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Week 4/5 Notes

by: Andrea Lans

Week 4/5 Notes FTV 106A

Andrea Lans
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About this Document

These notes cover the lectures on Hollywood during the Great Depression and Hollywood Majors.
History of the American Motion Pciture
Dr. Kuntz
Class Notes
History of the American Motion Picture




Popular in History of the American Motion Pciture

Popular in Film

This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Andrea Lans on Friday February 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to FTV 106A at University of California - Los Angeles taught by Dr. Kuntz in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 46 views. For similar materials see History of the American Motion Pciture in Film at University of California - Los Angeles.


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Date Created: 02/05/16
Lecture 7: Hollywood in Depression 1930’s Depression & New Deal •   Novelty of sound lasts until 1931 (box office plummets) •   (1933) half of the companies are in bankruptcy (stock ma rket crash of ’29) •   Exhibition: o   Candy counter: mass production of paper cups (soda), popcorn (sold in paper bags, cheap), snacks bring in biggest revenue o   The double bill & B-movie: 2 for the price of 1; Hollywood hated this idea b/c they would have to produce more movies while broke; couldn’t afford top quality movies (1 A, 1 B) o   Half-price nights, giveaways (didn’t work well) National Industry Recovery A ct, National Recovery Admin., Code of Fair Practices •   Roosevelt’s solutions - intervene in America’s economy o   Recovery Act Administration - traveled around country & tried to find solutions for every business sector •  Hollywood Code included block -booking, but tried to ban double -bill •  Code of Fair Practices Hollywood in Depression •   Bankruptcy & receivership for Paramount, Fox, RKO, Universal o   Strategies: All Star Films ( Dinner at Eight 1933) o   biggest cost: stars •  Studios instigate 50% pay cut for above -line personnel •  Personnel founds guilds [Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild, Directors Guild] & unions b/c Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences didn’t help to negotiate •   Exploitation (sex & crime) as reaction to Depression Mae West & Censorship •   In order to draw in audience Hollywood focuses on adult themes o   Paramount hires West: former Vaudeville star, Broadway plays ( Sex), was arrested 3x on stage for obscenity o   (1933) She Done Him Wrong, I’m No Angel — hugely successful, frank presentation of sexuality, wrote all her own material o   Negative reaction from religious groups •  Catholic Legion of Decency - evaluation of films, C -rating; films condemned, Catholics discouraged from seeing •   Attacks on Hollywood: o   National Board of Censorship: established by Edison (before Hollywood); self - censorship to forestall outside censorship & gov’t regulations o   Critique of Hollywood community during Roaring ‘ 20s- Hollywood hit by series of scandals o   William Taylor: director gunned down in house, suspicion on Mabel Normand & Mary Miles Minter o   Wallace Reid: (1910’s) established as All American He -Man, after injury he became heroin addict o   Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle- most successful comedian in Hollywood tried for manslaughter ending career for Virginia Rappe’s death due to internal bleeding •  Hollywood image tarnished: studios look at Major League Baseball for inspiration (1919 World Series Black Sox Scandal - commissioner of baseball is anointed) •  Studios establish MPPDA & anoint Will Hays to run o   MPPDA: job to clean up Hollywood & lobby in DC against gov’t legislation •  Radio Act (Federal Radio Commission) was studio mogul’s nightmare •  Hays addresses casting couch issue (sleeping to top)- creates Central Casting Agency •  List of content regulations for glorification of sex & crime •  (1930) Hays meets w/Catholic figures to write a more specific Production Code(which Paramount doesn’t follow) •  Legion of Decency created to formalize opposition to Hollywood films •  Production Code Administration under Joseph Breen reviews film production to make sure they adhere to code (films have to receive seal of approval) — strictly imposed Changes in Film Production After Production Code Administration •   Shirley Temple replaces Mae West as #1 female at box office •   Principle: films shouldn’t lower moral standards of audience; law shouldn’t be ridiculed o   No sympathy for criminals should b e depicted in detail; no adultery portrayed negatively; only essential firearms; restricted passion scenes; no nudity; use of flags respectful; no profanity; no bathroom humor; no white slavery •  Code imposed until 1966 Lecture 8: Hollywood Majors Hollywood- Oligopoly •   The Big Five: Paramount, MGM, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, RKO o   Vertically integrated companies : production, distribution, exhibition o   Big 5 owned regional first run theater chains o   Theaters required 100+ films/year, so Big 5 share films (without block booking) to fill screens o   Distribution & Exhibition NY based o   NY HQ determines budget, type & quantity of films (strategically analyze past successes) o   Hollywood production lots, backlots, ranches (wide open property) o   Studio boss- liaison to NY office, contracts o   Head of production - 50 films/yr. o   Story dept.- most films were based on preexisting material o   Fed gov’t breaks up oligopoly of studios (Anti -Trust Act) •   Little 3: Universal, Columbia, UA supply B & indies Star System o  Long term option contract (7 yrs) binds stars to studios (money & billing) o  No creative control or percentage profits o  Typecasting & offcasting o  System of bringing up and coming stars to Hollywood & “trying them out” during 1st year of contract o  Publicity Dept. Paramount: Adolph Zukor o  (1912) Famous Players; (1914) Hodkinson & Paramount o   (1916) FP & Paramount merge o   Producer Jesse Lasky; Pickford, Fairbanks, Valentino o   Directors: Ernst Lubitsch - sex comedies; Cecil B DeMille (most expensive/profitable); Josef von Sternberg; Preston Sturges; Billy Wilder o  (1933) Receivership- caused by losses o  (1936- 64) President Barney Balaban; Studio boss Frank Freeman o  Live shows during exhibitions in theaters o  (1966) Gulf & Western takes over Paramount - sophisticated comedies, classy films for classy audiences o  Paramount’s famous players: Clara Bow, Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Mae West, Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, Alan Ladd o  The Paramount Program: Fletcher Cartoons, Paramount News, Live Action Shorts  


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