Samuel Goldwyn

Pioneering move moguls

He was Polish first, and in the musical chairs name game, he avoided being called Goldfish or Selfish to emerge as Goldwyn. He had actually abandoned the company of his own name long before its merger with Metro and Mayer. He wanted to be on his own. Friends and rivals alike agreed it was his only way. So he formed a studio of his own that lasted more than 30 years and won best picture with “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946). He acquired the reputation for getting things fabulously wrong whenever he talked, but onscreen enough went right for fame and many imitators. He pushed Eddie Cantor and Danny Kaye. He made “Dodsworth” and “Wuthering Heights” to show that he was literary. “Stella Dallas” proved he understood mothers. “Ball of Fire” stood up for sheer fun; “The Little Foxes” for melodrama, deep focus and Bette Davis. Selznick had more passion and a greater instinct for life on the screen, but Selznick couldn’t stay solvent or stable for three years in a row. But Goldwyn made it look easy, or natural.

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