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Y200 Politics and Film, Lecture #3

Y200 Politics and Film, Lecture #3

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Transcript

  • 1. January 18, 2011
  • 2. The Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC)
    • Founded in 1908
    • Peace treaty between Edison and Biograph.
    • Also called “The Trust”
    • Involved:
      • production of raw film
      • manufacture of motion pictures
      • manufacture of projectors
      • film distribution and exhibition
  • 3. Biograph Theater in Chicago
  • 4. The Members of the MPPC
    • Edison Manufacturing
    • American Mutograph and Biograph
    • Eastman Kodak
    • Essanay (a Chicago film producer)
    • Kalem
    • Pathé Freres
    • Kleine, Lubin, Melies, Selig, and Vitagraph
  • 5. Some Benefits of the MPPC
    • Formation of the General Film Company :
    • modernized film distribution
    • eliminated distributor favoritism
    • allowed exhibitors to show films by different production companies (no block booking)
    • classified theaters by size and location and priced accordingly
    • established a system of runs and clearances
  • 6. Why MPPC Failed
    • WW I sharply reduced demand for films in Europe.
    • The demand for films was so strong in the US that independent distributors found other sources of films besides the Trust.
    • Kodak (led by George Eastman) made its raw film stock available to other companies in 1911.
    • 1915 U.S. court ruling that MPPC violated the Sherman Anti-Trust law in a suit brought by William Fox.
    George Eastman and Thomas Edison
  • 7. Technological Changes Affecting the Film Industry
    • 1893 Kinetoscope invented
    • 1895 Movie Projector invented
    • 1906 First Nickelodeon
    • 1913 Kinetophone invented (did not work)
    • 1927 Talking Pictures “ The Jazz Singer ”
    • 1927 invention of television
    • 1948 beginning of TV broadcasting
  • 8. The Major Beneficiaries of Sound
    • Warner Brothers -- in alliance with Western Electric (the manufacturing arm of AT&T
    • RKO Pictures -- formed by RCA because RCA had a competing technology for adding sound to pictures
    All the other studios lost ground relative to these two upstarts.
  • 9. Emergence of Movie Stars
    • Very popular actors were capable of bringing higher attendance to any movie they appeared in.
    • The first major female star was Mary Pickford .
    • Pickford joined with Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and William S. Hart to found United Artists in 1919.
  • 10. (from left to right) Douglas Fair- banks, Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplin
  • 11. The Economics of the Star System
    • Having stars greatly reduces the risk of making a picture.
    • Wall Street financiers more inclined to finance a picture with stars in it.
    • Stars can command very high salaries because of their economic impact on revenues and profits.
  • 12. Adolph Zukor Tries to Rein In the Stars
    • Zukor formed First National in 1917 (later to become Paramount Pictures).
    • Merger between First National and Famous Players - Lasky discussed in 1918.
    • Zukor attempts to buy a theater chain in 1919.
    • The Federal Trade Commission rules against Zukor’s attempt to merge with Famous Players in 1927 but Zukor buys the theater chain as planned.
    • UA had to match this by buying theaters also.
  • 13. (left to right): Jesse L. Lasky, Adolph Zukor, Samuel Goldfish (later Goldwyn), Cecil B. DeMille and Albert Kaufman.
  • 14.  
  • 15. The Big Five
    • Paramount
    • Loew’s MGM
    • 20th Century Fox
    • Warner Brothers
    • RKO
    Source: adapted from Mae Huettig in Tino Balio (ed.), The American Film Industry .
  • 16. The Little Three
    • Universal
    • Columbia Pictures
    • United Artists
    Every other studio is called an “independent” and has to sell or rent its pictures to one of the major studios because of their ownership of first-run theaters.
  • 17. Years of Foundation of Major Studios
  • 18. History of the Disney Studio
    • Founded in 1923 in a small office
    • Purchased Hyperion Avenue lot in 1925
    • 1928: Birth of Mickey Mouse
    • 1937: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    • 1940: special animation building built
    • 1949: Sound Stage 2 was built
    • 1954: Built Disneyland

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