American Cinema of the 1930s: Themes and Variations
Probably no decade saw as many changes in the Hollywood film industry and its product as the 1930s did. At the beginning of the decade, the industry was still struggling with the transition to talking pictures. Gangster films and naughty comedies starring Mae West were popular in urban areas, but aroused threats of censorship in the heartland. Whether the film business could survive the economic effects of the Crash was up in the air. By 1939, popularly called "Hollywood's Greatest Year," films like Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz used both color and sound to spectacular effect, and remain American icons today. The "mature oligopoly" that was the studio system had not only weathered the Depression and become part of mainstream culture through the establishment and enforcement of the Production Code, it was a well-oiled, vertically integrated industrial powerhouse.
The ten original essays in American Cinema of the 1930s focus on sixty diverse films of the decade, including Dracula, The Public Enemy, Trouble in Paradise, 42nd Street, King Kong, Imitation of Life, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Swing Time, Angels with Dirty Faces, Nothing Sacred, Jezebel, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Stagecoach .
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Select Academy Awards 19301939
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42nd Street actors Actress American Astaire audiences Balio become Bette Davis Bligh Blood box ofﬁce Cagney Capra characters cinema Clark Gable Collection Ina Rae comic conﬂict cultural dance decade deﬁned Delilah Depression Despite Dietrich director Dracula economic entertainment Esther’s ethnic father female stars ﬁgure ﬁlm ﬁlm’s ﬁlmmakers ﬁnal ﬁnally ﬁnancial ﬁnd ﬁre ﬁrst ﬁve Footlight Parade Ford gangster ﬁlm Garbo gender genre Gold Diggers Happened One Night Harlow Hepburn Hollywood Ina Rae Hark industry inﬂuence James Cagney John Juarez Katharine Hepburn Marlene Dietrich melodrama Mickey moral movie narrative Nazi Norma Shearer ofﬁcer Peola Pepe performance play political Production Code proﬁt racial Radio reﬂects role romantic Roosevelt scene screen screwball comedy Selznick sexual shots signiﬁcant silent social song sound stage Stagecoach Star Is Born stardom story studio style talkies theater Tom’s voice Warner Bros woman women Yancey year’s