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Genres of the Classic Hollywood Era
Transcript of Genres of the Classic Hollywood Era
inbetween 1930-1945. This time saw the development of the Studio System and the Hays Code. To produce films that were both "appropriate" and profitable the Studios created
seven different types of films that were sure to make a profit.
There were seven major genres
Here we explore them with
examples! A social issue film is a narrative film that integrates a larger social conflict into the individual conflict between its characters. This genre was not popular and used by Hollywood until the 1930’s and the 1940s. During the 1930’s the movies were more focused on economic problems, towards the 1940’s the films shifted to more social and psychological problems. Some of the most famous social issue films comes from this time period such as "The Grapes of Wrath" which was about a family who loses there farm during the great depression in the 1930’s and end up working as migrant workers in California. Another famous film was "The Lost Weekend". This film was about an alcoholic new york writer who struggles to keep sobriety. The Social Issue Film The War Film A war genre film is concerned with warfare, usually about Naval, Air, or Land Battles. The plot is usually on prisoners of war, covert missions, or military training. The plot can also be revolved around the life of a military soldier or a civilian without depicting war battles. These films can be fiction or non-fiction. During the 1930s, a famous war film was “Hell's Angels”. The famous playboy and millionaire Howard Hughes directed this film. This movie was about a pair of brothers Monte and Ray who leave Oxford to join the Royal Air Force. Ray is in a relationship with a woman named Helen, yet Helen starts to have an affair with Ray’s brother Monte. The Musical The coming of sound to film gave studios the ability to explore new forms of entertainment. One of the first and most popular was the Musical. Originally derivative of the styles used on Broadway and in Classic Operas. These types of musicals used advancing technologies and the lowered cost of labor and supplies during The Great Depression to produce larger and flashier films. As one of the most commercially successful genres during this period, many of the stars of these films found greater success after, like Fred Astaire, James Cagney and Judy Garland The Screwball Comedy The Horror Film The Gangster Film Film Noir Screwball became popular in 1934 over eccentric romantic comedies that were made during the silent era. The films mostly involved wealthy romantic couples who can afford to behave oddly, despite the hardships of the Depression. The comedy acts are usually portrayed through slapstick. Slapstick is a type of broad, physical comedy involving exaggerated (for example: a pie in the face) and violent activities which may exceed the boundaries of common sense. Two films that popularized Screwball Comedy in 1934 were: Twentieth Century and "It Happened One Night". Early films in this genre dealt with the Depression, progressed to contemporary social problems such as unemployment, and evolved into the comedy of sexual Gangster Films centered on a ruthless criminal’s rise to power. Most gangsters signaled growing statuses by increasingly expensive clothing and flashy cars. The first major movie with a gangster Protagonist was Josef Von Sternberg’s "Underworld". Films like "The Public Enemy" was widely criticized for glamorizing violence, but producers defended this genre by claiming that they were examining the social problem through the use of film. Most protagonists of gangster films all die violently in the end, showing that crime does not pay. These moral endings allowed Studios to create violent and immoral films that were allowed within the Hays Code. In one of the most famous gangster films of all time, "Scarface", the main character is killed during a violent shoot-out with police. This genre has been popular since it's creation, with the example of the remake of "Scarface" in 1983 and it's enduring popularity. The Horror genre illustrated two of the trends during the "Classic Hollywood" Years. These films utilized the influx of foreign talent to direct, write and perform, the new film and special effects techniques, and it also was a genre that lent it to self to the assembly line production that Studios loved. Horror films of this time period were often low in budget and formulaic, but still popular. Horror often borrowed from literature for it's story lines, like the production of "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" . Many of the Horror films of this period have left an everlasting effect on how we view Gothic literature, Monster folklore and what makes for a truly scary film. Film Noir can be seen as the most stylistically advanced genres of this time. Seen as a reaction to German Expressionism and French Poetic Realism. Like many other genres of this time the main source of stories for Film Noir was popular literature, mainly detective novels. Like the rise in popularity of detective novels, Film Noir only saw great success in the 1940s and died out of favor. The greatest influence was German Expressionism. As what defines Film Noir is it's dark and mysterious use of lighting and shadows and angular camera shots. The definitive example of Film Noir is "The Maltese Falcon" originally a novel, suspensful and dark in it's story, with shadowy scenes and extreme angular shots.