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					SIERRA                                                               THEATRE ARTS 7B

                                     Hollywood in the 1950s

Key Names and Terms:

decline of the studio system

end of vertical distribution (US vs Paramount Pictures, Inc. 1948)

advent of television and decline of movie attendance

art houses/foreign films

studios countered with:

       youth genres:
       sex comedies:
       film epics:
       increased violence
       new screen sizes: wide screen, Cinerama
       gimmicks: 3D

Post WWII American tastes were changing

Social Realism/Italian Neo-Realism

1930s to 1941: The Method/Group Theatre

1947 Actors Studio

importance of subtext

Elia Kazan

Red Scare



Hollywood Ten
                    Hollywood in the 50s: On The Waterfront (1954)

Realism and Social issues addressed:
A) Post War Concerns: anti-Semitism, racism, juvenile delinquency, adultery, etc.

B) New realism/naturalism in film acting, direction and style

Elia Kazan (A Key Director of Era):
Elia Kazan was born in Constantinople on 7th September, 1909. For years later the Kazan family
moved to the United States. He attended Williams College in Massachusetts before studying at the
Drama School at Yale University.

In 1932 Kazan joined the Group Theatre in New York led by Lee Strasberg. Members of the group
tended to hold left-wing political views and wanted to produce plays that dealt with important
social issues. Those involved in the group included John Garfield, Howard Da Silva, John
Randolph, Joseph Bromberg and Lee J. Cobb. Kazan joined the American Communist Party in
1934 and the following year appeared in Waiting for Lefty, a play by a fellow party member,
Clifford Odets. The Group Theatre dissolved in 1941.

In 1947, Kazan helped establish the Actors Studio, which placed an emphasis on Method Acting, a
new, revolutionary approach to acting inspired by the work of Moscow Art Theatre’s director,
Konstantin Stanislavaski. Kazan directed several two plays on Broadway by Arthur Miller: All My
Sons (1947) and Death of a Salesman (1949). He also worked with Tennessee Williams on the
Pulitzer Prize winning, A Streetcar Named Desire (1947). He also directed three films that deal
with social issues: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), Gentlemen's Agreement (1947) and Pinky

In 1947 the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began an investigation into the
Hollywood Motion Picture Industry. In September 1947, the HUAC interviewed 41 people who
were working in Hollywood. These people attended voluntarily and became known as "friendly
witnesses". During their interviews they named several people who they accused of holding left-
wing views.

Ten of those named: Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Albert Maltz, Adrian Scott, Samuel Ornitz,,
Dalton Trumbo, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr., John Howard Lawson and Alvah Bessie
refused to answer any questions put by the HUAC. Known as the Hollywood Ten, they claimed
that the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution gave them the right to do this. The House
of Un-American Activities Committee and the courts during appeals disagreed and all were found
guilty of contempt of congress and each was sentenced to between six and twelve months in prison.
Naming Names/The Blacklist:

Kazan was known for his left-wing views and in 1952 he was eventually called to appear before the
House of Un-American Activities Committee. Controversially, Kazan decided to name people who
had been fellow members of left-wing groups in the 1930s. As a result, these people were called
before the HUAC. Those that refused to name names, were blacklisted and in some cases were sent
to prison.

As a reward for his co-operation, Kazan was allowed to continue working in Hollywood. On the
Waterfront (1954), was an attempt to justify the morality of providing information on friends to
people in authority. Budd Schulberg, the writer and the actor Lee J. Cobb, who both testified before
the HUAC, also worked on the film. Other movies directed by Kazan during this period included
East of Eden (1955), Baby Doll (1956) and Splendor in the Grass (1960). Kazan won the Academy
Award as best director for two of his films: Gentleman's Agreement and On the Waterfront.

Kazan also wrote several novels including America, America (1962), The Arrangement (1967), The
Assassins (1972) and The Understudy (1974). In his autobiography, A Life (1988), Kazan attempted
to defend his decision to give names of his former friends to the House of Un-American Activities

In 1999, Elia Kazan received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Science, stirring, yet again, a heated, well-publicized debate over Kazan’s actions
and the Hollywood “blacklist.”

On The Waterfront (1954):
a) The New York Style: 36 day shot, gritty realism, location shooting, black and
   white photography

b) “The Method”: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, Eva Marie Saint

c) Film as “answer” to Kazan’s actions

d) Major award winner:

       1) AA: Best Film, Screenplay, Director, Editing, Set design,
              Cinematography, Actor, and Supporting Actress

      2) Film is listed as #8 on the AFI list of 100 Top American Films

       3) Brando/ Terry as Christ figure
SIERRA                                                                 THEATRE ARTS 7A

               Study Guide for Hitchcock in Hollywood: North by Northwest (1959)

Key Names and Terms: Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)

German cinema beginnings/British years

Moved to Hollywood in 1939 at invitation from David O. Selznick

Technique, Style and Obsessions:




Film/frame composition

Theory of suspense


Fear of authority

“cool blond”

cameo appearances

Reoccurring Themes:

       mistaken identities

       innocent on the run

       question of guilt

       depiction of evil

       thematic use of famous monuments/public places
SIERRA                                                                     THEATRE ARTS 7B

                  American Film in the 1950s: Wilder, Some Like it Hot (1959)

Key Names and Terms: Billy Wilder (1906-2002)

Billy Wilder: Austrian/German beginnings

Wilder in Hollywood 30’s: leaves to escape Nazis, writer

Wilder in Hollywood 40’s, writer/director: Lost Weekend (1945), Double Indemnity (1944)

Wilder in the 50’s: The Seven Year Itch (1955), Sabrina (1954), Stalag 17 (1953), Sunset Blvd

Some Like it Hot:

Screwball Comedy:

       Mismatched lovers

       Comedy of mistaken identity/disguise

       Characters take a journey to discovery/love

       Film as an examination of American sex, sexuality and gender

Marilyn Monroe: American icon/problems on set

Tony Curtis: “straight man”/ Cary Grant impersonation

Jack Lemmon: comic bravado/signature role

Pat O’Brian/George Raft: Warner Brothers

Joe E. Brown: famous last line

Coronado Hotel/San Diego: historic setting

AFI film rating
SIERRA                                                                            THEATRE ARTS 7B

            Study Guide for International Film in the 1950s: Fellini, La Strada (1954)

Key Names and Terms: Federico Fellini (1920-1993)

Italian Neo-realism/film movement

Fellini’s neo-realist beginnings

La Strada as a “bridge” film to later Fellini style: (surrealistic, fantastical, pageantry, etc)

La Strada as metaphor:

        “the road”



        The Fool

Giulietta Masina

Nino Rota

International casting/Italian “post production dubbing

Loose scripts/improvisational style

Toward the “Felliniesque”: La Dolce Vita (1960) / 8 ½ (1963)

Juliet of the Spirits (1965)/Satyricon (1969)/Amarcord (1973)

Fellini targets/subjects:
    A) social excess and hypocrisy
    B) physical grotesques and outcasts
    C) the circus as metaphor
    D) the Church
    E) romantic redemption, often symbolized by a young innocent

Along with Bergman, Antonioni, Godard, etc, Fellini will come to represent the “European” films
of the 50s and 60s – often referred to as “art films.”

Martin Scorsese’s introductory comments to La Strada:
SIERRA                                                                THEATRE ARTS 7B
              International Cinema in the 1960s: Truffaut, The 400 Blows (1959)

Key Names and Terms:

nouvelle vague/The French New Wave

Cinematheque Francaise/Henri Langlois

Cahiers du Cimema/Andre Bazin

Truffaut, Godard, Eric Rohmer, Charbol: film critics as filmmakers

le cinema de Papa / a new cinema

American films/auteur theory

New Wave camera/editing innovations (review Glossary, pp. 585-592):
     hand held cameras
     zoom lenses
     jump cuts/wipes/slow motion/freeze frame
     long takes/mise en scene
     self-conscious/self-referential camera/narrative vs classical Hollywood cinema

1959: Godard, Breathless and Truffaut, The 400 Blows

Francois Truffaut (1932-1984)

troubled youth

mentored by Bazin

Renoir and Hitchcock

film as autobiography/troubled family life/adolescence

Jean-Pierre Leaud/Antoine Doinel as alter-ego figure

hand-held camera/location shooting/opening shots

freedom vs entrapment

children/puppet show

final freeze frame
SIERRA                                                                 THEATRE ARTS 7B
              International Cinema in the 1960s: Schlesinger, Billy Liar (1963)

Key Names and Terms:

British “Golden Age”

Angry Young Man/”Kitchen Sink” films and “Swinging London” films

Free Cinema Movement (Anderson, Reiz and Richardson) emphasized working class issues

Schlesinger (1926-2003)

Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:

      Celebrated director whose early experiences helming stage productions and TV
      documentaries prepared him for the rigors of the filmmaking process. A lifelong movie buff
      (and amateur filmmaker since the age of 11), he served with the Royal Engineers during
      World War 2 and joined the Oxford University Dramatic Society upon resuming his
      education after the conflict's end. During the 1950s he worked in several entertainment
      mediums, acting in films, radio, and TV in addition to directing documentaries for the BBC.
      Schlesinger's first feature film, a 1961 documentary on London's Waterloo Station titled
      Terminus won him a British Academy Award and launched his movie career in earnest.

      His debut feature was the well-received A Kind of Loving (1962, starring a young Alan
      Bates), followed by the equally successful Billy Liar (1963, which featured Tom Courtenay
      and, in her first leading role, Julie Christie). Schlesinger's reputation was cemented by his
      third feature, Darling (1965), a satire on "mod" London that made a star of Julie Christie,
      and earned three Oscars, plus a nomination for Best Director. Far From the Madding Crowd
      (1967), a sumptuous adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel, was not as well received
      (although it has many champions today). Schlesinger then made an impressive American
      debut with the superb Midnight Cowboy (1969), which in spite of an X rating won the
      Oscar as Best Picture that year, and another Oscar for Schlesinger as Best Director. Like all
      of the director's best work, it is marked by exceptional performances and a keen sense of
      observation. Back in England he scored again with the piercing adult drama Sunday,
      Bloody Sunday (1971), which earned him a third Oscar nomination.

      Since that time Schlesinger has wandered from the Hollywood mainstream to British stage
      and television drama, with varying degrees of success. Two of his best (and best-received)
      works have been BBC feature-length films: An Englishman Abroad (1983) and A Question
      of Attribution (1991), both written by Alan Bennett. His other films include the Marathon
      segment of the Olympics feature Visions of Eight (1973), the harrowing Hollywood fable
      The Day of the Locust (1975), the solid thriller Marathon Man (1976), Yanks (1979), the
      unfortunate Honky Tonk Freeway (1981), The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), the
      surprisingly graphic horror tale The Believers (1987), Madame Sousatzka (1988, which he
      also cowrote), Pacific Heights (1990), and The Innocent (1995).
SIERRA                                                                        THEATRE ARTS 7B

                  American Film in the 60s/70s : A Decade Under the Influence

Key Names and Terms:

70s: Vietnam, Watergate era

Key films explore corruption, violence, politics, capitalism, etc. with speculation

So-called “last Golden-Age” of American fimmaking: personal, visionary, energetic

Also age of “blaxploitation” films: Superfly, Shaft, Sweetback

Film School Generation

The “New Hollywood”

Key “Players”

Roger Corman: AIP

Focus on “revisionist” genre films as opposed to Classical Hollywood Cinema
SIERRA                                                               THEATRE ARTS 7B
                 American Cinema in the 1960s: Nichols, The Graduate (1967)

Key Names and Terms:

Further decline of the studio system

Social change and the rise of the youth movement

Studios counter with huge films, and bigger losses

New filmmakers come not from the studio but from live television and theatre

Mike Nichols (1931):

Actors Studio/60s comedy act with Elaine May

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

An “actors director”

The Graduate (1967):

adapted script by Buck Henry

an unknown Dustin Hoffman

soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkle

French New Wave/European film techniques: jump cuts, strong film composition, sexual content

Film reaches a new generation, becomes a sort of 60s anthem: anti-establishment theme

Note strong art design, precise camera set-ups, widescreen composition, creative editing

Theme of alienation punctuated by underwater motif: aquarium, swimming pool, rain

Famous lines: “plastics”; “You got me”; “Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?”

Note ambiguous ending: wedding, yet not a wedding; bus ride shot
SIERRA                                                                        THEATRE ARTS 7B

                         New Directions: Penn, Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Key Names and Terms:

Social upheaval approaches a climax as Vietnam War tears nation apart

Studios continue to lose audience with standard studio product

End of the Production Code/censorship

Beginning of American film renaissance:

       Need to find a new audience

       Influence of European cinema

       Rise of the American underground film movement

       Film industry begins to embrace “art film” audience

       Changing social values reflected in new films

Bonnie and Clyde (1967):

Arthur Penn (1922): television/stage director

Film was marketed as a B film: initially a box office failure. Then it found its audience.

Re-released with a new ad campaign aimed at youth audience

Anti-heroes: charming outcasts as outlaws: They’re Young! They’re in Love! And they kill people!

Sexual ambiguity softened to fit Warren Beatty screen persona at Penn’s urging

Comedy/tragedy blurred: shooting of bank teller

Critical hit with some detractors over violence and tone

Level and treatment of film violence: abrupt changes of tone/famous slow-motion ending

Opens cinematic door to the likes of Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969) and other violent
SIERRA                                                                 THEATRE ARTS 7B
                                     Altman, M*A*S*H (1970)

Key Names and Terms:

Television beginnings

Came to film late at 45

Highly personalized filming style:

       Ensemble work


       Non-traditional narrative structure

       Genre revisionist

       Overlapping dialogue

Comic pessimism/ comedy and tragedy

Fly-on-the-wall investigation of “closed groups”

Perennially Hollywood “outsider”

An “actor’s director,” many worked for scale to be in an Altman film

Nashville (1975): the 70s masterpiece
SIERRA                                                                    THEATRE ARTS 7B
                                   Coppola, The Godfather (1972)

“Film School” Generation

Roger Corman: Dementia 13 (1963)

Francis Ford Coppola as film father figure/mentor

D.W. Griffith/Thomas Ince film figure: producer/director/screen writer

American Zoetrope (1969) w/Lucas: THX 1138 (1971)

The Godfather (1972), The Godfather II (1974), The Godfather III (1990)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

The Godfather:

Paramount Studios and Rober Evans

Selection of Coppola as director

Genre/auteur film

Mario Puzo

Gordon Willis

Nino Roto

Marlon Brando

Critical and box office success
SIERRA                                                                    THEATRE ARTS 7B

                  American Cinema in the 1980s: Scorsese, Raging Bull (1980)

Key Names and Terms:

Martin Scorsese

Italian-American background

The New York style

For Roger Corman: Box Car Bertha (1972)

Encouraged by John Cassavetes to make a more “personal film”

Ensemble acting: strong male presence

Violence: impending and physical

Strong film style: tracking shots, slow motion, heavy atmosphere, music

Fight sequences: changes to genre tradition

Taxi Driver (1976)
SIERRA                                                              THEATRE ARTS 7B

               American Cinema in the 1980s: Ridley Scott, Blade Runner (1982)

Key Names and Terms:

80s: Technology Era/Video era

Return of a new studio system: revitalized studios/actor contracts/vertical integration

Regan Era

Mainstream and Mavericks

The “neo-techno”: “high tech”/punk and new-wave era

Lang’s Metropolis

Sci-Fi/Noir hybrid

Phillip Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”

LA as “dystopia”


Director control/loss

Restored unicorn dream

Forerunner of “apocalyptic sci-fi”: “A.I.,” “Minority Report,” The Matrix,” “Escape from
New York,” “Total Recall,” etc.
SIERRA                                                         THEATRE ARTS 7B

                        American Independent Cinema (and beyond)

Key Names and Terms:


Jim Jarmusch, John Sayles, Lynch, Spike Lee/80s

Gus Van Sant , Quintin Tarantino, Coen Brothers, Steven Soderbergh, Paul Thomas Anderson, etc.

Film Festivals

Sundance Institute/Sundance Film Festival

Film Marketing/ “buzz” factor
Paris Je T’Aime (2006)

1. MONTMARTRE: Buno Podalydes

2. QUAIS DE SEINE: Gurinder     Chadha
3. LE MARAIS: Gus van Sant

4. TUILERIES: Ethan and Joel Coen

5. LOIN DU 16EME: Walter Salles and   Daniela Thomas
6. PORTE DE CHOISY: Christopher Doyle

7. BASTILLE: Isabel Coixet

8. PLACE DES VICTOIRES: Nobuhiro       Suwa

9. TOUR EIFFEL: Sylvain      Chomet

10. PARC MONSEAU: Alfonso       Cuarón

11. QUERTIER DES ENFANTS ROUGES:           Olivier Assayas

12. PLACE DES FETES: Oliver      Schmitz

13. PIGALLE: Richard   LaGravenese

14. QUARTIER DE LA MADELEINE: Vincenzo         Natali

15. PERE-LACHAISE: Wes       Craven

16. FAUBOURG SAINT-DENIS: Tom         Tykwer

17: QUARTIER LATIN: Gérard      Depardieu and Frédéric Auburtin

18: 14TH ARRONDISSEMENT: Alexander         Payne

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