Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood (2010) s01e07 Episode Script

Fade Out, Fade In

NARRATOR: The 1950s marked the passing of many of the founding movie moguls.
With that came the transformation of the self-contained studio system they had created to imagine and manufacture American movies since the 1920s.
The 1960s would be a divided decade.
Half old half new.
Spectacles and star power still reigned, but they were challenged by an independent generation of producers and stars uninhibited story lines and the beginnings of a major realignment of Hollywood power.
1960 brought the promise of a generational power shift in America as well.
Newly elected president John F.
Kennedy was as handsome as a movie star and a natural on the new medium of television.
He also knew Hollywood power firsthand.
His father, Joseph, had been the shrewd co-founder of RKO in 1928.
Ask not what your country can do for you NARRATOR: As John Kennedy promised a more open and idealistic future for America the remnants of the 1950s anti-Communist blacklist continued to haunt Hollywood.
Writers like Dalton Trumbo needed subterfuge to survive.
Writing under the table using a pseudonym using a front meaning somebody else who went to the studio and posed as the writer and accepted the check and took it and gave it to the real writer.
Screenwriters had to lie to stay in business.
NARRATOR: The injustice and humiliation of the blacklist turned absurd in 1957 when an unknown writer named Robert Rich won an Academy Award for the story of The Brave One.
The two credited screenwriters who usually worked as a production manager and film editor were fronts.
Robert Rich was Dalton Trumbo.
TRUMBO: There's an article in LIFE about where is Robert Rich? Who is Robert Rich? The suggestion that a blacklisted writer may have written this starts to be bandied about.
Trumbo says, "Could be.
" The Writers Guild doesn't like the blacklist.
The studios don't actually like the blacklist.
Nobody likes the blacklist, but they have to find a way out.
And that requires somebody to be courageous at some point and nobody wants to be the first courageous person.
SPARTACUS: A symbol of the Senate.
All the power of Rome.
ROSS: Kirk Douglas finally has the courage to say, "Enough is enough.
" And when he makes Spartacus Dalton Trumbo is included on the credits.
NARRATOR: Even as the blacklist began to fade the importance of politics in Hollywood remained as central as ever.
Since the days of Calvin Coolidge the mostly conservative Republican Hollywood moguls courted and clashed with government power.
During the Kennedy and Johnson eras, Hollywood had its own White House: The headquarters of talent agency MCA led by Jules Stein and Lew Wasserman.
Working with his socially and politically astute wife, Edie Wasserman's influence stretched from Hollywood Boulevard to Pennsylvania Avenue.
The relationship between Hollywood and Washington, D.
Had been there but not in such a big way as Wasserman and Edie turned it into.
Lew was very much a Democrat, uh, very progressive.
However, if there was a friend in power on the Republican aisle he was friendly with him too.
BROWN: Lew Wasserman was very, very pragmatic.
He didn't read scripts.
He made things happen.
Lew Wasserman had a very clean desk.
That's the first thing you think about Lew Wasserman.
You could call Lew but you better have something definitely on your mind.
He was not warm.
He had a gleaming smile, but it was very dangerous.
But if you knew him, he was a good man.
NARRATOR: During the 1950s MCA, under the leadership of Jules Stein and Lew Wasserman was assembling a new kind of Hollywood entertainment empire.
This company comes out of music, moves to television, moves to talent moves to the movie business, understands the industry in the United States is large and complicated, multifaceted and in some ways, is or can be integrated.
NARRATOR: Integration, to the old movie moguls was a polite term for total control.
While continuing to represent top Hollywood talent in the late '50s MCA invested in television production with Revue Studios.
In the early '60s, Wasserman and Stein closed in on floundering Universal.
To U.
Attorney General Robert Kennedy, it looked a lot like an entertainment monopoly in the making.
SHARP: The struggle over monopoly in Hollywood is very old starting in 1906 with the Edison Trust.
Imagine this: Lew has already bought Universal Studios.
He's sitting in his own little White House which was the name given to MCA headquarters in Beverly Hills.
And he looks out the window and up pulls two black cars with federal agents inside.
They come in and they serve him with a subpoena and a cease-and-desist order which means that he has to stop representing all the, uh, talent in Hollywood stop TV production, and stop the Universal deal.
Well, this totally threw Lew into a panic because all of his perfect plans were about to fall apart.
And at that moment, Lew stepped out into the void and chose the movie business.
NARRATOR: Giving up representing talent, Wasserman's choice was shrewd.
In 1962, even as studios like Universal seemed shaky Stein and Wasserman realized that movies were only one way to make money in Hollywood.
Television wasn't going away.
As a talent agent, one of Lew Wasserman's most successful clients was director Alfred Hitchcock.
Hitchcock's fame flourished on television.
A director who loved challenges in 1960, he released a movie made with economical television production methods.
Its story had the edgy sex and violence found in the independent low-budget movies of the 1950s.
[SCREAMS] Psycho was a film where Hitchcock really I mean, he was looking at this exploitation trend and thinking, "What if we went for it in a movie where we really pushed the envelope?" The budget was kept so low because it was a film that no one had any idea how this film would do.
And, of course, it's a film that did twice the business of North by Northwest.
NARRATOR: Star power and glamour had produced profits for more than 40 years but the '60s began to challenge old ways and old stars.
In 1962, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, known for their daring let it all hang out in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Do you remember what year you made that picture? NARRATOR: A violent and gleefully grotesque send up of star quality and Hollywood infighting Baby Jane represented an almost desperate push-the-envelope attitude that was developing in the entertainment world of the uncertain '60s.
Both in their 50s Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were Hollywood survivors but movie success and fame could be as short as it was spectacular.
In 1962, the same year Bette Davis and Joan Crawford fought to stay in the spotlight Marilyn Monroe was found dead, an empty bottle of sedatives nearby.
MAN: The curtain falls.
Brief and simple rites marked the funeral of Marilyn Monroe.
NARRATOR: At the height of her career for less than a decade Marilyn's death was a tragedy that had been replayed since the earliest days in Hollywood.
MAN: The final fade-out.
I think for women, because looks are inevitably more crucial more defining than they are for men it's particularly hard to escape the image that Hollywood has created for you.
You're ambivalent about it because obviously, it's brought you fame and fortune and admiration, and this is what you're on Earth for.
This is what you're taught to seek as a woman.
How can you resent that? Yet you feel that there's something phony there.
You want people to love you for yourself but it's sort of too late, you know? Heh.
NARRATOR: Half-forgotten 1920s sex symbol Clara Bow knew this firsthand.
After Marilyn Monroe died, Clara Bow was asked what it felt like to her.
If she had any thoughts on Marilyn Monroe.
She said, "A sex symbol is a heavy load to carry when one is tired, hurt and bewildered.
" Our culture, we revere them, and then we destroy them and then we revive them and make them saints.
NARRATOR: Marilyn Monroe was dead but in the 1960s, star power still seemed immortal and essential to the survival of an old Hollywood under siege from all sides.
To maintain their profits, the studios made fewer and more lavish pictures and charged theaters more to show them.
When struggling 20th Century Fox was looking for a hit they turned to their vaults.
If silent vamp Theda Bara could fill theater seats with Cleopatra in 1917 a remake with Elizabeth Taylor seemed like a sure thing.
Cleopatra is a notable illustration of the constant give and take between studios and stars.
The studio needed a hit and they thought Elizabeth Taylor was the right person to star in this movie.
And her agent asked for the unheard of sum of $1 million.
And they paid it.
Some people say that that was the beginning of the end of negotiating in Hollywood with any success on the studios' parts.
That they became so beholden to stars who all wanted to now top each other.
Who could get the bigger paycheck? It really began with Elizabeth Taylor and Cleopatra.
NARRATOR: With demanding stars and uncontrolled spending compounded by off-screen scandals it didn't take long for Cleopatra's budget to balloon to more than $44 million.
Real money in 1963.
GUBER: When you're in the middle of that kind of experience, you're in pain.
You run in circles if you're involved, and you disappear up your own posterior.
HARRIS: It sounds strange to say that an entire studio would run into trouble because of one movie, but it was true.
Cleopatra was so expensive and so all-consuming that it really was the movie that just about sank that studio.
NARRATOR: Fox chairman of the board Spyros Skouras was captain of the sinking ship.
Another immigrant mogul he had arrived in America with his brothers in 1910 son of a Greek sheepherder.
He started his climb to the top of 20th Century Fox as a theater owner.
He had been Fox's president for 14 years when Darryl Zanuck resigned as studio production chief in 1956.
The two men were not friends.
MALTIN: Zanuck was not one to go quietly.
He went to Europe for a while, made films there made films with one of his mistresses.
Made films with another of his mistresses.
But he eventually came back to Hollywood because even Skouras recognized that he needed somebody with filmmaking savvy to salvage the studio.
NARRATOR: Concerned that his World War II epic The Longest Day was getting short shrift because of the cost overruns of Cleopatra Zanuck showed up in Fox's New York boardroom.
ZANUCK: He talked for four hours straight.
And by the time he had finished not only had he convinced the board that the best way to release The Longest Day was to do it as it was done, as a road-show picture not just mass release it but he'd taken over the company and he was chairman of the board.
And Spyros was voted chairman emeritus.
NARRATOR: Now Fox needed a new studio head.
Zanuck asked his 27-year-old son for a list of candidates.
ZANUCK: I handed him the paper, he was getting dressed and it just had one word on it: "Me.
" And he said, "Oh, my God, we'll get killed.
" By the time we got through with dinner, he said, "You're right.
" And that was how it happened.
And most people around town said: "Well, that's the end of Fox.
They'll never open again.
With this Cleopatra debacle and the cash flow, it's over.
" And, uh, we closed for four months.
We let everyone go.
We were down to, like, one janitor.
Tumbleweeds were coming down the main street.
MAN: Take cover as quickly as possible.
Take cover at once.
NARRATOR: If the foundations of Hollywood power seemed to be coming apart during the 1960s the rest of the world was also one button-push away from nuclear annihilation.
One irreverent young filmmaker captured the rebellious spirit of a new generation and the madness of mutual-assured nuclear destruction.
MUFFLEY: You're talking about mass murder, not war.
President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed.
But I do say no more than 10-to 20 million killed, tops.
Uh, depending on the breaks.
Strangelove had a kind of irreverence that Hollywood hadn't seen since the 1940s comedies of Preston Sturges.
But Stanley Kubrick's black humor and cynicism in Strangelove also showed that the '60s were gonna be a very different decade.
NARRATOR: It was producer-star Kirk Douglas who helped Stanley Kubrick get his first big chance with the anti-war film Paths of Glory in 1957.
It was followed by the big-budget Spartacus.
Even after a rush of critical acclaim Kubrick faced studio indecision about his next project.
His response to the allure of Hollywood was to shun it.
He wasn't the first or the last.
In the 1920s, D.
Griffith had tried to distance himself from Hollywood when he built his own studio in Mamaroneck.
When Stanley Kubrick moved to England his independence only added to his appeal and his price tag.
BENTON: There is a universal rule in Hollywood and I think it's as true today as it was then that if you want something, they will not give it to you.
If you don't want something, they will throw it at you.
NARRATOR: As Hollywood decision-making became even more of a high-stakes crapshoot and centralized studio power weakened Hollywood's most successful partnership was a company formed in 1957 by brothers Harold, Walter and Marvin Mirisch.
Unlike the street savvy older moguls Walter Mirisch was a graduate of Harvard Business School.
Movies don't exist in a vacuum.
Movies exist in conjunction with their audiences.
HARRIS: The Mirisch brothers were in the 1960s the main supplier of movies to United Artists.
They were incredibly prolific.
The way the Mirisch brothers worked was that they wouldn't really develop material on their own.
They would work with producers who had a movie that they wanted to make.
MIRISCH: I'm a great movie fan.
I think, um, every filmmaker is a great movie fan.
And I was trying to see everything that was being made around the world and I was trying to learn from it.
NARRATOR: In 1960 the Mirischs found inspiration in a resurgence of foreign filmmaking.
They remade Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai into a successful Western The Magnificent Seven.
In Europe, especially Sweden, France and Italy there was a post-war renaissance in moviemaking.
Both audiences and filmmakers were open to something new and thoughtful.
[IN SWEDISH] Even if source was subtitled.
[IN SWEDISH] NARRATOR: In Italy a documentary-influenced neo-realist style emerged.
Films were shot in the streets and often featured non-professional actors.
Young filmmakers in France launched a movement called The New Wave.
Shooting unconventional stories in unconventional styles they rejected staid traditions and glossy imagery.
Yet, ironically, French rebels like François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard were inspired by American films many of them products of the studio system.
They idolized veteran studio directors like John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock.
Writing in serious critical journals, they called them auteurs artists admired for their personal styles.
Their American heroes responded with a mix of pride and confused amusement.
None of the American directors were really, quote, "arty.
" They didn't wanna be thought of as artists.
In fact, they thought it was bad for business.
And they all had one thing in common which was their pride in achieving something quickly and doing it on a certain Within a certain budget.
Or making something look like it was more expensive than it was.
I think the auteur theory is complicated and not always helpful.
Willie Wyler once said, "I don't know if I'm an auteur or not but I'm one of the few people who knows how to pronounce it.
" [CHUCKLES] NARRATOR: Despite Hollywood ambivalence about art a young generation was watching eager to launch an American auteur revolution of their own.
There was something so vital about this new kind of movie being made in Europe in the '60s.
It caught our imagination.
Each week we would be at the New Yorker Theater two or three times.
All of our conversations were about movies.
- Violence.
NARRATOR: In 1966, the film that showed that rebellion was in the air was Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Based on the play by Edward Albee and directed by stage-trained Mike Nichols.
Bursting with emotional violence and profanity Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Exploded in the face of decades of Hollywood censorship and carefully groomed glamour.
With the way it looked, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? shook up audiences.
Even those who objected to the language and the theme still went to see it because of the film's old-fashioned star power.
I'm gonna knock you around.
ORSBORNE: During the '60s there was no one bigger than Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
GEORGE: I want you mad.
MARTHA: I'm mad.
NARRATOR: Inspired by uninhibited foreign films American filmmakers and audiences were looking for movies that were bolder and more complex.
In response, some unexpected players gained influence in Hollywood.
BISKIND: Judging from the state of film criticism today it's hard to imagine that somebody as unprepossessing as Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris could become culture heroes and rock stars, but this was the era of the rock star film reviewer.
Every day, there was a new Fellini, Godard, Truffaut a new Antonioni, a new Bergman film, a new Kurosawa film.
That's what people with brains, and students especially, wanted to see.
Some of these films were complex and difficult.
And there was a role in For movie critics to sort of translate these films explain where these films are coming from, what they were about discriminate between the good ones and bad ones.
Kael had enormous power.
Her reviews were so good, and so lively, and so vibrant and so suffused with the culture of the era.
They practically breathed the '60s and '70s.
NARRATOR: One film where critic Pauline Kael made a major difference was Bonnie and Clyde written by first-time screenwriters David Newman and Robert Benton.
We tried for three or four years to get the picture made and everyone turned it down.
One Saturday morning, the phone rang, and it was Warren Beatty.
NARRATOR: Beatty, an up-and-coming young star not only wanted to star in Newman and Benton's project he wanted to produce it.
The prospect of the words "produced by Warren Beatty" on the opening credits were taken by many in Hollywood as a joke.
Young actors didn't produce movies.
They didn't buy properties for themselves.
NARRATOR: Against the odds, Beatty sold Bonnie and Clyde to a reluctant Jack Warner.
Warner had sustained his studio with gangster films in the early 1930s but he'd considered them B-movie fare.
BISKIND: There's a famous story where they showed the film to Warner in his screening room with the walls lined with Picassos and Renoirs and impressionists.
And he was famous for getting up and going to the bathroom when he was bored in a movie.
He did it three times in Bonnie and Clyde.
And at the end of the film, he, uh, just sat there and he said, "That was a three-piss movie.
" It was incredibly violent much more violent than anything that audiences had been used to on the screen before that.
So violent that the initial reviews were famously horrible.
Bosley Crowther of New York Times almost killed the movie.
NARRATOR: Pauline Kael championed the film and other less hidebound critics joined in.
Bonnie and Clyde became a hit.
As for critic Bosley Crowther after 39 years at The Times he was eased aside for a new generation of critics and American moviemakers.
Bonnie and Clyde broke old rules about who produced Hollywood movies and how they were shot and edited.
Since the silent Westerns of Broncho Billy Anderson action had been essential to audience appeal.
Bonnie and Clyde and other films of the '60s amplified action with new levels of violence.
[GUNFIRE] If sex had always sold theater tickets, now as censorship weakened and audience demands pushed old boundaries more than ever, it was sex and violence.
Mike Nichols opened the door to more adult-oriented movies with Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? But with his second film, The Graduate he also reached out to an increasingly sophisticated youth audience.
Nichols understood that this was, in a sense, going to be the first one of those sex comedies that was, not only from the perspective but from the sensibility of the younger character, not the older character.
And it was also going to be about alienation.
Obviously, it was a movie that spoke to this generation of 17-to 21-year-olds as no movie, probably, since Rebel Without a Cause had spoken to people that age.
- Are you listening? - Yes, I am.
HENRY: I went to a movie theater and saw it for the first time with an audience.
They were mostly very young and I was horrified at their ability to say the punchlines before they arrived.
I mean, before the guy says plastics there was this sort of din of, "Plastics" "Plastics,"Plastics," coming out from various members in the audience.
I think The Graduate gave Mike the ammunition to do whatever he wanted to do.
It also said, "Hey, movie stars there may be more interesting things for you to do out there than Bedtime Story.
" It changed the minds of a lot of people in the business writers and actors and directors about what they could get away with.
NARRATOR: During the transitional times of the 1960s American movies were becoming increasingly international.
No prisoners! Hyah! NARRATOR: U.
-supported films like Lawrence of Arabia and the James Bond series had foreign talent, exotic locations and multinational money.
By the early '60s, more than half of Hollywood movies were shot overseas.
The hugely profitable international adventures of 007 established a model for movie franchises with roman-numeral sequels.
There was a search for certainty.
What was more certain than a hit? If you made a hit with Rock Hudson and Doris Day, you made another with Rock Hudson and Doris Day.
So now they kissed earlier or this or that.
They would make the same picture six different ways, you know? They could market the films better because the audience knew what to expect, liked that combination.
When they carried it to the next level with James Bond where you had the same character playing the same characteristics in a new setting and you then found out you didn't have to advertise it quite as much.
NARRATOR: During the 1960s not everyone wanted to recycle old characters in new stories.
Produced by message movie veteran Stanley Kramer Guess Who's Coming to Dinner starred Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.
Hepburn and Tracy were two of Hollywood's most beloved and established stars and off-screen lovers since 1941.
In an attempt to bridge old Hollywood glamour with the realities of 1960s America Kramer cast Hepburn and Tracy as the parents in a cross-racial love story between Sidney Poitier and Hepburn's real-life niece, Kathryn Houghton.
It never occurred to me that I might fall in love with a Negro.
But I did.
And nothing in the world is gonna change that.
Interesting thing about Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Stanley Kramer thought he was making a revolutionary movie that would make people angry.
Instead, what he made was a gigantic blockbuster hit that the audiences he thought would be alienated by it namely white, middle-class moviegoers, loved.
The audience he thought would love it, namely young, rebellious college students, thought it was ridiculous.
NARRATOR: Seventeen days after completing Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Spencer Tracy died another reminder that an era was ending.
By 1967, nearly half of moviegoers were under 24 years old.
Old-style moviemaking survived but a new generation and changing times were catching up with Hollywood.
Thirty-three-year-old Richard Zanuck was a young studio mogul with an old Hollywood name.
After taking over production at half-dead Twentieth Century Fox in 1962 he resuscitated the studio with a series of successes culminating with The Sound of Music one of the most profitable movies of all time.
Zanuck was at the peak of the Hollywood roller coaster.
I had it in my brain because The Sound of Music had been so successful, let's do another musical.
NARRATOR: In 1967 the disaster of the extravagant musical fantasy Doctor Doolittle starring Rex Harrison, hastened a downward slide at Fox.
Doctor Doolittle is the emblem of what studios were doing wrong in the mid-to-late 1960s.
In ways, Doctor Doolittle is the emblem of what studios do wrong now.
It was wildly over budget.
Every time something went wrong the studio threw more money at it, thinking that money could fix the problems.
Darryl Zanuck who had, you know, 30 years of movie experience under his belt someone whose career, as he said, literally went back to Rin Tin Tin warned Dick Zanuck that this was gonna be much, much harder than he thought.
It was at a point where the board was getting very nervous.
In the final board meeting, he got me.
He had all of his cronies on the board.
But I said to him right afterwards with tears in my eyes, because I had really I worked very, very hard for nine years.
And I had tremendous emotional attachment to the studio.
And I said, "You're next.
" He was next.
Sooner than he thought.
NARRATOR: A brash boy wonder in the 1920s Darryl Zanuck was 68 years old when he found himself reduced to a corporate figurehead.
Nine years later, he was dead.
In the 1970s, Richard would rise again as an independent producer with his partner, David Brown.
Zanuck and Brown valued the ambitions and accomplishments of old Hollywood but also relished the opportunities of working with a new kind of movie mogul master power broker Lew Wasserman.
Moguls were good.
They made up their mind.
When we made our deal with Lew Wasserman we would describe a picture and he said, "Go make the movie.
" The executives today are not so good because they have to talk to someone.
NARRATOR: With his decisive power Lew Wasserman may have been the last of the moguls in an increasingly committee-run Hollywood.
Movie profits were based on box office, but in the trying times of the 1960s an even more valuable studio asset was real estate.
Like an aristocracy that had fallen on hard times to keep solvent many of the studio chiefs were forced to auction off their acreage.
OSBORNE: Twentieth Century Fox, you know, sold off their whole backlot.
MGM sold off its, uh, Lot 2 and Lot 3.
Lot 3 had a big lake there where the showboat in the movie Show Boat was on.
They had a jungle there where Johnny Weissmuller played Tarzan.
Lot 2 was a big train station, where Mickey Rooney and Ann Rutherford and everybody lived in the Andy Hardy movies.
The studios were making money off the land.
NARRATOR: The auctioning of Hollywood history was only a sad subplot to an era of upheaval in America.
A war in Vietnam continued to escalate.
At home, it was a decade of assassinations: President Kennedy Malcolm X Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy.
The 1968 Democratic National Convention was disrupted by protests and police violence.
The same year, the interplay of Hollywood and politics took a step to an unprecedented level.
A former Warner Bros.
Contract player who been elected California's Republican governor announced his first run for the presidency.
He eventually stepped aside for Richard Nixon but Ronald Reagan would be back for a successful rerun.
Reagan had fought World War II from the sound stages of Fort Roach and civilian John Wayne was the on-screen embodiment of the American GI.
With the escalation of combat in Vietnam during the '60s Wayne was the only major Hollywood producer willing to make a movie that dealt with an increasingly divisive conflict.
Hollywood is always afraid of getting too far in front of the political curve.
They were afraid during the 1930s, when only Warner Bros was willing to risk profits in order to attack Hitler.
They were afraid in the 1960s.
They were afraid that the Johnson and then the Nixon governments, are gonna crack down on them if they make films that attack the war effort.
NARRATOR: The Green Berets was John Wayne's old-fashioned call to arms in Vietnam.
What do you think? NARRATOR: But the war was threatening to tear the country apart and leadership of Hollywood could only hope for a peaceful settlement.
One annual ritual offered a sense of stability.
Since 1929, the Academy Awards had marked and measured the history of American movies.
HARRIS: The Oscars are always a really a fascinating barometer of what Hollywood's establishment was and was not yet ready to acknowledge at any given moment.
The Oscars have a long history of being bold and forward-looking enough to nominate certain movies, then take one step backwards and say, "We're ready to acknowledge with nominations that these are great movies.
We're not quite ready to acknowledge with a win that this is the future of movies.
" NARRATOR: In 1967, The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde represented the new Hollywood influenced by movies from Europe.
The old guard movie was the musical Doctor Doolittle.
The more current liberal film was In the Heat of the Night.
The traditional message movie was Guess Who's Coming To Dinner.
Again, a single Hollywood star, Sidney Poitier represented the changing image of African Americans.
Ironically, the same year that he does Guess Who's Coming to Dinner this sort of homogenized Negro who's perfect he gives a very strong performance in In the Heat of the Night.
And In the Heat of the Night, he's a Northern detective Virgil Tibbs, who's in the South.
He's helping a bigoted sheriff solve a crime and there are two key scenes in that movie.
You're pretty sure of yourself, ain't you, Virgil? Funny name for a nigger boy from Philadelphia.
What do they call you there? - They call me Mr.
- Mr.
Tibbs? Black audiences just, in theaters, applauded him.
They loved it that he spoke up in this way.
And then there's another key sequence in the movie.
And again, the audience cheered him.
NARRATOR: At the 1968 Academy Awards ceremony In the Heat of the Night was the big winner.
New Hollywood director Mike Nichols was honored for The Graduate.
Even rebellious Bonnie and Clyde was honored twice.
The original moguls had been young outsiders when they built the foundations of American movies.
During the '60s scrappy outsiders would begin to transform the business again from the bottom up.
In 1968, a $114,000 horror film, Night of the Living Dead produced in Pittsburgh the home of one of the first nickelodeons in 1905 became a $42-million international hit.
The threat to the survival of mogul-made Hollywood wasn't from zombies.
It came from a very alive and very young generation eager to break down studio doors.
NORMAN: The problem for anybody who's wanted to work in Hollywood has always been getting over that big wall around the studio.
People who were making cheap movies like Roger Corman couldn't pay union wages, didn't wanna pay union wages.
And here were all these young people who would work for peanuts or nothing as long as they get a line on their résumé, got some experience.
Roger Corman was a way over the wall.
CORMAN: My films were doing quite well and I was making a fair amount of money.
I didn't know much about real estate, stock market which are the traditional ways you invest.
But I felt I understood motion pictures and I thought why don't I start investing with young people I know? Out of all of that, of the directors we had of course, Peter Bogdanovich and Irv Kershner Francis Coppola and then Marty Scorsese Jonathan Demme, Jim Cameron Ron Howard Joe Dante.
Actors, of course, Jack Nicholson Sylvester Stallone David Carradine later on, Sandra Bullock.
Also, writers like Bob Towne and John Sayles.
SAYLES: When I worked for Roger Corman as a writer Here's the thing.
Here's how much money you have.
Here's the script, you know.
It's not very good, but do what you can, change it if you need to but don't go over budget and don't go over time.
And if you wanna make a good picture, mazeltov.
You know, good luck.
NARRATOR: Actors Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda were inspired by Corman's example.
In 1969, they released Easy Rider.
BISKIND: Easy Rider was a game changer.
It cost, you know, something like $300,000 out of pocket.
After postproduction, probably came to about $500,000 all told.
But it grossed about 40 million.
It really convinced these The old moguls, that they had no idea what they were doing.
The best thing they could do with their money is give it away to people like Dennis Hopper.
"Here's a check for a million dollars, go away.
We don't wanna see you in the commissary.
You smell.
You know, you don't wear shoes.
You know, no one can stand to be within 10 feet of you.
Go away and come back with another Easy Rider.
" NARRATOR: Fast fame, fast money, and the fast life had been Hollywood traditions since the silent days.
The '60s brought an openness that the old studios had spent decades to cover up.
BISKIND: A lot of '60s movies were made under the influence of acid and certainly marijuana.
There were screenings where the publicist would hand out joints as you went in or as you went out.
Many screenings of Easy Rider when Dennis would screen the movie for his friends, everybody was stoned.
So everything that was said about the movie was under the influence.
CORMAN: There was a lot of marijuana, which was okay.
You know, I was smoking some marijuana.
But then people started to get into harder things, LSD which was interesting, as a matter of fact.
But then into cocaine and, ultimately, into heroin.
At that point, you were destroying your career and you were destroying yourself.
The old moguls, with their casting couches and gambling debts had more old-fashioned vices but they were angered and annoyed by what was going on in the new Hollywood.
Especially the behavior surrounding the success of Easy Rider.
They think we're gonna cut their throat or something, man.
They're scared, man.
Oh, they're not scared of you.
They're scared of what you represent to them.
What you represent to them is freedom.
I remember Jack Warner complaining about all of the hippy filmmakers in the 1960s.
This long hair, this not understandable stuff.
"What are they doing? They're un-American.
" NORMAN: They were the enemy.
They were anti-Hollywood.
Yet Easy Rider was making money in a way no other movie that year was making money.
Suddenly, the audience was open to ideas that were outside the box.
And you began to see films like that being made all the way up to an X-rated film like Midnight Cowboy, which is, you know, an Oscar contender and had, you know, wonderful critical acclaim and great commercial success.
NARRATOR: Young actor Bob Balaban had a small part in Midnight Cowboy.
His uncle Barney had been president of Paramount since 1936.
Barney said, "What are you doing?" I said, "I'm in the Midnight Cowboy.
" He said, "I'd love to see it.
I hear the picture is interesting.
" So the next time I saw him at his office in the Gulf and Western Building he had the cans, because movies come in big old fat cans.
It said Midnight Cowboy on it.
And I said, "Oh, well, I don't know if he's gonna take too well to this movie.
" In which I was the X-rating.
I didn't really do anything, but it was heavily implied I performed oral sex on Jon Voight in the movie theater balcony, I was I'm not sure if This is not Barney's kind of picture.
I don't know what's gonna happen.
I saw him couple of weeks later.
He had obviously seen the movie, he didn't bring it up and I didn't bring it up.
You couldn't change the culture of a 65-year-old white male to let him know that a new community, urban, African Americans the idea that young people could vote on what movies to see.
They wanted to see their own, you know, people in the films.
Chaos is incredible platform for opportunity.
And that's what was really happening.
NARRATOR: The 1969 Academy Awards ceremony offered a photo op for the clashing cultures of old and new Hollywood.
OSBORNE: The year John Wayne won his Oscar for True Grit a movie that could've been made in 1930s Oscar's best picture choice that year was Midnight Cowboy.
About a totally different kind of cowboy.
That was Hollywood in the '60s.
NARRATOR: Accelerating the rush from old to new one by one, old studios were absorbed into vast corporate conglomerates.
In 1966, Paramount was taken over by Gulf and Western a multifaceted enterprise with operations that included auto parts, sugar and fertilizer investments.
In 1967, UA was sold to insurance giant Transamerica.
Two years later, Warner Bros.
Joined Kinney National Services built on the merger of parking and cleaning companies.
As studios changed hands and the old moguls retired or died the era of personalized Hollywood power was coming to an end.
But the legends had just begun.
GUBER: When I got to Columbia in the mid '60s a lot of the men that worked there were in their 60s and 70s.
And when you'd walk around the studio and somebody said, "Harry Cohn," they always whispered it.
They didn't say his name out loud.
It was weird.
I said, "Isn't he dead?" Someone would say, "A long time.
" "Why are they whispering it?" They were afraid of him still, thought he could reach his hand out of the grave.
That he had magic that could choke them to death if they didn't do what he thought was right.
NARRATOR: Like Harry Cohn David O.
Selznick was once the personification of independent Hollywood power.
In 1965, he was an honored veteran but his time at the top had passed long before.
He couldn't pull it all together, he couldn't focus.
The Benzedrine and Dexedrine he'd taken to push himself through Gone With the Wind had their effect.
He couldn't stop taking them.
And they changed his sleeping habits, his eating habits his necessity of driving everyone crazy.
I thought, sooner or later, this man is gonna crash and it's gonna be heartbreaking.
And I'm very proud of my father, very proud of what he achieved.
And sad only at what it cost him personally.
NARRATOR: When Selznick died in 1965 he was mostly remembered for Gone With the Wind, just as he feared.
GOLDWYN: Olivia de Havilland told me a story.
David turned to her one day and said: "I wish this had never happened.
" He said, "You know, we spend our lives looking for success sometimes it's the thing that damns us.
" NARRATOR: By the mid '60s perhaps Hollywood's greatest independent, Walt Disney had lost his passion for animation.
But he had pioneered the way to the promise and profits of television.
And with Disneyland, envisioned the future of multifaceted entertainment.
When Disney died in 1966 the result of a lifetime of tireless work and chain-smoking the studio he had willed into being was shaken and uncertain.
It would take almost 20 years to fully recover.
During most of the 1960s, Jack Warner still had his family initials on the Burbank Studio water tower.
But it wasn't his Hollywood anymore.
BISKIND: By the time Bonnie and Clyde was made when Warner had lunch in the commissary they had to recruit people to have lunch with him, so that To keep his spirits up and sort of play at it still being the golden age of movies.
ORR: In his autobiography, Jack Warner is very philosophical about life.
He doesn't think it's fair, he doesn't think it's kind but you make the most of it.
And I think he developed early on that life could be tough but you find the fun where you can.
And at that point, he took his money and went home and he said: "Well, yesterday I was the head of this movie studio today I'm just a rich Jew.
" [CHUCKLES] NARRATOR: Warner enjoyed the good life until his death in 1978.
By the end of the '60s independent Sam Goldwyn hadn't produced a picture in years but he relished his role as an elder statesman.
In 1962, he presented an award to a promising young writer named Francis Ford Coppola.
Goldwyn had come a long way since 1895 when he left Poland as young and penniless Schmuel Gelbfisz and set out to find his fortune in the United States.
In his late 70s, with his health failing, the old mogul remained as irascible as ever.
GOLDWYN: My father, when he was very, very old and very weak, he had a nurse.
And he liked to go down and sit at his dinner table.
And he was trying to pick up a spoon.
And he started to shake.
His hands started to shake.
The nurse reached over and tried to help him.
He said, "What are you doing?" He said, "Trying to help you eat.
" He said, "Help me? How the hell do you think I got out of Poland?" That, to me, epitomizes my father.
NARRATOR: Ninety-four-year-old Sam Goldwyn died in 1974.
His pride and fierce determination were the essence of Hollywood's founding moguls.
By the end of the 1960s, the great dream factories still stood and decades of movie memories found new life on television.
But for Hollywood, it was both a fade out and a fade in.
OSBORNE: In the '60s, when we think that the movie studios are dying may never come back movies may be over, maybe taking its last gasp.
But sitting in those theater seats are Scorsese, Coppola, Spielberg, Lucas these young guys with new, bright ideas who are gonna come along and revitalize this industry and make it work again.
And make us wanna go to movies again.
Not only that I think the great thing they did besides making these new films for us to see is they taught us a respect for those old films.
Now we're interested not only in their films, new ones but also the past as well.
NARRATOR: Tough and shrewd Adolph Zukor had come to America in 1888.
In 1905, he saw the future in nickelodeons and made it happen with movie palaces and Paramount Pictures.
When he celebrated his 100th birthday Zukor hadn't wielded Hollywood power for decades.
But almost to the end, he kept his office at Paramount.
I hope that the motion pictures will do better and better each year so that we can all be proud of the industry that we are associated with.
Thank you very much.
NARRATOR: When Adolph Zukor died three years later he was older than movie history itself.
For many of the founding moguls of Hollywood the movie business was a product of immigrant dreams, shrewd ambition and gambler's daring.
They were all immigrants, and they all wanted to be somehow ennobled by the quality of the films they put out.
NARRATOR: In time the movie business would become a vast interconnected empire of entertainment and influence.
Perhaps the most powerful medium ever to emerge from human imagination.
In this realm of flickering light movie stars became gods and goddesses and the stories they personified produced a powerful new kind of American mythology.
It was one of the great art forms that was peculiarly American.
And it invented a kind of America we all believed in, whether true or not.
NARRATOR: Gathered in the dark, audiences could share a dream.
And with the power of ticket sales, their shifting tastes and enthusiasms influenced the course of motion picture history.
A mix of art and commerce technology and emotion the world of Hollywood could be as crass and cruel as it was inspiring, influential and entertaining.
Each movie is a challenge and a new one.
Every picture is a live, living, new, fresh experience.
NARRATOR: To some, making movies was simply a means to money and fame.
But to others, producers directors, writers performers and teams of studio artisans and technicians it was the pleasure and passion of turning frames of film into an evocation of life itself.
The history of movies is the history of America.
You're not just learning about movies.
You're learning about our society our culture.
You're learning all about who we are.
Because who we are is reflected in those movies.
NARRATOR: In the 1880s photographer Eadweard Muybridge stopped time for an instant to capture the gait of a running horse.
A few short years later, the ingenuity of Thomas Edison and W.
Dickson produced photographs that moved.
More than a century has past but the magic of those first images remains and the contributions of generations of movies and moviemakers that followed live on in light and shadow.
[English - US - SDH]