Dr. Ian Gordon ASC NUS Back to AS3217
AS3217 U.S. Media & Public Policy
Semester 2 2000-2001
A/P Ian Gordon
Ph. 874 4694

Lecture Four
The Motion Picture Industry


I. Introduction

The filmic is that aspect of the art concerned with its relationship with the world around it.
The cinematic deals with the internal aesthetics of the art.
Movies deals with the economic aspects of the art, that is with its status as a commodity.

II. Economics of Movies

1. Invention
Thomas Edison
Lumiere brothers

2. The Early Movie Industry
Motion Picture Patent Company
The Birth of a Nation by D. W. Griffith

3. The Studio System
Paramount, Universal, Twentieth-Century Fox, MGM, Warners, and United Artists

4. Second World War

5. Threat of Television

6. Takeovers
Studios' role in the 1990s:
     i. Distribution
    ii. Financing

7. Market Segmentation
    i. Blockbusters (for the mass market)
    ii. Specialist movies (movies for specific and narrower markets)

8. Product delivery

III. Sociology of Film

    i. Film is revolutionary in form in that it breaks down traditional values of uniqueness
    ii. Film is conservative in content in that it mimics social realities either through
        reflecting or re-creating prevailing standards
    iii. In the act of watching movies viewers are drawn into a relationship of power.

1. Celebrities

2. Censorship and Propaganda
Hays Office

    i. They expressed American values only
    ii. These values were distorted by what could be shown

IV. Aesthetics of Cinema

1. 1910s-1920s
Mack Sennett

2. 1930s - 1940s

3. Genres
a. Horror
b. Film Noir
c. Other Genres
d. Genre Busting

V. Conclusion

Link to Power Point Version
Link to Power Point Turow, Chapter Eleven
Link to Power Point Turow, Chapter Twelve

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Last update January 31, 2001                                       © National University of Singapore - American Studies Centre
Contact: Ian Gordon