Merian Caldwell Cooper (October 24, 1893 – April 21, 1973) was an American aviator, United States Air Force and Polish Air Force officer, adventurer, screenwriter, film director, and producer. Cooper was the founder of the Kościuszko Squadron during the Polish–Soviet War and was a Soviet prisoner of war for a time. He was a notable movie producer, and got his start with film as part of the Explorers Club, traveling the world and documenting adventures. He was a member of the board of directors of Pan American Airways, but his love of film always took priority. During his film career, he worked for companies such as Pioneer Pictures, RKO Pictures, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He is also credited as co-inventor of the Cinerama film projection process. Cooper's most famous film was the 1933 movie King Kong. He was awarded an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1952 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.
Merian C. Cooper
Merian C. Cooper in 1927
Merian Caldwell Cooper
October 24, 1893
|Died||April 21, 1973 (aged 79)|
|Allegiance|| United States|
|Service/|| United States Navy |
United States Army
Polish Air Force
|Years of service|
|Rank||Brigadier General (US) |
Merian Caldwell Cooper was born in Jacksonville, Florida, to the lawyer John C. Cooper and the former Mary Caldwell. He was the youngest of three children. At age six, Cooper decided that he wanted to be an explorer after hearing stories from the book Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa.:10,14 He was educated at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and graduated in 1911.:19
After graduation, Cooper received a prestigious appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy,:19 but was expelled during his senior year for "hell raising and for championing air power". In 1916, Cooper worked for the Minneapolis Daily News as a reporter, where he met Delos Lovelace. In the next few years, he also worked at the Des Moines Register-Leader and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.:22
In 1916, Cooper joined the Georgia National Guard to help chase Pancho Villa in Mexico. He was called home in March 1917. He worked for the El Paso Herald on a 30-day leave of absence. After returning to his service, Cooper was appointed lieutenant; however, he turned down the appointment hoping to participate in combat. Instead, he went to the Military Aeronautics School in Atlanta to learn to fly. Cooper graduated from the school as the top in his class.:24–25
In October 1917, Cooper went to France with the 201st Squadron. He attended flying school in Issoudun. While flying with his friend, Cooper hit his head and was knocked out during a 200-foot plunge. After the incident, Cooper suffered from shock and had to relearn how to fly. Cooper requested to go to Clermont-Ferrand to be trained as a bomber pilot. He became a pilot on the 20th Aero Squadron (which later became the 1st Day Bombardment Group).:26–27
Cooper served as a DH-4 bomber pilot with the United States Army Air Service during World War I. On September 26, 1918, his plane was shot down. The plane caught fire, and Cooper spun the plane to suck the flames out. Cooper survived, although he suffered burns, injured his hands, and was presumed dead. German soldiers saw his plane's incredible landing and took him to a prisoner reserve hospital.:8,38–41
From late 1919 until the 1921 Treaty of Riga, Cooper was a member of a volunteer American flight squadron, the Kościuszko Squadron, which supported the Polish Army in the Polish-Soviet War. On July 13, 1920, his plane was shot down and he spent nearly nine months in a Soviet prisoner of war camp where the writer Isaac Babel interviewed him. He escaped just before the war was over and made it to Latvia. For his valor he was decorated by Polish commander-in-chief Józef Piłsudski with the highest Polish military decoration, the Virtuti Militari.
During his time as a POW, Cooper wrote an autobiography: Things Men Die For. The manuscript was published by G. P. Putnam's Sons in New York (the Knickerbocker Press) in 1927. However, in 1928 Cooper regretted releasing certain details about "Nina" (probably Małgorzata Słomczyńska) with whom he had had relations outside of wedlock. Cooper then asked Dagmar Matson, who had the manuscript, to buy all the copies of the book possible. Matson found almost all 5,000 copies that had been printed. The books were destroyed, while Cooper and Matson each kept a copy.
An interbellum Polish film directed by Leonard Buczkowski, Gwiaździsta eskadra (The Starry Squadron), was inspired by Cooper's experiences as a Polish Air Force officer. The film was made with the cooperation of the Polish army and was the most expensive Polish film prior to World War II. After World War II, all copies of the film found in Poland were destroyed by the Soviets.
After returning from overseas in 1921, Cooper got a job working the night shift at The New York Times. He was commissioned to write articles for Asia magazine. Cooper was able to travel with Ernest Schoedsack on a sea voyage on the Wisdom II. As part of the journey, he traveled to Abyssinia, or the Ethiopian Empire, where he met their prince regent, Ras Tefari, later known as Emperor Haile Selassie I. The ship left Abyssinia in February 1923. On their way home, the crew narrowly missed being attacked by pirates, and the ship was burned down.:81–83,95–104 His three-part series for Asia was published in 1923.:106
After returning home, Cooper researched for the American Geographical Society. In 1924, Cooper joined Schoedsack and Marguerite Harrison who had embarked on an expedition that would be turned into the film Grass (1925).:111 They returned later the same year. Cooper became a member of the Explorers Club of New York in January 1925 and was asked to give lectures and attend events due to his extensive traveling. Grass was acquired by Paramount Pictures. This first film of Cooper and Schoedsack gained the attention of Jesse Lasky, who commissioned the duo for their second film, Chang (1927). They also produced the film The Four Feathers,:132–137,162 which was filmed among the fighting tribes of the Sudan. These films combined real footage with staged sequences.
Between 1926 and 1927, Cooper discussed the plans for Pan American Airways with John Hambleton, which was formed during 1927.:180 Cooper was a member of the board of directors of Pan American Airways. During his tenure at Pan Am, the company established the first regularly scheduled transatlantic service. While he was on the board, Cooper did not devote his full attention to the organization; he took time in 1929 and 1930 to work on the script for King Kong. By 1931, he was back in Hollywood.:182,183 He resigned from the board of directors in 1935, following health complications.:258
Cooper had said that he thought of King Kong after he had a dream that a giant gorilla was terrorizing New York City. When he woke, he recorded the idea and used it for the film. He was going to have a giant gorilla fight a Komodo dragon or other animal, but found that the technique of interlacing that he wanted to use would not provide realistic results.:194
Cooper needed a production studio for the film, but recognized the great cost of the movie, especially during the Great Depression. Cooper helped David Selznick get a job at RKO Pictures, which was struggling financially. Selznick became the vice president of RKO and asked Cooper to join him in September 1931, although he had only produced 3 films thus far in his career.:202–203 Cooper began working as an executive assistant at age thirty-eight.:74 He officially pitched the idea for King Kong in December 1931. Shortly after, he began to scope out actors and build full-scale sets, although the screenplay was not yet complete.:207–208
The screenplay was delivered to Cooper in January 1932. Schoedsack contributed to the film, focusing on shooting scenes for the boat sequences and in native villages, leaving Cooper to shoot the jungle scenes. In February 1933, the title for the film was registered for copyright.:218–223 Throughout filming there were creative battles. Critics at RKO argued that the film should begin with Kong. Cooper believed that a film should begin with a "slow dramatic buildup that would establish everything from characters to mood ..." so that the action of the film could "naturally, relentlessly, roll on out of its own creative movement," and thus chose to not begin the film with a shot of Kong. The iconic scene in which Kong is on top of the Empire State Building was almost called off by Cooper for legal reasons, but was kept in the film because RKO bought the rights to The Lost World.:229,231
In the 1933 version of King Kong, Cooper and co-director Ernest B. Schoedsack appear at the end, piloting the plane that finally finishes off Kong. Cooper had reportedly said, "We should kill the sonofabitch ourselves." Cooper personally cut a scene in King Kong in which four sailors are shaken off a rope bridge by Kong, fall into a ravine, and are eaten alive by giant spiders. According to Hollywood folklore, the decision was made after previews in January 1933, during which audience members either fled the theater in terror or talked about the ghastly scene throughout the remainder of the movie. However, more objective sources maintain that the scene merely slowed the film's pace. Legend has it that Cooper kept a print of the cut footage as a memento, although it has never been found. In 1963, Cooper argued unsuccessfully that he should own the rights to King Kong; later in 1976, judges ruled that Cooper owned the rights to King Kong outside the movie and its sequel.:362; 387 Selznick left RKO before the release of King Kong, and Cooper served as production head from 1933 to 1934 with Pan Berman as his executive assistant.
Cooper helped the Whitney cousins form Pioneer Pictures in 1933, while he was still working for RKO.:254 He was named vice president in charge of production for Pioneer Pictures in 1934. He would use Pioneer Pictures to test his technicolor innovations. The company contracted with RKO in order to fulfill Cooper's obligations to the company, including She and The Last Days of Pompeii. Cooper later referred to She as the "worst picture I ever made.":259,263
After these disappointments, Pioneer Pictures released a short film in three-strip technicolor called La Cucaracha which was well received. The film won an Academy Award in 1934. Pioneer released the first full-length technicolor film, Becky Sharp in 1935.:267–269 Cooper helped to advocate and pave the way for the ground-breaking technology of technicolor, as well as the widescreen process called Cinerama.
Selznick formed Selznick International Pictures in 1935, and Pioneer Pictures merged with it in June 1936.:269,274 Cooper became the vice president of Selznick International Pictures that same year. Cooper did not stay long; he resigned in 1937 due to disagreements over the film Stagecoach.:275
After resigning from Selznick International, Cooper went to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in June 1937. Cooper's most successful film at MGM was War Eagles. The film was postponed during World War II, and Cooper returned to the Air Force. The film was abandoned, however, and never finished.:276–281
Cooper re-enlisted and was commissioned a colonel in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He served with Col. Robert L. Scott in India. He worked as logistics liaison for the Doolittle Raid. Thereafter, Cooper and Scott worked with Col. Caleb V. Haynes at Dinjan Airfield. They all were involved in setting up the Assam-Burma-China Ferrying Command. This marked the beginnings of The Hump Airlift.
Colonel Cooper later served in China as chief of staff for General Claire Chennault of the China Air Task Force, which was the precursor of the Fourteenth Air Force. On 25 October 1942 a CATF raid consisting of 12 B-25s and 7 P-40s, led by Colonel Cooper, successfully bombed the Kowloon Docks at Hong Kong.
He served then from 1943 to 1945 in the Southwest Pacific as chief of staff for the Fifth Air Force's Bomber Command. At the end of the war, he was promoted to brigadier general. For his contributions, he was also aboard the USS Missouri to witness Japan's surrender.
Cooper and his friend and frequent collaborator, noted director John Ford, formed Argosy Productions in 1946 and produced such notable films such as Wagon Master (1950),:112 Ford's Fort Apache (1948), and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Cooper's films at Argosy reflected his patriotism and his vision of America.:321
Argosy negotiated a contract with RKO in 1946 to make four pictures. Cooper was able to make Grass a complete picture. Argosy also produced Mighty Joe Young, which brought in Schoedsack as director. Cooper visited the set of the film every day to check on progress.:335,340–342
Cooper left Argosy Pictures to pursue the process of Cinerama.:350 He became the vice president of Cinerama Productions in the 1950s. He was also elected a board member. After failing to convince other board members to finance skilled technicians, Cooper left Cinerama with Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney to form C.V. Whitney Productions. Cooper continued to outline movies to be shot in Cinerama. C.V. Whitney Productions only produced a few films.:355–358 Cooper was the executive producer for The Searchers (1956), again directed by Ford.:117
In 1927 Cooper was one of 19 prominent Americans who were given the title of "Honorary Scouts" by the Boy Scouts of America for "... achievements in outdoor activity, exploration and worthwhile adventure ... of such an exceptional character as to capture the imagination of boys". The other honorees were Roy Chapman Andrews, Robert Bartlett, Frederick Russell Burnham, Richard E. Byrd, George Kruck Cherrie, James L. Clark, Lincoln Ellsworth, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, George Bird Grinnell, Charles Lindbergh, Donald Baxter MacMillan, Clifford H. Pope, George Palmer Putnam, Kermit Roosevelt, Carl Rungius, Stewart Edward White, and Orville Wright.
Cooper was awarded an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1952. His film The Quiet Man was nominated for Best Picture that year, but lost to Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth. Cooper has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, though his first name is misspelled "Meriam".
Cooper was the father of Polish translator and writer Maciej Słomczyński. He married film actress Dorothy Jordan on May 27, 1933. They kept their marriage a secret from Hollywood for a month before it was reported by journalists. He suffered a heart attack later that year.:252,255 In the 1950s he supported Joseph McCarthy in his crusade to root out Communists in Hollywood and Washington, D.C.
Cooper founded Advanced Projects in his later life and served as the chairman of the board. He wanted to explore new technologies like 3-D color television productions.:374 Cooper died of cancer on April 21, 1973, in San Diego. His ashes were scattered at sea with full military honors.:378
|1925||Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Role: Himself; Documentary|
|1927||Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Documentaries|
|1928||Gow the Head Hunter||No||No||No||Yes|
|1929||Captain Salisbury's Ra-Mu||No||No||No||Yes|
|The Four Feathers||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|1931||Gow the Killer||No||No||No||Yes||Documentary|
|1932||Roar of the Dragon||No||No||Story||No|
|1933||King Kong||Yes||Yes||Story||No||Role: Pilot of plane that kills Kong|
|1935||The Last Days of Pompeii||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|1949||Mighty Joe Young||No||Yes||Story||No||Also presenter|
|1952||This Is Cinerama||Yes||Yes||No||No||Documentary|
|1932||The Most Dangerous Game||Associate producer|
|Flaming Gold||Executive producer|
|The Phantom of Crestwood||Associate producer|
|1933||The Monkey's Paw||Producer|
|Lucky Devils||Associate producer|
|The Silver Cord|
|Bed of Roses|
|No Marriage Ties|
|One Man's Journey|
|Aggie Appleby, Maker of Men|
|Ace of Aces|
|Chance at Heaven|
|The Right to Romance|
|If I Were Free|
|The Son of Kong||Also characters|
|Flying Down to Rio|
|The Meanest Gal in Town||Executive producer|
|Man of Two Worlds|
|Long Lost Father|
|Hips, Hips, Hooray!|
|The Lost Patrol|
|Keep 'Em Rolling|
|Success at Any Price|
|This Man Is Mine|
|Sing and Like It|
|1936||Dancing Pirate||Executive producer|
|1938||The Toy Wife||Producer|
|1947||The Fugitive||Presenter, producer|
|1948||Fort Apache||Presenter, executive producer|
|3 Godfathers||Presenter, producer|
|1949||She Wore a Yellow Ribbon||Presenter, executive producer|
|1952||The Quiet Man|
|1953||The Sun Shines Bright|
|1956||Seven Wonders of the World||Documentary|
|The Searchers||Executive producer|
|1963||Best of Cinerama||Co-producer||Documentary|
Double Harness (1933) is an American pre-Code film starring Ann Harding and William Powell. It was based on the play of the same name by Edward Poor Montgomery. A young woman maneuvers a lazy playboy into marrying her.
This was one of several films, all produced by Merian C. Cooper at RKO, that were out of distribution for more than 50 years as a result of a legal settlement that gave Cooper complete ownership of the films. Turner Classic Movies eventually acquired the rights to the films.Dr. Cyclops
Dr. Cyclops is a 1940 American Technicolor science fiction horror film from Paramount Pictures, produced by Dale Van Every and Merian C. Cooper, directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack, and starring Thomas Coley, Victor Kilian, Janice Logan, Charles Halton, Frank Yaconelli, and Albert Dekker.The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects by (Farciot Edouart and Gordon Jennings) at the 13th Academy Awards.Dr. Cyclops is based on a short story of the same name by fantasy and science fiction writer Henry Kuttner, which first appeared in the June 1940 issue of the pulp magazine Thrilling Wonder Stories.Ernest B. Schoedsack
Ernest Beaumont Schoedsack (June 8, 1893 – December 23, 1979) was an American motion picture cinematographer, producer, and director. He worked on several films with Merian C. Cooper including King Kong and Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness.Flying Down to Rio
Flying Down to Rio is a 1933 American pre-Code RKO musical film noted for being the first screen pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, although Dolores del Río and Gene Raymond received top billing and the leading roles. Among the featured players are Franklin Pangborn and Eric Blore. The songs in the film were written by Vincent Youmans (music), Gus Kahn and Edward Eliscu (lyrics), with musical direction and additional music by Max Steiner. This is the only film in which Rogers was billed above famed Broadway dancer Astaire.
The black-and-white film (later computer-colorized) was directed by Thornton Freeland and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Lou Brock. The screenplay was written by Erwin S. Gelsey, H. W. Hanemann and Cyril Hume, based on a story by Lou Brock and a play by Anne Caldwell. Linwood Dunn did the special effects for the celebrated airplane-wing dance sequence at the end of the film. In this film, Dolores Del Rio became the first major actress to wear a two-piece women's bathing suit onscreen.Grass (1925 film)
Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life (1925) is a documentary film which follows a branch of the Bakhtiari tribe of Lurs in Persia as they and their herds make their seasonal journey to better pastures. It is considered one of the earliest ethnographic documentary films.King Kong
King Kong is a giant movie monster, resembling an enormous ape, that has appeared in various media since 1933. The character first appeared in the 1933 film King Kong from RKO Pictures, which received universal acclaim upon its initial release and re-releases. A sequel quickly followed that same year with The Son of Kong, featuring Little Kong. In the 1960s, Toho produced King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), pitting a larger Kong against Toho's own Godzilla, and King Kong Escapes (1967), based on The King Kong Show (1966–1969) from Rankin/Bass Productions. In 1976, Dino De Laurentiis produced a modern remake of the original film directed by John Guillermin. A sequel, King Kong Lives, followed a decade later featuring a Lady Kong. Another remake of the original, this time set in 1933, was released in 2005 from filmmaker Peter Jackson.
The most recent film, Kong: Skull Island (2017), set in 1973, is part of Legendary Entertainment's MonsterVerse, which began with Legendary's reboot of Godzilla in 2014. A crossover sequel, Godzilla vs. Kong, once again pitting the characters against one another, is currently planned for 2020.
The character King Kong has become one of the world's most famous movie icons, having inspired a number of sequels, remakes, spin-offs, imitators, parodies, cartoons, books, comics, video games, theme park rides, and a stage play. His role in the different narratives varies, ranging from a rampaging monster to a tragic antihero.King Kong (1933 film)
King Kong is a 1933 American pre-Code monster adventure film directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. The screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose was developed from an idea conceived by Cooper and Edgar Wallace. It stars Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot and Robert Armstrong, and opened in New York City on March 2, 1933, to rave reviews. It has been ranked by Rotten Tomatoes as the greatest horror film of all time and the thirty-third greatest film of all time.The film tells of a huge, ape-like creature dubbed Kong who perishes in an attempt to possess a beautiful young woman (Wray). King Kong is especially noted for its stop-motion animation by Willis O'Brien and a groundbreaking musical score by Max Steiner. In 1991, it was deemed "culturally, historically and aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. A sequel quickly followed with Son of Kong (also released in 1933), with several more films made in the following decades.King Kong vs. Tarzan
King Kong vs. Tarzan is a 2016 novel by Will Murray, featuring the characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in a crossover with the characters created by Merian C. Cooper for the novelization of King Kong. It is authorized by Burroughs' estate.Mark Cotta Vaz
Mark Cotta Vaz (born September 16, 1954, in San Francisco, California) is an American author, editor and film historian. He has authored over thirty books, including four New York Times bestsellers. He has focused on documenting film special effects and other behind-the-scenes aspects of visual presentation. He has written about these aspects for both Star Wars and Star Trek. He has produced a number of movie companion books, such as those for The Spirit, Beautiful Creatures and four for the Twilight series. Publishers Weekly said about his biography of Merian C. Cooper: The charismatic Cooper, "a man living his own movie," is no longer an obscure, remote figure, thanks to Vaz's exhaustive research and skillful writing.Mighty Joe Young (1949 film)
Mighty Joe Young (also known as Mr. Joseph Young of Africa and The Great Joe Young) is a 1949 American black and white fantasy film distributed by RKO Radio Pictures and produced by the same creative team responsible for King Kong (1933). Produced by Merian C. Cooper, who wrote the story, and Ruth Rose, who wrote the screenplay, the film was directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and stars Robert Armstrong (who appears in both films), Terry Moore, and Ben Johnson in his first credited screen role.
Mighty Joe Young tells the story of a young woman, Jill Young, living on her father's ranch in Africa, who has raised the title character, a large gorilla, from an infant and years later brings him to Hollywood seeking her fortune in order to save the family homestead.Pioneer Pictures
Pioneer Pictures, Inc. was a Hollywood motion picture company, most noted for its early commitment to making color films. Pioneer was initially affiliated with RKO Pictures, whose production facilities in Culver City, California were used by Pioneer, and who distributed Pioneer's films. Pioneer later merged with Selznick International Pictures.
The company was formed in 1933 by investor John Hay Whitney, who wanted to get into the motion picture business, and his cousin Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, on the encouragement of RKO executive Merian C. Cooper, an enthusiast of the newly improved, full-color Technicolor Process No. 4, introduced in 1932. The process had been used thus far only in Walt Disney cartoons. Technicolor, Inc. had been operating at a loss in 1931–1933, mostly servicing old contracts for its two-component color system, and badly needed a movie studio that would move the new three-component process into feature filmmaking. Although there was no formal connection between Technicolor and Pioneer, the Whitneys invested in stock and stock options estimated at 15 percent of Technicolor.Pioneer announced that its first color production would be The Last Days of Pompeii, but it was eventually filmed by RKO in black and white. Other never-realized color projects were adaptations of the novels The Three Musketeers and Green Mansions. Instead, Pioneer designated the musical short La Cucaracha (1934) to be its Technicolor live-action showcase, and subsequently won an Academy Award for it.
In late 1934, Pioneer contracted with Technicolor to make nine features in the full color process, and hired RKO's Merian C. Cooper to be its vice-president in charge of production. Becky Sharp (1935), an adaptation of Thackeray's novel Vanity Fair, became the first feature-length motion picture in full color, followed by Dancing Pirate (1936).Helen Gahagan became the first actor under a multi-picture contract with Pioneer Pictures, while John Ford was engaged to direct several color productions, starting with The Life of Custer. Neither would actually make a picture with Pioneer.
The Whitneys became founding investors in the newly formed Selznick International Pictures in 1935, and Pioneer Pictures was informally merged with it the following year, after Pioneer completed its releasing obligations with RKO. Directing contracts with John Ford and George Cukor were transferred. Selznick International, which also used the RKO studio and Forty Acres backlot, carried out Pioneer's commitment to produce features in Technicolor. Two Selznick color productions, A Star Is Born (1937) and Nothing Sacred (1937), were in fact copyrighted to Pioneer Pictures.
Selznick International Pictures was dissolved by its owners in 1940–1943. John Hay Whitney then sold Becky Sharp, Dancing Pirate, A Star Is Born, and Nothing Sacred to the distributing company Film Classics, Inc. Film Classics was acquired by Cinecolor Corporation in 1947 — a company specializing in a two-component color process. Cinecolor resold Film Classics to Film Classics' officers in 1949.She (1935 film)
She is a 1935 American film produced by Merian C. Cooper. Based on H. Rider Haggard's novel of the same name, the screenplay combines elements from all the books in the series: She: A History of Adventure, She and Allan, Ayesha: The Return of She and Wisdom's Daughter. The film reached a new generation of moviegoers with a 1949 re-release.
The ancient civilization of Kor is depicted in an Art Deco style with imaginative special effects. The setting is Arctic Siberia, rather than in Africa, as in the first book. The third book is set in the Himalayas. With music by Max Steiner, the film stars Helen Gahagan, Randolph Scott and Nigel Bruce.
It was hoped that She would follow Cooper's previous success, King Kong. Cooper had originally intended to shoot the film in color, but budget cuts by RKO forced him to shoot the film in black and white at the last minute. However, the black and white film had disappointing results at the box office. It initially lost $180,000, although it later had a successful re-release. The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.The Four Feathers (1929 film)
The Four Feathers is a 1929 American war film directed by Merian C. Cooper and starring Fay Wray. The picture has the distinction of being one of the last major Hollywood pictures of the silent era. It was also released by Paramount Pictures in a version with a Movietone soundtrack with music and sound effects only. The film is the third of numerous film versions of the 1902 novel The Four Feathers written by A. E. W. Mason, and the cast features William Powell, Richard Arlen, Clive Brook and Noah Beery Sr.The Last Days of Pompeii (1935 film)
The Last Days of Pompeii (1935) is an RKO Radio Pictures film starring Preston Foster and directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper, creators of the original King Kong. Although inspired by the novel of the same name by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the film has virtually nothing to do with the book.The Lost Patrol (1934 film)
The Lost Patrol is a 1934 American pre-Code war film made by RKO. It was directed and produced by John Ford, with Merian C. Cooper as executive producer and Cliff Reid as associate producer. The screenplay was by Dudley Nichols, adapted by Garrett Fort from the novel Patrol by Philip MacDonald. The music score was by Max Steiner and the cinematography by Harold Wenstrom. The film is a remake of a 1929 British silent film, also named The Lost Patrol.The earlier film was directed and written by Walter Summers and is based on the same novel. The Lost Patrol stars Victor McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford, Reginald Denny, J. M. Kerrigan and Alan Hale.The Lost Patrol was reprised in a number of films, the script was the basis for the 1936 Soviet film The Thirteen, set by director Mikhail Romm in the Central Asia desert during the Basmachi rebellion.
This Soviet film was then adapted in Sahara, featuring Humphrey Bogart and the 1995 remake featuring James Belushi. Last of the Comanches is a Western remake from 1953.The Most Dangerous Game (film)
The Most Dangerous Game is a 1932 pre-Code adaptation of the 1924 short story of the same name by Richard Connell, the first film version of that story. The plot concerns a big game hunter on an island who hunts humans for sport. The film stars Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks, and King Kong leads Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong; it was made by a team including Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper, the co-directors of King Kong (1933). The film was shot at night on the King Kong jungle sets.The Toy Wife
The Toy Wife is a 1938 American drama film directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Luise Rainer and Melvyn Douglas. The period film was produced by Merian C. Cooper and written by Zoë Akins.This Is Cinerama
This is Cinerama is a 1952 full-length film directed by Merian C. Cooper and starring Lowell Thomas. It is designed to introduce the widescreen process Cinerama, which broadens the aspect ratio so the viewer's peripheral vision is involved. This is Cinerama premiered on September 30, 1952 at the Broadway Theatre, in New York City.