Home

3D film

Beginnings film studio

Typical major film studio components

Today film studio

The Walt Disney Company

20th Century Fox

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Pictures

Miramax

Republic Pictures

3D Technology

IMAX 3D

RealD Cinema

 

DreamWorks Animation

 

 

 

Walter Wanger

 

Walter Wanger (July 11, 1894 November 18, 1968) was an American film producer active in filmmaking from the 1910s to the turbulent production of Cleopatra, his last film, in 1963. He began at Paramount Pictures in the 1920s and eventually worked at virtually every major studio as either a contract producer or an independent. He also served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1939 to October 1941 and from December 1941 to 1945. Strongly influenced by European films, Wanger developed a reputation as an intellectual and a socially conscious movie executive who produced provocative message movies and glittering romantic melodramas. He achieved notoriety when, in 1951, he shot and wounded the agent of his then-wife, Joan Bennett, because he suspected they were having an affair. He was convicted for the crime and served a four-month sentence, then returned to making movies.
Wanger's second spell with Paramount lasted from 1924 to 1931, during which time his annual wage rose from $150,000 to $250,000. He was tasked with overseeing the work of the studio heads, which meant he had little involvement with the production of individual films. Because he was based in New York, Wanger worked more closely with the company's Astoria Studios in Queens, New York. A rivalry developed between Wanger-influenced Astoria productions and those of B. P. Schulberg who ran the Paramount productions in Hollywood. From the mid-1920s, the company was rapidly overtaken by the recently formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as the industry's leading company and this along with heavy losses incurred on big-budget films, led to Paramount's executives decision in 1927 to eventually close the New York operation and shift all production to Hollywood. Wanger opposed this move and felt he was being squeezed out of the company.
After leaving Paramount, Wanger tried unsuccessfully to set himself up as an independent. Unable to secure financing for films, he joined Columbia Pictures in December 1931. Wanger was recruited by Harry Cohn, who wanted to move Columbia away from its Poverty Row past by producing several special, large-budget productions each year to complement the bulk of the studio's low-budget films. Wanger was to take on a greater personal role in individual films than he had previously, although he always attempted to give directors and screenwriters creative freedom. In general his efforts were overshadowed by the more successful films made by Frank Capra for Columbia.
Bennett parked her Cadillac convertible in the lot at the back of the MCA offices, at Santa Monica Boulevard and Rexford Drive, across the street from the Beverly Hills Police Department, and she and Lang drove off in his car. Meanwhile, her husband Walter Wanger drove by at about 2:30 p.m. and noticed his wife's car parked there. Half an hour later, he again saw her car there and stopped to wait. Bennett and Lang drove into the parking lot a few hours later and he walked her to her convertible. As she started the engine, turned on the headlights and prepared to drive away, Lang leaned on the car, with both hands raised to his shoulders, and talked to her.
On December 14, Bennett issued a statement in which she said she hoped her husband "will not be blamed too much" for wounding her agent. She read the prepared statement in the bedroom of her home to a group of newspapermen while TV cameras recorded the scene. Wanger's attorney, Jerry Giesler, mounted a "temporary insanity" defense. He then decided to waive his rights to a jury and threw himself on the mercy of the court. Wanger served a four-month sentence in the County Honor Farm at Castaic, 39 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles, quickly returning to his career to make a series of successful films. During this time period Walter Mirisch of Allied Artists had Wanger's name put on Kansas Pacific (1953) as a producer, although he was in prison for the Lang shooting. This allowed Wanger to receive a producer's billing, salary and profit participation. The entire experience with the criminal charges and jail sentence affected Lang profoundly, and in 1954 he made the prison film Riot in Cell Block 11.