This is the first scholarly history of Fox from its origins in 1904 to the present. It builds upon research and histories of individual periods to describe how one company responded to a century-long evolution of the audience, nationally and globally.
In the beginning, William Fox grabbed a once-in-a-millennium opportunity to build a business based on a genuinely new art form. This study explores the enduring legacy of F.W. Murnau, Will Rogers, Shirley Temple, John Ford, Spyros Skouras, George Lucas, James Cameron, and many others, offering discussion of those behind and in front of the camera, delving deeply into the history and evolution of the studio. Key films covered include The Iron Horse, The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley, Forever Amber, All About Eve, Cleopatra, The Sound of Music, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, Titanic, and Fight Club, providing an extensive look at the successes and flops that shaped not only Twentieth Century Fox, but the entire Hollywood landscape. Through a chronological study, the book charts the studio’s impact right up to the present day, providing a framework to allow us to look to the future of moviemaking and film consumption.
Lively and fresh in its approach, this book is a comprehensive study of the studio for scholars, students, and enthusiasts of Hollywood cinema, film history, and media industries.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 William Fox and the Beginnings (1904-1924)
Chapter 2 Fox Goes for Broke and is Broken (1924-1935)
Chapter 3 A New Company Finds Itself During a Depression (1935-1941)
Chapter 4 Social Problems, Mature Women and Musicals (1942-1952)
Chapter 5 Trying to Get It Right: From TV to Cleopatra (1953-1964)
Chapter 6 Sound of Music and the Sixties (1965-1975)
Chapter 7 From Stanfill to Murdoch while featuring George Lucas (1976-1984)
Chapter 8 Twentieth Century Fox as Global Conglomerate (1985-1997)
Chapter 9 Fox Outlasts the Twentieth Century by Twenty Years (1998-2019)
Frederick Wasser is a professor in the Department of Television, Radio and Emerging Media at Brooklyn College in the City University of New York. He is the author of numerous chapters and articles on American media. His books include Veni, Vidi, Video and Steven Spielberg’s America.
'While amply providing rich and rigorous study of one studio within cinema history, Wasser pulls off the nifty accomplishment of also offering compellingly and comprehensively the overall history of the moving image in modern America, moving deftly between film, along with allied mass media, and the mass audience that, across time, made so much of them.'
Dana Polan, Cinema Studies, New York University, USA
'In his supremely thorough, meticulously researched, and well-crafted history of Fox studio, Wasser serves as an authoritative guide. He takes us on a fascinating whirlwind tour leading from the earliest days, when the Hollywood juggernaut was a mere glint in William Fox’s eye, through such blockbuster hits as Star Wars and Avatar.'
Noah Isenberg, author of We’ll Always Have ‘Casablanca’: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Movie
At a time when it is difficult to tease apart the inner machinations and continually shifting borders and alliances within and among modern media conglomerates like Hearst Communications and The Walt Disney Company, Wasser’s Twentieth Century Fox offers a singular path through the history of mass-produced American visual culture from one-reelers projected in converted store fronts, to costume dramas screened in motion picture palaces, to VHS tapes played in living rooms across America. Indeed, this history of Fox Film Company “from the beginning to the end,” doubles as a history of a century of American popular culture; it is a deep dive into how the studio system, as an industrial structure, developed, acclimated to changes in audiences, economies, and technologies, and finally, dispersed across multiple platforms and business models over the course of the last century.
Amanda Ann Klein, International Journal of Communication review