FILM 2401 09/10/2013
1890s film started
Film is industrial and requires scientific and technological innovation
Industrialization of The US (I.e. Boston)
1870’s Eadweard Muybridge
The Horse in Motion, 1878 (12 photographs together created a moving picture)
Thomas Edison (18471931)
Long loop of film that goes on continually. Only viewable by one person at a time.
Auguste and Louis Lumiere
First exhibition of projected motion pictures
South of France
Films were static (still)
1907 fictional film started (looked down upon)
meant for lower class people who couldn’t afford opera. Working class people.
documentaries stem from actualities in first films.
Silent movies integrated other language groups cuz pics are universal
First blockbuster 1903 “The great train Robbery” (Made by Edison company)
10 min long way longer than the 45 second usual
first crime/western film had a touch of colour
more camera movement (less static)
melodramatic (overacting, very distinct heroes and villains)
closer to today’s theatre acting
painted film frames individually for a splash of colour
played in theatres for two years
controversial (is it immoral? Should the US regulate the censorship of movies? Violence/crime.)
Nickelodeon means Nickel Theatre
How The Movies Became Big Business
The Motion Picture Patents Company
Aka “The Edison Trust” (like a monopoly) The pooled all of their patents to create a monopoly.
Dissolved in 1915 by the federal Courts as it was found in violation of the 1890 Sherman AntiTrust Act
The US intervenes for fair competition.
Companies that went against trust were more successful like “Paramount”
Movies were foremost a business
Labour Struggles between film workers and the owners of film companies are a key feature of the early American
Attempts to unionize film workers begin as early as 1907 to around 1941.
Los Angeles was a very antiunion city. Film companies moved there because wages were much lower. It
was away to cut costs for bigger budget films.
Features of the Movie Business 19101920
Production organized around shooting script
Production organized around stars and genres
New forms of movie exhibition sre developed – The Movie Palace
Film studios became more like a factory
Business became a hierarchy
Scripts planned out actors, locations of film, and number of employees. No more adlib or random film.
Tried to create Film differentiation.
They began to discover genres began to create market niches that appeal to specific audiences. They can
also reuse sets. Specific marketing.
movie stars became big after 1930s
there was a specific demand for specific actors. They became stars and became a big ticket salary because
of demand. Audience loved these ones in movies. This gave the an edge over other companies.
No movie stars in first 20 years
No credit was given to cast or crew other than company.
Nickelodeons were successful for first ten years.
Movie Palaces charged as much as $2 for great seats. They even began to have live music to accompany
silent films. They eventually had symphonies with original scores.
America was more religious than other countries so more backlash on violence or negativity around religion
so more censorship.
Thomas Ince Hollywood producer
Pioneered the use of the shooting script as the blueprint for the production of a film
The script sets out the division of labour began in 1911
Al Ringling Theatre (1915)
Directed 500 films between 1908 and 1913 for the Biograph Company (a member of MPPC).
These films were 10 to 20 min in length.
First to develop sophisticated forms of editing.
First to bring Featured film to the forefront.
Developed forms of film editing which are still used today.
Began to make feature films in 1913 (1 hour or longer in length)
“Corner in Wheat” 1909
New idea that film could be art. Before 1910 nobody would have thought as film as art.
“The Immigrant” by Charlie Chaplin (1917)
Chaplin was popular globally, not one theatre that didn’t have one of his movies.
Case Study 1
The SpanishAmerican War (1898)
Ended wit the United States acquiring control over Cuba, The Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico from a
defeated Spain. Case Study: World War I
US enters the war on April 6, 1917
US Government creates the Committee on Public Information (CPI) to create propaganda in support of the
“The Creel Committee”
Summary: The United States emerged as the #1 filmmaking country in the World at the end of World War I
for 3 reasons:
1. The war (other countries curtail film production)
2. Large internal market
3. Silent films have no linguistic barrier
Since they were neutral for most of World War I, they took advantage of film companies were shut down
during war in Europe.
USA made film copies cheaper in Europe so they had an open market. Their silent films had no barriers. Lecture 2 09/10/2013
The Origins of the Studio System of Production
Attempts to unionize American film workers takes place over a long period of time (19071941)
Factorytype working conditions accelerate the process.
Types of Labour in Hollywood
1. Creative Talent
2. Skilled Professionals
3. Studio Technicians
*screenwriters were the last to become unionized. Partly due to political rebellion.
Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association founded in 1922
Headed by Will Hays (republican)
Dealt with public relations, censorship and labor relations, censorship and labor relations for the film
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Founded in 1927 as a kind of company union designed to forestall unionization of the creative talent and
Becomes famous for its annual awards ceremony. Lecture 2 09/10/2013
The Early Studio System and Vertical Integration
Film as Art
Influence of German Expressionism (19191926)
“The Last Laugh” and “Nosforatu”
German filmmakers come to the US and teach this style to other filmmakersbecomes a major influence on
subsequent American films (especially “film noir” and horror films)
Helped to establish film as a legitimate art form and not just a commercial form of entertainment.
Anxieties in 1920’s
Role of women and inequality
Women in city as male’s backlash (flapper, not necessarily monogamous, pleasure seeking, not always a
Women from country is traditional loving, nurturing, submissive mother. Also the temptress.
Hollywood and the State Department
“Trade follows the Film”
Relationship between Hollywood (MPPDA) and the State Department and Department of Commerce 1920’s
US Government works to help the movie industry reach all film markets—also good for other US business
(i.e. American cars featured in movies) Lecture 3 09/10/2013
Westerns is full of allegories of the American Empire. Lecture 3 09/10/2013
Case Study: The Early Western Film and Empire Building
Westerns usually stories that are set in the period between 1865 and 1900
They usually take place in the continental US between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean.
1865 was when slavery was abolished in the US.
Antecedents of the Western Film
1. In the Frontier Stories of James Fenimore Cooper in the early 19 century;
2. The Dime Novels of the 1880s and after which provided a fascinated urban public with tales
of the Wild West and its outlaw heroes.
3. The Wild West shows beginning in 1883, a man named Buffalo Bill Cody brought circus
like show to audiences in the Eastern US and to Europe. The cinema follows shortly after.
The West Lecture 3 09/10/2013
Natives and Hispanics
Characteristics of the Western
1. Setting: 18651900, the American West
2. Character Types and their Relationship to each other:
A. The townspeople or agents of civilization;
B. The natives or outlaws who threaten the first group;
C. The heroes (official and unofficial)
3. Chase Narratives, Revenge Narratives and Captivity Narratives.
Directed by John Ford
Stagecoach I expected to be just shooting cowboys and Indians. But there was a more of a plot and a
mission, with separate backstories. The Apaches weren’t even that prominent as the main people in the
buggy. Better than what I expected not as much violence.
Stage Coach Themes
Revenge Lecture 3 09/10/2013
Community: within the stagecoach and outside it (Tonto & Lordsburg)
Society: (convention) or civilization vs. the individual (freedom)
Social Class vs. Democracy: (celebration of equality or egalitarianism?)
I like musicals because it always has some sort of optimistic, easygoing twist, and is usually humourous. It
has a sense of magic to it with the molding of music and film together. Romcoms are optimistic, hilarious,
love stories messed with outrageous events topped off with attractive celebrities that draw you to them.
Natives are portrayed as flat characters with no speech or purpose other than to attack the
westerners. They are small characters in the landscape viewed as a neuisance or the enemy but not
really explained why. Lecture 4 09/10/2013
The Coming of Sound, Hollywood Blossoms
The Jazz Singer (1927)
Premiered October 6, 1927
Released by Warner Brothers
The Impact of Sound
1. Increased capital costs companies needed to go to Wall Street to raise funds
2. Lead to more concentrated ownership in the industry
3. Temporary decline in foreign film rentals
4. Leads to the rise of new genres and the decline of some of the old ones transformation of all
5. Shakes up employment in the movies industry loss of musician jobs and increase in other
types of jobs writers and sound technicians
The Studio System of Production Matures
The movie business turns into and oligopoly
The Big Five
Warner Brothers Lecture 4 09/10/2013
20 Century Fox (1935)
The Little Three
Poverty Row (production only)
Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC)
Monogram (1930) Western Boys, Bowery Boys, Charlie Chan
Disney (the only produced one animated hand drawn movie per year due to cost and production time. Also
just few short films)
The Production Code Administration
Established in 1934 as a solution to the censorship debate run by Joseph Breen
A form of industry selfcensorship Lecture 4 09/10/2013
List of Do’s and Don’ts
Lasts until 1966
The “Big Three” Gangster Films
Little Caesar (1930)
The Public Enemy (1931)
Why were they so popular?
o The Great Depression
o Prohibition (19191933) aka Volstead Act
2. Powerful allegories
o Class mobility and the American Dream
• Case Study: The US and Latin America Part 1
• The Monroe Doctrine (1823)
• Texas Independence (1836)
• MexicanAmerican War (18461848)
Lecture 5 09/10/2013
Radio Lecture 5 09/10/2013
Started as ‘wireless telegraphy’
Numerous inventors created the various technologies that made radio possible
Used by the military before and during WWI
Amateur and commercial broadcasters compete for control of the airwaves in the 1920s. Radio Company of
The Radio Act of 1927
Influenced by Progressivism
The idea that government should regulate the behaviour of individuals and institutions such as
CBS and NBC (split into ABC cuz too big) major players between 1927 and 1960.
Government wanted 25% of radio reserved for religious or noncommercial broadcasting
Screening: Big Dream, Small Screen (1997)
Part of PBS American Experience series
Tells the story of Philo T. Farnsworth
Case Study: Hollywood and Latin America
The Monroe Doctrine (1823)
Regular armed intervention in Latin America to protect US interests
Not the same as European style colonialism.
President Roosevelt in 1937 Lecture 5 09/10/2013
Good Neighbour Policy was that the US would not bother or attack its neighbouring Latin America. Would
create trade and cultural trade.
The Good Neighbour Policy (19331945)
The Roosevelt Administration’s attempt to reject the interventionism of previous US governments
Office of the coordinator of InterAmerican Affairs created in 1940
Run by Nelson Rockefeller (part owner of RKO)
Motion Picture Society for the America (MPSA)
Orsen Welles asked by Rockefeller to begin making some films such as “It’s All True”
Walt Disney made two films
Saludos Amigos (Walt Disney) 1942
Three Cabadidos (planes) (Walt Disney)
Topics for essay questions:
Early American movie industrys how did it look, what happened
What kinds of movies were made, characters, different types
Studio system of production where was it developed, consequences, what happened, star system and
Stars or genre
Nothing on David Morvel
Western is single most important genre. About westtern and the film we saw Lecture 5 09/10/2013
Coming of sound and how it changed movies. Genres and Scarface
Origins of broadcasting. Reading in the TV Reader. Broadcasting development.
Not tested on first chapter of tv reader.
Spanish American war, WWI, diplomacy and trade, all affected on filmmaking.
Question on different aspects of 1,2,3 case studies. Ask about it or compare them. No TV case study
Broadcasting policy and how it affected TV
Focus on 1 or 2 specific chapters.
Movies are texts as well
Effects (societal, narrative or plot of story)
Hegemony. Government telling media this is what you should say. They are more powerful. Who wins who
loses in this?
Bugs bunny is intertwined with capitalism and governmental imposed biases. Stereotypes. Potrayals of
wars or different events in US history. It promotes violence that is humorous. Laughing at peoples deathly
experiences. Bad portrayals of women as promiscuous or servants.
The medium is the message. Class #6 09/10/2013
Case Study: Hollywood Goes to War