Hollywood's Golden Era? Why?

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dulcinea
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Hollywood's Golden Era? Why?

Post by dulcinea » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:40 am

From watching TCM I gather that the 30s and the 40s, the time of Bergman, Bogart, Cooper, Crawford, Davis, Dietrich, Flynn, Gable, Garson, Grant, Hayworth and Hepburn, are regarded as a special time that will never be equaled.
Why? Two decades hardly compare to the nearly two centuries each of the Renaissance and the Baroque, and people such as Stewart and Tracy did their very best work AFTER the 40s, JS under Hitchcock and Anthony Mann, and ST under Kramer.
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John F
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Re: Hollywood's Golden Era? Why?

Post by John F » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:08 am

The comparison with the history of art doesn't signify, as the visual arts have existed and flourished for millennia, while full-fledged motion pictures on film date back no more than 120 years. By the numbers, 20 years is about 17% of the entire history of the movies; 17% of the history of art would be maybe 400 years, as long as the Renaissance and Baroque combined.

1930 to 1950 was a crucial period as first sound and then color transformed the movies. It was also the heyday of the Hollywood studio system, as the quantity and quality of commercially produced movies testifies. Look over a list of "classic" American movies, just about any list, and probably more of them will date from the '30s and '40s than any other period. And insofar as "Hollywood" implies the major film studios, MGM and Warner Brothers and Paramount and United Artists and so on, their output and influence declined after 1950 to the point that today they're living on their laurels, if at all. Disney is a special case, but the "classic" Disney animated feature films on which the company's fame and fortune were based appeared between 1937 and 1951.

Of course good movies, even "classic" movies, were made before and after that, and some would say they're still being made today. And this is talking only about American movies; European cinema had a golden age in the '50s and '60s with such great filmmakers as Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, François Truffaut, and others. But this is off your topic which is Hollywood's golden era.
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dulcinea
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Re: Hollywood's Golden Era? Why?

Post by dulcinea » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:40 pm

John F wrote:The comparison with the history of art doesn't signify, as the visual arts have existed and flourished for millennia, while full-fledged motion pictures on film date back no more than 120 years. By the numbers, 20 years is about 17% of the entire history of the movies; 17% of the history of art would be maybe 400 years, as long as the Renaissance and Baroque combined.

1930 to 1950 was a crucial period as first sound and then color transformed the movies. It was also the heyday of the Hollywood studio system, as the quantity and quality of commercially produced movies testifies. Look over a list of "classic" American movies, just about any list, and probably more of them will date from the '30s and '40s than any other period. And insofar as "Hollywood" implies the major film studios, MGM and Warner Brothers and Paramount and United Artists and so on, their output and influence declined after 1950 to the point that today they're living on their laurels, if at all. Disney is a special case, but the "classic" Disney animated feature films on which the company's fame and fortune were based appeared between 1937 and 1951.

Of course good movies, even "classic" movies, were made before and after that, and some would say they're still being made today. And this is talking only about American movies; European cinema had a golden age in the '50s and '60s with such great filmmakers as Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, François Truffaut, and others. But this is off your topic which is Hollywood's golden era.
That is right clever, those twenty years being the equivalent of the four centuries of the Renaissance and the Baroque.
Still, the big studio system could not last forever. Monopolies, such as that of the US telephone system, always have expiration dates; 'twas inevitable that a more democratic system of creating movies would succeed the autocratic big studios.
Have you ever wondered how the movies and TV will be when they approach the lifespan of the other arts? By then GONE WITH THE WIND will surely face a lot of competition for the accolade of most cherished film classic.
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

John F
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Re: Hollywood's Golden Era? Why?

Post by John F » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:07 pm

Oh, I'm sure plenty of movies will survive and will be technologically refurbished as many already have been. Charlie Chaplin made his first movies a century ago (2013 is the anniversary, actually) and his reputation and his best movies haven't lost their lustre yet. "Birth of a Nation," filmed in 1915, is now seen as racist, which it always was, but Griffith was a master filmmaker and his movies have not died.

Trying to predict which of today's artworks will still be considered classics in future centuries is a mug's game, and pointless anyway - art isn't made for the future, not even Wagner's so-called "music of the future," it's made for now. But there's no reason to believe that the famous movies of the '40s, '30s, '20s, and even the 'teens won't still be shown and appreciated in the indefinite future.
John Francis

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Re: Hollywood's Golden Era? Why?

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:34 pm

TCM cannot fill its entire schedule only with great movies, as I found out during my long hospitalization in 2007 and thereafter recovering at home. I agree with John F to a great extent, but would add that people may be referring to a "golden age" in the sense of the relative importance of the movie to popular culture rather than the prevalence of wonderful movies.

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John F
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Re: Hollywood's Golden Era? Why?

Post by John F » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:49 pm

The idea of a "golden age" doesn't require that everything in it be the greatest. Much Renaissance art is nothing special; what makes that era "golden" isn't the also-rans but the likes of Michelangelo and Rembrandt.
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Re: Hollywood's Golden Era? Why?

Post by Lance » Sat May 11, 2013 2:05 pm

Don't forget Claudette Colbert, Paul Muni, Susan Hayward, Maureen O'Hara, Charles Lawton, Ronald Colman, George Sanders ... ah, this list could go on forever!!!
dulcinea wrote:From watching TCM I gather that the 30s and the 40s, the time of Bergman, Bogart, Cooper, Crawford, Davis, Dietrich, Flynn, Gable, Garson, Grant, Hayworth and Hepburn, are regarded as a special time that will never be equaled.
Why? Two decades hardly compare to the nearly two centuries each of the Renaissance and the Baroque, and people such as Stewart and Tracy did their very best work AFTER the 40s, JS under Hitchcock and Anthony Mann, and ST under Kramer.
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