A Brief History Of Hollywood

Hollywood is one of the oldest film industries in the world. The film industry includes both technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking. The world’s first musical and sound film (talkie) was “The Jazz singer” produced in 1927.

How it began

The film industry is based largely in Los Angeles, California. It consists of an area around 30 miles in Hollywood. This location was first chosen by director D.W.Griffith in 1910. He was sent along with his troupe of actors by the Biograph Company. He filmed in an empty vacant plot in Los Angeles. His success led other filmmakers to this area. The rapid rise of Hollywood is attributed to two reasons.

  1. Filming on the east coast was expensive. Filmmakers had to pay fees to Thomas Edison because he owned many patents in filmmaking. On the west coast, they could work independently.
  2. The warm climate of California, reliable sunlight and varied sceneries and locations around made it a wonderful setting for filmmaking.

Rise and decline of Hollywood

After World War, I many directors from Europe migrated to the US. The early 20th century also saw many Jewish immigrants seeking employment in the film industry. The industry reached its height of popularity in the mid-1940’s. About 400 movies were produced per year and the audience viewership was around 90 million. The major production companies were Paramount, RKO, 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) and Warner Bros.

The motion picture companies operated under the studio system. Actors, producers, directors, writers, technicians, and others were paid salaries and kept on the studios payroll. Studios also owned ranches which were available for shooting. They also had theatres where their movies were screened.

The late 1940’s saw the decline of the studio system. There were two major reasons. One was the Federal antitrust action which separated production and screening. In 1948 the United States Supreme Court made a landmark judgment. According to this ruling, studios could not own their own theatres where they showed only films made by their studios and actors in their contract. Studios began to release actors and technicians from their contracts. New films now had a different cast and creative team.

The second was the growth and popularity of television. It broke the monopoly of the film industry as a source of entertainment.

Revival of Hollywood

Hollywood later recovered and the New Hollywood era (! 960-1980) saw the entry of directors trained by film schools. The storytelling method also changed. The success of “Bonnie and Clyde” released in 1967 marked the beginning of Hollywood revival.

The development of the home video market in the 1980’s and 90’s caused the emergence of independent films with low-cost budgets.

Hollywood today

A slight change in the functioning of studios is observed today. They produce both blockbusters and independent films. The number of films produced has reduced. In the Blockbusters a lot of emphases is given to start power and large-scale advertisements. They rely on these expensive films to remain profitable.  The studios supplement these productions with small budget films in case of failures.