The Concession Stand

Monday, February 12, 2018

Hooray For Hollywood! What Makes A Great Film?

One of the biggest mysteries in Hollywood is figuring out how to make a successful, quality film. The making of a classic, successful film always seems effortless and obvious. How could a film like Gone With the Wind *not* succeed? As obvious a success such a film appears to be now, there were doubtless moments where the film’s producers felt overwhelmed by its lavish cost overruns, worried about how the film would be received at the box office and concerned about whether the promise seen in the script would translate to the screen.

Louis B. Mayer is concerned.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the undisputed leader in Hollywood during its golden age. The studio’s tried and true system for making films seemed to produce more hits and more classics than any other studio. Did MGM know the secret to filmmaking and if so, would it have been easy for another studio to duplicate?

Irving Thalberg

While MGM’s Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg were considered geniuses when it came to the filmmaking process, they would probably have been the first to admit that they were mostly just lucky. MGM’s high output during the golden era meant that they would have plenty of hits even if there were an average number of failures.