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Justice Department Moves to Terminate Paramount Consent Decrees

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Adam Lenhardt, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. Message #21 of 23 Nov 22, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

    Apr 30, 2003
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    Not true. Hollywood from 1919-1950 exhibited the greatest experimentation, the greatest growth, and the greatest output of movies per studio per year with the average of 32 main features per year, not counting B-unit shorts, cartoons, newsreels, and, serials. By 1960, studio output alone had dwindled to less than half that output, and the aforementioned B-unit stuff was wiped out completely. I'm not certain what you're referring to by 'chances' here, because the 60's output pretty much kept tight to time-honored genres that were proven moneymakers - thrillers, westerns and musicals - expanded to road show status, but still unchanged. The seventies reintroduced the disaster epic to the movies that had not been around since the late 1920's to mid-1930's.

    The seventies also brought back the gangster flick, but that too had begun its original cycle in the early pre-code 30's at Warner Bros. - merely ramped up in the seventies with added violence, thanks to a splintering of the code that prevented such violence from appearing on the screen before. The seventies were also responsible for the doc/rock-u-mentory, but this was merely traditional documentary film-making given a grander budget to do bigger things. With very few exceptions, sci-fi and horror were the biggest benefactors of the seventies - two genres that, until the mid-seventies were considered the red-headed stepchildren of film-making after Uni's initial cycle of Gothic horror in the early thirties, but, in the seventies, proved lucrative and relatively inexpensive to produce.

    What I think you're confusing here: true experimentation vs. stylistic elements. Here, of course, the decades differ considerably, thanks to budgetary restraints, and pre-conditions imposed on vintage Hollywood product by the Breen code of ethics that governed with an iron fist from the mid-30's to early 60's. So, too, as the old film-makers retired or died off, the newbees - Polanski, Spielberg, Scorsese, Friedkin, Coppola et al, brought a new sensibility to the art, but remained - mostly - disciples of the old home guard. You can see their devoutness in movies like Chinatown (noir, anyone?) The Exorcist (Val Lewton touches with added gore), The French Connection (Fox's police procedural shot on location from the mid-40's on, taking a jaundiced look at the urban blight of New York circa the mid-70's), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (fantasy elements aligned to the bright-eyed child's optimism in The Wizard of Oz), New York New York (an attempt to return to the forties halcyon days of the Hollywood musical), and The Godfather (the Warners' ole gangster flick remade as an epic of crime). There was nothing 'new' or experimental about the 70's - just a reconstitution of the time-honored stuff, brought into line with then current standards for a grittier outing.

    I really don't see how you can claim the early 80's continued to break new ground: horror, graduating to the slasher flick, sex comedies, dramas and sci-fi ramping up its endeavors to take over as a mainstream force to be reckoned with. Not saying there were not any good films made in any of the aforementioned decades. On the contrary, some of my personal favs hail from the eighties: Tootsie, Driving Miss Daisy, Out of Africa, Amadeus, Heaven's Gate, The Secret of My Success, Outrageous Fortune, Ordinary People, Chariots of Fire, Gandhi. I'll stop there. The point is - none of these were trend-setters, trail-blazers or experimental in any way.

    Think of it this way - in the 30's everything was new. Movies had just learned to talk. So, experimentation, and nailing down the criteria for each genre meant that practically every movie that came out was 'new' in some way or, at the very least, building upon what had already been tried, but yet to be refined. In the 40's, refinement hit two snags - budgetary set-backs, due to the war, and the noir movement, which cast a darker pall on what had once been the Hollywood dream. But film makers honed in their techniques found ways of bringing new ideas to the forefront and inculcating a strain of stream-lined film-making that made their product new and fresh and as engaging as ever.

    In the 50's, unencumbered by budgetary restraints, but facing new concerns from the consent decrees and television, Hollywood went 'bigger is better' - reintroduced widescreen (remember, Fox had Grandeur in the early 30's and Abel Gance even beat everyone in France, experimenting with an extremely early version of Cinerama for the finale of his epic, Napoleon) to the picture-making process, and a virtual immersion in color product. Tons of money, Hollywood brought back the Bible-fiction epic - a main staple of the late 1920's that had all but vanished with the dawn of sound. Only in the 50's, money was being spent more profligately than ever on pictures like Quo Vadis, Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments.

    So, again - no. The sixties and seventies was not experimental in any way. Counter-culture in some regards, and changing the stylistic elements to suit a trend - yes. Experimental - hardly. Being more aggressive in its violence and sex is not experimental. Those elements were already being teased into maturity before the production code was instituted - and likely, would have progressed at a more natural evolution, had the code not come into play when it did. Stymied by the code, they came rushing forward with renewed voracity after the code was buried for good. But again, nothing new here. With the implosion of the studio system the old and the new struggled to keep their heads above the water, with some critics writing that the end of the movies was near - that we would one day write about the quaint experience of going to the movies as we reflected with rose-colored glasses on the era of the horse and buggy. Hasn't happened yet. Likely never will.
  2. tempest21

    tempest21 Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 1, 2018
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    I don't think this is a bad thing. It's not like the government agencies in charge of overseeing these various industries aren't going to stop what they're doing. My guess is that they will continue to monitor these movie studios and ensure that they're not engaging in anti-trust violations. These government agencies already monitor what goes on in the industry but I expect after things cool down that they'll be more passive in monitoring these studios. But, don't expect authorities just to stop monitoring them.
  3. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

    Feb 3, 2004
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    Sam Favate
    You have way too much faith in government agencies.
    Jake Lipson, TravisR and Malcolm R like this.

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