The History of Motion Pictures

By Maurice Bardèche; Robert Brasillach et al. | Go to book overview

2. The American Film

THE INDUSTRY

PARAMOUNT had won its supremacy at a most favorable moment. The war had paralyzed all but the Italian and the American producers. The American firms soon established distributing centers in Paris which assured an outlet for their films, despite the protests of the French producers. Actually, opposition to American films did not reach serious proportions until 1919, and during the two preceding years the Americans, with the valuable help of M. Jacques Haik, had entrenched themselves firmly.

In the United States the native films were prospering greatly. The Italian films had attracted a whole new audience of former theatergoers, who were willing to pay good prices to see films which were well presented and well advertised. The day of the nickelodeon was over, and the luxurious temples now being raised to the seventh art made it possible to charge much higher prices of admission. It was estimated that Paramount could make a net profit of thirty-five thousand dollars on an average film, putting out one film a week.

Paramount was turning out every kind of movie -- films copied from the Italian spectacles, films like the French films d'art, films based on stage plays, short comedies, travel films both in black and white and in color, music-hall turns and war films--it made them all. American films now began to vie with French films in expressing their hatred of German barbarism and their enthusiasm for the preservation of civilization. It is even said that similar films of theirs served in Germany to bolster up hatred of France, the hereditary enemy, and enthusiasm for the preservation of German civilization.

Meanwhile the American film was developing rapidly, but largely outside of Paramount, just as earlier it had developed out-

____________________
*
This section, like the earlier ones (pp. 59-68, 82-86M) is largely based on Hampton History of the Movies (q.v.).

-98-

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The History of Motion Pictures
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword xi
  • Translator's Note *
  • Part One - The Birth of the Film 1895-1908 1
  • Part Two - The Prewar Film 1908-1914 37
  • Part Three - The Cinema during the World War 1914-1918 91
  • 1 - The Italian Film 95
  • 2 - The American Film 98
  • 3 - The French Film 127
  • 4 - The German Film and the Danish Film 134
  • 5 - The Swedish Film 136
  • 6 - The Russian Film 140
  • Part Four - The Emergence of an Art 1919-1923 145
  • 1 - The French Film 147
  • 2 - The Russian Film 168
  • 4 - The German Film 187
  • 5 - The Italian Film 196
  • 6 - The American Film 199
  • Part Five - The Classic Era of the Silent Film 1923-1929 223
  • 1 - The French Film 225
  • 2 - The German Film 251
  • 3 - The Scandinavian Film 263
  • 4 - The Russian Film 266
  • 5 - The American Film 283
  • 6 - The Death of Art 300
  • Part Six - The Talking Films 1929-1935 303
  • 1 - The American Film 305
  • 3 - The German Film 341
  • 4 - The Russian Film 353
  • 5 - A World Industry 361
  • Part Seven - Forty Years of Film 367
  • Editorial Postscript: 1935-1938 381
  • Index of Film Titles 391
  • General Index 405
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