6

Hollywood in the Twenties

6.1 A typical "atmospheric" theater interior of the twenties, with Moorish decor and cloud machine.

6.2 A drawing of the auditorium of the Roxy Theater—"the Cathedral of the Motion Picture"—in New York City, c. 1927.

By the end of World War I, the American film industry had assumed the structure it would retain for the next forty years. The independent producers, led by Adolph Zukor, William Fox, and Carl Laemmle, had triumphed over the monopolistic Motion Picture Patents Company to become vertically integrated monopolies themselves, controlling their own theater chains and distributorships. With the refinement of the feature film, motion picture audiences became increasingly middle-class, and exotic "atmospheric" theaters which could seat up to three thousand patrons spread to cities small and large across the country. Thanks to increased film length, monetary inflation, and the monumental salaries newly commanded by stars, production budgets rose by as much as ten times their prewar level, and the movies became a major national industry in the span of several years. Filmmaking practices and narrative formulas were standardized to facilitate mass production, and Wall Street began to invest heavily in the industry for both economic and political gain (i.e., it was in the material interest of the wealthy and the powerful to have the new mass medium of the movies—and later of radio—under their control). New money, new power, and the "new morality" * of the postwar Jazz Age all combined to make Hollywood in the twenties the modern Babylon of popular lore.

The industry giants at the beginning of the twenties, known collectively as the "Big Three," were Zukor's Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, which had acquired Paramount Pictures as its distribution and exhibition wing in 1916 and was commonly known as "Paramount";

____________________
*
The mood of postwar America was one of bitterness, disillusionment, and cynicism not unlike that of the post-Watergate era, but intensified by the deaths of five hundred thousand Americans during the "Spanish flu" epidemic of 1918-19. The "new morality" was an adjunct of this mood. It rejected the "old morality" of Victorian idealism for a fashionable materialism which emphasized wealth, sensation, and sexual freedom. The "new morality" encouraged the widespread use of drugs (mainly nicotine and alcohol; in Hollywood, cocaine), female liberation (women won the vote in 1920), and sexual promiscuity. Its spread was facilitated by the decade's relative economic prosperity and by simultaneous revolutions in communications (mass distribution of films; the booming of network radio) and transportation (mass marketing of the private automobile; the beginnings of commercial aviation). Politically, however, the period was characterized by violent strikebreaking, anti‐ Bolshevism, and right-wing reaction.

-196-

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
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A History of Narrative Film
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 1087

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.