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SPJ TONIGHT! 7 p.m. Shoup Hall 207 Tom Henderson, speaker. Movies: Part II. From Flickering Images to Hollywood Studios & Stars. Technology. Motion pictures combine: 1. Still photography 2. Persistence of vision 3. Projection of images. Early technologies. Celluloid film stock

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Spj tonight 7 p m


Shoup Hall 207

Tom Henderson, speaker

JAMM 100

Movies part ii

Movies: Part II

From Flickering Images

to Hollywood Studios & Stars

JAMM 100


Motion pictures combine:

1. Still photography

2. Persistence of vision

3. Projection of images

JAMM 100

Early technologies
Early technologies

  • Celluloid film stock

    • Goodwin, 1889, who sold patents to Eastman

  • Kinetograph and kinetoscope

    • Dickson and Edison, 1890s

  • Projection system

    • Lumiere Brothers, 1895

  • Vitascope

    • Edison, 1896

  • Nickelodeons boomed 1907- 10

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1727: Chemists discover silver nitrate reacts to light

1839: Louis Daguerre used pewter, later copper for prints (daguerreotypes)

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George Eastman

  • 1884: invents flexible film (cellulose)

  • Calls his portable camera “Kodak”

  • 100 exposures

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Persistence of vision
Persistence of Vision

Peter Roget


  • Images stay in memory for 1/10 second

  • Pictures on spinning wheel

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Persistence of vision1
Persistence of Vision

Eadward Muybridge

  • Won bet with California Gov. Leland Stanford (1877)

  • Did all 4 feet of a galloping horse leave ground at once?

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Motion pictures
Motion Pictures

Thomas Edison

  • Envisioned image device similar to phonograph

  • 1887: 1st patent for motion picture camera

  • 1891-95: Camera tested by assistant, William Dickson

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Projection systems
Projection Systems

Auguste, Louis Lumiere (France)

  • Projected movies onto large screen

  • Made possible multiple viewing

  • 35mm standard

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Early film styles
Early film styles

  • Lumiere Brothers in Paris shot documentary scenes of everyday life.

  • French magician Georges Melies: fairy tales and science fiction stories

  • American cameraman Edwin S. Porter created early narrative structures.

JAMM 100

Early films
Early Films

  • No story, just motion

  • Viewers fascinated by simple scenes

  • Fred Ott’s sneeze

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1902 a trip to the moon
1902: A Trip to the Moon

George Melies (France)

  • Storytelling

  • 10-minute shorts

  • Slow motion, animation

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1903 the great train robbery
1903: The Great Train Robbery

Edwin S. Porter

  • 1st U.S. movie to tell a story

  • 12 minutes long

  • 1st Western

  • Editing to create suspense

JAMM 100

1915 birth of a nation
1915: Birth of a Nation

D.W. Griffith

  • 3 hours long

  • Shot without a script

  • Civil War, Reconstruction

  • Criticized for racial stereotypes

  • Praised for technical innovations

JAMM 100

Three basic economic divisions of the movie industry
Three basic economic divisions of the movie industry

  • PRODUCTION: camera and projector technology, scripting, filming

  • DISTRIBUTION: marketing and delivering films into theaters

  • EXHIBITION: the theater industry that delivers movies to the public

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Thomas alva edison inventor and entrepreneur
Thomas Alva Edison, Inventor and Entrepreneur

  • Desired control over all three facets of the motion picture industry--production, distribution, exhibition

  • His strategy: to gain control over PATENTS to movie technology

  • How? Accused other inventors of violating his patents to tie them up in lawsuits.

JAMM 100

The motion picture patents company mppc

  • Thomas Edison formed MPPC (the “Trust”) in 1908 as a Patents Pool.

  • Cooperative of leading U.S. and French film companies

  • Dominated the film industry from 1908-1915

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How mppc controlled the industry
How MPPC controlled the industry

  • Controlled (but did not own) means of production, distribution, and exhibition.

  • The MPPC was a monopoly (also called a trust), and excluded other film studios from the available technology.

  • Eastman sold film only to members

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Why did the mppc fail
WHY did the MPPC fail?

  • Could not meet product demand

  • Independent producers bought film stock from overseas.

  • Independent producers attracted viewers with longer feature films and recognizable stars.

  • Independent distributors set up a non-MPPC distribution network.

  • 1912 Antitrust case in Supreme Court (Fox)

JAMM 100

Spj tonight 7 p m

In 1915, by Supreme Court order, the MPPC disbanded. However, by that time, it had already fallen apart due to challenges of “independents.”

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Who were these independents

Who were these “independents”?

Ironically, the very same people who would institute a far more effective and long-lived oligopoly to control the industry--the Hollywood Studio System

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The rise of the hollywood studio system 1925 1948


From Monopoly (the MPCC) to Oligopoly (the Studio System)

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Silent pictures
Silent Pictures

Harold Lloyd

  • Comedy: ‘Safety First’

  • Did his own stunts

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The talkies
The Talkies

Sound on film (SOF)

  • Microphones

  • Sound recording

  • Amplifiers

  • Synchronization

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Spj tonight 7 p m

The Jazz Singer

  • Al Jolson

  • 2 songs

  • 354 words of dialogue

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1920s studio system
1920s: Studio system

  • Producers moved from New York to southern California

  • Attempt to avoid patent lawsuits by MPPC

  • Popular actors became stars

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The big five and the little three

The “Big Five” or the Majors:

Warner Brothers


20th Century Fox

Loew's (MGM)

RKO(owned by RCA)

The “Little Three” or the Minors:

United Artists



The “Big Five” and the “Little Three”

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Control over production
Control over Production

  • Produced 60 percent of all U.S. feature films.

  • Produced 75 percent of "A" films (blockbusters).

  • Each of these studios produced about fifty movies a year.

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Applied factory principles
Applied Factory Principles

  • Centralized production and lots of employees

  • Division and specializing of labor

  • Standardizing and specializing of product

  • Grading films

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Control over distribution
Control Over Distribution

  • Eight studios collected 95 percent of all national film rental fees.

  • Trade practices effectively closed the market to films made outside the studio system.

  • Block booking

  • Marketing U.S. films in Europe

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Control over exhibition
Control over exhibition

  • Studio ownership of theaters created a need for studios to produce films for them.

  • Much money was invested in the building of theaters themselves, especially movie palaces.

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How d studios control exhibition
How’d studios control exhibition?

  • Studio-owned theaters(first-run): the studios owned only 15 percent of U.S. theaters, but 90 percent of nation's box office receipts

  • Movie palaces

  • Mid-city theatres

JAMM 100

Spj tonight 7 p m

What went wrong?

  • No one reason : four large factors came together in late 1940s

    • The Red Scare (The Hollywood Ten)

    • The Paramount Decision of 1948

    • Postwar Changes in Society

    • The Rise of Television

JAMM 100

Red scare and huac hearings
Red Scare and HUAC Hearings

  • Cold War paranoia about Communist messages in mass entertainment

  • Congress formed House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC)

  • 1941 and 1947 HUAC hearings were "witch hunts" to remove so-called subversives from the industry (led by Senator Joseph McCarthy).

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Effect of huac hearings

  • Blacklisting of talented members of Hollywood community

  • Tarnished the Hollywood “Dream Machine” image

  • Created a climate of fear and dampened creativity within the industry

  • Wounds continue even today

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The paramount decision

  • In 1948, Supreme Court ruled studio violation of Sherman Anti-trust Act, restricting fair trade.

  • Court ordered the Big Five studios to divest their theater chains.

  • EFFECTS: studios cut their film production by half; opened the way for independent producers.*

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Postwar changes in society

Returning soldiers

Baby boom

Suburbanization and new lifestyle

Nuclear families with young children

Changing patterns of consumption

Less disposable income

Decreased attendance at downtown movie palaces

Postwar changes in society

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The rise of television

  • Decline in motion picture attendance

  • Film industry’s technological gimmicksto emphasize the spectacle of the big screen

  • Film industry cooperation with TV

  • Movies on TV became a continuous competitor with theatre for film customers

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Hollywood today

  • Marriage of TV and movies: watching movies now takes place on the home VCR and DVD player as well as at the box office.

  • New Hollywood studios produce TV shows as well as feature films.

  • Most new movies flop at the box office, but losses are recouped through video and DVD market.

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Sources of studio income today
Sources of studio income today

  • Box office revenues

  • Video/DVD sales and rentals

  • Distribution of films globally

  • Studio distribution of independent films

  • Product placement in movies

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The modern movie oligopoly
The Modern Movie Oligopoly

  • Warner Brothers

  • Paramount

  • Twentieth Century Fox

  • Universal

  • Columbia

  • Walt Disney

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Concept of synergy
Concept of SYNERGY

  • Synergy = the promotion and sale of a media product through the various subsidiaries of a media conglomerate.

  • Movies, books, soundtrack CDs, magazine reviews, toy action figures, T-shirts, posters, web sites, newspapers, TV interviews, cartoons, etc.*

JAMM 100

For next class
For next class

Television & the Power of Visual Culture

  • Read Chapters 5 & 6

  • Complete Chapter 5 Review Questions 12 - 15, Questioning the Media 1, 3 & 5

  • Complete Chapter 6 all Review Questions

  • Take online quizzes

  • Complete The Ratings Game exercise

JAMM 100