Nickelodeons and the Trust

Review the lecture outline

Review Questions

  1. What were some of the ingredients for motion pictures that Edison and W.K.L Dickson used to make the kinetograph?
  2. What was Edison’s commercial rationale for developing motion pictures in the 1880s and 1890s?
  3. What was the purpose of the short kinetograph films, such as Dickson’s Greeting or Fred Ott’s Sneeze?
  4. What was unique about nickelodeon theaters compared to previous ways to screen motion pictures to audiences?
  5. What two goals did Edison seek to accomplish by forming the Motion Picture Patents Company?

Testable Terms


The Innovative Independents

Review the lecture outline

Review Questions

  1. What were four reasons for the fall of the Motion Picture Patents Company in the 1910s?
  2. What two innovations did the Independents bring to motion pictures in the 1910s?
  3. How did Florence Lawrence go from being known among her fans as “The Biograph Girl” to being promoted as a movie star?
  4. What three aspects of the film industry must a company control in order to be vertically integrated?
  5. How did film companies use the run-zone-clearance to create discriminate pricing, i.e. to charge different prices to different audiences?

Testable Terms


Fox, Warners, and the Coming of Sound

Review the lecture outline

Review Questions

  1. Who were the Big Three and Little Five?
  2. What two technical challenges prevented sound motion pictures before the 1920s?
  3. Which two competing methods were used for sound motion pictures in the early 1920s? What was the advantage of each method over the other?
  4. What two film companies were first to develop sound motion pictures in the 1920s?
  5. Why did William Fox bring F.W. Murnau to Hollywood?
  6. Why is Sunrise considered a sound motion picture, using the Movietone process, despite the fact that it did not include any talking?
  7. Why did the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression cause certain companies from adapting to talking pictures in the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s?
  8. Who were the Big Five and Little Three?

Testable Terms


The Big Five, Little Three, and the Code

Review the lecture outline

Review Questions

  1. Who were the Big Five and Little Three of the studio era in Hollywood?
  2. What decades comprise the Hollywood studio era? What change in the American film industry begat this era?
  3. How did the Fatty Arbuckle scandal lead the Hollywood film industry to select Will Hays as head of the MPPDA: a czar for the industry.
  4. Why is the Pre-Code era (1930–1933) called such despite the fact that the Production Code was adopted in 1930?
  5. How did the threat of boycotts force Hollywood to follow the Production Code?
  6. Why do films produced in the studio era (and for a few years beyond) include the MPPDA seal during the credits sequence?

Testable Terms


Wartime Hollywood

Review the lecture outline

Review Questions

  1. Why did Hollywood look to Latin America as a potential market for movies during the World War II years?
  2. How was Chaplin’s The Great Dictator ahead of its time in terms of criticizing Nazi Germany?
  3. How did the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 change Hollywood filmmaking to address the US’s entry into the war?
  4. How does The Clock (1945) address Wartime issues?

Testable Terms


The Beginning of the End of the Studio System

Review the lecture outline

Review Questions

  1. What were the four main reasons for the fall of Hollywood in the 1950s?
  2. What were the effects of the Waldorf Peace Pact?
  3. What was the result of the Paramount consent decree and the Supreme Court decision against Paramount and the other major studios?
  4. How did demographic changes in housing after the war adversely affect the film industry?
  5. Why is television considered a chief contributor to the end of the studio era?
  6. What was the effect of the Burstyn v. Wilson (1952), also known as the Miracle decision?
  7. Why did compelling the Hollywood studios to divest of their theaters result in the growth of independent and foreign films in the early 1950s?

Testable Terms