Why Don't They Make Movies like They Used to? Movie Mogul Samuel Goldwyn Believed Motion Pictures Should Be the Kind of Entertainment Whole Families Could Enjoy Together

By Trussell, Tait | The Saturday Evening Post, March-April 2007 | Go to article overview

Why Don't They Make Movies like They Used to? Movie Mogul Samuel Goldwyn Believed Motion Pictures Should Be the Kind of Entertainment Whole Families Could Enjoy Together


Trussell, Tait, The Saturday Evening Post


"Why don't they make movies like they used to?" It's the lament of many an old-timer disillusioned with current motion picture fare.

Dick Rolfe, cofounder of the Dove Foundation, an organization that recommends which movies are safe for family viewing, says: "We live in a society where the consumer is king.... Unfortunately, we have a consuming public that has avarice for sex and violence...."

But the best movies made, in the opinion of many, were those produced by Sam Goldwyn. For example, The Best Years of Our Lives, a classic, won the Academy Award for Best Picture the year it came out. And it is still run on television on occasion.

Goldwyn also produced Wuthering Heights, The Little Foxes, Porgy and Bess, and Guys and Dolls, along with other major successes.

"I never made a dirty movie. I made the pictures I wanted to make," Goldwyn told me many years ago when I visited with him in Hollywood. He was 84 at the time but still quick in conversation and recollection.

Sam Goldwyn decided not to go into the tamale business (asa friend tried to persuade him to do many years ago). And because he didn't, the world has laughed and cried and been enthralled by his movies because of his decision.

Goldwyn movies became symbols of artistic integrity, as countless awards have confirmed for many decades.

"This is a business of love, enthusiasm, and excitement," he told me. "I have always been my own censor. I wouldn't even begin a picture that would offend good taste because I believe motion pictures should be the kind of entertainment where a man can bring his entire family to the theater.

"Sex is a part of life and part of motion pictures, too, if it's kept in proper perspective and not thrown into a picture just to try to draw the public in at the box office.

"I've seen cycles of sex pictures come and go many times in the years I have been making pictures. But the fact is that it is not the foundation of our industry. Take some of the biggest successes of today--in fact of all motion picture history--Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Mare, Poppins. …

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