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Art Defined: The Film Industry

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Julianna S.
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  1. When Film began to emerge at the turn of the 20th Century there was a large debate over whether or not it was to be considered an art or an industry.
  2. In response to the growing criticism of the industry, the major film studios banned together to ?censor themselves.?
  3. Over the next twenty years it became impossible for independents to show their movies.
  4. One of the people who stood against these modes of intimidation was Lee Grant.
  5. Everyone else had to find their own way to save their career; which perpetuated the scare.
  6. The foreign films suddenly being exhibited in America did not particularly please the Catholic Bishops.
  7. Burstyn argued that the state's ability to revoke a film's license was in direct offense to the rights allotted by the First Amendment.

In 1952 the censorship of the Film Industry lead to significant ramifications. The film medium has experienced several hurdles that are better known of as censorship. Right from the beginning, American officials knew of the influential power of film and, therefore, its need to be controlled --by them, of course. Since the first couple decades of film, there have constantly been several different parties in charge of its regulations. By 1952, film has everyone from Catholic Bishops, to anti-communists trying to control it. In the midst of a changing American at the end of the second World War, a controversial movie slipped through the growing cracks. At the same time when some writers could not get any work, the film The Miracle was overturning the system. The case against this film ultimately changed the ruling on all films to come. In 1952 there were several other battles being fought, as well as a string of anti-communist films being released. At the end of the year many the careers of many Hollywood players were over, while others were just beginning. 1952 and its surrounding years changed the American film industry and its censorship forever.

[...] Since, as we already learned, film is such an influential medium, striking this industry seemed like a great place for HUAC to start (Olson the committee released Hollywood this consisted of the names of ten writers, directors and actors who were to be considered ?blacklisted.? Others were to be added later, and all were accused of submitting communist propaganda into films. Most of the accused were called to give testimony in court where they could either name other ?communists? in the industry, never work in film again, face jail time, or any combination of the above. [...]


[...] The Film industry itself was on a decline at this time, and it needed something more anti-communism films to regain audiences. The WWII veterans had returned home and moved to the suburbs; were they could start families, be good capitalists, and watch TV. As a result, a significant amount of theater audiences were lost. The theaters, which were now largely owned by independents, no longer had to spend extra money to screen these major studio films of Production Code Approval. [...]


[...] The majority of those who were blacklisted had to either find a new art or leave the country to produce foreign films. Everyone else had to find their own way to save their career; which perpetuated the scare. Some filmmakers who were subpoenaed just named other people to take the communist label in their place. While actors, like Ronald Reagan, were accusing their co-workers and even friends of being communists it is no wonder why the scare? lasted through the 50's (Olson 1). [...]

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