Looking at the film industry as we now know it, it’s hard to imagine that America wasn’t always the film producing machine we see it as now. Yet, when we begin looking at all the technological advances that took place in film over time and the events which occurred during these periods, it was a complex journey. In the following essay we are going to discuss why I believe that the wars faced both foreign and domestic played the biggest factor in the American Film industry’s rise to dominance by the 1950s.
Birth of Film:
As with all things it’s probably best to start with the beginning; the birth of film. Eadweard Muybridge was hired in 1872 to capture images of a horse running to settle a debate as to whether all four feet of a horse were off the ground at the same time while trotting. Little did he know that by capturing these images he eventually would spark the invention of the kinetscope by Thomas Edison in the 1880s.
By the late 1890s movies could be projected onto a screen and audiences finally were able to attend public demonstrations. In 1905 the world's first nickelodeon devoted to film exhibition was opened in Pittsburgh, PA by Harry Davis. Nickelodeons (named for both the price of admission and the Greek word for “theater”) soon spread across the country, the number of nickelodeons reached around 8000 between 1907 and 1908, and by 1910 it was estimated that as many as 26 million Americans visited these theaters every week.
World War I:
From about 1910 American
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In chapter two of The Cultures of American Film, the main focus is the establishment of studios. As demand for films rose in the early 1900’s, production companies needed to expand; this lead to the creation of large scale studios.
During the course of this essay it is my intention to discuss the differences between Classical Hollywood and post-Classical Hollywood. Although these terms refer to theoretical movements of which they are not definitive it is my goal to show that they are applicable in a broad way to a cinema tradition that dominated Hollywood production between 1916 and 1960 and which also pervaded Western Mainstream Cinema (Classical Hollywood or Classic Narrative Cinema) and to the movement and changes that came about following this time period (Post-Classical or New Hollywood). I intend to do this by first analysing and defining aspects of Classical Hollywood and having done that,
Ever since Thomas Edison invented the Kinetiscope in 1894, films have been reaching its way to the heart of American culture. Since the roaring twenties, where the United States began to see the first movie theaters to the 1960’s, where films are officially a source of leisure and escape from reality. Films influenced American culture between the 1920’s through 1960’s by becoming an increasingly popular form of leisure for years to come while causing scandals, riots, and movements about films or about the idea of films in general by displaying issues in society such as racism, forming a need for censorship laws. Films have also provided a fantasy world for their audiences by showing a film about someone in their perfect life using ethical
Thomas Schatz cites the 1950’s as the inevitable end of the Hollywood film studio system, with the signs appearing as early as the height of the second World War (472). However, the seeds of discontent and disintegration within the system were apparent as soon as the late 1930’s, exemplified in such films as Destry Rides Again (1939, George Marshall) and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939, Frank Capra). The production of these two films and the paths down which they led their star (James Stewart), directors (at least Frank Capra), and studios (Universal and Columbia, respectively) are evidence of the decline of the studio system. The
The Production Code Administration emerged in 1934. It was the organic outgrowth of a backlash to immorality in film perceived since the 1920’s (Gomery & Pafort-Overduin, 2011). As an entertainment medium, film was revolutionary: all of the sudden, vivid snippets of life could reach a mass audience. Not long after motion pictures enthralled the country, producers began to recognize the opportunity to attract larger audiences – and increase profits – by filming stories involving provocative subjects and thus stimulating the people’s sense of wonder (Gomery & Pafort-Overduin, 2011). A natural outgrowth of this trend was the increasingly transgressive nature of motion pictures. In an age characterized by both economic and social progress, a backlash against new ideas
In American history, the 1920’s was a decade thriving in terms of style, social trends and an improving economy. Popular culture during this time period was mainly characterized by the innovation of new technological devices, the arts, and film. Right after World War I came to an end, when the “roaring 20’s” began, cinemas became a huge social and economical success in America during the 1920’s. The cinema turned into a lifestyle for many Americans. American citizens made trips to citizens on a weekly basis. Different theaters were rapidly growing and being built in many towns around the country due to the increasing interest in visiting nice places to watch a film. Cinemas in the early 1920’s showed silent motion films and then gradually later on in the decade ‘talkies’ were released. In the 1920’s the cinema led to an improved economy in America, happier citizens, and the mass media for the cinema created a national culture.
During this time the film studios grew in power, new stars and directors were discovered and the eight major studios produced more than 7500 feature films. “These films were released by the studios to audiences eager to be entertained. More than 80 million people attended at least one film per week. This period enjoyed the greatest collection of talent gathered in one place.” (Motion Pictures, The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Chicago, Encyclopedia Britannica, 2001)
The history of film is essentially one of representation of certain groups, or as the case may be, misrepresentation. After America’s short stint with Nickelodeon-type movie theatres, full-length feature films became the norm with Birth of a Nation (1915). D.W. Griffith used the film to innovate cinematography, but made few compromises to create a
The birth of film began in 1872, when Leland Stanford bet a friend that a horse lifts all four of its legs off the ground when running. To settle the disagreement, Stanford employed photographer Eadweard Muybridge to take pictures. After settling the debate, Muybridge developed the first primitive cinema that he called “zoöpraxiscope”. The first films lasted only about a minute long, were black and white, and had no entertainment
Hollywood has been a formidable force in the film industry since the 1910’s onwards. As with any industry that has lasted that length of time, Hollywood has gone through a few changes to deal with the changes in technology and culture. One of the more significant changes that Hollywood has faced since the advent of sound in films, was the fall of its Golden Era. There were a combination of reasons the industry went through dramatic changes in the late 1950s to mid-1960s. The Paramount decree and other government imposed limitation on power of the studios, change in audience demographic, and a strict code system limiting the types of stories that could be told through the medium of film all contributed to a shift in the industry and the type of product that Hollywood
After the golden Age of Hollywood the movie business slowly began to decline. In my last paper I looked at the Paramount decision and the Hollywood blacklist incident which were some of the reasons for the dwindling business. Another great development that changed cinematic history was the invention of the television. In the following essay I will look at the invention of the television, how it affected Hollywood, some of the ways that Hollywood tried to cope, and the changes of the production code during this time.
During the mid to late years of the 19th century, a new form of entertainment emerged. Film entered the stage of innovation. New marketing and technological innovations developed for film to become the art it is today. In the 1830s, Joseph Plateau designed the Phenakistoscope. This device had a picture in the middle of a wheel made with mirrors and small openings. When spun, the Phenakistoscope made the picture appear to move. The name changed to Zoetrope in the 1860s and producers advertised the product as an accessory every home needed (Dixon & Foster, 2008). Later inventions that preceded the first motion picture camera include: Henry Du Mont’s Omiscope, Henry R. Heyl’s Phasmatrope, Eadweard Muybridge’s Zoöpraxiscope, Etienne-Jules Marey’s fusil photographique and Eastman Kodak’s chronophotographs (Parkinson, 1997). With a design by Thomas Edison, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson built the first modern movie camera, the Kinetograph, in 1890 (Dixon & Foster, 2008). In 1895, Auguste and Louis Lumiére patented the Cinématographe, a machine that combined the engineering of a camera and a projector (Bergan, 2006). Businessmen capitalized on the growing need for a place to witness these brand new films, thus they charged people to see them in their living rooms (Potter, 2014). These creations made movie-making a reality.