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topic section 2: The mass production of dreams
TOPIC SECTION:
The mass production of dreams
Picture: 10312506s2embedded.jpg
The Piccadilly News Theatre by night, 1934.
Credit: Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

In the 1920s and 1930s, Hollywood film studios adapted the approach of Henry Ford. The director Thomas Ince is credited as the father of assembly line film making from 1912. He called his studio, which was built on the Southern California coast in 1915, Inceville. Later this became the Selznick Lot of MGM.
Each film could then be made from scratch in just six weeks


In the Hollywood studios, the overall project was broken down into separate tasks, each carried out to a strict timetable. Several scenes would be shot simultaneously by different assistant directors. Each film could then be made from scratch in just six weeks.
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Newman Sinclair Autokine 35mm cine camera, c 1927.
Credit: Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library


In the USA, five major film studios monopolised everything from movie production to distribution, marketing and screening. They accounted for seventy per cent of US box-office takings from peak audiences of ninety-five million per week in 1929.

The Hollywood film factories met the rising demand to entertain a more prosperous society. The film factories made ninety-five per cent of all films screened. This scale of production also meant stability for the staff and predictability for the studios.
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Filming at Gaumont studios, 2 June 1931.
Credit:
NMPFT/Syndication International


Film studios are expanding again, but Hollywood plays a smaller role. Production has switched to cheaper locations, such as Canada or Australia, and 18,000 jobs were lost in Hollywood in 2002. Today, ‘Bollywood’, which is centred on Bombay, India, is one of the world’s principle film-making centres, outperforming Hollywood according to some. New technology such as the animation of computer generated actors is being designed to add to efficiency and predictability and cut costs.





 
 
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The beginning of the line
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The factory line has permeated lives and made possible our consumer society, producing both its wealth of goods and many of its social pressures.  > more

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Creating conformity
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The factory line demanded that workers conform to certain requirements, such as speed, accuracy or method. However, conformity soon took on a wider meaning.  > more

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Labour tensions
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The factory line created differences between skilled workers who built the line and manual workers who laboured on it. This caused tensions, which sometimes ended in strike and unrest.  > more
 
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