- Hardcover: 280 pages
- Publisher: University Press of Kentucky; First Edition edition (August 10, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0813122023
- ISBN-13: 978-0813122021
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,603,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Engulfed: The Death of Paramount Pictures and the Birth of Corporate Hollywood Hardcover – August 10, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1977's Silent Movie, Mel Brooks turned his gimlet eye on showbiz, portraying a "megaconglomerate called `Engulf and Devour' " that attempts to buy a small film company. No one could have missed the reference to Gulf + Western, the multinational that bought up distinguished Paramount Pictures in 1966. Dick, professor of communications at Fairleigh Dickinson University, astutely analyzes the role of outside corporate money in the film industry, and how the changes at Paramount heralded a new, inevitable trend in American film and arts. From its founding, Paramount had been in the forefront of quality Hollywood productions: the studio won the first Academy Award for Best Picture in 1929 (for Wings), and received a Best Picture nomination every year between 1949 and 1955 under the visionary leadership of founder Adolph Zukor and close-knit producers and directors. In the mid-1950s, politics, economics and the advent of television caused a decline in revenues and a complex battle between trustees, stockholders and businessmen bent on diversification that ended with the sale of the studio. In the book's second half, Dick charts the dizzying business maneuvers after Paramount (and other formerly independent studios) became line items in the labyrinthine ledgers of large corporations. Dick's in-depth analysis and research (he had access to previously undisclosed papers of Paramount's last president) makes for great and shocking journalism. Less for the general reader than film or business historians, this is nonetheless an important addition to literature on Hollywood and the economics of entertainment. Photos.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Paramount Pictures was always one of Hollywood's most famous studios, turning out hit movies that ranged from Sunset Boulevard to The Godfather. Here, Dick (communications and English, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ.; Radical Innocence: A Critical Study of the Hollywood Ten) studies the many people, events, and trends that contributed to Paramount's evolution from an independent studio to a corporate subsidiary, the result of contemporary culture's increasingly complex practice of mergers and acquisitions. This thoroughly researched story reveals the shift in the industry's primary focus from making a fine film to making a successful, multifaceted business deal and prompts debate over which one is considered to be real art in modern Hollywood. The book is enhanced by historical information about the studio's early days, when it was briefly housed in a barn and shaped by such pioneering individuals as Adolph Zukor and Jesse Lasky. For film students and enthusiasts, as well as for large public media and academic collections. Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, the book reads a bit too much like a college text. Professor Dick's last book about a studio, City of Dreams, was a blow-by-blow history of Universal and he references his studies for that book a bit too much here. Clearly there was plenty of original research done, but it seems like some of it is missing. Also, with the exception of the passages pertaining to The Godfather, the examples (perhaps case-studies is a better term) don't really make the point I think the book is trying to make, namely that the film community is most definitely the worse off for having gone down the road of textiles, electronics, and other mainstream industries.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is a die hard Hollywood historian or movie fan, but others might be left a bit put off.