Hollywood vs. Television in “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?”

One of the reasons I like the film Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is the self-referential nature of the film. Here, the film literally stops the story and breaks into a “commercial break” so that the television viewers won’t be too alienated.

Clearly, this was added to the film version that was not in the stage version. It works to poke fun at the new media of television. It literally represents the philosophy behind making the movies an entirely different experience than television and to win back the audience.

It didn’t work.

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Hollywood vs. Television in “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?”

One of the reasons I like the film Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is the self-referential nature of the film. Here, the film literally stops the story and breaks into a “commercial break” so that the television viewers won’t be too alienated.

Clearly, this was added to the film version that was not in the stage version. It works to poke fun at the new media of television. It literally represents the philosophy behind making the movies an entirely different experience than television and to win back the audience.

It didn’t work.

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Air Talk Surveys the Economics of the Film Industry

As I drove on my recent trip to LA, I heard a segment on the uncertain financial future of the film industry, on KPCC‘s Air Talk. The segment was a very timely assessment of how the Internet and the changing tastes of moviegoers have put film industry in a bit of a crisis mode.

For students in my film industry class this semester, listening to this program should orient them to the issues facing the film industry at this very moment. But by the time we cover Hollywood’s second century in December, some of the crisis may have waned with the big Christmastime boom in attendance.

In either case, the program serves as a good snapshot of the film industry. Some of the issues include:

  • decline revenue from DVD sales and rentals
  • studios “tightening their belts” for “big” budget filmmakers and films
  • consumers and distributors looking to the Internet, albeit for different reasons
  • movie quality and whether audiences will come to bad movies anymore

Have a listen to these reporters and pundits outlining these challenges.

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Class 9: Hollywood and Television

In today’s class, we examined some of the ways that Hollywood tried to recuperate the audience it lost throughout the 1950s due to declining attendance and the rise of television. As we will see, some of these gimmicks were short-lived but four of them would actually transform the movies forever.

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Class 7: The Fall of the Studio System

In today’s class, we covered the factors behind the fall of the American studio system. The chief reasons were the HUAC investigations and its concentration on Hollywood, the anti-trust actions against the Big Five Hollywood Studios, and the changes in American culture that led to a decline in the film audience. Of course, there was also the effect of television.

In addition, we also surveyed the midterm exam and its format.

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Assignment 3: Legacy of an American Film

Please note that this assignment is different from the one listed on the syllabus, although it will be due in class on November 28.

Research

Using the film you selected in class on Monday, or were assigned if you were not present, locate at least five (5) primary sources that either review the film or report upon its release. Your shouldsummarize these sources and synthesize the overall reception of the film upon its release. If you find that some of your sources do not aid in evaluating the release of the film, you should select other sources.

An easy way to find primary sources for these films is to use the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, which has a website at http://www.afi.com/members/catalog. Rosenthal Library also has a hard copy edition of the catalog in the reference section, call number PN1998 .A57. The catalog lists primary sources for each entry, some of which may be available to access online but most will require a trip to the library.

Rosenthal also has guides to locate film reviews from the New York Times (PN1995 .N4) and Variety (PN1995 .V34).

Another valuable source is the Historical New York Times database available through ProQuest, where you might find articles relating to the film.

Report

Your written report should be at least 1,500 words in length. You should avoid summarizing the film or discussing aspects of the film that you did not find in those sources. You must cite sources properly, using parenthetical citations (MLA) or footnotes/endnotes (Chicago), for any fact in your paper that is not “common knowledge.”

To submit your report, bring a hard copy to class and upload your electronic document to the Assignments section of Blackboard. Double space your text and number the pages of your paper.

Late papers will be penalized 10% per day and will not be accepted after Friday, December 2.


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Class 6: Wartime Hollywood

Before today’s class, please be sure to screen the film, “Prelude to War,” the first film of the series Why We Fight, directed by Frank Capra. You can screen the film at the Internet Archive.

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EVENT: The Cable Mavericks Masters Forum: One Day Degree in Cable

The Cable Mavericks Masters Forum: One Day Degree in Cable will be held on Friday, October 28, 2011, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
at the Paley Center for Media New York.

All currently enrolled college undergrad and graduate students – don’t miss this FREE event to help launch your career! Join top cable / media / telecom executives from companies like HBO, Comedy Central, Time Warner Cable, IFC/Sundance, AMC, ESPN, Motorola Mobility, Comcast and many more. Learn what’s new and gain insight on the many aspects of the cable business – content creation and distribution, marketing and branding, advertising, sports, technology, operations – we’ve got it covered! Also, explore career opportunities in the cable industry, meet hiring managers and practice job interview skills.*
Registration to attend is FREE but required and space is limited.  Click here to register!
Can’t be there in person? No problem – we’ll stream the event live, so plan to join us from wherever you may be in the world, and submit questions and comments via our live Twitter feed. Watch for the link on this page in October.

* – Now, we can’t promise you’ll get a job, internship, or even that you can submit a resume, but we can promise the folks who screen and hire applicants at all levels, will talk with you about your resume and answer questions about getting your foot in the door.  And who knows?  You might make a connection that leads to the next step in your career!
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Class 5: The Power of the Studio System

In today’s class, we surveyed some of the ways in which the Hollywood Studio System operated as an oligopoly. Some of the ways in which these eight studios held tight control over the American Film Industry was through vertical integration, the position of the studio executive, the contract system, the development of Classical Hollywood Cinema, and even through the trade organization of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America and even the Production Code.

Instead of watching, It Happened One Night, we screened the gangster film Little Caesar.

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

The first ever Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences ceremony was held on May 16, 1929. Today, it is commonly referred to as the Oscars. An Oscar is an award given to the best nominee in regards to all the different aspects of film. The Oscars are held every year in which Oscars are awarded to actors, film directors, writers, editors, cinematographers and so forth. It is still the longest running award ceremony covered by the media. The first Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences award ceremony was held at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood California.

The reason why the first Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences award ceremony was so important and relevant to the United States film industry, was that this ceremony single handedly paved the way for film to ultimately be where it is today. This award ceremony was created so that people in the film industry who achieved great accomplishments throughout film, were awarded for their excellent work By winning an Academy Award, people within the film industry would gain substantial recognition and praise amongst their peers and colleagues within the industry for their immense talents in film. The first Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences award ceremony had a major impact on the United States film industry. It made those who worked within the industry raise their determination levels to new heights and strive to be the best that they could be by perfecting their craft in order to also be recognized as great film entrepreneurs as well.

All this however, was not the original reason for the coming of age in regardsto the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences awards ceremony. M.G.M chief,Louis Mayer, who was a prominent proponent of the first Academy Awards, had moreof a business oriented intention as opposed to a Hollywood glamorization intent. His original idea was to unite the film industry’s power players at the time in hopes of squeezing out the labor unions. His plan did not go over so well and ultimately failed. The academy think tanks got to together and decided that they would serve as their own censor before the government could get their hands on it. By this time, the film industry was the fourth largest industry in the U.S but they were feeling the backlash about the images film makers were portraying within their films from concerned mothers and clergymen. This is when the academy decided that their industry needed a touch of class since it was being bombarded by the public as well as the media on a daily basis in a negative light. They came up with creating an award ceremony. In the book titled, “The Academy Awards” by author Gail Kinn dated September 1, 2008, Louis Mayer was interviewed and asked about the negative publicity that the film industry had been getting. Louis Mayer responded by stating “What better way to silence critics by awarding a golden statue to the best of the best.”

Douglas Fairbanks Sr. hosted the first Academy Awards. He was also a founding member of the Academy. In Douglas Fairbanks’ biography titled, “Douglas Fairbanks” by Jeffrey Vance dated December 8, 2008, Fairbanks spoke of his experience hosting the first ever Academy Awards that had two hundred and seventy guests. Fairbanks stated, “It was an experience like never before. One in which I will never forget.”  He also stated, “I was stunned at how significant the impact of this ceremony was for the art of film.”

“Bibliography”

Kinn, Gail. The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2008. Print.

Osborne, Robert A. 80 Years of the Oscars: The Official History of the Academy Awards. New York: Abbeville, 2008. Print.

Vance, Jeffrey. Douglas Fairbanks. Berkeley: University of California, 2008. Print

Kinn, Gail. The Academy Awards: The Complete History of Oscar. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2002. Print.

 

 

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