Cover image for The Universal story
The Universal story
Hirschhorn, Clive.
Personal Author:
[Updated edition].
Publication Information:
London : Hamlyn, [2000]

Physical Description:
496 pages : illustrations ; 33 cm
General Note:
Previous ed.: London : Octopus, 1983.
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1999.U584 H57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

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They sent chills down your spine with Dracula; made you laugh with Abbot & Costello and cry with ET; and nearly scared you to death with The Birds, Jaws, and Jurassic Park. Universal Studios' phenomenal success didn't come easily, and theirs is a tale worthy of a movie itself. Founded in 1912 by the legendary Carl Laemmle, Universal struggled hard in the early days to compete with its rivals, finally succeeded in the 1920s, and then began a roller coaster of ups and downs that climaxed in the new millennium with its status as a true industry leader. The major players included directors Hitchcock, Ford, Scorsese, Stone, and Lee and actors De Niro, Pacino, Streep, and Sarandon. Through an analysis of each movie, from the golden silents to Schindler's List, the exciting history of one of the world's greatest studios comes alive.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Film and theater critic Clive Hirschhorn tells the stories behind two major motion picture studios that epitomized the Golden Age of Hollywood in The Columbia Story and The Universal Story; he studies the works of these studios' tycoons and chronicles each film made, with numerous pictures and facts. Each year of the companies' existences is displayed showing the movies produced and reviews of the major films of that year. All the films that earned or were nominated for an Oscar appear in a timeline at the end of each book with specific award distinctions for the studio, from Columbia's It Happened One Night, Tootsie and The Shawshank Redemption to Universal's Dracula, ET and Jaws. These two volumes stand as excellent references for the powerhouses of American film. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The resurgent popularity of independent filmmakers in recent years makes it easy to forget the colossal movie-making empire created by the original Hollywood mega-studios, of which Columbia Pictures and Universal Studios are prime examples. Hirschhorn (formerly film and theater critic for the London Sunday Express), who pioneered the glossy, lavish studio history with his groundbreaking The Warner Bros. Story (LJ 3/1/80), here offers revisions of two works published in the 1980s, maintaining their exceptional quality. The logistical dilemma of how to cram into a volume of manageable size photos and critiques for every film produced by a studio since the silent movie era (over 3000 for Universal) is cleverly overcome by the judicious use of tiny arrows to match text with illustrations, omitting captions as well as cast and production credits. Hirschhorn's virtuoso command of cinema history and the motion picture industry is demonstrated throughout, a typical example being his critique of His Girl Friday, in which he relates the film to the original Broadway play, identifies the overlapping dialog technique as having been borrowed from an earlier Frank Capra film, and provides an articulate and entertaining critique of the plot. Not only are there a multitude of black-and-white photo stills, but they are especially well selected and capture the films' mood and impact. In addition to the main, year-by-year section featuring the films, there are excellent narrative histories of each studio. Highly recommended for all libraries and essential for cinema collections. Richard W. Grefrath, Univ. of Nevada Lib., Reno (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.