The film and cinema industry in the United states of America exists for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons why American films have been popular to date is because they are used for entertainment. For this reason, they come in a number of categories for the movies and films. Examples are horror films, comedies and sitcoms. From these categories, one can decide the ones that suit them most. Another reason for the film industry is in the fact that it provides historical education. Often, the film industry makes use of the privilege it gets from entreating people and educates them on issues such as race and racial relations both today and in the past. The rest of this paper will analyze the American film industry from 1960 till date.
The 1960s were a time in history that was characterized by a lack of proper financial back up in the film and cinema industry. However, there were some companies such Warner Brothers, Columbia and Paramount that offered some financial ways and means for people to watch movies during this period of time. The contracts many times made with extravagant actors turned out to be a guiding factor on how to better negotiate. “Hollywood movies emphasized glamour best typified perhaps by the youthful president John F. Kennedy and his glamorous wife.”(222). This use of glamour was typically because at the 1960s were a time when America was really close to a social revolution. The lifestyle of the people had just slowly began to change and the film industry needed to take care of this. It was also a form of exaggeration and served to entertain as well as to amuse the American audience (decade, n.p).
“Only 159 movies were produced throughout the entire decade (222). This was because the film industry was generally considered an expensive procedure and could only be governed by very high budgets. In 1968, Cleopatra almost bankrupted the studio because of the attempt to keep up with the list of demands Liz Taylor created weekly.
Another characteristic of the 1960s was the fact that there was the Vietnam war. This had some things to add to both the budget and the content of the movies in the 1960s. the war shaped the political scene of America at the time. It also meant the films produced then would be in line with the historical nature of the war. Due to issues with the budget, the 1960s was also a time when the American film industry saw some influences from the British film and cinema industry. This influence was in terms of actors who were from Britain, or scripts that were consistent with the ways of the British people at the time.
The 1970s were the next phase of the film and cinema industry in the United States of America. “The war in Vietnam was tearing America apart. Despite the promises of our nation’s leaders that there was a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, there was no diminishment in the savage intensity of the fighting.” (274) This war was usually represented largely in the film and cinema industry. Additionally, the war also meant that the family lives of the people who were left behind by the soldiers who were in war was changing.
The movies at the time also started to show racial relations. “Blacks were portrayed as cool and stylish, yes, but they were also shown to be violent and employed mostly in illegal professions.” (276). This portrayal may have influenced the relationships between the white people and the Black people at the time. It may also have been a result of the relationships between these two people. Slavery had ended not long before, hence some of the white people still held general racist attitudes towards black people (CNN, n.d).
“For the first time in twenty years, film attendance began to rise, not decline.” (277) attendance was based on two factors, first, the income of the general American population was beginning to rise. Second, the film and cinema industry was becoming popular and entertaining, thus people were more interested in going for the films and even paying for them. “Up to 50% of the gross of American films were – and still are – earned abroad.” (277) This was mainly and is also mainly due to the fact that acting and hiring actors from other countries is generally seen as are profitable to the film industry.
“Many films during this period were presented to lay investors as package deals, which included the producer, a story property, the director and one or more bankable stars.” (277) “By 1972, there were more than 700 theaters in the United States showing some hardcore pornography.” (280) film and movie producers were starting to realize that sex was one of the things that could be used to increase and market things for the movies. With the rise in pornography, there was sexualization of the women in the movies produced at the time “Feminist film critics complained, for the most part correctly, that females in American movies were portrayed primarily as sexual playthings for the boys.” (281) However, these complains were hardly ever addressed and persist in the film industry even today. “Like virtually every other characteristic of the Vietnam / Watergate this situation concerning women’s issues began to change after mid-decade.” (282) These changes were still not as great and in most cases, some films primarily had the females play the role of a sexual toy as it could sell better
By the 1980s the American film making had Technology at its finger tips. The technology included sound effects and other animation effects. With these, film production was generally easier and better movies than had been produced before could be produced. Increased technology also made the movie making processeasier for most of the film makers. This meant that anyone could make a movie, and if the storyline was good, they could become popular. This was also a time in history where America had some of the most influential actors of all time. An example is former president Ronald Reagan. President Ronald Reagan was a former movie star. “Mainstream Hollywood films reflected many of Reagan’s values, especially nationalism, winning, money, family solidarity, and militarism. (324) His influences in the presidency were partly because of the role he had played as an actor. This role also made him popular, thus increasing his chances of elections when the elections were held “The advent of the video cassette recorder VCR , as strenuously( and stupidly) resisted by the studios as television itself had been, added yet another diversion with which movies had to compete. The VCR revolution changed the way films were made and seen.”(324) The resistance was mainly due to the fact that many of the film producers at the time were mostly paranoid. They feared that such an invention would mean that people would no longer go to the movies. They also feared that many people would be able to afford their own entertainment at home, thus fail to attend movies and cinemas. Some of their fears were legit, and there was a fall in the sale of the cinema tickets. “By 1987, video rentals surpassed ticket sales as the industry’s leading source of revenue. The Marketing of movies attained a standard of excellence that sometimes overshadowed the film marketed. “(324). This is an example of the fears that the film makers had been afraid of being realized. They had feared that the people would now be able to afford to be entertained at home. Much of the earlier years had focused on building movie halls. This would, in time, become very unnecessary. “The independent film maker found to their displeasure, the 1980’s saw something return to the studio system. Organizations like Disney’s Touchstone, Paramount, and Orion once again began signing box office favorites to long-term contracts: Eddie Murphy at Paramount, Bette Midler and Tom Selleck at Dsiney, among others.”(324) “The revitalized-and highly successful-Disney studio was a good example of the new studio system. It constructed an efficient assembly line that turned out a profusion of modestly budgeted films featuring medium-range performers(Robin Williams, Tom Selleck,Bette Midler) with a high degree of likeability.”(325) Long term contracts like those of Eddy Murphy and all other Disney movie stars were beneficial to both the starts and to the people who were in charge of them. This meant that the people now had time to work on the marketing of these films, thus making them better and more productive
The 1990s also had some fair deal in the changes that took place in the film inductsry
“These have been the years of diversity- diversity in styles, diversity in settings, diversity in technique. With Latitude allowed for the special styles of talents like Ford and Welles, In the years of the classical Hollywood cinema, there was a standard way of shooting, a conventional range of characters and subject matter. “(406) The diversity seemed to be well appreciated by the fans and the general public. During these years, it was also becoming popular for the films that were produced in the united States to be viewed abroad. This meant diversity I the audience, and a need to represent this audience in the general viewing of the films.
“More than ever before, movies are now the expression of an individual consciousness. One great movie no longer looks like another great movie, or is even made with the same intent. A great film can take any number of forms and bypass genre completely. “(406). Individuality in the sense that the actors now could represent individual themes. This was unlike previous times when the themes were usually so similar, and the actors lacked a sense of individuality. Now, the actors represented themselves in the ways that were best for them. They also expressed a larger number of issues than had previously been expressed.
“Movies are increasingly about technology-new technology, or old technology used in new ways. Technology is now a nominal part of many people’s homes; widescreen, high definition televisions with surround sound can offer an experience commensurate with the theatrical experience, and often utilized as such.”(406-407) ”Special effects became the single most important component of a movie for many audiences. Micheal Bay’s The Transformers (2007) contained 625 special effects shots, while 300 (2007) contained 1,255- the vast majority of the shots in the movie. As a result of this proliferating technology, the look of movies has become less realistic, and more abstract.” (407). This portrayal of movies became better received than any other by the fans. This led to increase in the reception of the movies among the population. Another technological advancement at the time was the use of the internet. The internet revolutionized the way movies were watched. It changed the scenario, just like the DVD had done years before it. This meant that for many, movies could be watched online, and this was through subscription sites such as Netflix. Netflix made it possible for people to watch movies at any time of the day, as long as they had an active subscription. Another technological advancement that has enabled better viewership of movies is the mobile phones. Today, people can watch movies on most ofg their mobile devices. These devices can also access the internet making it easier for their users to work with the Netflix subscription
In conclusion, the changes that have taken place in the cinema and film industry in America since the 1960s have been discussed. From the above, it is clear that many factors influenced the movies that were produced from time to time. Usually these factors were what was present to the people at the time. For example, it has been shown that the Vietnam war influenced the cinema. In addition, culture and culture changes such as black people in the United States generally influenced how movies were done in the United States. In addition, the advancements in technology generally influenced the movie watching trends, hence, the movie production. Overally, the fifty years have been diverse and radical, with many ideas coming to play
Decade, By. “Film History of the 1960s.” Film History of the 1960s. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
Decade, By. “Film History of the 1980s.” Film History of the 1980s. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
“The Seventies.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
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