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
Midnight Manhunt is a 1945 film noir crime film mystery directed by William C. Thomas and written by David Lang; the film is in the public domain. The film stars Ann Savage, Leo Gorcey and George Zucco. Midnight Manhunt begins with the shooting death of a master criminal. Reporter Sue Gallagher is first on the scene, but she is soon in competition with her boyfriend, fellow reporter Pete Willis; the killer traps Sue in the wax museum. Leo Gorcey plays the caretaker of the wax museum. William Gargan as Pete Willis Ann Savage as Sue Gallagher Leo Gorcey as Clutch Tracy George Zucco as Jelke Paul Hurst as Murphy Don Beddoe as Det. Lt. Max Hurley Charles Halton as Henry Miggs George E. Stone as Joe Wells The film was known as Cheese It, Corpse. List of films in the public domain in the United States Midnight Manhunt on IMDb Midnight Manhunt is available for free download at the Internet Archive Review at Variety
Elisabeth Risdon was an English film actress. She appeared in over 140 films between 1913 and 1952. A beauty in her youth, she played in society parts. In years in films she switched to playing character parts. Born in London, Risdon was the daughter of John Jenkins Risdon and Martha Harrop Risdon, she graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in 1918 with high honours. She was cast as the lead in his biggest plays. Besides her performances for Shaw, she was leading lady for actors including George Arliss, Otis Skinner, William Faversham, she was under contract to the Theatre Guild for many years. Risdon's film debut came in England, she came to the United States in 1912, her first film with sound was Guard That Girl. Her Broadway credits include Laburnum Grove, Big Hearted Herbert, Uncle Tom's Cabin, For Services Rendered, We Never Learn, The Springboard, Right You Are If You Think You Are, The Silver Cord, A Proud Woman, Lovely Lady, The Enchanted April, Artistic Temperament, Cock O' the Roost, The Lady, The Nightcap, Heartbreak House, Dear Brutus, Humpty Dumpty, Seven Days' Leave, The Morris Dance, The Poetasters of Ispahan and the Jacobin, Fanny's First Play.
In years, she taught drama to patients at a veterans administration hospital near her Brentwood home. In 1916, she married silent film director George Loane Tucker, who died in 1921. In 1938, she married actor Brandon Evans, who died in April 1958, she was the great-aunt of actress Wendy Barrie-Wilson. Risdon died in December 1958 in St Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, California from a cerebral haemorrhage, her body was donated to medical science. Elisabeth Risdon on IMDb Elisabeth Risdon at Find a Grave Elisabeth Risdon at the Internet Broadway Database
Torpedo Boat (film)
Torpedo Boat is a 1942 American drama film directed by John Rawlins, written by Maxwell Shane, starring Richard Arlen, Jean Parker, Mary Carlisle, Phillip Terry, Dick Purcell and Ralph Sanford. It was released on January 1942, by Paramount Pictures. Richard Arlen as Skinner Barnes Jean Parker as Grace Holman Mary Carlisle as Jane Townsend Phillip Terry as Tommy Whelan Dick Purcell as Ralph Andrews Ralph Sanford as Hector Bobry Oscar O'Shea as Captain Mike Robert Middlemass as Mr. Townsend Warren Hymer as Marine William Haade as Big Sweeney, Riveter Virginia Sale as Mrs. Sweeney The film was based on an original story by Alex Gottlieb. Pine-Thomas Productions assigned Richard Arlen to star. Filming started October 1941. Arlen had made three films for Pine-Thomas, who signed a new three-film contract with the actor. Frances Farmer was supposed to play the female lead but she was put in Son of Fury, she was replaced by Jean Parker. The film was released afterwards. In January 1942 the Los Angeles Times wrote it was "one of those modest Pine Thomas affairs which might have slipped by without a ripple a month ago but which today sound like prophecy."In particular the film attracted attention for a scene where an old ship was converted into a fighter with planes on top and torpedo boats below.
Screenwriters Maxwell Shane and Richard Murphy made up this concept but Chairman Carl Vinson of the House Naval Affairs Committee proposed a similar idea. Pine-Thomas sent a copy of the film to the committee and arranged for the film to be released earlier. Torpedo Boat on IMDb Torpedo Boat at TCMDB Torpedo Boat at BFI
Aerial Gunner is a 1943 American World War II film directed by William H. Pine and starring Chester Morris, Richard Arlen and Jimmy Lydon, it was the first feature directed by Pine, who produced movies through his company, Pine-Thomas Productions. Policeman Jon Davis informs "Foxy" Pattis at his shooting gallery, that his criminal father has died. Foxy blames all policemen, feeling they harassed him all his life and were responsible for his death. John Davis enlists and "Foxy" Pattis is drafted into the United States Army Air Forces where Foxy becomes the instructor at an aerial gunnery school, he makes life miserable for Jon, now a "Flying Sergeant" student, trying to force the former policeman to resign. Despite Foxy's hostility, Jon is able to pass the course, he befriends a young Texas boy, whose father was an airman killed at Hickam Field during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Sandy invites Foxy to his family's ranch, where both men fall for Sandy's sister Peggy. After graduation, Jon is commissioned as a lieutenant and is assigned as a pilot of a light bomber, with many of his classmates now his crew.
A belligerent Foxy is not accepted as a team player by the others. During a bombing mission against the Japanese, however, he makes the ultimate sacrifice in trying to protect the other crew members when the bomber is shot down behind enemy lines; the film was announced in August 1942, being based on an idea by army lieutenant Jack Dailey, who used to work in public relations for Paramount after joining the services worked in public relations for Harlingen Air Force Base. It became a vehicle for Richard Arlen and Chester Morris, who were the two top stars of Pine-Thomas Productions. In October, Jimmy Lydon, who played Harry Aldrich in a series of B movies for Paramount, joined the cast. William Pine directed to direct - it was his first feature, although he had directed several wartime propaganda shorts. Principal photography for Aerial Gunner by the Paramount Pictures Pine-Thomas Productions unit took place over a period from October 21–mid-November 1942. Location work was done at the air gunner training school at Texas.
Many of the real AAF trainees. Lita Ward made her film debut as the main female, she was cast while the film was on location. With the assistance of the USAAF, aerial scenes featured North American T-6 Texan and Beech AT-11 Kansan trainers at Harlingen Air Force Base, Lockheed B-34 Lexington bombers; the use of operational aircraft lent an air of authenticity to the low-budget B film feature, although a number of ground scenes that were added, which had to rely on studio rear projection work, looked amateurish. The film was rushed into release to beat another film which focused on Air Force. Paramount authorised an extra $75,000 to exploit the film. Aerial Gunner had its world premiere at Harlingen Air Force Base, where much of the film is set, on 9 May 1943. Other premieres at major cities followed; the film was popular in army camps, despite being a low budget film. The critical reception was mixed, with Kate Cameron of The New York Daily News describing the film as the "most ambitious picture" that Paramount producers William Pine and William Thomas had turned out.
Bosley Crowther disagreed in his review for The New York Times. There are a few interesting sequences in it of training at an aerial gunnery school and some routine, but always pretty pictures of planes climbing up and setting down, but never do they rise above the ceiling prescribed by a normal B-film. This is a picture for the shooting-gallery trade."The Chicago Daily Tribune called it "a forthright little number well acted and directed". The Los Angeles Times called it "well acted... it is a little too grim."Pine-Thomas were so impressed with Morris' performance they signed him to a new three-picture contract which began after Tornado. Aerial Gunner at the TCM Movie Database Aerial Gunner on IMDb Aerial Gunner at AllMovie Aerial Gunner at BFI Aerial Gunner is available for free download at the Internet Archive Review of film at Variety
Tornado is a 1943 film directed by William A. Berke and starring Chester Morris and Nancy Kelly. Pete Ramsey is a hard-working coal miner who falls in love with and marries scheming showgirl Victory Kane. Victory presses Pete to fight for the position of the mine superintendent. Still unwilling to bear her poor surroundings and unsatisfied with being a miner's wife, Victory decides to climb the social ladder by having an affair with the wealthy owner of the mine, Gary Linden, unbeknownst to her faithful husband. A ferocious tornado hits the town and the mine, putting everyone's lives in danger. Chester Morris as Pete Ramsey Nancy Kelly as Vactie Kane William Henry as Bob Ramsey Gwen Kenyon as Sally Vlochek Joe Sawyer as Charlie Boswell Marie McDonald as Diana Linden Morgan Conway as Gary Linden Nestor Paiva as Big Joe Vlochek The film was based on the novel Black Tornado by John Guedel. In July 1942, Pine-Thomas announced they would make a film of the novel starring their regular male leads, Richard Arlen and Chester Morris, plus Sylvia Sidney.
In September 1942 they said Richard Arlen would make the film, which had the working title of Cyclone, after he finished Aerial Gunner. In March 1943 it was announced as a vehicle for Chester Morris only, as Black Tornado. Gail Russell was going to play the role of Sally but was called in to replace Diana Lynn in a Harry Aldrich film, Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour. Russell was replaced by Gwen Kenyon. Bill Henry was signed off the back of his performance in Pine-Thomas' Alaskan Highway, he signed a long term contract with Pine-Thomas. Nancy Kelly was cast in the female lead, she sung two songs, "Who Done It" and "There Goes My Dream" both by Frank Loesser with lyrics by Hoagy Carmichael and Frederick Hollander respectively. Filming took place in April 1943. After the film, Morris signed a deal with Pine Thomas to make three more movies for the company. Tornado at the American Film Institute Catalog Tornado on IMDb Tornado at BFI Tornado at TCMDB Review of film at Variety
I Cover Big Town
I Cover Big Town is a 1947 American drama film directed by William C. Thomas and written by Maxwell Shane; the film stars Phillip Reed, Hillary Brooke, Robert Lowery, Robert Shayne, Mona Barrie and Vince Barnett. The film was released on February 27, 1947, by Paramount Pictures, was the second in the Big Town series of films. "Illustrated Press" society. Her crusading newspaper editor Steve Kilgore suspects that hard-luck suspect Harry Hilton has been framed on a murder rap. Lorelei and Steve proceed to help the police solve the crime, at the same time uncovering a conspiracy to bring a building firm to bankruptcy. Phillip Reed as Steve Wilson Hillary Brooke as Lorelei Kilbourne Robert Lowery as Pete Ryan Robert Shayne as Chief Tom Blake Mona Barrie as Dora Hilton Vince Barnett as Louis Murkil Louis Jean Heydt as John Moulton Frank Wilcox as Harry Hilton Leonard Penn as Norden Royal TV Guide wrote, "It's surprising these journalists have enough time to write their stories." I Cover Big Town on IMDb