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History of Motion Pictures

by: Jian Clarke

History of Motion Pictures Film 2700

Marketplace > Georgia State University > Film > Film 2700 > History of Motion Pictures
Jian Clarke
GPA 3.22

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This is week 7 of notes mostly focused on the aspects of Hollywood Studios and their systems.
Class Notes
Film 2700
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jian Clarke on Monday February 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Film 2700 at Georgia State University taught by Smith in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 33 views. For similar materials see HISTORY OF MOTION PICTURES in Film at Georgia State University.


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Date Created: 02/29/16
History of Motion Pictures The Hollywood Studio System part two 1) The Little Three a. Universal i. Carl Laemmle controls the studio until 1936 when they default on a bank  loan and the bank takes over ii. Focused on lower budget productions as they did not have the extensive  theater networks of “The Big Five” iii. Known for their cycle of horror films in the 1930s and the Oscar­winning  adaption of All Quiet on the Western Front b. Columbia Pictures i. Founded by Harry Cohn and run with his brother Jack ii. Owned no theatre circuits, but had an extensive distribution network that  even the Big Five used iii. Staple products were Westerns and adaptations of series like the comic  strip, Blondie iv. Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night put the studio on the map after  nearly sweeping the 1936 Oscars v. In the 1940s, it was the home to Hollywood’s biggest start, Rita  Hayworth, most famous for the film, Gilda (1946) c. United Artists i. Though they had a studio property (The Pickford­Fairbanks Studio), UA  was more of a releasing firm than a studio ii. Founded in 1919 by Hollywood’s biggest stars: Mary Pickford, Douglas  Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith in response to the growth of the studio system and what they saw as unfair constraints and low pay for  creative talent iii. Entered into a lucrative contract with MGM in the 1930s that ended just  before the release of Gone with the Wind in 1939 iv. Also distributed films for David O. Selznick, Hal Roach and Disney (early 30s) 2) Block Booking and Programming a. Block Booking: i. The practice force exhibitors to accept a production company’s films in  large groups or “blocks” ii. This practice was meant to ensure rentals of standard studio products as  well as the big “A” pictures that exhibitors wanted to show in their  theaters b. An Evening’s Entertainment: i. In the 1930s, became standard to program a show with a double feature, in large cities and on weekends ii. Program consist of a newsreel, carton, short (serial­ shows occurring week after week), main feature, and lower half of double bill (programmers) 1. A and B pictures 2. All for one ticket price 3) Hollywood Style a. Known as “the invisible style” i. Goal was to mask the process of film­making from the audience ii. Make them pay attention to the story, not the editing, camera, or acting iii. Strict continuity editing was employed by the studios 4) Screening Discussion a. Produced for MGM b. “backstage musical”­ style popular in 30s and 40s c. Arthur Fred and Nacio Brown songs 5) Busby Berkeley a.  Worked for Warner Brothers b. Considered the major creative talent in Hollywood musicals of 30s and 40s i. Often didn’t direct entire film, but given free reign over musical sequences ii. Known for abstract sequences that focus less on individual performers  than complex group formations 6) The Production Code a. Set of production rules adhered to by the studios from 1934; mid­50s when the  system started to collapse i. Self­imposed censorship to avoid to gov’t interference in Hollywoood  (this is true of the film ratings today was well) b. The Production Code Administration (PCA) was overseen by Joseph Breen,  outspoken critic of Hollywood’s content c. Restricted depictions of violence and sex i. Example: Baby Face by Alfred Green 7) Individual Stylists and Major Directors a. Josef Von Sternberg i. His work with star Marlene Dietrich ii. Most famous for The Blue Angel, Blonde Venus, and Shanghai Express iii. A supreme stylist, Sternberg’s films were usually light on plot, but heavy  on atmosphere and eroticism b. Howard Hanks i. The consummate studio director ii. Proficient in any genre­Hawks was often called on to finish troubled  projects or to offer advice on different productions iii. Known for Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, Red River, The Big Sleep,  and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes c. John Ford i. The best filmmaker to ever work within the studio sytem, John Ford made  over 140 films throughout his career, though most of his silent films are  lost ii. Could work within a wide variety of genres (like Hawks); known well for  war films, westerns, and occasional historical dramas iii. Frequently worked with star John Wayne (made him a star in Stagecoach) iv. Major films: The Grapes of Wrath, The Searchers, and The Man Who  Shot Liberty Valance d. Orson Welles i. Writer, actor, producer, and director known for Citizen Kane, The  Magnificent Ambersons, and Touch of Evil ii. Fiercely independent, had difficulty working with studio system, in spite  of his success with Kane iii. Citizen Kane was an advanced development of “deep focus”  cinematography 1. Cinematographer Gregg Toland created his own lenses for the film


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