Actors were forced to visit brothels by MGM during the Golden Age
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The Golden Age of MGM movies was a time of great success for the studio, with films such as Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Mutiny on the Bounty, and The Philadelphia Story being produced.
However, behind the scenes, a dark secret existed. According to Marc Eliot’s biography of Jimmy Stewart, MGM had a system in place where male contract stars were forced to partake in scheduled brothel visits.
Louis B. Mayer, the studio head and personal Big Bad of Judy Garland, was the architect of this system.
The brothel, located just a short walk from the front gate, was compulsory for all male contract stars.
Mayer, who was known to be a homophobe, believed that forcing his actors to sleep with ladies of the night would separate the heterosexuals from the homosexuals.
Additionally, it served as a way for Mayer to prevent the actors from sleeping with actresses he wanted to prey on.
Jimmy Stewart, Spencer Tracy, and Clark Gable were among the actors who were forced to visit the brothel as part of their contract.
Refusing to go was grounds for dismissal from the studio.
This means that when watching films such as Gone With the Wind, it’s important to remember that the actors may have been spending their time between takes at a subsidized brothel, and likely did not enjoy the experience.
This revelation paints a different picture of the Golden Age of MGM movies. It serves as a reminder that even the most iconic and beloved films may have a dark side.
It’s also important to note that the system in place at MGM was a reflection of the societal attitudes of the time, and should not be viewed as solely the actions of one individual.
The fact that such a system was in place at one of the most successful studios in Hollywood is both shocking and disturbing.
The forced visits to the brothel were not only a violation of the actors’ rights but also a clear indication of the deep-seated prejudices that existed in the industry.
It’s also worth considering the impact that this system may have had on the actors themselves.
Many of them were young and inexperienced when they joined the studio, and the forced visits to the brothel would have undoubtedly had a profound effect on their mental and emotional well-being.
Furthermore, the fact that refusing to go to the brothel was grounds for dismissal from the studio shows the extent to which the actors were at the mercy of the studio heads.
The power imbalance between the actors and the studio was immense, and the actors were left with little choice but to comply with the demands of the studio.