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  1. COM 329, Contemporary Film The U.S. Hollywood Studio System (1920s-1950s)*The greatest movie-producing system the world has ever known. 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.

  2. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 1. Vertical Integration by the 5 Majors: Production Distribution Exhibition The major provision of the Paramount Case was that the studio(s) had to divest. . . What did they choose to sell off, do you think?

  3. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 2. An Oligopoly: A relatively limited number of studios--only 11 total, including five Majors (MGM, Paramount, RKO, Warner Brothers, Twentieth-Century Fox), three Minors (the “Little Three”; Universal, United Artists, Columbia), and some Independents (e.g., Disney, Goldwyn, & Selznick)

  4. Carl Laemmle Sr. & Jr., Universal What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? Sam Goldwyn, Independent 3. Moguls: The studios were led by an amazingly homogenous collection of moguls—all but one (Darryl F. Zanuck of 20th-Century Fox) were Jewish, from East Europe/Russia, had lived in the American East and had been successful at another business first; some of these businesses were film-related (e.g., the Warner Brothers’ nickelodeons) and some not (Sam Goldwyn as glove salesman, Louis B. Mayer as junk dealer). Louis B. Mayer, MGM Jack Warner, Warner Bros. Adolph Zukor, Paramount Harry Cohn, Columbia William Fox, Fox Films (later, 20th Century Fox)

  5. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 3. In An Empire of Their Own, Neal Gabler writes about the unique common background that drove the moguls to success—all came from families who had suffered great prejudice and hardship.

  6. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 4. Large physical plants: • soundstages • backlots • other facilities that ensured the independence of the studio (e.g., fire stations, medical centers, sleeping bungalows, restaurants)

  7. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? 5. Stables of crew and contract performers (both stars and bit players)

  8. Studio System—Contract PlayersWallace (Wally) Ford (1898-1966; 160 film & TV listings) Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock) A Patch of Blue Freaks Harvey The Mummy’s Tomb Beast of the City

  9. Can you name these performers? It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946, D: Frank Capra

  10. 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, 1958-1966)

  11. 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)

  12. 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 are Classics!! • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) • Only Angels Have Wings (1939) • High Noon (1952)

  13. 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)

  14. How about this actor?

  15. 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)

  16. Anyone here?

  17. Anyone here? “Bert & Ernie”?

  18. 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, 1957-1961)

  19. 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, 1959-1963) • Funny Girl (1968) • MOST of his film appearances are “uncredited”—but he’s memorable!!

  20. And how about this actor? He’s a member of an acting dynasty.

  21. 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) John Ethel Drew

  22. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? • 6. The star system • the "grooming" of stars under contract

  23. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? • 6. The star system • the "grooming" of stars under contract

  24. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? • 6. The star system • the "grooming" of stars under contract

  25. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? • 6. The star system • the "grooming" of stars under contract

  26. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? • 6. The star system • the "grooming" of stars under contract

  27. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? • 6. The star system • the "grooming" of stars under contract

  28. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? • 6. The star system • the "grooming" of stars under contract • star vehicles

  29. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? • 7. Studios as family or "protectorates" • studio head as patriarch (e.g., Louis B. Mayer)

  30. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? MGM 1943

  31. What distinguished the Hollywood Studio System? • 8. The development of genres • Genre as a “contract” between filmmakers and audience; a very commercial model • Most studios specialized in certain genres

  32. MGM--Musicals

  33. MGM--Comedies

  34. Paramount—Sophisticated Romantic Comedies Design for Living

  35. Paramount—Films Noir Double Indemnity Sunset Boulevard

  36. RKO--Musicals

  37. RKO—Screwball Comedies

  38. 20th Century Fox—Social Issue Films

  39. 20th Century Fox—Action/Adventure Films

  40. Warner Bros.—Weepies/Women’s Films

  41. Warner Bros.—Gangster & Films Noir

  42. Columbia—Screwball Comedies

  43. United Artists—Quality Films

  44. Universal—Horror

  45. What contributed to the weakening and ultimate demise of the Hollywood Studio System? • 1. The 1948 Paramount decision (antitrust action that eliminated vertical integration)

  46. What contributed to the weakening and ultimate demise of the Hollywood Studio System? • 2. The blacklist: HUAC, Army-McCarthy hearings, Hollywood Ten, etc. Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, others, protest Senator Joseph McCarthy Joseph N. Welch, head counsel for U.S. Army—”Have you no sense of decency, sir?” Ring Lardner, Jr., one of the Hollywood Ten

  47. What contributed to the weakening and ultimate demise of the Hollywood Studio System? • 3. The automobile and the growth of suburbia

  48. What contributed to the weakening and ultimate demise of the Hollywood Studio System? • 4. The failure of gimmicks (e.g., William Castle) and changes in technology (e.g., widescreen, Cinerama) to keep audiences coming to the theaters 

  49. What contributed to the weakening and ultimate demise of the Hollywood Studio System? • 5. 1941 Revenue Act—introduction of a steep progressive income tax resulted in many artists creating their own production companies, and then using these companies to negotiate and formulate deals 

  50. What contributed to the weakening and ultimate demise of the Hollywood Studio System? • 6. Television