NAU’s College of Arts and Letters Fall 2017 film series is the first of a two-season tribute to the Hollywood film studio 20th Century Fox. This season we will focus on some of Fox’s most important stars and in the spring we’ll look at directors.
20th Century Fox began when Fox, founded in 1915 (the year of D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” and Charlie Chaplin’s “The Tramp”) and 20th Century merged in 1935. Along with MGM, Warner Brothers, RKO, and Paramount, Fox was one of the five major Hollywood Golden Age studios, those remarkable businesses that discovered and perfected the art of mass-production and distribution of quality films with broad cross-cultural appeal
Today Fox, Warner’s, and Paramount, along with Columbia, Disney and Universal, which had been minor studios during the Golden Age, are the Big Six, diversified media conglomerates, whose various film production and distribution subsidiaries command some 80 to 85 percent of U.S. and Canadian box office revenue. While film production today is primarily the work of independent companies, distribution and often financing is the domain of the majors.
NAU’s College of Arts and Letters Film Series, which is co-sponsored by the Cline Library and the School of Communication, promotes understanding and appreciation of cinema through Northern Arizona University and the greater Flagstaff community. Before each film a local film expert offers a short introduction to set the film in its historical, artistic, and cultural context. Each film is followed by a discussion.
The CAL film series blends well-known audience favorites along with lesser-known films, as well as a mix of genres, artists, and decades, moving chronologically from past to present, so that audiences can see the evolution of the art form. Our season premiere is a 1935 prestige literary picture, a genre common to the studios back then. Adapted from the Victor Hugo novel “Les Misérables” was a Fox production about one month before Fox and 20th Century merged; Golden Age icons Fredric March and Charles Laughton star.
We’ll show well-known films like Best Picture Oscar winner “All About Eve,” (1951) featuring Bette Davis’ iconic starring role. Comedies this season include our Halloween special, Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” (1974), and “9 to 5” (1980), starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. We’ll conclude with 1988’s “Die Hard,” an action film that changed the genre, made TV star Bruce Willis one of the biggest movie stars of the 1990s, and introduced most of us to the great Alan Rickman in his first film role.
Lesser known movies include Tyrone Power, Fox’s biggest Golden Age star, in the dark “Nightmare Alley” (1947). The rarely screened “Niagara” (1953) features perhaps the greatest star, Marilyn Monroe in her…