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COM 221, Introduction to Film Key sources: Gabler, N. (1988). An empire of their own: How the Jews invented Hollywood. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.

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Presentation on theme: "COM 221, Introduction to Film Key sources: Gabler, N. (1988). An empire of their own: How the Jews invented Hollywood. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc."— Presentation transcript:

1 COM 221, Introduction to Film Key sources: Gabler, N. (1988). An empire of their own: How the Jews invented Hollywood. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc. Mordden, E. (1988). The Hollywood studios: House style in the golden age of the movies. New York: Simon & Schuster. Schatz, T. (1996). The genius of the system: Hollywood filmmaking in the studio era. New York: Henry Holt. The U.S. Studio System (1920s-1950s) *The greatest movie-producing system the world has ever known.

2 What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 1.An Oligopoly: A limited number of studios--5 "majors" (#1-#5 on list), 3 "minors" (#6-#8), Disney (#9), and two independent producers (#10, #11); others not listed included such small “poverty row” studios as Monogram, Hal Roach, and Republic. During the Depression, the U.S. Justice Dept. encouraged this; later, the 1948 Paramount Case decision ended it.

3 What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 2.Moguls: The importance of a handful of similar men in formulating the system

4 What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 2.Moguls: The importance of a handful of similar men in formulating the system Harry Cohn, Columbia William Fox, Fox Films (later, 20 th Century Fox) Jack Warner, Warner Bros. Carl Laemmle Sr. & Jr., Universal Adolph Zukor, Paramount Louis B. Mayer, MGM

5 What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 3.A large physical plant: soundstages and backlots other facilities that ensured the independence of the studio (e.g., fire station, medical center, sleeping bungalows, restaurants)

6 What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 4. A stable of crew and contract players (both stars and bit players); e.g., Donna Reed, Jimmy Stewart, Thomas Mitchell, Beulah Bondi, Lionel Barrymore, Ward Bond, Frank Faylen from It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

7 Donna Reed (“Mary Bailey”)—50 films & TV series/appearances The Getaway (1941) The Human Comedy (1943) The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) They Were Expendable (1945) From Here to Eternity (1953) The Caddy (1953) The Donna Reed Show (TV, )

8 Jimmy Stewart (“George Bailey”)—100 films & TV series/appearances The Murder Man (1935) After the Thin Man (1936) You Can’t Take it With You (1938) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) The Philadelphia Story (1940) Rear Window (1954) Vertigo (1958) How the West Was Won (1962)

9 Thomas Mitchell (“Uncle Billy”)—103 films & TV appearances Craig’s Wife (1936) Lost Horizon (1937) Stagecoach (1939) Gone with the Wind (1939) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)All 1939!! All 5 Classics!! The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) Only Angels Have Wings (1939) High Noon (1952)

10 Beulah Bondi (“Ma Bailey”)—85 films & TV appearances Street Scene (1931) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Our Town (1940) Penny Serenade (1941) Back to Bataan (1945) The Snake Pit (1948) A Summer Place (1959)

11 Lionel Barrymore (“Mr. Potter”)—214 films The Paris Hat (1908) and 131 other silent films Dinner at Eight (1933)—one of 7 films that year The Little Colonel (1935) Camille (1936) You Can’t Take it With You (1938)Variety!! Young Dr. Kildare (1938)—and 14 sequels Duel in the Sun (1946) Lone Star (1952)

12 Henry Travers (“Clarence the Angel”)—52 films Reunion in Vienna (1933) The Invisible Man (1933) Death Takes a Holiday (1934) Dark Victory (1939) (7 films that year) High Sierra (1941)Look at the variety of genres! Ball of Fire (1941)(Horror, Dark comedy, Melodrama, Mrs. Miniver (1942) Western, Screwball comedy, War Shadow of a Doubt (1943) drama, Hitchcock thriller, Comedy, The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) plus the Fantasy of IAWL)

13 Ward Bond (“Bert the Cop” of “Bert & Ernie)—272 films & TV series/appearances Salute (1929) It Happened One Night (1934) Gone With the Wind (1939) The Maltese Falcon (1941) Fort Apache (1948) and 21 other John Ford-directed films! Wagon Train (TV, )

14 Frank Faylen (“Ernie Bishop” the cab driver, of “Bert & Ernie)—215 films & TV series/appearances Romance in the Air (1936) Gone with the Wind (1939) The Grapes of Wrath (1940) Sergeant York (1941) The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (TV, ) Funny Girl (1968) MOST of his film appearances are “uncredited”—but he’s memorable!!

15 What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 5.The star system the "grooming" of stars under contract star vehicles

16 What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 5.The star system the "grooming" of stars under contract star vehicles

17 What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 5.The star system the "grooming" of stars under contract star vehicles

18 What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 6.Studios as family or "protectorates" studio head as patriarch (e.g., Louis B. Mayer)

19 What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? MGM 1943

20 What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 7.Properties developed from within the studios 8.The importance to most studios of the development of one or more genres *From the 1950s on, this system fell apart with competition from TV, and buyouts by huge conglomerates. *Each studio had its own "personality" profile:

21 The 5 Majors: MGM (“The Supreme”) Moguls: Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg Genres: Musicals, comedies Stable: Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Vincente Minnelli Other: Mottos--"The Greatest Motion Picture Studio the World Has Even Known," "More Stars Than There Are in Heaven"; prestigious and flashy Roots: A merger of Metro, Goldwyn & Mayer Pictures in 1924

22 The 5 Majors: Paramount (“The Sophisticate”) Mogul: Adolph Zukor Genres: Romantic comedies, epics Stable: Cecil B. DeMille, Ernst Lubitsch, Preston Sturges, Bing Crosby, Marlene Dietrich Other: The studio with a European accent; its stars had "sexy elegance, wit and dinner clothes" Roots: Evolved out of Famous Players-Lasky (founded by Jesse Lasky in 1912; Paramount was the leading film studio by 1917),

23 The 5 Majors: RKO (“The New Yorker”) Mogul: Pandro Berman, Howard Hughes (later) Genres: Musicals (early), film noir Stable: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne Other: The urban counterpart to Fox; only studio to actually disappear, after Hughes bankrupted it and Lucy bought it ("Desilu") Roots: Merger of RCA, Keith-Albee-Orpheum, & Pathe Pictures (RKO stands for Radio-Keith-Orpheum) in 1928

24 The 5 Majors: 20 th Century Fox (“The Rube”) Mogul: Darryl Zanuck (the only non-Jewish mogul) Genres: Social message films, action/adventure, soaps, disaster films Stable: Shirley Temple, Betty Grable, Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda Other: Rural in focus Roots: Merger of Fox and 20th Century in 1935

25 The 5 Majors: Warner Brothers (“The Slicker” or “The Cynic”) Mogul: Jack L. Warner Genres: Film noir, gangster, weepies, "women's films," war films Stable: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Erroll Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, John Garfield, Ida Lupino Other: The "factory" studio, made movies "fast, cheap and furious"; featured themes of prejudice and inequities, "the cynicism of the sociopolitically disinherited" Roots: The merging of several small nickelodeon studios

26 The 3 Minors: Columbia (“Capra-corn & More”) Mogul: Harry Cohn Genres: Screwball comedies, "Capra-corn" Stable: Frank Capra, the 3 Stooges Other: "Poverty Row" studio, borrowed stars from other studios; was first to adapt to TV, via Screen Gems Roots: Established by the Cohn Bros. in 1924

27 The 3 Minors: United Artists (“Films of Merit”) Mogul: Joseph Schenck Genres: "Quality" films Stable: The four founders-- Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith Other: The first "logo without a lot," just like today's model Roots: Four powerhouses of the 1920's formed their own company in order to achieve artistic freedom— Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Charles Chaplin, D.W. Griffith

28 The 3 Minors: Universal (“The Old Monster”) Mogul: Carl Laemmle Sr. Genres: Horror, weepies Stable: Deanna Durbin, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Abbot & Costello, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis Other: Old-fashioned, often behind the times; last studio to survive intact Roots: The combination of several nickelodeon companies in 1912

29 The Independents: Disney Mogul: Walt Disney Genres: Animated features, live-action family films Stable: Mickey & Minnie, Fred MacMurray Other: Has continued to diversify, e.g., development of Touchstone Films for live action in 1984, acquisition of Miramax in 1993 and Pixar in 2006 Roots: Walt, Ub Iwerks, and a rabbit--no, a mouse

30 The Independents: Samuel Goldwyn Mogul: Samuel Goldwyn Genres: Classics, drama Stable: William Wyler, Ronald Colman, Gary Cooper, Gregg Toland Other: The mogul hired the elite, but was rough himself, known for "Goldwynisms" (e.g., "Include me out") Roots: An independent producer, releasing primarily through RKO

31 The Independents: Selznick International Mogul: David O. Selznick Genres: Mysteries, epics Stable: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Joseph Cotten, Joan Fontaine, Jennifer Jones, Hitchcock (early) Other: Produced many star vehicles for the stars under "personal" contract Roots: Truly an independent producer

32 END


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