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20th Century Fox - The First 50 Years

15 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Aug 15, 2000)
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$69.95 $14.99

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Editorial Reviews

Step inside the Hollywood dream factory! If you love movies, you won't want to miss this fascinating and fact-filled chronicle of the first 50 years of Twentieth Century Fox. Hosted by James Coburn, this look back at the birth of a major Hollywood movie studio is packed with 129 minutes worth of clips from over 120 films, revealing interviews, archival footage and fascinating film outtakes. You'll witness the boom times and the hard times. The unforgettable stars and stories. The trend-setting innovations and behind-the-scenes moments. They're here to enjoy as Shirley Temple, Tyrone Power, Betty Grable, Henry Fonda, Marilyn Monroe and more great stars beloved classics (The Grapes of Wrath, Miracle on 34th Street), musicals (The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!) and little gems (Charlie Chan at the Opera) shape legends and studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck builds an unforgettable Hollywood dream factory. They're all here. For a movie fan, they're all a dream come true.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: James Coburn, Julie Andrews, David Brown, Red Buttons, Alice Faye
  • Directors: Kevin Burns
  • Writers: Kevin Burns, Lester Thomas Shane
  • Producers: Kevin Burns, Di Barker, Jeff Scheftel, Michele Farinola, Shelley Lyons
  • Format: Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 15, 2000
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305837538
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,678 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "20th Century Fox - The First 50 Years" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 16, 2000
Format: DVD
I'm usually not a fan of big, blowsy, overblown studio self-tributes, but this is the happy exception! At just over two hours, the documentary is concise, well written, and brilliantly edited. Super-cool James Coburn provides the "voice of god" narration. The title is a little confusing, however. It suggests that the documentary covers only "the first 50 years" (1915-1965) but the program actually acknowledges Fox's history up to the present (although not in as much detail). (By the way, you DO get a brief glimpse of "Star Wars", probably the only footage we're going to see it on DVD for quite awhile!) The "greats" are all here, of course (Grable, Temple, Power, Monroe, "Grapes of Wrath", "All About Eve", "The Longest Day", etc., but so are some of Fox's rarely seen silent offerings ("A Fool There Was", "The Iron Horse", "Sunrise"). The studio's foray into sound is a particular highlight - and proves that it was Fox, not Warner Brothers, who was the first to perfect talking pictures! There are incredible rarities in this program too (footage of Marilyn's last film, Fox's 1950s TV remakes of their classic films, outtakes galore, screen tests, etc.), and the producers didn't shy away from mentioning that the studio also produced its share of bombs ("Wilson" comes to mind). Movie lovers will be happy to know that the DVD edition is pristine. I can hardly believe the picture and sound quality - especially when considering the age and rarity of some of the materials. The DVD also offers more than two hours of bonus materials! (Mostly product reels, but fascinating.) All-in-all, a well crafted, balanced look at one of the last great Hollywood dream factories. Highly enjoyable and informative.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David Shapiro on May 6, 2002
Format: DVD
When I moved to Hollywood about 5 months ago I did not know anything about the motion picture business nor the city where I live. As someone who loves history I started out to seek good books on the history of Hollywood. Most of the I found where good but dry. I found this DVD about a week ago and I love it. The DVD takes a look at the history of 20th Century Fox. The DVD moves at a good speed and really looks at the people and the films that made 20th Century Fox what it is today. The clips and the photos in the DVD are great also. It is a must have for any film or Hollywood history buff.
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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Peter Shelley on August 7, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
The litmus test for this kind of compilation film is usually the time spent on and the patience you have with lesser known material. Usually titles are lesser known for a reason. However, as this doco runs over 2 hours (It's no joke that one title is The Longest Day), I found myself growing more and more desperate for lesser known material, like a man with a restricted diet. The problem with the films of this particular studio is that their catalogue doesn't contain much of anything that hasn't been featured in similar studies of Hollywood. I mean, how many times have you seen the Shall We Dance number from The King and I! The expectation of seeing The Grapes of Wrath, Shirley Temple, Betty Grable, Carmen Miranda, Laura (with the murderer revealed!), All About Eve, The Robe, Marilyn Monroe, Cleopatra, and The Sound of Music, is met. Success is defined here by box office takings, and to a lesser extent Academy awards. This is ironic since Daryl Zanuck, head of the studio for the majority of the 50 years, is hailed for his literary aesthetic, as opposed to vulgarians like Jack Warner, Harry Cohn and Louis B Mayer. It is said that only a non-Jew like Zanuck was brave enough to make the anti-semitic Gentleman's Agreement, but not mentioned whether any Jews went to see it. (Maybe they didn't have to, if they lived it). There is a glimpse of Nightmare Alley, a work of great daring, which is deemed a failure, along with the dull Wilson, and a good 20 minutes devoted to Cleopatra, which bears the reputation of bankrupting the studio, though it did ultimately make a profit. If this documentary demonstrates anything, it is the fickleness of trends. After rescuing the studio from the Depression, Temple was let go because she grew up.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim Wito on February 6, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Not being familair with the history of 20th Century Fox, this was a great way to learn A LOT about the ups and down of the studio. One of the added bonus videos was pretty neat - the presentation to the Board members back in the 40's. It showed off areas of the studio and the "stars" of that time - many I thought "who's that?" A great overall collection for film buffs wanting to learn about the Fox studios.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Wymore on February 18, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I purchased this DVD for two reasons: 1.) because I'm a big fan of the films of Twentieth Century Fox from the 1930s and 2.) I teach a scenic art class that focuses on painting scenery for film and television production. The DVD has many behind the scenes footage of a working film studio from that era - everything from the carpentry shops to the wardrobe department to the commissary. Since part of my classes features a short history lesson of the film studios of that era, this footage is extremely helpful in demonstrating what it was like to work in a film studio back then. I would recommend this DVD to anyone who has an interest in the workings of a major film studio during the Studio Era. It also has many clips from Fox films that have never seen the light of day on VHS or DVD.
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