Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood History’

A Brief Film History Timeline – The 1920’s

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Part 1 – The 1920’s 

This is the first of a four-part film history timeline highlighting some selective moments from the 1920’s through the 1950’s.

The 1920’s film decade presented us with many wonderful contributions to the history of film. The most notable being the addition of sound to motion pictures.

In addition to the development of sound technology, the following moments and events are worth remembering and/or appreciating again.

1920 – United Artists Corporation – Although incorporated as a joint venture in 1919 the American film studio United Artists Corporation did not really get under way until 1920.

Four of Hollywood’s leading stars, Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, and Douglas Fairbanks, joined together to form their own company in an effort to take control of their careers from the “studio system.”

1921 – The “Fatty” Arbuckle Scandal – The arrest of popular silent screen comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle on charges of rape and murder threatened to rock Hollywood to its foundation.

Although later acquitted, after a series of trials, the comedians career and finances lay in ruin.

Valentino is “The Sheik” -Known as the “Latin Lover,” Rudolph Valentino was an Italian actor. Tired of always playing “heavies,” and looking for a great deal more respect then he was getting at Metro Pictures, Valentino left the studio and signed with Famous Players – Lasky.

Jesse Lasky, looking to take advantage of Valentino’s reputation as the “Latin Lover,” cast the actor in his new production of “The Sheik.” This move would ultimately define the actors image, career, and legacy.

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Movie Stars Are Made Rather Then Born

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Movie stars may just be the most valuable tool in the Hollywood production toolbox. Without them the film industry would be missing its greatest connection to the audience.

We are all familiar with the phrase, “a star is born.” This refers to a birth, not in the natural sense, but rather as a result of Hollywood’s ability to effectively manufacture a movie star as efficiently as the auto industry manufactures automobiles.

During Hollywood’s Golden Era, talent scouts literally searched both the United States and Europe with the hope of discovering potential film stars. A beautiful woman or a handsome man that may have appeared on a magazine cover, done some minor-league modeling, or had athletic success was all that was required to almost assure the opportunity of a screen test.

In fact, in many cases, any form of broad public exposure wasn’t even necessary. Consider the very popular Lana Turner who was “discovered” merely sitting wearing a tight sweater on a drugstore stool. Those with star potential could be polished up a bit and used by Hollywood in a variety of ways, and if the public took a fancy to someone in particular a star may just have been born.

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The Hollywood Blacklist – The Witch Hunt On Hollywood in the 1940’s and 1950’s

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

The Hollywood Blacklist, also known as the entertainment black list, was directed towards a multitude of Hollywood producers, directors, screenwriters, actors, musicians, and other entertainment professionals. These individuals were denied employment in the motion picture industry based on their real or suspected political associations or beliefs.

Those who were considered sympathetic towards the American Communist Party, or were in any way involved in any liberal humanitarian efforts that were considered associated with communism were to be blacklisted.

The HUAC (The House Committee on Un-American Activities) was created in 1938 to investigate and carry out the elimination of Communist sympathizers in America. The committee established its first Hollywood Blacklist in November of 1947 immediately after ten writers and directors refused to give testimony to the HUAC and were cited for being in contempt of congress. History would refer to these writers and directors as the “Hollywood Ten.”

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The Hays Code Brings Censorship To Motion Pictures

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The Hays Code brought sweeping changes to the motion picture industry beginning in 1930. This article offers a brief summation of just what it was that the code sought to regulate. It is by no means a total legal definition of the code, but a simplified explanation to help fans of motion picture history to better understand its intent.

The Hays Code is a result of a collaborative effort between The Association of Motion Picture Producers, Inc. and The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc. It recognizes and acknowledges the universal power of motion pictures, not just as a form of entertainment, but also as a tool that can greatly influence the way people behave and perceive what they see on film.

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Clara Bow Movies – Hollywood’s “It Girl”

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

  “She danced even when her feet were not moving” Adolf Zukor

Clara Bow had somewhat of a disheartening beginning to her life having been born to an unhappily married  mother who suffered from, the then misunderstood, epileptic fits. Sara Bow, who had previously had her first two babies die prematurely expected the same for her third one. This would not be the case for Clara. 

Clara’s father, Robert Bow, was a drunken, verbally and physically abusive father and husband who was unable to hold a steady job and was away most of her childhood. The family lived in poverty and Clara’s mother Sara was forced into work as a prostitute in order to make money for food, often locking Clara in a closet while she entertained customers in their apartment.

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