You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet: The American Talking Film: History & Memory, 1927-1949

By Andrew Sarris | Go to book overview

1
The Hollywood Studios

THE STUDIO MYSTIQUE

The Myth of Metro

The pre-eminence of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer among Hollywood studios from the twenties through the forties has been for so long a generally accepted bit of folk wisdom that it is difficult to dispute it. The Leo the Lion trademark, the Lion's Roar, The Lion's Share by Bosley Crowther , The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald, More Stars Than There Are in Heaven, Garbo Talks! Garbo Laughs! Gable's Back and Garson's Got Him! -- indeed, the many clever publicity ploys of the genuinely witty Howard Dietz -- have all combined to cast an aura of invincibility and infallibility around the studio and its output. With the bravos has come the inevitable backlash. As the quintessential Hollywood studio, MGM has been made to take the blame for most of Hollywood's alleged vices. It was always more a producer's studio than a writer's studio, and more a writer's studio than a director's studio, but, above all, it was the studio of the stars: Garbo, Gable, Gilbert, Shearer, Crawford, Garson, Tracy, Beery, Dressler, the Barrymores, Powell, Loy, Montgomery, Harlow, Rooney, Garland, Kelly, Taylor (both Robert and Elizabeth), et al. Metro was clearly the most popular (box-office grosses) and most

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