By Charlie Keil, Ben Singer
The essays in American Cinema of the 1910s discover the fast advancements of the last decade that started with D. W. Griffith's unequalled one-reelers. through mid-decade, multi-reel function movies have been profoundly reshaping the and deluxe theaters have been equipped to draw the broadest attainable viewers. Stars like Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks turned very important and firms started writing high-profile contracts to safe them. With the outbreak of worldwide conflict I, the political, monetary, and commercial basis was once laid for American cinema's worldwide dominance. through the top of the last decade, filmmaking had develop into a real undefined, entire with vertical integration, effective specialization and standardization of practices, and self-regulatory agencies.
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Additional info for American Cinema of the 1910s : Themes and Variations
Nevertheless, the very fact that such a salary trajectory was even possible in the 1910s demands attention. It is important to stress that the story of Pickford’s skyrocketing income is not just an early version of the kind of narrative we are familiar with today about, say, a waitress earning minimum wage in Los Angeles getting discovered and catapulting onto the Hollywood A-list. The Pickford phenomenon was utterly unheard of, with no precedent. Indeed, if it merited a newspaper article in 1913 when Pickford was making a jawdropping $200 a week, one can only imagine how mind-boggling it must have been just ﬁve years later when she was making 200 times that much.
For all the focus in the muckraking press on the problems of crowded cities, however, America was still predominantly a rural and small-town country: more than half the nation lived in communities of less than 2,500. S. Bureau of the Census, “Thirteenth” 21, 54–55, 93–94, 98; Cashman, Ascendant 90, 67; Schlereth 55). Rapid communication and transportation were still available only to a few. Eighty-ﬁve percent of homes lacked electricity; there was one telephone for every ninety people; less than 5 percent of eighteen- to twentyone-year-olds went on to college (Schlereth 115; Cooper 136–37).
Readers were encouraged to imagine the lives of those in “Filmland” as an enhanced version of reality, a parallel to the increased opulence on display in the ﬁlms produced. The ﬁlm industry coveted the female audience in particular, in part because women aided its campaign for respectability, but equally because they were a prime consumer group. And with women (and children) a central target of motion picture promotion, through newspapers and mass-circulation magazines, in addition to theater advertising and fan magazines, custodians of public mores continued to pay attention to the content of motion pictures and the conduct of those making them.