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Mogul History

In: Film and Music

Submitted By misplacedmem7
Words 1661
Pages 7
Without the development of new technology the motion picture industry would have never developed into what it is today. The idea of capturing movement and creating an illusion of life and turning it into a story has been around since the mid 1600’s. Shadow shows eventually led to the invention of the Magic Lantern in 1659. Edison took it a step further and invented the Kinetoscope. The Kinetoscope amazed people with the moving images. However, they were only viewable by one person at a time, as you had to peer through a peep-hole. The Lumiere brothers in France had a better idea for a way of viewing the movies. They invented the Cinematograph in 1895. This was a breakthrough as the films could now be viewed on a projection screen by large audiences. The first commercially successful projector in the United States was the Vitascope, invented by Thomas Edison. Edison is known as the “Father” of motion pictures due to his inventions, which changed the motion picture industry forever. With the breakthrough of sound and motion together, the movies were forever changed. The invention of new technology allowed the industry to grow and develop into what we know it as today. The movies began to turn into a business, a multimillion dollar industry. It was the movie stars who made the motion picture industry explode as it did. Without stars, movies are nothing. Look at the movies today that people watch. If it doesn’t have a major star, many people don’t bother taking time to watch it. The stars in a movie are what give it such character. The stars are what the audience comes to see! The motion picture stars during the 1920s and 1930s turned the movie making business into an extremely large industry. Moguls began to mass-produce movies and it brought in an enormous amount of money. Movie stars were celebrities and they brought in millions of dollars. The stars were what the audiences came to love and know, when in doubt if a film would do well, throw a movie star in! The stars drew people into the movies. Movie stars could also be used to sell products to make even more money, for example Charlie Chaplin and Walt Disney were some of the first stars use cinema merchandising. I think that is an extremely valid statement. Although movies may be made depicting different eras, the attitudes are often reflective upon the time the movie was actually made. For example Gone with the Wind was set during the Civil War, however audiences in 1939 felt that it mirrored the struggles they experienced during the depression. In this way, movies became very powerful, especially during rough times. I think movies became extremely important during hard times because they inspired people and gave them hope. Many movie goers were lower class people, and during depression times the movies offered them hope and security. Many movies were able to restore hope to these people, even if it was only for the duration of the film.
The Public enemy 1931 which was violent ambiguity during the great depression desperate years. I had no idea that as far back at the 1600’s people were trying to capture movement and create stories. I was amazed that as early as 1659 Christiaan Huygens invented the magic lantern. His shows were like modern movies in the sense that they had motion and a storyline, for example Phantasmagoria. The technology that they had created so early really amazes me. They used moving pictures of class to create movement. I had no idea that there had been 250 years of screen entertainment before motion pictures as we know today were developed! Another thing that really impressed me was how much money was in the movie business and how big it became so fast. By 1920 making movies was the 5th largest business and in 1921 854 films were created in just that year alone! In 1922 the industry was so huge, 40% of Americans went to a movie every week. Within only a decade the industry had grown so much. It also amazed me how money was in the business so early on. I almost couldn’t believe how much money the stars were making. Herald Lloyd was earning a million and a half a year! And in 1935 Mae West was the highest paid woman in entire United States. Investors were giving studios 10 or 20 million dollars to create ventures! Louis B Mayer was making a million a year, making him the highest paid executive in the United States. I was also very impressed by how many moguls were just immigrants who you would have never expected could become so successful. Some were even illiterate! It’s amazing that they succeeded as they did. They were really very remarkable people. They had so much vision and so many dreams. Many of the moguls were immigrants who would not have been successful in other professions. It’s amazing that these people were able to turn the movie making business into a multi-million dollar industry in such a short time. I think that the movies appealed to the audiences because they were so entertaining and so different from any other form of entertainment that they had been exposed to before motion pictures. The movies were primarily lower class amusement and I think they really gave the people a sense of imagination and hope that they couldn’t experience anywhere else. The movies provided and escape from real life. I think lower class people really needed an escape, which is why I think they were such a large portion of film audiences. Being able to spend a nickel and escape from daily life for an hour was really an amazing thing during this time. During the depression the movies especially inspired and amused people who were going through rough times.

During the 1950’s and 60’s there were so many changes that occurred which transformed the film industry forever. After World War II, soldiers came home and began to have families. People began moving to the suburbs, away from urban centers. The baby boomers began to be born and a whole new generation was formed. Studio control of when and where movies were viewed began to slip away from the moguls. The whole American movie audience after the war had changed. People liked to see a more common man, and they also began to like darker films. Television was also at first a major issue that the moguls were battling. They thought that no one would want to sit at home and watch such a tiny screen. However, they were proved wrong. The movies had also always been driven by the stars, and now it seemed independence was becoming popular. Censorship began to become lenient and many more movies with sex began to sell. Hollywood was completely changing as the founding generation was beginning to fade away. During World War II moguls and movies stars worked hard to support the American war effort. They could be seen waving the American flag on movie screens and raising money. Many stars even decided to fight for their country. Hollywood contributed much entertainment for the people back home and they produced propaganda. They would make training films and even documentaries. The movies were extremely important to the war effort. The movies had a way of changing the minds of people. They could literally shape and control the views of Americans. Even overseas the soldiers brought the stars with them. The movies offered happiness during a time of sadness, and they brought comfort and consistency during a time of uncertainty. During the war, the only kind of entertainment was the movies; Americans went to movies every night of the week! The movies offered an escape during rough times. They entertained people as well as informed them. The war had changed the way people thought and many were ready for a darker, more mysterious type of movie. During the 1940’s after World War II, film noir defined darker movies with darker visions. Usually crime and murder are the basic elements of film noirs, many times the heroines were not to be trusted. Usually the film was shot in low-key lighting and sometimes with dark shadowing. Movies like Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity are both well known for being film noir movies. Before these darker movies, people had been used to seeing comedies and musicals. However, after the war, people wanted to see darker movies.

The history of the movies really is a history of America. The movies are an enormous part of American history. They changed the entertainment business forever and provided people with an escape. The movies are often based on events going on while the movies were being made, or even past events. For example, during the war, many movies about war were made. These movies can really give you a sense of what people were going through during those times and what exactly what was happening. You can see what people’s attitudes were at that time as well as many events that occurred. Who we are is reflected in these amazing movies, which these early moguls were creating. The studio heads were originally convinced that people wouldn’t want to sit in front of a little screen in their own home. They were convinced that bigger was always better. Of course they were terribly wrong and began to find ways to combat television. Studios began to use three synchronized projectors to create Cinerama. Other new wide screen visions like the Vitascope and Cinemascope followed. They also added stereo-sound and color. Even with the new large widescreens, stereo-sound, color and 3-D techniques, the moguls slowly realized that television wasn’t going anywhere and that they could actually use it to their advantage to advertise their movies stars. They also profited by leasing or selling forgotten movies to the television companies.

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