The Rise of the Studios and the Coming of Sound

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:
The Rise of the Studios and the Coming of Sound

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This chapter describes the rise of the Hollywood studios and advent of sound technology. The Hollywood Studio System would properly take hold by 1930 once five companies — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, RKO, Fox (later Twentieth-Century Fox), Warner Bros. and Paramount — had emerged victorious from increasing competition and a scrimmage of mergers and takeovers of production and distribution companies. By 1930 it is estimated that there were around 24,000 cinemas in the US with the five major studios controlling at least 50 per cent of the total industry output. By 1931, D. W. Griffith had made his last film and the film industry was primed to establish the classical Hollywood era with the new technology of sound. In fact, the era from the coming of the sound film to the end of the 1940s is often called Hollywood's ‘Golden Age’. The chapter also includes the study, ‘Translating the Talkies: Diffusion, Reception and Live Performance’ by Mark Jancovich and Lucy Faire. Their study of spectatorship and film consumption in a single British city, Nottingham, at the moment in which the talkies came to Nottingham's Elite cinema in June 1929, is significant in its interrelation of the local with a global phenomenon — the coming of sound.

Keywords: Hollywood studio system; sound technology; film studios; Golden Age; Mark Jancovich; Lucy Faire; spectatorship; film consumption; Nottingham; film history

Chapter.  8860 words. 

Subjects: Film

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