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Hollywood has been the center of America’s film production for very many years. The years between 1910s and the 1950s saw a new era of film production which was later referred to as the Golden Age. During the time, classical styles were applied to produce an ‘invisible’ form of continuity. This was achieved through the editing process. The process of sound recording and the camera never called for attention it is the case with present day films (Carr 28). The Golden Age of Hollywood lasted until the end of the silent era during which movies were only issued prolifically by Hollywood studios. In this paper we shall therefore carry out an extensive research on the Golden Age of Silent Film: Hollywood in the 1920s.
The Golden Age of Silent Film: Hollywood in the 1920s
The Golden Age of Hollywood begun roughly in the late 1920s. This is also the time when the silent film era was famous. During the 1920s, the Golden Age was taking its shape and very soon brought a new change in the process of film production in the country. What happened was that the two ages appeared at the same time. The release of the Jazz Singer in the year 1927 signaled the end of the silent films, and as a result the box office purchases and receipts of the new release began to climb instantly. During the same time, new film producing companies such as 20th Century Fox, RKO Pictures and Paramount produced dozens of stars (Carr 42). Very soon these new stars became celebrated legends with Hollywood studios. Some of the famous stars of the Golden Age include Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bette Davis, Clark Gable and Cary Grant, among others (Schlater 65).
At the beginning of the new age, history shows that new changes in the film industry were being incorporated in slow manner. This was caused by lack of enough financial support caused by the Great Depression that was affecting the country at the time. However, despite the financial uncertainties faced in the country, Hollywood still managed to produce a number of outstanding films and were appreciated both internationally and locally (Ross 17). Such films produced at the beginning of the Golden Age were captivating and had positive effects therefore providing a new kind of escape for audiences who were having tough times because of the Depression.
During this time, movie goers in American reveled in the world of entertainment of Hollywood as new stars continued to lit up the studios with glamour and endless passion (Robbe 53). Comedy was also launched and mre people were laughing than ever before. Some of the comedic actors of the age include Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields. As well, there was a new birth of dancing styles as more and more people became attracted to the entertainment industry. Because of the kind of response obtained from the public, Holly wood was able to achieve a lot during the age as more and more individuals continued to get entertained.
What happened during the time was that, after Hollywood got the sense of what the people wanted in the wake of the Great Depression, the most important thing was to go ahead and accommodate the troubled individuals into the system. Hollywood was able to produce new designs, fashions, decent films and thereby promoting its real stars (Robbe 69). Because of this kind of approach, most of the films are even enjoyed by different individuals across the globe. Although it may be observed that the salaries were quite unfair due to the Depression, the working conditions were nice and the Hollywood studios continued to promote the actors. As well, the new emerging trends such as laws and human rights saw more layers and music agents thus making the involvement quite successful (Highman 78).
Looking at the style and kind of production characteristic of the Golden Age, we note that the Renaissance in the country brought a new sense in the film production. This results in a change from classical narration to psychological motivation. What made the new age successful was because the nature of films produced where depictive of human struggles and the need to address obstacles, and eventually realize some ultimate goal (Dirks 2). Aspects of time and space were also incorporated as part of the production thus making it possible to address any kind of problem faced. The issue of romance and love affairs was not left behind thus elevating Hollywood to a whole new level. Another characteristic thing about the films produced during the age was that they had shifted to recognition of facial expressions and gestures. This was achieved by the new approaches in camera movements and angles thus making the films very appealing.
The newly adopted practice of space made it possible to present the four major aspects of film production, which include depth, balancing, centering and ‘frontality’. The mode of production also made it possible for the age to survive. For instance, the mode of production practiced during the time was known as the Star System (Dirks 2). This method standardized the specific ways through which movies were being filmed and produced. This was a system whereby all actors had to be emplloyed by a given film studio. This resulted in uniformity in terms of style and production. The role of directors became evident and therefore everyone was treated as an employee instead of an artist. This improved the quality and desire to be involved in the film production process.
According to historians, the 1920s have been known as the prolific period of the American film production. During this time, new achievers were recorded by Hollywood thus marking the beginning of a new powerful industry which is very influential till this present day. Basically, American films blossomed thus forming a strong foundation for the coming years. Because of the above development, movies in the mid-1920s had become a very big business despite the faced Depression. During the same period, about twenty studios had been established as the demand for ‘golden’ films continued to increase (Dirks 2).
Throughout the decade, the so-called silent films become predominant in the American film industry. The films had evolved from the vaudevillian roots and very soon they were becoming bigger, more polished, and very rewarding to the actors. The quality of production was improved since the process had been broken down into the specific components including costuming, make-up, directing, and writing (Robbe 126). This made it possible to come up with classic films capable of attracting the attention of the greatest majority. Another important thing about this age is that the newly produced films had been organized into specific genres, something that had not been done earlier. This created recognizable story-lines, costumes, settings and also the behavior of the characters. As well, religious films were also produced thereby increasing the variety.
From the above discussion, we can observe that the American film industry has a long history. The decade of the 1920s brought a whole new change in the production of films, an era which was later given the name The Golden Age of Hollywood. New approaches of film production were adopted and the process as treated as a career and a business. There was the need to employ actors in order to be respectful of their job and as well be dedicated to their core purposes in the production of films (Ross 63). Different roles were given to different individuals to ensure every movie produced meet the specific requirements and expectations of the audience. Many films were produced during the period thereby giving a whole new image to the business. This development has therefore been significant and useful in the country till our present day.