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First, for this week’s discussion and films, take a look at these basic, concise

by | Sep 30, 2021 | Film | 0 comments


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First, for this week’s discussion and films, take a look at these basic, concise recent articles on pre-Code Hollywood: (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)Additionally, we’ve got three powerhouse classical genres – horror, gangster, and historical – along with plenty of examples of the star system and studio feel and look (all covered by Dirks).Offer some comments on how any or all of this week’s films reflect (upon) the Depression. None of them explicitly refer to the Depression; but they all, I think, in distinct ways, could be understood as symbolically or unconsciously referencing the Depression.From there, more generally: how does early 1930s Hollywood offer an escape, a mirror, a catharsis, a sublimation of all the socio-economic strife audiences were experiencing? How might we explain the way Hollywood, almost alone among all US industries, grew and did well during the Depression, while all else was failing?Of course, other general comments welcome on these films–especially connections to previous screenings/topics.Please be specific in your comments: specific films, specific scenes.Here are exexample films you may rreference to The Public Enemy (1931)The Mummy (1932 film)Queen Christina (1933film)Second Part:write a reply to others postPOST:In The Public Enemy (1931), the film follows the life of two gangsters throughout the 1920s. At the beginning of the film, the boys drink the beer they have stolen from the bar. Viewers then get a glimpse of the best friend duo of Matt Doyle and Tom Powers stealing. This scene sets up the rest of the movie because as the film skips forward from 1909 to 1915, the boys who are now older are still doing the same shenanigans as they did in 1909. In 1920, both boys worked as truck drivers under fellow gangster Patty Ryan. At the time, prohibition had just come into effect, and Patty discusses an idea that promoted lucrative liquor sales. They end up finding a stash of liquor and rob it, successfully leading them to become wealthy. The transition from poor to wealthy is what I think refers to the Great Depression. Filmed in 1931, many viewers were still feeling the harsh effects of the economic downturn. The way the film began of two gangsters stealing to get by was relatable because this was an everyday reality during the depression. So the transition from poor to the wealthy from the duo perfectly highlighted the dreams many Americans had throughout this hard economic crisis. To come from nothing but somehow find a way to rise to power and become wealthy. Due to the shift from silent to sound, Hollywood films started experimenting with different directions they could portray a person/topic. A topic included in this shift was portraying criminals in a positive light, so it is not far-fetched that many viewers related to the gangsters in the film. Early 1930’s Hollywood provided an escape to the audience because they aimed to reflect the realism and cynicism of the Depression and provide escapist entertainment to boost the morale of the public. Hollywood studios were aware that they were entertaining a demoralized population. They did their part in ensuring that through the way of filmmaking, the nation could find a way to escape their hard lives for just a moment. Hollywood studios would often include special incentives and giveaways to encourage the audience to attend these films. Even when the Depression was getting harder and more challenging by the days, they still managed to fill seats with viewers, with attendance at 60-75 million per week. In providing escapist entertainment for the population, they also helped boost the morale of the viewers by positively reaffirming values such as thrift and perseverance. The tactics these Hollywood studios used really helped the population by boosting their morale and giving them an escape when everything else was falling apart. The way Hollywood studios were able to impact the nation positively throughout such a horrible time explains why the industry grew and did well while everything else was in shambles. For many, attending these films was the only good thing that happened to them. EXAMPLE REPLY: really enjoyed reading your in depth response. I agree that The Public Enemy definitely portrayed the Prohibition era and the idea that everyone was trying to become rich from poor as fast as they could. I also agree that the films allowed the people to escape the harsh reality of the Depression even if it was to emerge themselves in a story line based in the same time period. I allowed people to gather and socialize over the common struggles.


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