The Hollywood studio system, film noir, Andre azin and vrealist techniques

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  • Created on: 02-12-22 09:05
Early History of the Studio System and Vertical Integration
The Lumiere brothers are credited with the birth of cinema but Hollywood turned it into an industry through vertical integration and the production line model.
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Vertical integration
Vertical integration, within the film industry, relates to a type of industrial model where one company owns all the means of production,
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Big Five
During this period between 1913 and 1929, four other companies became vertically integrated and established themselves as rivals to Paramount. Collectively, all five studio companies became known as the ‘Big Five’:
• Paramount;
• Warner Brothers;
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The Little Three
These companies were joined by three smaller companies, who were not yet fully integrated and became known as ‘The Little Three’:
• Columbia;
• United Artists; and
• Universal.
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studio system
This became known as the studio system and was based in Hollywood, California, where land was cheap and the weather was good, presenting ideal conditions for filming.
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The great depression
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 affected many of the studios. The 1930’s was to become a period of economic depression. Audiences wanted value for money so the double bill became the norm, which meant two films would be shown back-to-back. This practic
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The great depression
Despite financial difficulties, the major studios survived and still controlled 95% of all films produced during the years 1930-1948, which became known as Hollywood’s Golden Age.
More than six hundred films a year were produced during this period.
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The great depression
In 1946, 90 million people went to the movies every week in the USA and the industry made $121 million profit.
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The great depression
However in 1948 this hadfallen to $48 million when the Supreme Court put an end to the major studios’ monopoly. They no longer had control over exhibition which made up two thirds of their business. This opened the industry up to independent producti
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Assembly Line Production Model
Film studios were very like industry assembly lines with strict divisions of labour and hierarchies of power. Directors, actors and technicians were all contracted to a studio for seven years. Actors could be loaned out to other studios. Stars were pi
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Assembly Line Production Model
This assembly line approach meant that the films were often formulaic and belonged to distinctive genres, with their own stylistic conventions, developed during this time. The major studios also developed their own individual house style and speciali
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Assembly Line Production Model
Thomas H. Ince, producer, director and actor, is credited with creating the first assembly line model and developing systems to streamline production by ensuring the entire range of filmmaking activities could be integrated within one large space inc
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During 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression, audiences began to demand more for their money and cinemas began screening the double bill, i.e. showing two films back to back. This caused an increased demand for films and the second feature (actu
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B movies
B movies were often produced by smaller companies who specialised in genre-based filmmaking - these were often referred to as Poverty Row studios because of their low-budget filmmaking.
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Genre Codes and Conventions
All genres have codes and conventions or rules by which they are governed:
• A genre film’s narrative will most likely follow in an ordered sequence of events with repetitions and variations on a few basic plots;
• A genre film may deal with particul
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Genre Codes and Conventions
• A genre film may include certain character types;
• A genre film may feature particular locations and more particularly use specific elements of mise-en-scène such as props, costumes; hair, make-up and body language;
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Genre Codes and Conventions
Directors and actors may be associated with a particular genre, which reinforces its appeal; • The historical and social context may also be significant in understanding a particular genre.
Some genres may also share certain codes and conventions. Wes
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Genre Codes and Conventions
The Western was one of the most popular genres during Hollywood’s Golden Age. It dealt with the conquest of the West and expansionism.
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Directors and Producers
In the studio era directors, writers and producers were employees who were under contract to a particular studio for up to seven years at a time. They had to work under the strict parameters of a studio’s style and within the codes and conventions of
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Studio House Styles
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM was set up in 1924 after the merger of three smaller companies, Metro, Goldwyn and Mayer. It was the largest of the five major studios and was known for big budget spectaculars with expensive sets, bold colours and high key
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Warner Brothers
set up in 1923 by the four Warner Brothers. It was the first studio to produce a talking picture with The Jazz Singer in 1927. This investment was intended to improve its status amongst the Big Five. It was the company least affected by the Wall Stre
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oldest of the Hollywood majors and the first to be integrated in 1917 when Adolph Zukor brought production and distribution together. Zukor recognised the value of stars early on and consequently Paramount had a strong stable during the silent era
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It was known for producing comedies, with stars such as Fatty Arbuckle and directors such as Mack Sennett and later the Road Movies with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby; as well as biblical epics such as The Ten Commandments (Cecil B. de Mille, 1923) later
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1913 by William Fox and integrated by 1915. Fox was ambitious but by 1931 the company was in financial difficulties and William Fox was forced out. In 1935 it merged with a smaller production company, Twentieth Century Fox was known for its musicals a
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established in 1928 during the advent of sound. It was a readymade vertically integrated company and was known for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals. It also made more B movies than the other major studios; however it also enjoyed some notable
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Film Noir
The term “Film Noir” was first coined by French film critics in August 1946 to describe a daring and stylish new type of Hollywood crime thriller which included films such as The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941)Standard histories describe Film Noir
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Film Noir and German
Many film professionals and artists fled Germany and Austria under Nazi rule during the 1930’s and took up residence in the United States. This brought talent and skills that had developed within the German film industry to Hollywood. This had a prof
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Film Noir and German
narrative as an existential nightmare from which the protagonist can never awaken. He is a doomed figure journeying through an underworld of crime and deception until a final betrayal by the femme fatale he has fallen in love with. Expressionist
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Film Noir and German
Film Noir attempts to present the inner
psychological and emotional dimension of its characters by creating mood and atmosphere through its use of visual style; and
• Film Noir, like German Expressionist films, makes inventive use of lighting, cante
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Many film noirs were crime novel adaptations. The hard-boiled crime stories of authors such as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and Cornell Woolrich provided the narrative
source for many classic film noirs. John Huston began the tr
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Many film noirs translate the confessional narrative of crime literature into a first person voice-over from the doomed protagonist. Noir films often begin at the end of the narrative and tell their story in flash-back. A famous example is Billy Wilder’
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The Noir world is corrupt, threatening and violent. French film critics saw the typical noir lighting schemes and unconventional camera angles convey a sense of entrapment as the hero makes his way through an often labyrinthine plot.
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Visual Style and Iconography
It is the visual style of Film Noir, rather than story or character type that is seen as its defining characteristic. The noir look was created by cinematographers, costume designers, art directors and production designers. Its enduring influence on
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Visual Style and Iconography
The visual style of film noir, James Naremore writes, “is characterised by unbalanced and disturbing frame compositions, strong contrasts of light and dark, the prevalence of shadows and areas of darkness within the frame, the visual tension created b
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André Bazin
André Bazin (1918-1958) was a French film critic and film theorist, who, along with others, founded the influential film magazine, Cahiers du Cinéma in 1951. Its contributors, including Bazin, set out to find criteria by which to evaluate films.
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André Bazin
He identified deep focus photography and the long take as essential in maintaining the unity of both time and space in a scene. This is because both of these techniques allow events to unfold in an uninterrupted way. He saw editing, on the other hand
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André Bazin
Bazin divided filmmakers into three types: • montagists – who use editing to create meaning and manipulate time and space;
• expressionists – who use mise-en-scène to create meaning and portray a character’s emotions; and
• realists – who do not d
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Long Take
A long take is a continuous shot, which may last for several minutes without a cut. It can bring fluency to a sequence and raise tension, as it is often used to build towards a climax. It also shows events in real time and creates the illusion of real
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Deep Focus Cinematography
Deep focus cinematography brings everything that can be seen in the foreground, mid-ground and background of a frame into focus at the same time. To achieve this, the cinematographer must manipulate lighting, composition, camera lens and depth of fie
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Deep Focus Cinematography
To achieve deep focus there is usually a large depth of field, which refers to a large distance between the foreground and the background. The use of deep focus means that the mise-en-scène is more significant and meaningful, as everything can be see
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Hand-held Camera Technique
When the camera is held by the camera operator rather than mounted on a tripod or other device, the footage appears shaky. Depending on the genre and purpose of this technique it can also be disorientating and visceral in its effect, as well as givin
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Continuity of Time and Space
Both time and space are constructed artificially in cinema, though they appear to be continuous, and linear. They are represented as a unified whole to reflect how we perceive real world events. The purpose here is to ensure that the audience is able
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Use of CCTV Cameras or
Television News Footage
CCTV footage, in theory, reduces the element of mediation in its creation, as no one is strictly operating the camera. This can help to give an impression of reality. CCTV is often used in thrillers to enhance suspense and show events from a detached
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Location Shooting
This is the practice of filming in the actual setting in which a story takes place rather than on a constructed set. Most films use both sets and location shooting.
Location shooting offers a greater illusion of reality to the audience. It enables th
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Naturalistic Acting
This is a style of acting which attempts to create an illusion of reality. In naturalistic acting performers will use every-day physical movements rather than
extravagant and unrealistic poses and will aim to speak their lines in a manner which feels
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Use of Diegetic Sound and Music
Film-makers frequently use non-diegetic music to enhance the mood and meaning of scenes. Diegetic sound, on the other hand, relates to sound and music which originate within the world of the film and are therefore the only sounds which the onscreen c
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Vertical integration


Vertical integration, within the film industry, relates to a type of industrial model where one company owns all the means of production,

Card 3


Big Five


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The Little Three


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Card 5


studio system


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