As preparations continue for the impending sale of MGM, it’s an ironic state of affairs that what actually interests purchasers are not films from Louis B. Mayer’s iconic studio, the best known of which have all been sold off, but from the company’s later purchase of United Artists. Even more ironically, that was a studio originally founded by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith in order to be free of people like Louis B. Mayer, but which later found success with two highly profitable continuing characters, Inspector Clouseau of “The Pink Panther,” and James Bond.
In any case, now seems as good a time to gaze on the many faces of probably the best known of all studio logos.
That last Leo looks a bit short of mane and girly to me, but by 1957, MGM really wasn’t quite the same.
Howdy folks, I’ve been a bit distracted by a couple of big pieces I did earlier, but the movie world moves on and, in the tradition of the White House emitting unpleasant stories late on Fridays to avoid too much notice, we have a couple of new bummer items and some more typical stuff from before that I missed.
* Nikki Finke is breaking the news of some possibly very serious fiscal problems at MGM, though I have to admit that these sorts of details are about as clear as mud to this innumerate fiscal ignoramus. In any case, the once-dominant studio has long been a shadow of its former self and isn’t even really a studio anymore (though it owns UA, and boy is that a complicated story for a tired guy to follow/remember right now). It sold off its historic lot in 2004 — where I actually spent a few hours on Tuesday, as it happens — to Sony, which is a change I’ve yet to get used to. Still, they have their fingers in a few pies. As Finke reports, if the not-studio really does go bankrupt, it could affect both the upcoming adaptations of “The Hobbit” and the ever-present James Bond series through its ownership of the also much-smaller-than-it-used-to-be United Artists.
* In news that is worse because it’s certain, the popular Cinevegas Film Festival is taking a break next year and, it sounds like, the year after that and who knows for how long if the overall economy doesn’t pick up. Of course, Las Vegas is probably one of the most shell-shocked places in the U.S. by the real estate bubble and general over-development. During the boom times, I would go to Vegas, look at all the ultra-high end restaurants, spas, and especially the stores and wonder when they’d run out of rich people.