Fox went even farther, building the multimillion-dollar Movietone City in Westwood, California, in 1928 and acquiring controlling shares of both Loew’s, Inc., the parent corporation of MGM, and Gaumont British, England’s largest producer-distributor-exhibitor. These star-genre formulas were the key markers of Warners' house style, the organizing principles for its entire operation, from the New York office to the studio-factory a continent away. Variety's year-end survey of "Film Showmanship" termed the location premiere a "revolutionary method of exploitation" in 1939, and a "breakdown of the long-established precedent of a Broadway premiere as the accepted official first showing. Losses of $500,000 in 1940, marking a momentary setback, resulted primarily from a few expensive flops—notably the ponderous historical biography Brigham Young—and a lavish costume Shirley Temple musical-fantasy, THE BLUE BIRD, which was Fox's answer, in effect, to Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and MGM's The Wizard of oz (1939). The Golden Age of Hollywood: 1930s - 1940s. Only two of Hollywood's major studios attempted to move into television production during the late 1940s, and these were two of the least profitable studios in the studio system: Universal-International and Columbia. The New York office also set the annual budget and general production requirements of the studio. The New Ideal was designed as a tactic for remedying the problem of selling B pictures "devoid of box office names." MGM, the only company to turn a profit in each year of the 1930s, had closed that decade still very much in command of the industry. This shift was widely anticipated in the industry, and in fact the New York Times ran an in-depth story on the coming trend in February 1940, noting: "The long-predicted bloodless revolution in picture-making appears imminent. It was a practical problem in that the 1940 consent decree and the improving first-run market both compelled the majors to concentrate more heavily on A-class pictures, which did their best business when exhibited on a first-run, singles-only basis. Whatever the practical and political imperatives involved, the majors could scarcely eliminate B-picture production altogether. Some people like bread, and even a certain number of people like stale bread rather than fresh bread."66. While Pickford was inactive and Chaplin had produced only two pictures in the last decade (Modern Times in 1936 and The Great Dictator, 1940), the cofounders still controlled UA's board of directors and effectively undercut partnership deals with several top producers and production executives, including Schenck and Zanuck in 1935 and Walt Disney in 1937. Instead, the studios gradually shifted to a so-called unit-producer system during the 1930s. The following survey of the Hollywood studios in 1940-1941 well indicates both the similarities and differences in studio operations and output in the prewar era. Meanwhile, the market for presold literary and stage properties was booming. History of the American Cinema. By rigidly prescribing and proscribing the kinds of behaviour that could be shown or described on the screen, the code could be used as a scriptwriter’s blueprint. Economic collapse led to the Laemmles' ouster, and in 1938 Universal replaced its company president and studio boss with two theater men, Nate Blumberg and Cliff Work—following Paramount's lead by installing exhibition executives in top management positions, even though Universal did not have a theater chain. DeMille also capitalized on Paramount's ties with radio and enhanced his own celebrity status as host of the popular Lux Radio Theatre, a weekly program which dramatized (and thus publicized) not only DeMille's own pictures but a wide array of Paramount stars and products. At the low-budget feature level, conversely, where the "regulated difference" of products was the prime concern, the studios maintained a mass-production, assembly-line mentality. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites: As Handel himself would note in 1950 after a full decade of audience research, there was still "no agreement as to what constitutes a 'moviegoer,'" let alone the moviegoing audience at large.50 In 1940, Gallup put ARI on the industry map by leaking information (while under an exclusive contract with RKO) that industry figures on weekly attendance were grossly overinflated, and that the percentage of non-moviegoers was increasing. Twentieth, a successful independent company founded in 1933 by Joseph Schenck and Darryl F. Zanuck, had released through UA and supplied most of its product in 1934-1935. First, it meant that the major-minors had to rely on the integrated majors for access to the first-run market, which the Big Five controlled. As discussed earlier, a clear rift existed between the five integrated majors and the three major-minors in terms of assets, resources, and overall industry power. Nothing was off limits during Hollywood's 1930s pre-censorship era when sex and sin ruled the big screen. is most revealing in terms of the industry's governing theories about its audience, about moviegoing, and about the preferences of certain audience segments. In February 1940, RKO released Disney's Pinocchio on rental terms of 70 percent and an admission scale averaging 750 in New York City's 3,200-seat Center Theatre.39 In March, UA released the Selznick-produced Rebecca, which surpassed Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to become the first picture play six weeks at Radio City.40 In late 1940, MGM's The Philadelphia Story also ran six weeks at Radio City, while Chaplin's The Great Dictator (sold by UA on a 70 percent rental basis) played twenty-three weeks at the Astor, one of New York's more modest (1,100-seat) first-run theaters.41 By 1941, long-running hits were becoming routine, especially in New York; in July, eleven of the fourteen first-run theaters on Broadway were playing "holdovers." The Star System is the most famous part of The Studio System. Until the late 1930s, unit production was generally a studio-based process involving top talent and A-class pictures. He also noted that women tended to prefer romance and serious drama, while men preferred action and comedy.52. At their peak, the B-film studios produced 40–50 movies per year and provided a training ground for such stars as John Wayne. MGM, the largest and most powerful of the major studios, was also the most “American” and was given to the celebration of middle-class values in a visual style characterized by bright, even, high-key lighting and opulent production design. Term contracts defined the legal but also the commercial conditions of the Hollywood star system in the 1930s and 1940s. Doing so occasionally involved long-term deals with outside producers and independent units, but for the most part the two studios simply signed one- and two-picture deals with free-lance stars and filmmakers, who came in and worked with contract personnel under the usual factory conditions. A Paramount cofounder back in the 1910s, DeMille built his career on historical spectacles and continued to turn them out under Balaban—including in Northwest Mounted Police in 1940, his first Technicolor production. Meanwhile, the traditionally tightfisted Warners turned spendthrift in the pursuit of presold story material. Both Disney and Goldwyn were exceptional among RKO's unit producers in that both had their own production facilities and established lines of credit and thus were almost completely autonomous from RKO in terms of production operations and studio control. "44, The impact of Wind's weeklong Atlanta premiere underscored the promotional value of the location premiere, and the trend intensified throughout 1940. They were a means of stabilizing marketing and sales, of bringing efficiency and economy to high-end feature production, and of distinguishing the company's collective output from that of its competitors. The unexpected success of their strategy forced the industrywide conversion to sound and transformed Warner Brothers and Fox into major corporations. These were Hollywood's Little Three major-minors—"major" because they produced first-run features and had their own distribution setups; "minor" because they did not own theater chains. The biggest studios at that time were divided in two groups. Harry Cohn prevailed, thanks largely to support from A. H. Giannini of the California-based Bank of America. The 1940s was a period of tumult in the Hollywood labor movement. Strict contracts bound actors to the studio they were employed by and banned “immoral behaviour”. Universal's top contract star was Deanna Durbin, whose musicals were produced by the "Pasternak unit"—which included the producer Joe Pasternak, the director Henry Koster, the musical director Charles Previn, and the cameraman Joe Valentine—at the rate of two per annum. Nationality: American. gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA). One clear measure of their overall market strategy and the status of their product was the running time of their features., "The Hollywood Studio System in 1940-1941 The Houses Where It All Happened in 1930s and 40s Hollywood. Throughout the Depression, as Todd McCarthy and Charles Flynn point out, "there were literally dozens of tiny studios, usually with impressive corporate names, that lasted two or three years and then disappeared. The company president (and elder sibling), Harry M. Warner, was widely considered the most cost-conscious of the Big Five chief executives. The studio acquired a reputation for its tight budget and production control, but its films were noted for their glossy attractiveness and state-of-the-art special effects. And while MGM's staff of directors included such top filmmakers as George Cukor, Victor Fleming, King Vidor, and W S. Van Dyke, they enjoyed less creative and supervisory authority over their pictures than their counterparts at the other major studios. Those filmmakers also left upon Balaban's arrival, and by 1940 the only remnant of those heady, exorbitant years was Cecil B. DeMille. I. M. Corn," was put on crutches—supposedly he hurt himself laughing—and "called on every home in Corsicana." In signing a term contract with a Warners actually increased the pace in 1941, a year in which a record number of stage plays (fifty-seven) were filmed.9 In a three-week span in early 1941, Warners paid $125,000 for George M. Cohans Yankee Doodle Dandy, $135,000 for Emlyn Williams's The Corn Is Green, and $175,000 for Joseph Kesselring, Russell Crouse, and Howard Lindsay's Arsenic and Old Lace.10 This last purchase, made at the behest of Frank Capra for his second outside deal with Warners, involved an elaborate profit-sharing deal for Capra and the playwrights—yet another radical departure from Warners' usual way of doing business." These included the hugely successful Hardy Family pictures starring Mickey Rooney, the Thin Man series with William Powell and Myrna Loy, the Dr. Kildare series with Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore, the Maisie series with Ann Sothern, and the Tarzan series with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan. The history of Universal has been r…, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. Despite their similar production and marketing strategies, Columbia and Universal were altogether different in other key areas, particularly their facilities and management operations. Aubry, Cecile, 3.8.1928 - 19.7.2010, French actress, director and author/writer, half length, before departure to Hollywood, 26.10.1949, Vintage poster of Hollywood movie stars from the 30s and 40s era. In 1935, Yates foreclosed on Monogram and another small independent, Mascot Pictures, merging them into Republic Pictures.22, Republic quickly took off, thanks largely to its serials and the growing popularity of die singing cowboy Gene Autry. Subsequent research throughout the 1940s also tended to confirm the governing industry assumptions about various preconceived audience segments preferring specific types of stories. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Web site: http://www.mgm.…, THE RISE OF COLUMBIA PICTURES Hollywood is a neighborhood located in Los Angeles, California, that’s also synonymous with the glamour, money and power of the entertainment industry. The pioneer of public opinion polling in the United States was George H. Gallup, whose research efforts would have tremendous impact on motion picture audience research throughout the 1940s. The promotion went into high gear in December 1939 with a press screening for 750 in Los Angeles' Four Star Theatre to launch a nationwide newspaper, magazine, and radio campaign. Universal and Columbia also turned out A-class pictures, which in fact were crucial to their established production and market strategies, for three basic reasons. They sustained this strategy during the prewar era, releasing a plethora of B s, series pictures, and serials. Thus, the lower the audience's income, the greater the appeal of duals. ARFs first major client was RKO, which signed an exclusive one-year deal with the research firm in March 1940. By 1940, the major motion picture companies had refined a production system acutely attuned to market conditions and to the industry's vertically integrated structure. Although the programming strategy for the exhibitors who booked B films and ran double features was variety, it was important for the industry to acknowledge that while some types of films were of interest to certain subgroups of the audience, others were not. Indeed, at Fox they developed an efficient and unabashedly commercial strategy that emphasized formulaic A-class star vehicles and a heavy output of B pictures. Studiosystem ist ein System der Filmproduktion, in dem diese wesentlich durch eine kleinere Anzahl großer Filmstudios dominiert wird. This system, as Janet Staiger has noted, involved "a management organization in which a group of men supervised six to eight films per year, usually each producer concentrating on a particular type of film." During the late 1930s and early 1940s there were many individuals in America that were hesitant about joining in another world war. Throughout the 1920s, Paramount, MGM, First National, and other studios had conducted ambitious campaigns of vertical integration by ruthlessly acquiring first-run theatre chains. In 1939, the number (and cost) of such purchases had increased substantially, and by 1940-1941 the studios and major independents were breaking one record after another in the amount paid for the screen rights to top novels and plays.30 Back in 1936, Selznick had considered the $50,000 he paid Margaret Mitchell for Gone with the Wind (1936) to be exorbitant; in 1940, Paramount paid three times that amount for Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940).31 That record was broken in early 1941 when Warners paid $175,000 for Edna Ferber's Saratoga Trunk (1941). That rift is readily evident in table 3.1, which charts the revenues, profits, and number of releases for each of the Big Eight companies in 1940 and 1941: Besides indicating the clear superiority of the Big Five in terms of revenues and profits, these figures also show that all of the studios were beginning to capitalize on the prewar market surge by 1941. Blumberg and Work quickly reversed Universal's fortunes: the company's net revenues in 1940-1941 exceeded those of not only Columbia and UA but RKO as well. The Hollywood Studio System was comprised of eight companies in total but three were not considered integrated conglomerates They were known as the Little Three Dorothy is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and goes on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home. Equally uncharacteristic was Warners' pursuit of outside deals and presold story properties. Schaefer's sporadic involvement in production infuriated Pandro S. "Pan" Berman, a top producer and capable production chief who left RKO for MGM in 1939 to escape Schaefer's interference. (The assets of both Universal and Columbia were roughly $16 million—barely one-tenth those of MGM and Warners. That transformation scarcely occurred overnight, and, in fact, Hollywood's studiobased production system was still essentially intact in 1940, despite the challenges that threatened the industry. Some of them had originally rebelled against the MPPA (Motion Picture Patents Company) - see their development in the previous sections. Moreover, Jack Warner claimed that the cutbacks at his studio were "in accordance with the policy of complete 'B' picture elimination. Footnote 20 Second, until the late 1930s, most directors were also under a long-term contract to one of the big studios. By programming for various subgroups, exhibitors were able to hedge their bets. J. Cohn at MGM, Bryan Foy at Warners, Sol Wurtzel at Fox, Harold Hurley at Paramount, and Lee Marcus at RKO—to oversee production operations. His absence gave Zanuck increased responsibility over day-to-day studio operations, although much of it was handled by the studio executive William Goetz, whose role would be upgraded further in 1941 when Zanuck committed both his own time and Fox's resources to producing films for the military. For all of Universal studios emerged as the in the early 1940s there were forty highly paid producers executives. The lower the audience 's income, the majors could scarcely eliminate B-picture production but not! Occasional first-run hit earned far more than even a dozen routine, programmers. Force the studios relied heavily on series pictures as well approach proved enormously successful in the 1930s and early there... Jobless and theatres provided an inexpensive way to format page numbers the UA producers had top talent under contract cartel! 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