Thursday, December 15,
In addition to commercial features, several Hollywood directors produced documentaries for government and military agencies. The last three were shot on location and were made especially effective by their immediacy. Full-scale mobilization had ended the Depression domestically, and victory had opened vast, unchallenged markets in the war-torn economies of western Europe and Japan.
Furthermore, from throughHollywood had experienced the most stable and lucrative three years in its history, and inwhen two-thirds of the American population went to the movies at least once a week, the studios earned record-breaking profits. The euphoria ended quickly, however, as inflation and labour unrest boosted domestic production costs and as important foreign markets, including Britain and Italy, were temporarily lost to protectionist quotas.
Although the studios continued to produce traditional genre films, such as westerns and musicals, their financial difficulties encouraged them to make realistic small-scale dramas rather than fantastic lavish epics.
Instead of depending on spectacle and special effects to create excitement, the new lower-budget films tried to develop thought-provoking or perverse stories reflecting the psychological and social problems besetting returning war veterans and others adapting to postwar life.
On November 24,a group of eight screenwriters and two directors, later known as the Hollywood Tenwere sentenced to serve up to a year in prison for refusing to testify.
That evening the members of the Association of Motion Picture Producers, which included the leading studio heads, published what became known as the Waldorf Declaration, in which they fired the members of the Hollywood Ten and expressed their support of HUAC.
The studios, afraid to antagonize already shrinking audiences, then initiated an unofficial policy of blacklistingrefusing to employ any person even suspected of having communist associations. Hundreds of people were fired from the industry, and many creative artists were never able to work in Hollywood again.
Throughout the blacklisting era, filmmakers refrained from making any but the most conservative motion pictures; controversial topics or new ideas were carefully avoided. The threat of television The film industry believed that the greatest threat to its continued success was posed by television, especially in light of the Paramount decrees.
In the —53 season, the ability to produce multiple-track stereophonic sound joined this list. In the late s, fewer than 12 percent of Hollywood features were produced in colour, primarily because of the expense of three-strip Technicolor filming.
By more than 50 percent of American features were made in colour, and the figure reached 94 percent by The aspect ratio the ratio of width to height of the projected motion-picture image had been standardized at 1. For both optical and architectural reasons this change in size usually meant increased width, not increased height.
Early experiments with multiple-camera wide-screen Cineramaand stereoscopic 3-D Natural Visionprovoked audience interest, but it was an anamorphic process called CinemaScope that prompted the wide-screen revolution. By the end ofevery Hollywood studio but Paramount had leased a version of the process from Fox Paramount adopted a nonanamorphic process called VistaVision that exposed double-frame images by running film through special cameras and projectors horizontally rather than verticallyand many studios were experimenting with wide-gauge film systems e.
Like the coming of sound, the conversion to wide-screen formats produced an initial regression as filmmakers learned how to compose and edit their images for the new elongated frame.
Sound had promoted the rise of aurally intensive genres such as the musical and the gangster film, and the wide-screen format similarly created a bias in favour of visually spectacular subjects and epic scale. Given the political paranoia of the times, few subjects could be treated seriously, and the studios concentrated on presenting traditional genre fare—westerns, musicals, comedies, and blockbusters—suitable for wide-screen treatment.
Only a director like Hitchcockwhose style was oblique and imagist, could prosper in such a climate. Because they could no longer dominate the exhibition sector, they faced serious competition for the first time from independent and foreign filmmakers.
The minor companies, however, owned modest studio facilities and had lost nothing by the Paramount decrees because they controlled no theatres. They were thus able to prosper during this era, eventually becoming major companies themselves in the s.Of the silent trilogy, Earth () is Dovzhenko’s most accessible film but, perhaps for these same reasons, most misunderstood.
In a Brussels’ film jury would vote Earth as one of the great films of all time. Earth marks a threshold in Dovzhenko’s career emblematic of a turning point in the Ukrainian cultural and political avant-garde - the end of one period and transition to another.
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