Hollywood In The 1940's Essay

1336 words - 6 pages

Lainie Vinikoor
A Golden Hollywood
During the 1930’s and 1940’s, the establishment of the film industry in Hollywood not only immensely changed the city of Los Angeles, but the nation as a whole. Hollywood’s golden age and success can be credited to the great achievements in film, the studio production system, business strategies of the studios, and the changing nature of the economic situation of the country.
The implementation of sound and color in film are considered to be the two highest achievements in art and science during this time. Prior to, silent, black and white films were considered the cutting edge technology of the time. However, these primitive techniques were soon ...view middle of the document...

As a result of the financial success, many large production movies were completed because of prolific revenues the studios were bringing in. For example, the production of Gone With the Wind cost over four million dollars to make. It was considered the most costly picture to have been produced at the time and the revenues from the film’s release ultimately set a record that stood for over twenty years. (The History of Motion Pictures 6.) Such large-scale productions wouldn’t have been possible prior to the introduction of sound and color because studios didn’t have the resources. Sound and color set the new standard for the future of film and paved the way for advancement of technology in cinema.
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Ironically, During Hollywood’s golden age, the general public was not prospering, but rather going through a depression, which prompted the foundation of new principals and a lifestyle much like during the golden age of Berlin. The Great Depression was the prequel to the start of the golden age in Hollywood. Interestingly, while the general public of the United States was experiencing the hardships of the Depression, Hollywood continued to generate huge profits. The movie industry was able to thrive because movies were “still a novelty, and still cheap.” (Friedrich 13) The movies offered a chance for typical people to get away from their problems for a short time. As President Roosevelt said, “When the spirit of the people is lower than any other time… it is a splendid thing that for just fifteen cents an American can go to a movie.” The desperate people of the Great Depression were what kept the movie industry alive and thriving. In 1939, more than fifty million people went to the movies at least once a week. (Friedrich 14) The growing increase in popularity among the Americans bolstered the profits, which in return increased the budgets for future movies. The larger budgets made it possible for studios to afford advancements in technology, salaries for better actors, actresses, talent behind the camera, better stories and higher expectations all the way around.
Another leading factor to the growth of Hollywood and the movie industry was the efficiencies streamlining the studio production system. The Hollywood studio system made the production of movies faster and less expensive. The five major studios, which included MGM, Paramount, Warner Bros., Fox, and RKO, owned the majority of the talent in Hollywood. (The History of Motion Pictures 8.) If one studio wanted to “borrow” a client from another studio, they would have to pay the client’s salary and an additional fee that would go to the studio. The standard contract lasted seven years, which gave complete control of the actor, director, or writer to the studio, to do what they please. Powerful studios bosses decided what stories, stars, and directors would be used for each production without any delay. This no nonsense approach made it easy for Hollywood to produce movies...

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