America's Corporate Art: The Studio Authorship of Hollywood Motion Pictures

By Jerome Christensen | Go to book overview

Introduction

Man keeps on calling new things by old names—the work of the
machine is manufacture; the contract of employment concerns
masters and servants; the corporation, a device by which a group gets
things done, is still a person.

Walton H. Hamilton, “Our Social Responsibilities”


i. Corporate Art, Studio Allegory, Corporate Identity

Midway through Fortunes profile of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1932—the first in the career of that primer on making and spending to be devoted to a Hollywood motion picture studio—the half-flattering, half-mocking tone of its analysis of the studio’s history, structure, and personality shifts to a different key, as the article boldly heralds the advent of a new art form:

MGM is neither one man nor a collection of men. It is a corporation. Whenever
a motion picture becomes a work of art it is unquestionably due to men. But the
moving pictures have been born and bred not of men but of corporations. Corpo-
rations have set up the easels, bought the pigments, arranged the views, and hired
the potential artists. Until the artists emerge, at least, the corporation is bigger
than the sum of its parts. Somehow, although our poets have not yet defined it for
us, a corporation lives a life and finds a fate outside the lives and fates of its human
constituents.1

Poets had not yet defined the fateful life of the corporation, but, as the writers of Fortune well knew, the Supreme Court had done its best. Since the landmark Santa Clara case of 1886, which nonchalantly declared the corporation to be a person, a series of judicial decisions had generously invoked the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to expand the life of the corporation outside the lives and fates of its human constituents and to ensure the right of this prodigy of industrial capitalism to pursue profit undistracted by the threat of government intervention.2 In the trough of the Great Depression, Fortune decided to promote the potential of the Hollywood motion picture studio to exercise cultural leadership at a time when such leadership seemed crucial to the future of capitalism. For Fortune, the condition for the emergence of cinematic works of art, and therefore for faith in the future of a capitalist system capable of transcending merely commercial concerns, was not money or technology or even individual genius, but the corporate organization of the

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
America's Corporate Art: The Studio Authorship of Hollywood Motion Pictures
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 390

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.