One Hundred Films and a Funeral

By Michael Kuhn | Go to book overview

12
Of colleagues

Every year at PolyGram (when we weren’t bust), we held annual conventions in exotic locations. They were necessary evils — in turns intolerably boring and fun. They cost a fortune. Most of the time was spent inside an air conditioned auditorium watching interminable presentations and music videos. However, as anyone who’s been in an international company will tell you, while pep talks, lectures, information, budget issues and so forth are the reasons given for these congregations, the real reason is the human intercourse (in the good old fashion sense of that word) that occurs.

Roger Ames, now head of Warner Music, could be counted on to enliven our sessions.

A man who subsequently became a good friend of his and mine, David Munns, was a recent recruit from EMI. He decided to impress our convention in Palm Springs with a didactic and learned discourse on international marketing. That year we experimented by having a television monitor beside each attendee’s seat so they could follow more closely the speaker’s presentation.

Roger Ames was at that time, I believe, running his own company, London Records, under the aegis of our UK music operation. Roger was notoriously bright, good creatively and as cynical an executive as ever there was, born in Trinidad and trained by EMI. After ten minutes of the presentation, Roger disappeared and a few minutes later images on the TV screens changed from slides of marketing and data to a note saying ‘This man is a noodle’, ‘What crap!’ and so forth. Of course, it took some time for the speaker to realise what the enormous hilarity was about and Roger’s standing went up considerably. The story illustrates the peculiar

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One Hundred Films and a Funeral
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Dedication *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations i
  • Preface ii
  • Acknowledgements iv
  • Part One - Polygram and Films — The INS and Outs 1
  • 1 - Early Flirtations 3
  • 2 - When a Film Is Not a Film- The Long Form Music Video Disguise 15
  • 3 - Commitment and Relationships 25
  • 4 - The Strategy Unfolds 33
  • 5 - Building a Studio 45
  • 6 - Four Weddings and a Funeral 57
  • 7 - Chasing the Lion- Polygram, Mgm and Kirk Kerkorian 69
  • 8 - Green Lighting and Marketing 79
  • 9 - The End 91
  • Part Two - Influences, Titans and Characters 97
  • 10 - Arthur Krim 99
  • 11 - Lew Grade 105
  • 12 - Of Colleagues 111
  • 13 - Talent 115
  • 14 - Politicians 121
  • Part Three - Some Other Bit-Parts Observed 125
  • 15 - The Control Sheet 127
  • 16 - Opening a Movie in America 131
  • 17 - African-American Films 135
  • 18 - Television and Catalogues 137
  • 19 - Management 139
  • 20 - The Sundance Channel 141
  • Postscript 143
  • Appendices 145
  • 1 - The Players 146
  • 2 - Polygram Filmed Entertainment Chronology 159
  • 3 - Timeline 163
  • 4 - Polygram Filmed Entertainment- Film List 173
  • 5 - Film Credits 180
  • 6 - Awards 212
  • 7 - Polygram Companies 233
  • 8 - Corporate Structure — Polygram Filmed Entertainment 235
  • 9 - Index 239
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