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From Talkies to Light Corruption: The Rise and Fall of Fox Studios

Cue the fanfare.
Cleopatra Theda Bara William Fox Studios
Fox Studios
By  · Published on November 9th, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video about the rise and fall of Hollywood mogul William Fox, the man behind Fox Studios.

Before we jump into the fascinating history of William Fox, the founder of the Fox Film Corporation and the man behind the rise of sound-on-film technology, we could do with a light refresher: where is Fox Studios today?

The latest chapter in Fox’s saga took place in March 2019, when the Walt Disney Company acquired 20th Century Fox. But, as the studio’s ever-changing logo shows us, Fox is no stranger to changing hands. From 1935 to 1985, the studio was known as 20th Century-Fox. And that pesky little hyphen tells us a lot. Namely, that during the Great Depression, the financially struggling Fox Film merged with another company: Twentieth Century Pictures.

And so it goes: Fox Film lives on. Albeit smuggled away in a studio-within-a-studio. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Or, rather, I’m getting ahead of today’s video, which lays out the studio’s origins and undeniable impact on the movie business.

As an added bonus, the video below is styled like a film noir. And now I don’t ever want to learn about early 20th-century history unless it’s over a glass of the hard stuff in some private eye’s smoke-choked office. It fits the mood, and it certainly puts me in one. So, draw the blinds and cozy up: for a tale of immigrant ingenuity, technical innovation, and of course, some light corruption.

Watch “William Fox – The Forgotten Hollywood Mogul”:

Who made this?

Filmmaker IQ is a YouTube channel disseminating all manner of film history and know-how. Their videos range from the highly technical (what to do if your greenscreen footage has something green in it) to the opinionated (are superhero movies destroying cinema?). Site-creator and director John P. Hess is our narrator. You can subscribe to Filmmaker IQ on YouTube here. And you can follow them on Twitter here.

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Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.