By Charlie Keil, Ben Singer

It used to be throughout the youngsters that filmmaking actually got here into its personal. particularly, the migration of studios to the West Coast confirmed a connection among moviemaking and the exoticism of Hollywood.

The essays in American Cinema of the 1910s discover the speedy advancements of the last decade that all started with D. W. Griffith's unequalled one-reelers. via mid-decade, multi-reel function movies 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 started writing high-profile contracts to safe them. With the outbreak of worldwide warfare I, the political, fiscal, and business basis was once laid for American cinema's international dominance. by means of the tip of the last decade, filmmaking had develop into a real undefined, entire with vertical integration, effective specialization and standardization of practices, and self-regulatory agencies.

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Additional info for American Cinema of the 1910s : Themes and Variations

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The Feature Era Begins: Stars, Picture Palaces, and a New Business Model The mid-1910s was a period of revolutionary transformation in the film industry, one in which virtually every practice of production, distribution, exploitation, and exhibition underwent profound reconfiguration. The upheaval recast not just the moviegoing experience but the entire business model upon which leading firms in the industry operated. The years immediately preceding the advent of the feature had been a period of hyper-demand in which the industry’s principal goal was to impose order and deliver a fixed commodity at a fixed price, and in which a well-defined oligopoly sought to stifle competition by controlling patents and exerting legal barriers to entry.

The producer was thus insured against losses, while the exhibitor could have his films at a much lower price than if he had been compelled to pay for [a] producer’s losses— for a good picture sold alone would otherwise have had to stand the money wasted on the bad ones” (Abrams 203). Whether or not this was true, exhibitors disliked block booking because it obliged them to buy blind and prevented them from tailoring film selections to suit audience preferences in their particular theaters. Throwing star vehicles into the mix made it much easier for producers to sell program blocks.

This meant that the longest films, seen at the slowest of the variable projection speeds, would run about seventeen minutes. Most films were shorter, and from these 1910 — MOVIES, REFORM, AND NEW WOMEN 29 building blocks theater managers constructed their shows, sometimes by mixing in vaudeville acts but usually by interspersing films with songs— typically this year three reels of film divided by two songs (Altman 182–93; Abel 127–33; Bowser 191). Films were virtually everywhere, not only in schools, YMCAs, and department stores.

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


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