slides they projected, the spoken word capable of imposing a very different meaning on the image from the one that the producer may have intended. Many exhibitors even added sound effects -- horses' hooves, revolver shots, and so forth-and spoken dialogue delivered by actors standing behind the screen.
By the end of its first decade of existence, the cinema had established itself as an interesting novelty, one distraction among many in the increasingly frenetic pace of twentieth-century life. Yet the fledgeling medium was still very much dependent upon pre-existing media for its formal conventions and story-telling devices, upon somewhat outmoded individually-driven production methods, and upon pre-existing exhibition venues such as vaudeville and fairs. In its next decade, however, the cinema took major steps toward becoming the mass medium of the twentieth century, complete with its own formal conventions, industry structure, and exhibition venues.
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Between 1907 and 1913 the organization of the film industry in the United States and Europe began to emulate contemporary industrial capitalist enterprises. Specialization increased as production, distribution, and exhibition became separate and distinct areas, although some producers, particularly in the United States, did attempt to establish oligopolistic control over the entire industry. The greater length of films, coupled with the unrelenting demand from exhibitors for a regular infusion of new product, required this standardization of production practices, as well as an increased division of labour and the codification of cinematic conventions. The establishment of permanent exhibition sites aided the rationalization of distribution and exhibition procedures as well as maximizing profits, which put the industry on a more stable footing. In most countries, early cinemas held fairly small audiences, and profits depended upon a rapid turnover, necessitating short programmes and frequent changes of fare. This situation encouraged producers to make short, standardized films to meet the constant demand. This demand was enhanced through the construction of a star system patterned after the theatrical model which guaranteed the steady loyalty of the newly emerging mass audience.
The films of this period, often referred to as the 'cinema of narrative integration', no longer relied upon viewers' extra-textual knowledge but rather employed cinematic conventions to create internally coherent narratives. The average film reached a standard length of a 1000-foot reel and ran for about fifteen minutes, although the so-called 'feature film', running an hour or more, also made its first appearance during these years. In general, the emergence of the 'cinema of narrative integration' coincided with the cinema's move toward the cultural mainstream and its establishment as the first truly mass medium. Film companies responded to pressures from state and civic organizations with internal censorship schemes and other strategies that gained both films and film industry a degree of social respectability.
Before the First World War, European film industries dominated the international market, with France, Italy, and Denmark the strongest exporters. From 60 to 70 per cent of all the films imported into the United States and Europe were French. Pathé, the strongest of the French studios, had been forced into aggressive expansion by the relatively small domestic demand. It established offices in major cities around the world, supplemented them with travelling salesmen who sold films and equipment, and, as a result, dominated the market in countries that could support only one film company.
US producers faced strong competition from European product within their own country for, despite the proliferation of relatively successful motion picture manufacturers during the transitional years, a high percentage