The History of American Cinema

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American film from the 1960’s to present time has undergone a complete makeover. Prior to this decade, the Golden Age of Hollywood reigned. Movies were a major source of entertainment for all generations. With the popularization of television in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the average movie-goer was more likely to stay home to get their entertainment than to venture out to the theater. Studios had to learn how to deal with lesser resources while still wanting to make big-budget films. This set the stage for many changes in the film industry. Beginning in the 1960’s, Hollywood Studios showed declining production rates— falling from over 500 movies per year to, on average, 159 annually throughout the decade (221 Gianetti). The studios believed they needed to bring people back to the theaters. To do this they made movies they thought could compete with television. Big budget, extravagant movies were common in the early part of the decade, encouraged by the success of Ben Hur (1959). Cleopatra (1963) turned out to be a costly mistake for Twentieth Century Fox. It was originally budgeted at $1.2 million but eventually cost $40 million. The studio continued to make high budgeted movies including Sound of Music (1965), Doctor Doolittle (1967), and Star! (1968). Of these, only Sound of Music was a commercial success. Pauline Kael (1919-2001), an American film critic wrote “The success of a movie like the Sound of Music makes it even more difficult for anyone to try to do anything worth doing, anything relevant to the modern world, anything inventive or expressive.” (223, Gianetti) The attempts by Hollywood to portray anything realistic were also over the top regarding budget and star power, Judgment at Nuremburg (1961) was an epic movie... ... middle of paper ... ...e forced people to look at the darker gruesome side of the world, he wanted people to know it was not just all good and people could be evil. (332, Giannetti) The latest technologies were a downfall to cinema industries, videocassette recorders (VCR) changed the way the viewer saw film. With society treasuring their finances, they saw the opportunity to save money by purchasing a VCR and renting a movie for as little as two dollars, instead of paying five for each individual family member to visit a theater. Theaters started to decline, people wanted the comfort of their homes over viewing films with large groups of people. By 1987, video rentals surpassed ticket sales as the industry leading source of revenue. (324, Giannetti) Works Cited Giannetti, Louis D., and Scott Eyman. Flashback: A Brief History of Film. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, 2010. Print.
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