TCF112/The Breakdown of Hollywood Classicism

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Drastically declining profits

  • Studios combined profits:
    • 1946 $121 million
    • 1956 $32 million
  • Actors under contract
    • 1947 742
    • 1956 229

Cause of the Decline

  1. "Baby Boom"
    • 1945-60
  2. Paramount Case
    • Hollywood film industry divided into:
      • Production
      • Distribution
      • Exhibition
      • Which was vertically integrated
    • Major studios:
      • MGM, Paramount, RKO, 20th Century-Fox, Warners
    • Minor studios:
      • Columbia, Universal, UA
    • For current studios, see "Box Office Report "
    • 1948 Supreme Court orders "divorcement"
      • Encourages "independent" production
        • 1958: 65% of US films created by indies
  3. House Un-American Activities Comm.--HUAC
    • 1947 Investigations begun into presumed communist activities
      • "Hollywood 10" refused to cooperate
      • Studios initially resisted HUAC, but soon caved in
    • 1951 HUAC returned
      • 90 persons testified
      • "Naming names"
      • Blacklisting began
  4. Rise of TV
    • 1947 14,000 TV sets in US
    • 1948 172,000
    • 1949 1,000,000
    • 1950 4,000,000
    • End of '50s: 90% of US homes

Response to and Effects of the Decline

  1. Technological innovations
    1. 3-D
    2. Color
      • 1935 Becky Sharp
        • First 3-color Technicolor feature film
      • 1950s inexpensive Eastmancolor developed
    3. Stereo sound
    4. Widescreen aspect ratios
      • Academy Ratio = 3 to 4
        • Same as TV
        • 1 to 1.33333333... or
        • 1.33
      • Cinerama
        • Three-projector system
      • CinemaScope--20th Century-Fox
        • Anamorphic process
        • 1 to 2.35
      • Masked widescreen
        • 1 to 1.85
      • Film-to-video conversion
  2. Changes in Subject Matter (Content)
    • Breakdown of Production Code