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Motion pictures – 1930s

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  1. Movies – 1930s • Early cinema • Feature films, narrative • Talkies • Movies – major form of entertainment by 1920s • “Mass Culture” • web of national experience • movies, automobiles, paved roads, radios, telephones, mass circulation magazines, chain stores,… • Movies • Number of Theater increase • 1929 – 23,000 theaters • Attendance rises • 1922 - 40 million • 1929 -95 million • 1930 -115 million

  2. Impact on society • hair styles, clothing, recreation • sexual behavior • Depression • Attendance does fall, but still substantial • About $.25 avg. for ticket, cheap • Prizes for moviegoers • Various genres – comedy, horror, drama, escapist, crime/gangster • Censorship • 1920s – state’s adopt laws – ban smoking, pregnant women – not effective • 1920s – film industry self-regulates – not effective • Association of Movie Producers • Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America • 1930 – Will Hays, Postmaster General, overseer creation of Production Code Administration (PCA)

  3. Hays Code – not effective either – producers could appeal to other producers • Dancing, vulgarity, dress, violence, miscegenation, depiction of venereal disease, childbirth, illegal drug use • Gangster movies especially bothersome – The Public Enemy • Joe Breen takes over as Production Code Administrator (1934) – strengthens implementation of Code • Theaters could be fined $25,000 for showing a film not approved by PCA • Movies • Gangster - Little Caesar (1930), The Public Enemy (1931), Scarface (1932), The Roaring Twenties (1939) • Horror - Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), Freaks (1932), The Black Cat (1934), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) • Drama -Red Dust (1932), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Gone with the Wind (1939) • Other – All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), 42nd Street (1933), Wizard of Oz (1939)

  4. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~1930s/FILM/filmfr.html