Above is the opening to the 1957 comedy Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? In it, Tony Randall and his one-man band render Alfred Newman’s famous theme music for 20th Century-Fox — a movie studio that sadly, as of this writing, has only a few more hours of existence left in Hollywood. It is the victim of another monumental buyout by The Mouse House, a/k/a The Walt Disney Co.
Contemporary film buffs of a certain age (those at puberty and just beyond, I’d say) probably can’t imagine why anyone would get misty-eyed over the death of a movie studio. But for film buffs like me, there was a certain majesty to the old movie intros with their sophisticated logos — Paramount with its frosty mountain, Universal with its outer-space view of the Earth, and Fox with its flashy searchlights. If nothing else, it meant that the given movie studio was doing its best to give you some bang for their buck.
It seemed like a gentler era, too, before conglomerates were sweeping up everything in their paths. Back in his glory days of Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks told an interviewer that he was proud to work at Fox because it wasn’t a company, it was a movie studio. Of course, that interview was conducted in 1978, long before News Corp. mogul Rupert Murdoch decided to make Fox one more weapon in his monetary war chest.
(Do you ever get the feeling that all the buyer-uppers are buying up the lesser buyer-uppers? I fear that someday, every company under the sun will be owned by a supergroup named “America, Inc.”)
In any case, for no good reason, I’ve decided to catalog the titles of all of the 20th Century-Fox films that have meant a great deal to me over the years. Not all of them are acknowledged classics, but they’ve all wormed their way into my movie memories for some good reason. I have reviewed many of these movies on my previous blog, and when I have, I have included links to those reviews. (If you have any Fox favorites that I’ve missed, feel free to list them in the “Comments” section below.)
The Ox-Bow Incident
Laurel & Hardy’s The Bullfighters
Deadline – U.S.A.
The King and I
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Stunt Man