Old Hollywood had it harsh and difficult. Filmmakers were not liked by people and elders, editors did not have as much influence as they do now, and terms, as we know them, did not even exist.
It started in 1915 and ended in 1963- it was the golden age of Hollywood. The Golden Age of Hollywood is so-called because of the colossal amount of money the movies produced and the images of the glittering and captivating movie stars that filled the movie screens.
The evolution of Hollywood cinema has come a long way, the practices, methods, techniques, and approach laid a foundation for cinema. Without the strong base and influence Hollywood, today would be incomplete and unpolished. It was the old ways and methods that influenced and helped progress in the new age Hollywood. Since 1945 we have seen Hollywood reach its apex, dominating movie theaters across the entertainment world with its massive productions.
It is difficult to envision what those old days were like, so we have listed some unusual historical facts and things not a lot of people know about Hollywood and its evolution
1. The 1890S: Films Were Invented
Motion pictures go way back. The first moving picture cameras were invented towards the late 1800s, and movies were boring.
A concept of storytelling had not been the normal way for movies back then. They consisted of a single scene or series of it, they were about a minute long and were silent.
Classic and entertaining black and White movies emerged a while later and after a sufficient amount of progress, the movies become more entertaining and appreciated. The concept of plot and storyline came later into the picture, but when it did it was the normal way to go for upcoming movies.
2. Documentaries Were Originally Called Actuality Films
The first actuality film was produced in 1914 by Edward Curtis, the man who gave us the famous photographs of Native American tribes and members.
Films that do not have a climax, anti-climax, and are non-fiction, etc come under documentaries.
They include interviews and are unscripted in nature.
Now we identify them as documentary’s which was not the case earlier, and now even documentaries have different types including-
- Expository Documentary.
- Observational Documentary.
- Participatory Documentary.
- Reflexive Documentary.
- Performative Documentary.
3. 1897: PAN SHOT DEVELOPED
1897 was the year that the pan shot was first invented.
Before, cameras were stationary, with limited mobility and so you had to move the complete camera and its tripod to capture any kind of movement.
This is where the word pan comes from – the panorama is the name of a shot made with a panning camera. Now pan shots are almost used in every movie, genre, or feature film. Pan shots are widely popular and can depict the tone of the scene.
You can pan the camera from left to right, up to down vice-versa to add gravity to the situation, or just to exemplify a scene’s or character’s emotion.
The year 1900 in film involved some significant events.
Hollywood had a different name and approach In the early 1900s. Shots, camera, camera movements, roles of the crew, etc were all evolving rapidly. The development of a distant shot to a close up was not the work of editors, but the director.
This was done by mounting the cameraman on wheels and then on a track that physically moved the camera closer to what was being shot. This ancient movie method was practiced for the very first time in the movie filmed in 1904 called Photographing of a Female Crook.
5. FIRST MOVIE THEATERS OPENED
Before 1907, most movies were shown in traditional theaters or carnivals. With the advent of movie theaters, the films became an attraction in themselves.
The first theater in the world exclusively dedicated to showing motion pictures was the Nickelodeon, which was opened on June 19, 1905, in Pittsburgh, Penn.
The theater was the creation of Harry Davis and John P.
The construction of multiplexes was adjacent to suburban shopping malls, it flourished throughout the 1970s, producing venues available to the youth audience and allowing the best films to occupy multiple screens in a theatre.
Which in turn resulted in profits and moviemaking as a business that everyone wanted to be a part of.
6. 17.7 REELS
Titanic was released in 1997 when film reels were still the only way to project or view a movie. With a run time of 3 hours and 15 minutes, each copy of Titanic was 17.7 reels long. That means, at 25 FPS, it consisted of over 17,700 feet of film. That’s over 3 miles for a single movie.
Titanic established a new stereotype, ‘the tragic hero’ which went on to be incorporated a lot in the 2000s.
It was a classic of its time and widely appreciated by the mass and critics. James Cameron sought Hollywood funding for the movie Titanic not because he wanted to make the movie, but because he “wanted to dive to the shipwreck.” [– Source]
Great classic hits like Jaws, Gone with the wind, Casablanca, other popular movies helped establish a new powerful strategy for Hollywood studios.
They began targeting weekends, seasonal holidays, even Christmas and summer for their top releases.
They advertised widely on television and booked top films on an increasing number of American screens. Now we have genres and hybrid-genres that have taken after these classics and improved.
The first movie to be made entirely inside a Hollywood studio was The Squaw Man, in 1914 by Cecile B. DeMille.
8. Projection Now
9. Bare Minimum Use of CG
Nowadays computer graphics are not used as much. Earlier they were widely popular even in movies like Star Wars, Westworld, Vertigo, etc.
People have often discredited the use of computer graphics as the death of movies, but they have been around for a brief amount of time and more than you would imagine.
The first Hollywood film to make use of computer graphics was Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo in 1958. Surely, the graphics were essentially limited to the intro sequence, but still, it was a forerunner of things to come. VFX, great realistic production designing, and animation has been a huge role in some of today’s biggest Hollywood blockbusters.
10. Hollywood strikes back [1970-1979]
The success of Easy Rider led to Hopper being given complete freedom to make the complex The Last Movie, which came with bad luck since Universal never released it.
A new kind of distribution system was taken into play to launch Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) which soon became a household favorite, which, simultaneously with George Lucas’s Star Wars (1977), helped restore and revitalize the cinema-going custom and commenced a trend for childlike special-effects blockbusters.
Woody Allen also came through by providing more adult fare in Annie Hall, in the course of which he explicitly showed his hatred for the drug-induced Hollywood world.
The decade ended with Hollywood finally facing the Vietnam event in The Deer Hunter, Coming Home, and Apocalypse Now.
Hollywood became more careful and considerate of the things happening and events. New age movies have different, unusual, and gripping storylines and concepts.
12. Hollywoods very own founder?
The 1990s experienced a sequence of major studios changing hands and the anchoring up of subsidiaries (eg 20th Century Fox’s Fox Searchlight, Sony-Columbia’s Sony Classics) to fund or distribute smaller-scale independent productions, often acquired directly at the Sundance Festival.
Animated films made a notable comeback at Disney and at a new company, Pixar, specializing in computer animation, which Disney quickly obtained. Titanic, the movie that could have been any more mainstream, extended the expectations of the romance genre and it swiftly became the most successful picture made up to that date.
Hollywood began creating and producing infinite films which were singularly action-packed. ‘Action’ was the go-to genre and plot because they elucidated well for a universal audience.
The audience’s influence greatly advanced, movies were made to earn profits and income. The audience’s opinion mattered far more than diving into new genres, approaches, and manner.
The Future Of Hollywood –
Hollywood has surely evolved over the past years. New technology, cameras, lights, editing techniques, and modern equipment have helped reshape Hollywood.
Closures across the world have forced Hollywood to rethink.
Hollywood was already on a precipice.
Some studios have swiveled to digital debuts and even smaller and already-released films are airing on platforms like Netflix, amazon prime, Hulu, HBO, or even on their websites [rent/sale options]. The new ways to watch movies are going to be around for a brief time at least till the pandemic dies down.
Hollywood is everchanging, full of glitz and glamour, an industry that we all adore and movies that we all indulge in binge-watching. They have released some hilarious, scary, feel-good, and heartwarming movies and series which mold our entertainment world today.
We hope that reading about these facts helped you navigate the true way Hollywood has evolved and progressed through so many years.