Book Title
Media/Impact: An Introduction to Mass Media 12th Edition

978-1305580985 Chapter 7

July 26, 2020
Chapter 7 Movies: Digitizing Dreams
Chapter Outline
Movies Mirror the Culture
Inventors Capture Motion on Film
Early Inventors Nurture the Movie Industry
Marey and Muybridge
Thomas Edison
William K.L. Dickson
Auguste and Louis Lumière
Edison Launches American Movies
Filmmakers Turn Novelty into Art
Georges Méliès
Edwin S. Porter
Studio System and Independent Moviemakers Flourish
Movies Become Big Business
Studios Move to Hollywood
Distributors Insist on Block Booking
United Artists Champions the Independents
Moviemakers Use Self-Regulation to Respond to Scandals
New Technology Brings the Talkies
Big Five Studios Dominate
Labor Unions Organize Movie Workers
Movies Glitter During the Golden Age
Congress and the Courts Change Hollywood
The House Un-American Activities Committee
United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., et al.
Movies Lose Their Audience to Television
Wide-Screen and 3-D Movies
Changes in Censorship
Movie Ratings
Movies and Money Today
Ticket Prices Rise and Ticket Sales Drop
Ancillary Rights Fund Projects
Movies at Work
Digital Technology Drives the Business
Emerging Markets and Mergers Bring New Opportunities
Global Influence
Merging Media Production
Suggested Activities, Discussions, and Activities
1. Show a film clip from The Birth of a Nation. Discuss Griffith’s contributions
to film history, as well as his racist portrayals in the movie.
2. Ask your students to read Variety online to discover how current films are
faring at the box office. Have them bring specific numbers to class.
3. Invite someone in your area who has worked in films—an actor, director,
writer, costumer, special effects or behind-the-scenes person—to class to
discuss his or her experiences.
4. Ask the students to use the Internet to locate a specific film studio—a
major one or a smaller, independent studio anywhere in the world. Each
student should select a different studio. Find some basic information about
the company then select a specific film. What did they learn about the film
and the company? Have the students discuss their findings in small
groups or write brief papers
5. Ask students, individually or in groups, to outline a plot for a movie they
believe would attract moviegoers. Have them describe the plot and
describe the type of person who would be interested in such a movie. Ask
them to imagine any positive or negative effects their movie might have on
society, particularly on the audience they think would view it. Have them
report this to their classmates in class or via an online forum.
Activity Pages
Use the following activity pages as class handouts for exercises and to
accompany some of the classroom Ideas described above.
Movie Studios on the Internet
Use the Internet to locate a specific film studioDisney, Sony Pictures
Entertainment, Viacom/Paramount, 20th Century-Fox or a smaller, independent
studio. Locate some basic information about the company, then select a specific
film production. Download and print the information you gathered, then
summarize it in a brief paper, answering the questions below.
Name of studio:
General information about the studio/company:
Specific film:
Release date:
Specific information about the film:
How does the studio present itself online? How is it different than the other ways it
promotes itself or its films? Be specific.
Birth of a Film Controversy
After watching a film clip from D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation, read the
following review, which ran in The New York Times on March 4, 1915. Discuss in
class The Times’ review, the basic plot of the movie, and Griffith’s contributions to
film history, as well as his racist portrayals in the movie.
“The Birth of a Nation”
Film Version of Dixon’s “The Clansman”
Presented at the Liberty.
“The Birth of a Nation,” an elaborate new motion picture taken on an ambitious scale,
was presented for the first time last evening at the Liberty Theatre. With the addition of
much preliminary historical matter, it is a film version of some of the melodramatic and
inflammatory material contained in “The Clansman,” by Thomas Dixon.
A great deal might be said concerning the spirit revealed in Mr. Dixon’s review of the
unhappy chapter of Reconstruction and concerning the sorry service rendered by its
plucking at old wounds. But of the film as a film, it may be reported simply that it is an
impressive new illustration of the scope of the motion picture camera.
An extraordinarily large number of people enter into this historical pageant, and some
of the scenes are most effective. The Civil War battle pictures, taken in panorama,
represent enormous effort and achieve a striking degree of success. One interesting
scene stages a reproduction of the auditorium of Ford’s Theatre in Washington, and
shows on the screen the murder of Lincoln. In terms of purely pictorial value the best
work is done in those stretches of the film that follow the night riding of the men of the
Ku-Klux Klan, who look like a company of avenging spectral crusaders sweeping along
the moonlit roads.
“The Birth of a Nation,” which was prepared for the screen under the direction of D.
W. Griffith, takes a full evening for its unfolding and marks the advent of the two dollar
movie. That is the price set for the more advantageous seats in the rear of the Liberty’s
It was at this same theatre that the stage version of “The Clansman” had a brief run a
little more than nine years ago, as Mr. Dixon himself recalled in his curtain speech last
evening in the interval between the two acts. Mr. Dixon also observed that he would
have allowed none but the son of a Confederate soldier to direct the film version of “The
Going to the Movies
Interview someone who is old enough to remember going to the movies in the
1940s or 1950s. Ask them the following questions (and any others you can think
of) and record the answers. Be prepared to share the information in class or write
an essay based on what you learned. Compare your interviewee’s answers to your
own answers to these questions. How are they similar? How do they differ?
• When do you remember seeing your first movie? What was the movie? What did you
think of the experience?
• How often did you go to the movies? What did it cost?
• When did you see your first color film? What was the film?
• What was your favorite movie as a child? As a teenager? As a young adult? What is
your favorite movie today?
• Who were your favorite movie stars as a child? As a teenager? As a young adult?
• Did you ever go see the same film over and over again? Which ones? Why?
• How did the Depression or World War II affect your movie-going habits? Did you see
movies less often? What films do you remember from those days?
• Did you read movie magazines as a teenager or young person? Which ones? Do you
read any movie magazines today? Which ones?
• Who were your favorite actors or actresses as a young person? Why?
What movies have you seen recently that you enjoyed? What do they have in common
with the films you remember enjoying as a young person?
• Do you have favorite actors, actresses or directors? Who are they? Why?
• What do you like about movies today? What don’t you like? Why?
• How have movies changed in your lifetime? How have movie theaters changed? Which
do you prefer?
• Do you own a DVD player? Do you mostly watch movies on video now or in the
theater? Do you own any movie videos or DVDs? Which ones? Do you buy videos or
DVDs for others? Who?
• Do you go to movie theaters more or less frequently than you used to? Why?
• If you could buy it (them), which film(s) would you own and watch today?
• Do you stream movies and/or subscribe to Netflix? How have the availability of these
services affected your willingness to go to the theater to see a movie?
Chapter 7 Quiz
Multiple Choice
1. Eadweard Muybridge:
a. invented the kinetoscope.
b. opened the first nickelodeon.
c. directed the first narrative film.
d. first photographed motion.
2. D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation:
a. cost five times more to make than any other American film up until that time.
b. presented a dramatic view of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
c. portrayed racial stereotypes.
d. All of these answers are correct.
3. The first feature-length motion picture with sound:
a. premiered in 1905.
b. was produced by United Artists.
c. was The Jazz Singer.
d. was Birth of a Nation.
4. During the 1930s:
a. box office receipts sagged because of the Depression.
b. labor unions for actors and screenwriters formed.
c. the Hays production code was in full force.
d. All of these answers are correct.
5. The MPAA began a rating system:
a. modeled on Italy’s system.
b. modeled on Great Britain’s system.
c. as the result of a lobbying campaign in the 1990s launched by the wife of Vice
President Al Gore.
d. at the request of major movie stars.
6. In the 1950s:
a. the number of television sets quadrupled.
b. movie attendance declined 45 percent and thousands of movie theaters
c. movie makers sought to attract viewers with technological improvements and
d. All of these answers are correct.
7. Which of these 1940s events helped reverse the growth of the movie
industry that began in 1930?
a. the invention of radio
b. the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee
c. the consolidation of major movie studios
d. World War II
8. The most active period for portrayals of African Americans in movies
a. 1900-1920
b. 1910-1950
c. 1960-2000
d. 1980-2010
9. Which of the following is a direct responsibility of the producer in the
movie industry?
a. arranging funding for a movie project
b. writing the script
c. publicizing the movie
d. managing day-to-day sets, filming and editing
10. Which film industry personality was linked with scandals that led to the
establishment of the film industry’s Hays Office to impose self-regulation
on the movie industry in the 1920s and 1930s?
a. William S. Hart
b. Charlie Chaplin
c. “Fatty” Arbuckle
d. Florence Lawrence
2. Block booking allowed theater managers to pick and choose the movies they
3. The Hollywood Ten were distinguished writers, directors, and producers who
4. Movies today are the most fragmented media industry—created by one group,
funded by another, sold by a third group, and distributed by a fourth.
5. According to the Impact / Profile box, “Lighting Up a Black Screen: Early ‘Race
Films’ Pioneered the Art of Breaking Stereotypes,” Oscar Micheaux’s Within Our
Gates was designed to counter the racism in The Birth of a Nation.
Essay Questions
1. Hollywood’s response to the movie scandals of the 1920s was self-
regulation. Which events affected the evolution of self-regulation from
1922 to 1956?
2. Discuss how the relationship between movies and television today differs
from the relationship after television was introduced in the 1950s.
3. Discuss how the movie industry moved from almost complete vertical
integration in the 1930s to the most fragmented of media industries today,
with different groups creating, funding, distributing, and exhibiting films.
4. Discuss how developing technologies in the 21st century are supporting
and threatening the movie industry’s production, distribution, and
exhibition stages.
5. Explain how ancillary rights and ancillary products help support the film
industry being squeezed by entertainment competition, dwindling
audiences, changing audience demographics, piracy, and other drains on