Download PDF by Charlie Keil, Ben Singer: American Cinema of the 1910s : Themes and Variations

By Charlie Keil, Ben Singer

It was once throughout the young people that filmmaking really got here into its personal. particularly, the migration of studios to the West Coast validated a connection among moviemaking and the exoticism of Hollywood.

The essays in American Cinema of the 1910s discover the swift advancements of the last decade that begun with D. W. Griffith's unmatched one-reelers. through mid-decade, multi-reel characteristic motion pictures have been profoundly reshaping the and deluxe theaters have been outfitted to draw the broadest attainable viewers. Stars like Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks grew to become very important and corporations begun writing high-profile contracts to safe them. With the outbreak of global struggle I, the political, financial, and commercial basis used to be laid for American cinema's worldwide dominance. via the tip of the last decade, filmmaking had turn into a real undefined, entire with vertical integration, effective specialization and standardization of practices, and self-regulatory agencies.

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Astonishingly, Pickford’s star value would soon command even more. Two years later, Pickford signed with Zukor’s key rival, First National, which offered her a package assuring earnings of at least $1 million a year—perhaps $2 million or more factoring in her 50 percent share of box office profit—for only three films a year. S. Bureau of the Census, “Index” 91; Hampton 148–49; Balio 160–63). Pickford’s career is far from typical, needless to say. Nevertheless, the very fact that such a salary trajectory was even possible in the 1910s demands attention.

Recognition of fan interest in stars fueled companies’ efforts to promote them in whatever way possible. Just as film was a reproducible commodity that could be circulated easily, so too were star images, most obviously through photographs. Images of stars soon appeared in numerous different forms, on everything from postcards to pennants, from pillow tops to the handles of spoons. Every star image further spurred audience interest in the originating vehicles—the films in which they appeared. And, as audience investment in stars intensified, advertisers learned to employ stars to sell an array of consumer goods, connecting them to soap and perfume, among other health and beauty items.

The National Board of Censorship, the film industry’s new self-censorship group based in New York, claimed to inspect “at least 90 per cent of the total output of motion pictures placed on the American market” (Storey). The board’s goal, as with later production codes, was to preempt local censorship. In that it was only partially successful this year. 8 percent represented “domestic infidelity,” with 40 percent overall “unfit for children” (“Moving Picture Shows”). There was some question whether westerns remained truly popular.

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American Cinema of the 1910s : Themes and Variations by Charlie Keil, Ben Singer


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