of the thaumatrope, a device that spun at a high speed a disk with an image on its surface. The three features necessary for motion pictures to work were "a camera with sufficiently high shutter speed, a filmstrip capable of taking multiple exposures swiftly, means of projecting the developed images on a screen." The first projected proto-movie was made by Eadweard Muybridge between 1877 and 1880. Muybridge set up a row of cameras along a racetrack and timed image exposures to capture the many stages of a horse's gallop; the oldest surviving film was created by Louis Le Prince in 1888. It was a two-second film of people walking in "Oakwood streets" garden, titled Roundhay Garden Scene.
The development of American inventor Thomas Edison's Kinetograph, a photographic device that captured sequential images, his Kinetoscope, a device for viewing those images, allowed for the creation and exhibition of short films. Edison made a business of selling Kinetograph and Kinetoscope equipment, which laid the foundation for widespread film production. Due to Edison's lack of securing an international patent on his film inventions, similar devices were "invented" around the world. In France, for example and Louis Lumière created the Cinématographe, which proved to be a more portable and practical device than both of Edison's as it combined a camera, film processor, projector in one unit. In contrast to Edison's "peepshow"-style kinetoscope, which only one person could watch through a viewer, the cinematograph allowed simultaneous viewing by multiple people, their first film, Sortie de l'usine Lumière de Lyon, shot in 1894, is considered the first true motion picture. The invention of celluloid film, strong and flexible facilitated the making of motion pictures.
This film was 35 mm wide and was pulled using four sprocket holes, which became the industry standard. This doomed the cinematograph; the art of motion pictures grew into full maturity in the "silent era". The height of the silent era was a fruitful period, full of artistic innovation; the film movements of Classical Hollywood as well as French Impressionism, German Expressionism, Soviet Montage began in this period. Silent filmmakers pioneered the art form to the extent that every style and genre of film-making of the 20th and 21st centuries has its artistic roots in the silent era; the silent era was a pioneering one from a technical point of view. Three-point lighting, the close-up, long shot and continuity editing all became prevalent long before silent films were replaced by "talking pictures" or "talkies" in the late 1920s; some scholars claim that the artistic quality of cinema decreased for several years, during the early 1930s, until film directors and production staff adapted to the new "talkies" around the late 1930s.
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film studio based in Hollywood, a subsidiary of the American media conglomerate Viacom since 1994. Paramount is the fifth oldest surviving film studio in the world, the second oldest in the United States, the sole member of the "Big Five" film studios still located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Hollywood. In 1916, film producer Adolph Zukor put 22 actors and actresses under contract and honored each with a star on the logo. In 2014, Paramount Pictures became the first major Hollywood studio to distribute all of its films in digital form only; the company's headquarters and studios are located at 5555 Melrose Avenue, California, United States. Paramount Pictures is a member of the Motion Picture Association of America. Paramount is the fifth oldest surviving film studio in the world after the French studios Gaumont Film Company and Pathé, followed by the Nordisk Film company, Universal Studios, it is the last major film studio still headquartered in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles.
Paramount Pictures dates its existence from the 1912 founding date of the Famous Players Film Company. Hungarian-born founder Adolph Zukor, an early investor in nickelodeons, saw that movies appealed to working-class immigrants. With partners Daniel Frohman and Charles Frohman he planned to offer feature-length films that would appeal to the middle class by featuring the leading theatrical players of the time. By mid-1913, Famous Players had completed five films, Zukor was on his way to success, its first film was Les Amours de la reine Élisabeth. That same year, another aspiring producer, Jesse L. Lasky, opened his Lasky Feature Play Company with money borrowed from his brother-in-law, Samuel Goldfish known as Samuel Goldwyn; the Lasky company hired as their first employee a stage director with no film experience, Cecil B. DeMille, who would find a suitable site in Hollywood, near Los Angeles, for his first feature film, The Squaw Man. Starting in 1914, both Lasky and Famous Players released their films through a start-up company, Paramount Pictures Corporation, organized early that year by a Utah theatre owner, W. W. Hodkinson, who had bought and merged several smaller firms.
Hodkinson and actor, producer Hobart Bosworth had started production of a series of Jack London movies. Paramount was the first successful nationwide distributor. Famous Players and Lasky were owned while Paramount was a corporation. In 1916, Zukor maneuvered a three-way merger of his Famous Players, the Lasky Company, Paramount. Zukor and Lasky bought Hodkinson out of Paramount, merged the three companies into one; the new company Lasky and Zukor founded, Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, grew with Lasky and his partners Goldwyn and DeMille running the production side, Hiram Abrams in charge of distribution, Zukor making great plans. With only the exhibitor-owned First National as a rival, Famous Players-Lasky and its "Paramount Pictures" soon dominated the business; because Zukor believed in stars, he signed and developed many of the leading early stars, including Mary Pickford, Marguerite Clark, Pauline Frederick, Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino, Wallace Reid. With so many important players, Paramount was able to introduce "block booking", which meant that an exhibitor who wanted a particular star's films had to buy a year's worth of other Paramount productions.
It was this system that gave Paramount a leading position in the 1920s and 1930s, but which led the government to pursue it on antitrust grounds for more than twenty years. The driving force behind Paramount's rise was Zukor. Through the teens and twenties, he built the Publix Theatres Corporation, a chain of nearly 2,000 screens, ran two production studios, became an early investor in radio, taking a 50% interest in the new Columbia Broadcasting System in 1928. In 1926, Zukor hired independent producer B. P. Schulberg, an unerring eye for new talent, to run the new West Coast operations, they purchased the Robert Brunton Studios, a 26-acre facility at 5451 Marathon Street for US$1 million. In 1927, Famous Players-Lasky took the name Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation. Three years because of the importance of the Publix Theatres, it became Paramount Publix Corporation. In 1928, Paramount began releasing Inkwell Imps, animated cartoons produced by Max and Dave Fleischer's Fleischer Studios in New York City.
The Fleischers, veterans in the animation industry, were among the few animation producers capable of challenging the prominence of Walt Disney. The Paramount newsreel series Paramount News ran from 1927 to 1957. Paramount was one of the first Hollywood studios to release what were known at that time as "talkies", in 1929, released their first musical, Innocents of Paris. Richard A. Whiting and Leo Robin composed the score for the film. By acquiring the successful Balaban & Katz chain in 1926, Zukor gained the services of Barney Balaban, his brother A. J. Balaban, their partner Sam Katz (who would run the Paramount-Publix theatre chain in New York City from the thirty-five-stor
Metropolis (1927 film)
Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist science-fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang. Written by Thea von Harbou in collaboration with Lang, it stars Gustav Fröhlich, Alfred Abel, Rudolf Klein-Rogge and Brigitte Helm. Erich Pommer produced it in the Babelsberg Studios for Universum Film A. G.. The silent film is regarded as a pioneering science-fiction movie, being among the first feature-length movies of that genre. Filming took place over 17 months in 1925–26 at a cost of more than five million Reichsmarks. Made in Germany during the Weimar period, Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and follows the attempts of Freder, the wealthy son of the city master, Maria, a saintly figure to the workers, to overcome the vast gulf separating the classes in their city and bring the workers together with Joh Fredersen, the city master; the film's message is encompassed in the final inter-title: "The Mediator Between the Head and the Hands Must Be the Heart". Metropolis met a mixed reception upon release.
Critics found it pictorially beautiful and visually powerful—the film's art direction by Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut and Kurt Vollbrecht draws influence from Bauhaus and Futurist design, along with touches of the Gothic in the scenes in the catacombs, the cathedral and Rotwang's house—and lauded its complex special effects, but accused its story of naivete. H. G. Wells described the film as "silly", The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction calls the film's story "trite" and its politics "ludicrously simplistic"; the film's alleged Communist message was criticized. The film's extensive running time came in for criticism, Metropolis was cut after its German premiere, with a large portion of Lang's original footage removed. Many attempts have been made since the 1970s to restore the film. In 1984, Italian music producer Giorgio Moroder released a truncated version with a soundtrack by rock artists including Freddie Mercury and Adam Ant. In 2001 a new reconstruction of Metropolis was shown at the Berlin Film Festival.
In 2008 a damaged print of Lang's original cut of the film was found in a museum in Argentina. After a long restoration process that required additional materials provided by a print from New Zealand, the film was 95% restored and shown on large screens in Berlin and Frankfurt on 12 February 2010. In 2001, the film was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register, the first film thus distinguished. In the future, in the city of Metropolis, wealthy industrialists and business magnates and their top employees reign from high-rise towers, while underground-dwelling workers toil to operate the great machines that power the city. Joh Fredersen is the city's master, his son Freder idles away his time at sports and in a pleasure garden, but is interrupted by the arrival of a young woman named Maria, who has brought a group of workers' children to witness the lifestyle of their rich "brothers". Maria and the children are ushered away, but Freder, goes to the lower levels to find her. On the machine levels he witnesses the explosion of a huge machine that kills and injures numerous workers.
Freder has a hallucination that the machine is Moloch and the workers are being fed to it. When the hallucination ends and he sees the dead workers being carried away on stretchers, he hurries to tell his father about the accident. Grot, foreman of the Heart Machine, brings Fredersen secret maps found on the dead workers. Fredersen again asks Josaphat why he did not learn of the maps from him, fires him. After seeing his father's cold indifference towards the harsh conditions they face, Freder secretly rebels against him by deciding to help the workers, he enlists Josaphat's assistance and returns to the machine halls, where he trades places with a worker. Fredersen takes the maps to the inventor Rotwang to learn their meaning. Rotwang had been in love with a woman named Hel, who left him to marry Fredersen and died giving birth to Freder. Rotwang shows Fredersen a robot he has built to "resurrect" Hel; the maps show a network of catacombs beneath Metropolis, the two men go to investigate. They eavesdrop on a gathering including Freder.
Maria addresses them, prophesying the arrival of a mediator who can bring the working and ruling classes together. Freder declares his love for Maria. Fredersen orders Rotwang to give Maria's likeness to the robot so that it can ruin her reputation among the workers to prevent any rebellion. Fredersen is unaware that Rotwang plans to use the robot to take over Metropolis. Rotwang kidnaps transfers her likeness to the robot and sends her to Fredersen. Freder finds the two embracing and, falls into a prolonged delirium. Intercut with his hallucinations, the false Maria unleashes chaos throughout Metropolis, driving men to murder and stirring dissent among the workers. Freder returns to the catacombs. Finding the false Maria urging the workers to rise up and destroy the machines, Freder accuses her of not being the real Maria; the workers follow the false Maria from their city to the machine rooms, leaving their children behind. They destroy the Heart Machine; the real Maria, having escaped from Rotwang's house, rescues the children with Freder's and Josaphat's help.
Grot berates the celebrating workers for abandoning their children in the flooded city. Believing their children to be dead, the hysterical workers capture the false Maria and burn her at the stake. A horrified Freder watches, not understanding the deception until the fire reveals her to be a robot. Rotwang is delusional, seeing the real Mar
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is an American media company, involved in the production and distribution of feature films and television programs. One of the world's oldest film studios, MGM's headquarters are located at 245 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, California. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, Louis B. Mayer Pictures. In 1971, it was announced that MGM was to merge with 20th Century Fox, but the plan never came to fruition. Over the next 39 years, the studio was bought and sold at various points in its history until, on November 3, 2010, MGM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. MGM emerged from bankruptcy on December 20, 2010, at which time the executives of Spyglass Entertainment, Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, became co-chairmen and co-CEOs of the holding company of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; as of 2017, MGM co-produces, co-finances, co-distributes a majority of its films with Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros.
MGM Resorts International, a Las Vegas-based hotel and casino company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "MGM", was created in 1973 as a division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The company was spun out in 1979, with the studio's owner Kirk Kerkorian maintaining a large share, but it ended all affiliation with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1986. MGM was the last studio to convert to sound pictures, but in spite of this fact, from the end of the silent film era through the late 1950s, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the dominant motion picture studio in Hollywood. Always slow to respond to the changing legal and demographic nature of the motion picture industry during the 1950s and 1960s, although at times its films did well at the box office, the studio lost significant amounts of money throughout the 1960s. In 1966, MGM was sold to Canadian investor Edgar Bronfman Sr. whose son Edgar Jr. would buy Universal Studios. Three years an unprofitable MGM was bought by Kirk Kerkorian, who slashed staff and production costs, forced the studio to produce low-budget fare, shut down theatrical distribution in 1973.
The studio continued to produce five to six films a year that were released through other studios United Artists. Kerkorian did, commit to increased production and an expanded film library when he bought United Artists in 1981. MGM ramped up internal production, as well as keeping production going at UA, which included the lucrative James Bond film franchise, it incurred significant amounts of debt to increase production. The studio took on additional debt as a series of owners took charge in early 1990s. In 1986, Ted Turner bought MGM, but a few months sold the company back to Kerkorian to recoup massive debt, while keeping the library assets for himself; the series of deals left MGM more in debt. MGM was bought by Pathé Communications in 1990, but Parretti lost control of Pathé and defaulted on the loans used to purchase the studio; the French banking conglomerate Crédit Lyonnais, the studio's major creditor took control of MGM. More in debt, MGM was purchased by a joint venture between Kerkorian, producer Frank Mancuso, Australia's Seven Network in 1996.
The debt load from these and subsequent business deals negatively affected MGM's ability to survive as a separate motion picture studio. After a bidding war which included Time Warner and General Electric, MGM was acquired on September 23, 2004, by a partnership consisting of Sony Corporation of America, Texas Pacific Group, Providence Equity Partners, other investors. In 1924, movie theater magnate Marcus Loew had a problem, he had bought Metro Pictures Corporation in 1919 for a steady supply of films for his large Loew's Theatres chain. With Loew's lackluster assortment of Metro films, Loew purchased Goldwyn Pictures in 1924 to improve the quality. However, these purchases created a need for someone to oversee his new Hollywood operations, since longtime assistant Nicholas Schenck was needed in New York headquarters to oversee the 150 theaters. Approached by Louis B. Mayer, Loew addressed the situation by buying Louis B. Mayer Pictures on April 17, 1924. Mayer became head of the renamed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with Irving Thalberg as head of production.
MGM produced more than 100 feature films in its first two years. In 1925, MGM released the extravagant and successful Ben-Hur, taking a $4.7 million profit that year, its first full year. In 1925, MGM, Paramount Pictures and UFA formed a joint German distributor, Parufamet; when Samuel Goldwyn left he sued over the use of his name. Marcus Loew died in 1927, control of Loew's passed to Nicholas Schenck. In 1929, William Fox of Fox Film Corporation bought the Loew family's holdings with Schenck's assent. Mayer and Thalberg disagreed with the decision. Mayer was active in the California Republican Party and used his political connections to persuade the Justice Department to delay final approval of the deal on antitrust grounds. During this time, in the summer of 1929, Fox was badly hurt in an automobile accident. By the time he recovered, the stock market crash in the fall of 1929 had nearly wiped Fox out and ended any chance of the Loew's merger going through. Schenck and Mayer had never gotten along, the abortive Fox merger increased the animosity between the two men.
From the outset, MGM tapped into the audience's need for sophistication. Having inherited few big names from their predecessor companies and Thalberg began at once