The hollywood studio system

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Brief overview of the Golden Age

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The hollywood studio system

  1. 1. The Hollywood Studio System LO: to understand the roots of the modern Film Industry
  2. 2. Pre-Hollywood? French film – Lumiere Brothers http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dgLEDdFddk Silent Films – Charlie Chaplin http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qHTS7P-PLQ The Talkies – The Jazz Singer http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkyvstNrkHo
  3. 3. <ul><li>The best example of a mature media production system </li></ul><ul><li>Roots in 1920s but fully mature by mid 1930s </li></ul><ul><li>Lasted for over 20 years </li></ul><ul><li>Golden Age – 1930 – 1950 </li></ul><ul><li>Hollywood – suburb of Los Angeles – chosen over East coast due to weather/ light </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>The Big Five (majors) </li></ul><ul><li>Paramount </li></ul><ul><li>MGM </li></ul><ul><li>20 th Century Fox </li></ul><ul><li>Warners </li></ul><ul><li>RKO </li></ul><ul><li>The Little three (Minors) </li></ul><ul><li>Universal </li></ul><ul><li>Columbia </li></ul><ul><li>United Artists (no facilities) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Vertical Integration: </li></ul><ul><li>Production </li></ul><ul><li>Distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Exhibition </li></ul><ul><li>Majors made money out of exhibiting their own films. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Division of Labour: </li></ul><ul><li>System associated with production line manufacture ie: Ford </li></ul><ul><li>Workers concentrated on one or two skilled or semi-skilled tasks – more efficient </li></ul><ul><li>Repetitive and un-creative </li></ul><ul><li>Less control over their role in production </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Unit Based Production: </li></ul><ul><li>A picture – 90 mins, 500,000 d </li></ul><ul><li>A B movie – under 90 mins, 200,000 d </li></ul><ul><li>Production – constant flow 52 weeks a year </li></ul><ul><li>Studio/ sound stage production </li></ul><ul><li>Staff at all levels contracted to the studio: writers, stars, directors, crew </li></ul><ul><li>If no work, stars and facilities hired out to independents such as Samuel Goldwyn, David Selznick or maybe to England – cheap films made there in 1930s </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Genre - conventions </li></ul><ul><li>Auterism – directorial ‘thumbprint’ </li></ul><ul><li>Warners’ ‘look’ – downbeat and gritty; low-key lighting; James Cagney – socially aware/ realism </li></ul><ul><li>MGM’s ‘look’ – glossy and glamorous,: high-key lighting; Greta Garbo, Clarke Gable </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Continuity editing – an accepted way of making a studio product </li></ul><ul><li>Hayes Code – accepted code of behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Star system </li></ul><ul><li>Collapse of system – independents rose in 1950s – BBC in 1960s and 70s organised production on a unit based system </li></ul><ul><li>Access to means of production – new technologies </li></ul>

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