Universal Pictures: Celebrating 100 Years

Universal Pictures: Celebrating 100 Years
May 4, 2012 -
June 24, 2012
In-person: 
producer Brian Grazer (5/4); actress Carla Laemmle (5/5); actor Arthur Gardner (5/11); actress/author Marilyn Knowlden and author/historian Miles Kreuger (5/19); cinematographer Isidore Mankofsky, A.S.C. (6/4); author/historian James Curtis (6/8); and actress/author Marilyn Knowlden (6/10).

"This massive 36-film series...casts an especially wide and eclectic net." —Los Angeles Times

"Universal Studios digitally restores 13 classic movies, including The Sting, Jaws, Dracula and Frankenstein, as part of its 100th birthday celebration." —Los Angeles Times

Download our exhibition catalog (PDF).

The Universal Film Manufacturing Company incorporated on April 30, 1912, the result of a merger between a number of independent companies that had been battling Thomas Edison’s Motion Picture Patents Trust. Universal would go on to become the oldest continuously operating film producer and distributor in the United States. In an industry defined by change, Universal’s spinning globe logo has remained, along with its back lot, and tour, in Universal City, California.

From its beginning under Carl Laemmle, there existed a tension between Universal’s need to produce low-budget “programmers” and the “major minor’s” desire to compete alongside better-capitalized studios—with their national theater chains—on the level of big-budget A pictures. Ironically, while several of Universal’s early “prestige” titles are beloved classics today, including All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), it remains the B pictures, including its iconic 1930s horror cycle (Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy) that epitomize its contribution to film art and commerce.

This irony informs Universal’s post-war emergence as a global entertainment power. After anti-trust actions leveled the playing field in the 1940s, Universal moved into the A-list with superlative mass entertainment that ennobled populist genres, including melodramas (Magnificent Obsession), sex farces (Pillow Talk) and homespun comedies (Francis). Universal also innovated new industry practices, pioneering the “percentage deal” and embracing television production.

It changed the game again with Jaws (1975), which established the “blockbuster” formula that still dominates the industry today. Throughout its history, Universal has translated economic necessity into a uniquely American challenge to the distinctions between prestigious and popular entertainment. The Archive is pleased to celebrate Universal Pictures’ hundred-year legacy.

Past Programs & Events

Image Title Date and Time Location Buy Tickets
Jaws (1975) Jaws (1975) June 24, 2012 - 7:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Inglourious Basterds (2009) Inglourious Basterds (2009) June 23, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
The Birds (1963) The Birds (1963) June 22, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
The Sting (1973) The Sting (1973) June 18, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
High Plains Drifter (1973) High Plains Drifter (1973);
Winchester '73 (1950)
June 17, 2012 - 7:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Back to the Future (1985) Back to the Future (1985) June 17, 2012 - 11:00 am Billy Wilder Theater
Airport (1970) Airport (1970) June 15, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Imitation of Life (1934) Imitation of Life (1934);
Little Man, What Now? (1934)
June 10, 2012 - 7:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) June 9, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) June 9, 2012 - 4:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Frankenstein (1931) Frankenstein (1931);
The Mummy (1932)
June 8, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Somewhere in Time (1980) Somewhere in Time (1980) June 4, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Out of Sight (1998) Out of Sight (1998) June 2, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Chip Off the Old Block (1944) Chip Off the Old Block (1944) June 2, 2012 - 4:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) Francis (1950);
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
May 23, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) May 21, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Pillow Talk (1959) Pillow Talk (1959);
Magnificent Obsession (1954)
May 19, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Show Boat (1936) Show Boat (1936) May 19, 2012 - 4:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Do the Right Thing (1989) Do the Right Thing (1989) May 18, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939);
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1940)
May 13, 2012 - 7:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Cobra Woman (1944) Cobra Woman (1944) May 12, 2012 - 4:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) May 11, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Traffic in Souls (1913) Traffic in Souls (1913);
Where Are My Children? (1916)
May 10, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Blind Husbands (1919) Blind Husbands (1919);
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
May 6, 2012 - 7:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Dracula (1931) Dracula (1931);
The Black Cat (1934)
May 5, 2012 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Apollo 13 (1995) Apollo 13 (1995) May 4, 2012 - 7:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater