Friday, March 20, 2015

The cost of doing business

One of the more baffling shorts out there is one with an overlong title: MGM's March on in 1934-35 with Metro Goldwyn Mayer: Convention of the Century. TCM is running it on March 21 at about 8:35 AM in case you want to see it.

There's very little to this short. Sometime in 1934, MGM held a convention for all of its exhibitors; that is, the people who were in charge of which MGM movies would get shown in the local theaters. That's no big deal; the bigger question is why MGM would make a short out of it. Well, there is a fairly obvious reason, which is good relations with their exhibitors. Of course, it's not as if anybody who went to the movies would actually care about any of these exhibitors. They might have cared about the upcoming movies; after all, MGM made any number of shorts promoting upcoming movies. This short, however, is mostly people nobody had ever heard of standing around not doing much of anything. At least when MGM did the same thing in their 1925 studio tour, there was the value of seeing the MGM lot as it was in its early days, and many of the directors and silent stars either were famous, or would go on to become famous. The only person here you might recognize by name is Felix Feist, who would go on to direct movies such as This Woman Is Dangerous.

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