TALK’S CHEAP, ACTION’S EXPENSIVE: THE FILMS OF ROBERT L. LIPPERT by Mark Thomas McGee

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Superman and the Mole-Men (1951) with George Reeves. The Fly (1958) with Vincent Price. The Last Man on Earth (1964). These low-budget films earned big-profit bonanzas, and the man behind the yields was Robert L. Lippert.

 

When Spyros Skouras was forced to resign as commander in chief of 20th Century Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck was persuaded to return to the studio to take charge. As the studio was on the brink of disaster, Zanuck put the brakes on every project in the works and fired just about everyone on the lot, except for one man, the only one working for the studio who made their bread-and-butter pictures which, at this point in time, was the only kind of movies the studio could afford to make—and he was Robert L. Lippert.

 

Lippert produced over 200 movies tailored to the small town exhibitors that had to change their program two or three times a week. They loved him for it. Kansas theater owner Bill Leonard told his fellow exhibitors to “. . . just line up with these Lippert pictures and you and your patrons will be happy.” James Clavell—author of Shogun, Andrew McLaglen—director of McLintock, and Sam Fuller—director of Pickup on South Street, got their first breaks in the business from Lippert.

 

Read about his battle with the Screen Actors Guild, his stormy marriage, and, of course, his movies.

 

"Compelling, a good read. I found it hard to put down." -Western Clippings

 

"McGee has performed an invaluable service in rounding up RL's wild celluloid herd into a single corral." -Videoscope

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