Establishing Classical Norms

Paul Grainge, Mark Jancovich and Sharon Monteith

in Film Histories

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780748619061
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670888 | DOI:
Establishing Classical Norms

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This chapter shows that classical norms were not fixed rules or structures, but set particular boundaries within which innovation could take place. In essence, classical film style rejected formal techniques that were purposely disruptive or jarring to the audience. While it is sometimes implied that classical norms emerged simultaneously with the studio system, it is important to note that the aesthetic principles of classical Hollywood cinema preceded the studio system. The development of film style in this sense (classical norms) did not emerge in the very same historical instant as the mode of production that gave it institutional shape (the studio system). Instead, the relation between the two would develop a gradual symbiosis, such that classical norms would become synonymous with the studio system as it emerged more fully after the First World War. The chapter also includes the study, ‘Mass-produced Photoplays: Economic and Signifying Practices in the First Years of Hollywood’ by Janet Staiger, which examines how production practices in the early 1910s influenced the way that films were developed and made.

Keywords: classical film style; studio system; Hollywood cinema; film production; Janet Staiger; film history

Chapter.  12812 words. 

Subjects: Film

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