Chapter

Modernising Hollywood

Barry Langford

in Post-Classical Hollywood

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780748638574
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671076 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638574.003.0004
Modernising Hollywood

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At the end of World War II, Hollywood moviemaking was typified by a distinctive style that had, over some three decades, proven itself durable, efficient and trustworthy. The specific attributes of what film scholars subsequently came to call — with varying degrees of enthusiasm and consensus — ‘the classical Hollywood style’ were influenced both by the (evolving) structure of the film industry and by social and cultural factors dating back to the silent era. Its stylistic priorities were to communicate narrative information effectively and clearly, and as an aid thereto to maintain the coherence and legibility of onscreen time and space. At the core of the classical Hollywood style was storytelling. Specific approaches towards fashioning fictional narratives, supported by practice and influential theory, were found readily to hand in the popular literary and theatrical culture of the time, including novels and short stories and the diverse forms of the late-Victorian stage — melodramas, the ‘well-made plays’ of the bourgeois theatre, and short playlets (particularly well suited to one-reel films).

Keywords: Hollywood; classical Hollywood style; moviemaking; film industry; storytelling; fictional narratives; novels; short stories; melodramas; playlets

Chapter.  10268 words. 

Subjects: Film

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