Hollywood in Crisis (Cinema and Society) by Colin Shindler

By Colin Shindler

An in depth examine of the workings of the yankee movie through the Nineteen Thirties. Schindler illustrates how the studios helped to foster principles of social team spirit and patriotism.

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Eight and a half thousand feet of 35mm film offered no such assurance. Stars, good directors and writers could sometimes mitigate the bewildering effects of the public’s rapidly changing tastes but in essence every movie was, and still is, an expensive gamble. In a climate of national financial uncertainty the movie moguls knew that desperate measures of their own were also demanded. When the Bank Holiday was announced, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (set up to honour its distinguished members by awarding its Oscars but, in effect, at this time operating as an organisation for the studio bosses) sanctioned a move by the studios to slash the wages of their employees by fifty per cent.

The worst thing a government could do was to incur a deficit that would hinder the arrival of the recovery phase of the cycle. On 4 March 1933, as Roosevelt succeeded Hoover, this fiscal orthodoxy still held sway. THE BLUE EAGLE March 1933 to November 1936 Plodding feet Tramp, tramp, The Grand Old Party’s breaking camp. Roosevelt took the Presidential Oath, the Republic faced its gravest crisis since 1776. Already, however, the fiscally conservative pronouncements of his days as the Democratic Party nominee and as President-elect were starting to change.

The cards are then reversed to reveal a picture of Franklin D. Roosevelt while, for the grand finale and to the accompaniment of a medley of patriotic songs, the sailors position themselves in such a way as to shape the outline of the Blue Eagle. At an appropriate musical juncture each of the protruding angles unleashes a ceremonial volley of blank cartridges.

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