Paper by Audrey Lapointe.
On December 28, 1895, Louis and Auguste Lumière held the first commercial screening of a motion picture in a café in Paris (“1895: First Commercial Movie Screened”). From those humble beginnings, the film industry, which has since sparked enthusiasm and delight in audiences worldwide, was born. In the U.S., the Edison Corporation’s 1903 12-minute short, The Great Train Robbery, ignited a public interest that has spawned the lucrative U.S. film industry that we have today. The heyday of the Hollywood system flourished in the 1930s and early 1940s, when studios became minor empires that shaped not only their own fortunes, but also those of the local economy. Studios employed thousands of local people for all aspects of their needs, from film production to grounds maintenance. As noted by Editor/Director Robert Parrish, “Everything in the town was connected to with the movie business” (qtd. in “American Cinema: Studio System”). The true magnitude of the classic Hollywood empire, however, was seen in its marketing techniques. Attracting audiences through road-showing – creating “a sense of the film as a ‘special event’ in order to attract advance renal fees from
Paper by Angelina Vollucci.
Along with the technical innovations within the film medium, censorship has had one of the most significant impacts on the film industry. Before the Production Code Administration (PCA) was established in 1934, Warner Bros. produced many gangster films considered “Pre-Code” that exemplified violence and sexuality and romanticized the American criminal. However, through the films Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, and G-Men, the roles of Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney can be analyzed as they transition from gangsters to federal detectives due to the studio’s compliance with the PCA after 1934. Ultimately, the censorship enforced by the PCA relates to modern filmmaking as the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) continues to face controversy over its rating system for violence, sexual content, and profanity.
The history of film censorship dates back to the beginnings of cinema in the 1890s, as local townships established censorship boards; however, by 1922 the Hollywood studios developed their own self-censorship apparatus that would strongly influence filmmaking until the 1960s: the MPPDA. The MPPDA, or The Motion Picture Producers and Distributers of America, was a public relations and industry trade organization led