The Man Who Made the Movies
The Meteoric Rise and Tragic Fall of William Fox
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in BiographyNew Books in FilmNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books Network November 27, 2017 Mark Klobas
Though not a figure in the public imagination today, William Fox is a man whose legacy is visible in the numerous media enterprises that bear his name. Vanda Krefft‘s biography The Man Who Made the Movies: The Meteoric Rise and Tragic Fall of William Fox (Harper, 2017) leads readers through the remarkable arc of Fox’s life, one that took him from the slums of New York City to the glittering lights of Hollywood. The immigrant son of Hungarian Jews, Fox got his start in the entertainment industry in 1904 as an exhibitor. Enjoying success but chafing under the restrictive terms of film distributors, in 1915 he expanded into production, creating the Fox Film Corporation. As Krefft explains, Fox favored a director-centric approach to film making, working with such legendary figures as John Ford and F. W. Murnau to produce some of the greatest films of the silent era. By the late 1920s he had built a vast entertainment empire, only to lose first his fortune and then his company in the economic collapse at the end of the decade, which left him to watch as others turned his studio into 20th Century Fox, one of the big six studios in Hollywood today.