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Cultural Report: Hollywood 1900-1940

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Cultural Report: Hollywood 1900-1940

Since even before its inception, the idea of “Hollywood” has been consistently concerned with a single underlying concept: spectacle. The earliest movies belonged to what film historians like Tom Gunning call a “cinema of attractions.” Primitive films, the earliest shorts from the late 1890s to the early 1900s, were directed at an audience looking for a new form of entertainment. The first films were screened as the final attraction of a vaudeville show, mostly in the lower-class areas of major cities. They were a far remove from the massive modern theaters we patronize nowadays. The vaudeville tradition continued into film as a showman would introduce the film as a single still image projected on a screen. He would explain the wondrous new attraction the audience was about to behold and all of a sudden the still image on the screen would slowly transition into movement, as if animated by an unseen force amazing the people in the audience.

The early cinema was truly a spectacle to behold as the technology behind the moving image wa...

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...tar System in America. University of Illinois Press, 1990.

Finler, Joel W. The Hollywood Story. London: Wallflower Press, 2003.

Gledhill, Christine. Stardom: Industry of Desire. Routledge: New York, 1991.

Griffith, Richard and Arthur Mayer. The Movies. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970.

Hamilton, Ian. Writers in Hollywood: 1915-1951. London: Heinemann, 1990.

Sklar, Robert. Movie-Made America. Vintage Books: New York, 1994.

Taylor, Deems. A Pictorial History of the Movies. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1943.

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