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Sol Wurtzel: The Forgotten Mogul (2006)



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Credited cast:
Scott McIsaac ...
Aubrey Solomon ...
Carla Winter ...
Paul Wurtzel ...


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Documentary | Short





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1 August 2006 (USA)  »

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This Guy Had Some Eye For Talent And Making 'B' Films Look Great
17 January 2008 | by See all my reviews

Most Hollywood "moguls" are pretty famous: men like Jack Warner, David O. Selznick and the like. Hence, we get this history and inside look at one man who also qualified for that status but is little-known today. This was a bonus feature documentary on the "Thank You, Mr. Moto" DVD.

Sol Wurtzel was not a nice guy. That is stated early on in this documentary and mentioned because, if his personality had been better he might have been a lot more famous as head of a big studio. He came close, anyway, being the head of Fox "B" studio.

This documentary traces Wurtzel's film history, beginning in 1913 when he was a bookkeeper from New York City who was sent out west by Fox mogul William Fox. The latter had no interest moving 3,500 miles to other coast so he had Wurtzel handle things out there. After socializing with silent film greats like Theda Bara, Tom Mix and many more, Wurtzel's film business career started rising.

The story of the confrontations between Wurtzel, in Hollywood, and his boss, Fox, in New York City, were interesting, as was all the other data telling us about Wurtzel trying to make it on his own, then becoming an actual "mogul" and producing some really good movies on a cheap budget: up to 24 a year. These were "B" movies that had the look of "A" material. These films, starring the likes of Shirley Temple, Warner Oland, Peter Lorre, Will Rogers and more, had good production values and featured wonderful entertainment. These films - not the "A" ones put out at the time by 20th Century Fox - made the company profitable.

With a great eye for talent, Wurtzel introduced such famous people as Ginger Rogers, Robert Taylor, Glenn Ford, Alice Faye, Ray Milland, Jane Withers, Rita Hayworth, Humphrey Bogart and a number of a great directors.

There is an absolute ton of information in this documentary, and very interesting material.

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