Now called the Motion Picture Association of America (MPPA). Fatty Arbuckle scandal Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle was a silent film actor, comedian, director and screenwriter. He was charged with manslaughter of a young girl and the film industry was targeted as a bad influence. The MPPDA banned his films The Production Code (1930-34) Introduced by the MPPDA in 1930 Also called the “Hays Code” Consisted of moral guidelines regarding what was acceptable to include in films Another form of self-regulation rather than censorship. The last of several “codes”. VM 100 study sheet for exam 2, p. 12
This code was the most successful because it had endorsement of the studio executives Films that passed the code would get a seal of approval that would be otherwise hard to distribute The code declined in the 1950s as more films gained success without approval and the responsibility shifted to consumers The Big Five Vertically integrated and produced the major films Late 1920s-50s 1. Paramount 2. MGM-Lowes 3. RKO 4. 20 th Century Fox 5. Warner Bros The Little Three 1. Universal 2. Columbia 3. United Artists Not vertically integrated and did not own their own theatre chains. However, this didn’t mean that they made lesser product. Block booking and blind bidding This was how majors dealt with independent theatres Block booking: when theatres wanted to show a popular film, they might also have to “block” space for another film they didn’t want. Majors would approach minors and force them to rent multiple films as a unit. Blind bidding: the element of the block booking system whereby theatres had to rent/purchase unseen films First-run theatres Theatres where films in their first-run are shown Minority of theatres but brought in the most revenue. Most were owned by the majors and vertical integration partnerships thus making it nearly impossible for independent producers to get their films shown and make a profit Restrains trade and led to antitrust lawsuit brought by the Justice Department US Supreme Court found major film distributors in violation of antitrust laws when they precluded independent theatres from screening first-run films. Seven-year contracts (1930s) VM 100 study sheet for exam 2, p. 13
Directors and producers were able to get 1 seven year contracts with major studios. However they would be told to work on something and would not have a choice as to whether or not they wanted to take on the project Could be loaned out to other studios if uncooperative The Paramount Decree (1948) Consent decree between majors and the Justice Department to end the anti-trust lawsuit Required the majors to divest their theatre chains gradually and put an end to block booking and blind bidding.
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