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COM 215 Media History Movies and the Impact of Images All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.

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Presentation on theme: "COM 215 Media History Movies and the Impact of Images All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."— Presentation transcript:

1 COM 215 Media History Movies and the Impact of Images All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.

2 Discussion - Consensus Narratives Discuss a recent film you've viewed in the context of consensus narrative by identifying mainstream values and whether they are either being challenged or reaffirmed.

3 The Transitional Period ( ) Industry and Cultural Form

4 Moguls move west ( ) – Carl Laemmle, IMP, then Universal Pictures – William Fox, 20 th Century Fox – Adolph Zukor, Paramount – Marcus Loew, MGM

5 Industrial practices vertical integration central planning competition and cooperation permanent exhibition sites first run, second run venues product differentiation stars and advertising

6 Hollywood 1922

7 D.W. Griffith ( ) Mature storytelling technique Motion pictures as high art & entertainment Director as author/central creative force Film as social force

8 Cultural Form Cinema of narrative integration  Style serves story Increased length (multireel or feature) Multiple shots Internally coherent stories Acting Individualized characters (identification) ‘Verisimilar’ style Increased use of editing (standard film grammar) Subjectivity, POV Analytical editing Continuity or spatial-temporal relations (match cuts)

9 Hollywood: Triumph of the Studio System ( ) Technological Standards - SOUND!!! Majors and Minors (an oligopoly) Production Code Standard exhibition practices Contract Player System Stars, Directors, Looks, Genres

10 SOUND Sound effects machines standard by 1908 Continuous musical accompaniment by 1914 Producers began commissioning original scores In 1920s all features were accompanied by cue sheets

11 SOUND

12 SYNC SOUND Competing systems  sound on disc  sound on film

13 SOUND Competing systems  sound on disc  sound on film

14 SOUND Competing systems  sound on disc  sound on film

15 The Jazz Singer (1927) Starring Al Jolson Directed by Alan Crosland Released by Warner Bros. Premieres October 6, 1927 Earns over $3.5 million Considered the first “talkie,” in fact a “part talkie” Initiates studios to invest in sound technology for motion pictures

16 The Jazz Singer (1927) Starring Al Jolson Directed by Alan Crosland Released by Warner Bros. Premieres October 6, 1927 Earns over $3.5 million Considered the first “talkie,” in fact a “part talkie” Initiates studios to invest in sound technology for motion pictures

17 Impact of Sound 1.Economic 2.Technological 3.Stylistic

18 Impact of Sound: Economic Capital Investment and the alliance between Wall Street and Hollywood  Investment in excess of $300 million for the motion picture industry’s conversion to sound  most $ lent by Rockefeller and Morgan

19 Impact of Sound: Economic Mergers and realignments  by 1930, eight studios account for 95 percent of US film production  The Big Five (vertically integrated) Paramount, MGM, 20th Century-Fox, Warner Bros (bought First National), RKO  The Little Three (lacking theater chains) Universal, Columbia, United Artists

20 Impact of Sound: Technology Rise of technical agencies  SMPE Society for Motion Picture Engineers  ASC: American Society of Cinematographers  AMPAS: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

21 Impact of Sound: Technology Technological standardization & interoperability  Bell and Howell cameras  Mitchell cameras  Eastman Kodak panchromatic film stock  Movietone optical sound system  Moviola editing equipment  Mole Richardson incandescent lights  standardized blimps, tripods, booms, microphones, speakers

22 Impact of Sound: Style Early Problems  Directional microphones  Noisy cameras  Problems with stasis (camera and actor)  Repetitive cutting (inflexible tempo)  Reduced variety of camera angles

23 Impact of Sound: Style The Adjustment to Sound  Multicamera shooting  Booms  Dollies, small cranes, camera carriages  Increased camera mobility  post-synchronization (dubbing in postproduction) Hallelujah (Vidor, 1929)

24 Impact of Sound: Style The Adjustment to Sound  Multicamera shooting  Booms  Dollies, small cranes, camera carriages  Increased camera mobility  post-synchronization (dubbing in postproduction)  Film: Hallelujah (Vidor, 1929)

25 Hollywood: Triumph of the Studio System ( ) Technological Standards Majors and Minors (an oligopoly) Production Code Standard exhibition practices Contract Player System Stars, Directors, Looks, Genres

26 Decline of Studio System ( ) US audience attendance peaks and declines  million viewers per week  million viewers per week Factors 1.Anti-trust litigation (Paramount Decision of 1946) 2.Political challenges (HUAC) 3.Sociological Changes (suburbia) 4.Competing Entertainment forms (TV)

27 Paramount Decision of US vs. Paramount Pictures, Inc., et al  Big Five and Little Three accused of violating anti-trust laws Big 5 - Paramount, MGM, Warner Bros, RKO, and Twentieth Century-Fox Little 3- Universal, Columbia, and United Artists)  vertically integrated structure - a monopoly

28 Paramount Decision of 1948 (cont) 1948 U.S. Supreme Court decision  8 companies found guilty Block-booking Cooperating to exclude independent exhibiters  Big 5 ordered to sell off their theater chains

29 Impact of Paramount Decision (1948) Industry revenues decreases 20% Studio profits decline $120m in $31m in 1950 Output decreases Studios’ stocks plummet Studios falter

30 Political Challenges: Hollywood Ten and the Blacklist “ Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? ”

31 House Committee of Un-American Activities (HUAC) conservatives sought to drive out leftists from the media Equated labor rights with communism 1947 HUAC hearings of 1947  called 41 “friendly” witnesses who named 17  10 out of 19 subpoenaed refused to testify jailed for up to 1 year blacklisted for many more

32 Hollywood Ten Alvah Bessie, screenwriter Alvah Bessie Herbert Biberman, screenwriter and director Herbert Biberman Lester Cole, screenwriter Lester Cole Edward Dmytryk, director Edward Dmytryk Ring Lardner Jr., screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr. John Howard Lawson, screenwriter John Howard Lawson Albert Maltz, screenwriter Albert Maltz Samuel Ornitz, screenwriter Samuel Ornitz Adrian Scott, producer and screenwriter Adrian Scott Dalton Trumbo, screenwriterDalton Trumbo

33 Hollywood and the “Blacklist” 1947 MPAA, on behalf of studios, cooperated  Comprised a list of several hundred writers, actors, and directors who would lose their jobs known as the blacklist many survived by using pseudonyms or fronts lasted over a decade 1960 Exodus and Spartacus give screen credit  Dalton Trumbo, blacklisted screenwriter [Screen documentary: The Hollywood Ten (1950)]

34 Results of HUAC hearings and the Blacklist Many careers ended forever Talented filmmakers leave Hollywood Created distrust in the studio system

35 Sociological Changes: the rise of suburbia Late 1940s Families move away from the city, toward the suburbs returning veterans focused more on  careers,  raising families  Acquiring consumer products Discretionary income goes to household goods and new cars emphasis on participatory leisure activities

36 Television mid 1950s TV replaces radio and the movies  1954 Americans own 32 million sets  Many people stay home instead of attend the movies

37 Moving Towards a New Hollywood Hollywood on Hollywood  Nostalgia & Self-Critique  Screen: Sunset Blvd. [Screen: Singing in the Rain (Donen, 1951) Hollywood reinvents itself  Technicolor  Cinerama, CinemaScope, Vistavision! [Screen: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter (Tashlin, 1957)

38 Color and Aspect Ratio By early 1950s Hollywood films made in color increase from 20% to 50% 1952 Many widescreen processes introduced  CinemaScope 2.35:1 vs. Academy ratio 1.33:1


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