Hollywood in Crisis: Cinema and American Society, 1929-1939

Hollywood in Crisis: Cinema and American Society, 1929-1939

Hollywood in Crisis: Cinema and American Society, 1929-1939

Hollywood in Crisis: Cinema and American Society, 1929-1939

Synopsis

Hollywood in Crisis provides a detailed study of the workings of the American film industry during the 1930s. Colin Shindler looks at Hollywood as an agent of Roosevelt's New Deal & at the attempts filmmakers made to withstand the turmoil of the era.

Excerpt

The pre-eminent popular art form of the first half of the twentieth century has been the cinema. Both in Europe and America from the turn of the century to the 1950s cinema-going has been a regular habit and film-making a major industry. The cinema combined all the other art forms-painting, sculpture, music, the word, the dance-and added a new dimension-and illusion of life. Living, breathing people enacted dramas before the gaze of the audience and not, as in the theatre, bounded by the stage, but with the world as their back drop. Success at the box office was to be obtained by giving the people something to which they could relate and which therefore reflected themselves. Like the other popular art form, the cinema has much to tell us about people and their beliefs, their assumptions and their attitudes, their hopes and their fears and dreams.

This series of books will examine the connection between films and the societies which produced them. Film as straight historical evidence; film as an unconscious reflection of national preoccupations; film as escapist entertain-ment; film as a weapon of propaganda-these are aspects of the question that will concern us. We shall seek to examine and delineate individual film genres, the cinematic images of particular nations and the work of key directors who have mirrored national concerns and ideals. For we believe that the rich and multifarious products of the cinema constitute a still largely untapped source of knowledge about the ways in which our world and the people in it have changed since the first flickering images were projected on to the silver screen.

Jeffrey Richards

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