Movies: The Changing Society in the 1920's

Topics: Film, Silent film, Entertainment Pages: 15 (2968 words) Published: September 14, 2014
Movies: The Changing Society in the 1920s

Tina Wang
US History
March 7th, 2014


The 1920s was an important time period in American history due to the significant transformation of the film industry that further influenced the economy and the society. Both silent and sound movies were largely produced during the time that not only made the entertainment more popular but also created a new trend in the society. With such big influences, the economy in the United States also relied on film industry during the era. With both positive and negative impacts brought from movies, the changing female roles in society and the changing beliefs of teenagers were the significant issues in the society during the time. Over the course of the 1920s, the film industry not only created a new form of entertainment, but it also contributed to the shaping of American social norms.

A new form of entertainment was created during the 1920s that brought changes to the people’s daily lives and influenced the economy. From the era of silent movies to sound films, not only did the way of producing films change, but also the entertaining experiences for the audience changed. In the 1920s, silent films were largely dominant. During that era, movies were often played accompanied by live piano or organ music to provide great entertainment to the audience.i Mothers could bring their babies to the local theaters, and the audience would all cheer, jeer, shout, whistle and stamp their feet together during the shows. ii With such opportunities, people were able to share their emotions right away, which brought the community closer. This unique experience could only be seen during the silent films era, and as "talkies" were brought into the industry in the late 1920s, such involvement had forever became history. The introduction of adjust sound in movies started in the early 1920s. Beginning in 1923, synchronized sound tracks would be photographically recorded and printed on to the side of the films. iii The introduction of the new technology was seen as the start of "talkies" era. However, not until the very late


1920s, did talking pictures finally replace the silent era.iv Yet with this replacement, many working class movie houses were shut down for the fact that they couldn’t afford the high cost of the equipment to play the sound of the films.v The changing film industry began creating a new way of entertainment and also began having a significant influence on the entertainment industry. Due to the success of the sound movies, the entertainment experiences for the people had changed largely. The 1920s was also the period when animations, such as Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse, vi began gaining popularity among all people. The live shows that used to be playing during the movies had slowly disappeared and were replaced by animated shorts.vii This transformation in film industry provided many opportunities in the performing arts for the whole society to present their great creativity and to develop more in the future. Not only did sound movies create chances for animations, but also lead to new genres such as the musical, the gangster films, and comedies that relied much on music.viii With these changes, audiences began experiencing new innovations in film production and effects in the theaters. To be able to show the changes of the movie productions, theaters also made many different adjustments into the theaters just to give the audience even better experiences. During the 1920s, theaters began to offer double features. ix As more and more people began going to theaters for movies, theaters also began having red plush sets, luxurious carpets, rich velour curtains, finely appointed toilet rooms and a fifteen thousand organ.x With the improvements of the theaters, people began having even better experiences when watching movies that also encouraged them to watch movies more often. One of the biggest groups who watched movies was the...
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