Film Industry: Then and Now

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Then and Now

The film industry has always been somewhat of a dichotomy. Grounded firmly in both the worlds of art and business the balance of artistic expression and commercialization has been an issue throughout the history of filmmaking. The distinction of these two differing goals and the fact that neither has truly won out over the other in the span of the industry's existence, demonstrates a lot of information about the nature of capitalism. The modern film industry was born around the beginning of the twentieth century. On April 23rd 1896 Thomas Edition showed the first publicly-projected motion picture at Koster and Bial's Music Hall in New York City. From there the film industry had an explosive growth rate. In fact, not only was Thomas Edison the inventor of film but he is also responsible for the birth of media censorship. "The Kiss … was the first film ever made of a couple kissing in cinematic history. May Irwin and John Rice re-enacted a lingering kiss… from their 1895 Broadway stage play The Widow Jones… was also notorious as the first film to be criticized as scandalous and bringing demands for censorship."1 By 1900 films had already started taking their modern form as story telling narratives became the most popular production instead of documentaries. Between 1910 and 1914 Hollywood was born, annexed by Los Angeles and replaced the East Coast as the center for the new burgeoning film industry. The beginning of the First World War brought European filmmaking to a complete halt and made room for America as the world center for film production2. During this time some of the most influential names in film history made their names. D.W. Griffith directed some of the most famous films of the early twentieth century including Birth of a Nation, and Intolerance. The more famous of the two, Birth of a Nation was met with mixed reactions. Some called it "an ultimate in motion picture achievement" and "the greatest of all motion pictures" but...
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