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Art Works Podcast: Frank Price, Part Two

This week's podcast is part two of our conversation with Hollywood writer, producer, and executive Frank Price. Last time, we concentrated on Price's career in television. This week, we focus on his films.

In 1978, Price left Universal Television and moved to Columbia Pictures, first as president, then as chairman and CEO. He turned Columbia Pictures around from a struggling company into a powerhouse that produced movie after movie that swept the Academy Awards. He oversaw the productions of some of the touchstone films of the 1980s, such as Kramer vs. Kramer, Das Boot, Ghostbusters, Tootsie, and Gandhi. Price then went to Universal Pictures, where he supervised the productions of still more iconic films such as Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, and Out of Africa. Price returned to Columbia as chairman, and greenlighted another set of groundbreaking projects, including A League of Their Own, Groundhog Day, and Boyz n the Hood.

Clearly, the man knows how to get a good movie made. He understands it involves a compelling story, innovative directors, and great actors. But a film also needs brilliant marketing to reach an audience. The 1982 film Gandhi is a case in point.  Directed by Richard Attenborough and starring the then-unknown Ben Kingsley, it had all the hallmarks of an important, successful movie with one glaring exception: Price was told that no one under 40 would know who Gandhi was. He agreed with that assessment, and persuaded all parties involved to sit on the film for one year. Then Frank Price went to work. [1:54]

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