The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Golden Age


Between the 1910’s and the 1960’s, Hollywood experienced an divine increase of experimental film making. These years paved the way for the films we see in Hollywood today. It was a revolutionary time full of genuine talent, ground breaking technology and an emergence of freedom of expression that had never been seen before. While the years of a thriving Hollywood industry seemed they would last forever, they did inevitably come to an end.

  • The Early Years Of Film

In the 1800’s before the big screen was invented, any form of theatrical entertainment used to occur on a stage confined to a stage. By 1910, film was on the cards and film makers were busy learning how to alter space and time on screen. In 1915, Griffith released The Birth of a Nation, a historic silent film which was full of ground breaking film making that no one had ever seen before. This movie set the wheels in motion for the future of film.

In 1920, the revelation of sound in movies came about. This incredible invention changed everything about the film industry and affected every avenue of movie making and enjoyment. There is some debate as to when the official “movie sound” era began, the 1927 release of The Jazz Singer was the first movie that ever had sound and it changed everything forever. It took about 2 years for all movies to catch up to The Jazz Singer, by 1929 all the movies had sound.

By the 1930’s there were some industry leaders creating massive waves in Hollywood and opening up doors for creativity and storytelling in movies like never before. They were: MGM Films, Twentieth Century Fox, and Paramount.

  • The Movie Industry Grows                                                                                                                  In the year 1939, film making peaked and shifted yet again with the releases of Wuthering Heights, Gone with the Wind, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and The Wizard of Oz to name a few.
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There were 3 major things that influenced the evolution of films over this time: film devices, plot, and technology. Hollywood grew quick and fast into a hugely influential industry and changed the face of society and entertainment forever. It created a sector of business full of celebrities, wild amounts of income and revenue and massive amounts of creative flow and potential. With each passing decade, Hollywood evolves into a more elite and compact version of itself with different intentions, technology, influence and following.

Despite the major success of Hollywood as it stands today, the good old Golden Age finally came to an end due to two main factors: antitrust actions, and the invention of television.

There were some serious rules that had taken Hollywood by storm after a series of accusations and court cases that resulted in every Hollywood corporation signing a consent decree agreeing to release their hold on movie houses that showed only their films in theatres nationwide, to stop the pre-sale of films in various theatre districts, to prohibit film companies from scheduling more than five films in theatres, and finally, to establish a board to enforce these rules. These rules affected the way Hollywood was run and ultimately led to fewer movies released, with larger budgets for each individual film.

The other major factor, as mentioned above, was the invention of the television. TV became more and more popular and more affordable, which meant that the average person was mostly able to afford the opportunity to have entertainment at home. This created a wave of competition in the industry and meant that there was considerably less money being spent at the movie theatres. Money was being spent on TV’s instead, much like the advent of the internet saw people play online blackjack real money games rather than heading out to a casino.

Hollywood wouldn’t be what it is today without the Golden Age, the films we celebrate today rest on the hard work of those who built Hollywood from the ground up in the last 100 years.

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