Wednesday 17 April 2024

Ars Gratia Artis*

Another day, another centenary...

One hundred years today, three studio magnates reached a merger agreement - and the legendary Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was born!

Famed for its glittering parade of stars over the decades - such icons as Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, Rudolph Valentino, the Barrymores, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Judy Garland, Robert Taylor, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Lana Turner and Cyd Charisse (and so many more) all got their big break at MGM! - it was also the home of Tom and Jerry, Lassie, the Marx Brothers, and some of the biggest and campest Busby Berkeley productions.

This was the studio that was responsible for some of history's most-lauded films, including The Women, Doctor Zhivago, North by Northwest, Mrs. Miniver, Ben–Hur [both versions], National Velvet, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Jailhouse Rock, Waterloo Bridge, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Forbidden Planet, Mutiny on the Bounty [both versions], How the West Was Won, The Philadelphia Story, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Shaft, Where Eagles Dare, Westworld, The Hunger, Moonstruck - and hundreds more besides!

It is, of course, as the production house behind some of the most wonderful musicals ever made that we love MGM the most! Its back-catalogue includes Easter Parade, Annie Get Your Gun, On the Town, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Show Boat, Gigi, Meet Me in St. Louis, and these...

Following the death of Louis B Mayer in 1957, the demise of the original company was palpable - with a number of buy-outs, reshuffles and bits sold off to the likes of Ted Turner, the involvement of dodgy businessmen and accusations of illegal operations, it went bankrupt in 2010 - despite having acquired United Artists, and with it the distribution rights for such cinematic behemoths as the James Bond and Rocky franchises. It survived the humiliation with a major buyout by its creditors, and finally MGM ended up in the hands of none other than Amazon, who bought it in 2021...

Let's hope that bodes well for its future.

["Ars Gratia Artis" = "art for art's sake" in English]


  1. Radio Three are doing a Sunday Feature on it, hosted by the composer /playwright Neil Brand. I'm looking forward to it.

    It's already on bbc sounds, I just haven't listened to it yet

    1. Thanks for the heads up - we'll be listening, no doubt, at some stage... Jx

    2. Thank you.

      Don't know if you noticed but the Centenary tribute to Sarah Vaughan is also on Jazz Record Requests

  2. Replies
    1. So many classic movies. So many stars! Thank heavens for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer! Jx

  3. Amazon's hands? I wouldn't bet on it!

    1. I know. It does make one shudder a bit... We live in hope. Jx

    2. I don't think you can say that any of the classic Hollywood studios have kept their personalities : Disney kind of has apart from the fact it's gobbled up so many things that are really unDisney and laid claim to them. (Kinda depressing). If MGM still exists I don't think you can claim it's the same studio that made all the films you mention

    3. They're all merely "brands" these days. Jx

  4. MGM:
    'More Stars Than There Are in Heaven'


Please leave a message - I value your comments!

[NB Bear with me if there is a delay - thanks to spammers I might need to approve comments]