While the days of the studio system are long-gone, documenting the histories of classic Hollywood’s major studios is a major albeit fascinating endeavor. In some cases, the stories have ended; in others, the studios continue to exist and adapt to today’s audiences and their preferred methods of film consumption. Though 20th Century-Fox has ceased to exist, its story is aptly examined and documented by Scott Eyman in his contribution to the TCM library.
Eyman’s 20th Century-Fox: Darryl F. Zanuck and the Creation of the Modern Film Studio, published by Running Press, delves into the history and founding of the studio, in addition to discussions of its output and numerous stars. From its early days on to its end–with Disney purchasing and dissolving the former studio–Eyman’s work pays tribute to the studios place in film history.
Among the many producers, stars, and filmmakers discussed is Darryl F. Zanuck, a strict and methodical producer who exists at the very core of the 20th Century-Fox story. Zanuck would become responsible for the majority of the studio’s defining characteristics, including the Fox blondes (such as Alice Faye, Betty Grable, June Haver, and Marilyn Monroe), epics, dramas, and social problem films. He would also serve to cultivate the film careers of major studio stars such as Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, and more. Additionally, his influence would eventually inspire additional producers, who would carry the studio through its high and low points in the years to come.
Eyman’s 20th Century-Fox is a well-researched and fast-paced studio history, supplemented with beautiful photographs that illustrate the studio’s story. This installment is an exciting addition to Eyman’s already impressive, educational, and thoroughly entertaining bibliography.