The First World War radically changed the landscape of moviemaking. Before 1914, Europeans had dominated the booming industry — France, Italy, Germany and even Denmark had sent films across the globe. At first they were just shorts, but by 1913 companies were developing long-form storytelling in “feature” films that could run an hour or more. Audiences poured into movie houses.
The war brought that European domination to an end. Film stock was rationed. Workers were sent to the front. American film companies, benefiting from neutrality, swept into secondary markets like Australia and South America. Moving into Europe and Asia, several companies established foreign offices to distribute their product directly and set prime prices. By the end of the war, the center of the global film industry had shifted to the United States, and in particular Los Angeles, where one neighborhood was already providing the shorthand term for the emerging studio system: Hollywood.
The American studios were not just lucky to expand at a time of turmoil in Europe. They also brought a new approach to filmmaking. Detailed shooting scripts broke scenes into shots. Specialists were assigned to set design, costuming, photography, editing and other tasks. This system helped manage the complicated plots demanded by feature-length films.
Directors also forged a method of crisp, high-impact storytelling. Fast cutting, close-ups of faces and scene details, plots driven by goal-oriented characters, scenes packed with conflicts, humor, fights, chases and stunts — these techniques crystallized into a distinctive national style.
That style was fully formed by 1919, with films like D.W. Griffith’s bittersweet “Broken Blossoms” and Erich von Stroheim’s mordant “Blind Husbands.” “America’s healthy will has created true film,” rhapsodized a German critic in 1920. “What is happening, or rather racing by on the screen, can no longer be called plot. It is a new dynamic, a breathless rhythm.”
The style fit the players. Close-ups enhanced the big-eyed sweetness of Lillian Gish, the sparky mischief of the perpetual adolescent Mary Pickford, the stoic sadness of the cowboy William S. Hart. Cutting had to be punchy to keep up with the exuberance of Douglas Fairbanks, who comfortably leapt over hedges and hurled himself out windows.
The American boom did not wipe out European filmmaking; as the continent recovered, its filmmakers maintained a high quality of production. In 1919 Mauritz Stiller of Sweden mounted the historical romance “Sir Arne’s Treasure,” while in Denmark Carl Dreyer released his first film, the American-influenced melodrama “The President.” The German director Ernst Lubitsch managed, during the turmoil of the Weimar Republic, to create the historical epic “Madame DuBarry.” Filmmaking flourished further afield as well, from Japan to the newly Communist Russia. Lenin nationalized the film industry in 1919 and would later declare: “Of all the arts, cinema is for us the most important.”
Still, there was no doubt that for the moment, at least, the standards for film as an art and an industry were being set in America. And things were about to change again, thanks to a percolating struggle among stars, studios and theater owners.
Most of the entrepreneurs who forged the American film industry — Samuel Goldwyn, Marcus Loew, William Fox, Carl Laemmle, Jesse Lasky, Adolph Zukor — were East European émigrés. While genteel business owners had scorned the crowds pouring into nickelodeons and vaudeville houses, the newcomers risked setting up production companies. The war had helped their firms achieve success.
But by the war’s end, the salaries they paid to their stars were rising astronomically, and driving up production costs. Some producers sought to play down star power by acquiring famous literary properties and hiring celebrity directors. Exhibitors, like theater owners, were starting to merge, and these bigger companies had more bargaining power. On Feb. 5, 1919, a group of actors reasserted their clout.
“Billion-Dollar Trust Is Defied: Revolt of Motion Picture Stars Is Bombshell to Film Producers,” blared a headline in The Los Angeles Times. Defying the studios, four of Hollywood’s biggest names — Pickford, Fairbanks, Griffith and Charlie Chaplin — created the United Artists Corporation.
Other stars were creating their own production units, but United Artists’ “Big Four” wanted complete autonomy in developing projects. They also aimed to cut out the distribution companies that rented films to theaters. United Artists would offer the stars’ films directly to exhibitors.
Pickford presented the maneuver as a defense against the growing power of theater chains. Griffith, taking the “Artists” label seriously, claimed that if the partners could control their work, they could break with formula. “We are willing to make certain pictures which we do not expect to make money,” he declared.
But the Big Four did have money on their minds. Their employers had relied on booking packages of films, mixing mediocre items with star vehicles. The dominant system, called “program booking,” obliged exhibitors to take a distributor’s entire yearly output. Fairbanks complained: “We were used as a club over the exhibitors, and the magnates at the swivel chairs made the money.”
True, the three United Artists stars enjoyed astronomical salaries, with Pickford and Chaplin yearly reaping the equivalent of million today. But the artists recognized that their drawing power was even more valuable. By offering their product to exhibitors directly, they could recoup a bigger share of rentals.
United Artists aimed high, planning for each partner to produce three films per year. Fairbanks was quickest off the mark with “His Majesty, the American,” which debuted in September 1919 at New York’s new Capitol Theater, said to be the largest in the world. He followed with “When the Clouds Roll By” in December.
Yet Fairbanks’s partners owed projects to other companies. Pickford managed to bring out two features in 1920, but Chaplin would not complete a United Artists release until 1923, and that (“A Woman of Paris”) failed, partly because he appeared merely in a walk-on role. Griffith could meet his immediate United Artists obligations only by buying, at a hefty price, his film “Broken Blossoms” from Adolph Zukor’s company, where he had made it.
The new firm needed product, and soon it was contracting with other producers, including Samuel Goldwyn, to fill out its obligations. Another problem, as the historian Tino Balio has shown, was funding. Thanks to program booking and a rigid schedule of releases, studios could attract backers. But banks recoiled from a company of independents working at irregular intervals to please themselves. For the most part, the Big Four had to self-finance.
United Artists survived through the 1920s, largely because of Pickford and Fairbanks. They married, and as Hollywood royalty, they enjoyed a huge fan following; crowds choked the streets during their world tours. Pickford turned out several projects, notably “Rosita” (1923), directed by Lubitsch, who had recently arrived from Germany, and “Sparrows” (1926). Fairbanks changed his image, from a whimsical go-getter to a debonair adventurer, as Zorro, D’Artagnan, Robin Hood, the Thief of Baghdad and the Black Pirate. The scapegrace heroes he played would be “reimagined” by Hollywood filmmakers for decades to come.
Under the guidance of Joseph Schenck, the United Artists president, and thanks to Goldwyn’s polished independent productions, the company managed to keep going, but things got harder for the founders. Fairbanks and Pickford mounted lush, expensive productions, while Chaplin proceeded at a leisurely pace. Griffith, plagued by financial problems, pulled out of United Artists briefly, then returned at intervals to direct a string of failures. Soon after the coming of sound, nearly all of the United Artists founders ended their careers. Chaplin persisted, but when he abandoned his Tramp persona in the 1940s, he too lost his public.
Nobody understood star power better than the producer Adolph Zukor, a dapper former furrier now at the top of the film industry. He had quickly mastered the feature film and program booking. He had built a production juggernaut by merging his company, Famous Players, with that of Jesse Lasky, and then adding a distributor called Paramount.
Zukor, who had employed Pickford and Fairbanks at stratospheric salaries. knew that stars could be difficult to manage. His refusal to raise Pickford’s pay helped drive her to create United Artists. At that juncture, he faced ominous competition from First National, an alliance of theater chains that was starting to sign up stars. In the summer of 1919, Zukor recruited Wall Street backing to fund his counterthrust: buying theaters.
Zukor reckoned that there were about 15,000 theaters in the country. Then as now, the first-run theaters in cities commanded the highest ticket prices. Within a few months, Zukor boasted that over 2,200 American screens were playing his pictures, and he was already acquiring hundreds of the most desirable ones.
This was Hollywood’s second breakthrough of the boom year. Less heralded than the creation of United Artists, it had more far-reaching consequences. Wall Street money began to permeate the film industry. And Paramount, as Zukor’s company would soon be called, would smoothly combine production, distribution and exhibition. Through vertical integration, one company would provide a reliable output of films controlled from conception to consumption.
Zukor’s rivals scrambled to catch up. With the help of banks and brokers, they too merged production units, distribution and exhibition. From the 1920s onward, the top studios — Paramount, Warner Bros., Fox, M.G.M., and R.K.O., collectively called “the majors” — coalesced into an oligopoly. They competed with one another, but also cooperated to impede censorship and dominate foreign territories.
Unsurprisingly, United Artists could not conquer this machine. “Producers have so bottled up the best theaters,” Pickford remarked, “that it is impossible to get a showing of my pictures in them.” Stars might fade, but theaters, it seemed, were forever.
Thanks to vertical integration, the majors created an entertainment empire that stretched across the planet. Eventually, after World War II, the Supreme Court declared that the oligopoly violated antitrust law. The studios sold off their theaters. (It was lucky timing. Film attendance would soon slump drastically.) Fittingly, Paramount was the first-named party in the suit; the Federal Trade Commission had been chasing Zukor since the 1920s.
United Artists would reinvent itself many times. Its aim of selling films as unique attractions encouraged ambitious projects like “Stagecoach,” “Wuthering Heights” and “Red River.” After the studio system’s breakup, it renewed itself and shepherded dozens of important pictures. The model of filmmakers cooperating to control their work, though it has had a rocky record, remains an ideal for ambitious independents.
A studio system is making a comeback, too. Netflix and Amazon, which blend distribution and exhibition by pushing films to our home screens, have started generating their own content. Telecommunication companies have bought film libraries and production firms, with Comcast taking NBCUniversal and AT&T absorbing Time Warner. Like the studios in the boom year, today’s digital-delivery companies are vertically integrating to fill the world’s ceaseless appetite for movies. Adolph Zukor would not be surprised.
Further Reading: Tino Balio, ed., “The American Film Industry,” rev. ed., University of Wisconsin Press, 1985; Tino Balio, “United Artists: The Company Built by the Stars,” University of Wisconsin Press, 1976; David Bordwell, “How Motion Pictures Became the Movies,” at https://vimeo.com/57245550; Leslie Midkiff DeBauche, “Reel Patriotism: The Movies and World War I,” University of Wisconsin Press, 1997; Douglas Gomery, “The Hollywood Studio System: A History,” British Film Institute, 2005; Richard Koszarski, “History of the American Cinema. Vol 3: An Evening’s Entertainment: The Age of the Silent Feature Picture, 1915-1928,” Scribners, 1990; Kristin Thompson, “Exporting Entertainment: America in the World Film Market 1907-1934,” British Film Institute, 1985.
David Bordwell is a professor of film studies emeritus at the University of Wisconsin and the author, most recently, of “Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling.”
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六合解霸彩图【单】【谦】：“【迟】【队】【长】，【你】【还】【记】【得】20【年】【前】【的】【纵】【火】【案】【吗】？” “【好】【久】【都】【没】【有】【人】【叫】【过】【我】【迟】【队】【长】【了】，【你】【说】20【年】【前】？【那】【么】【久】【之】【前】【的】【事】【我】【怎】【么】【还】【能】【记】【得】！” 【苏】【慕】【清】：“20【年】【前】【白】【未】【别】【墅】，【一】【天】【晚】【上】【别】【墅】【起】【了】【大】【火】，【引】【起】【火】【灾】【的】【原】【有】【是】【人】【为】【泼】【汽】【油】【纵】【火】，【现】【场】【有】【三】【名】【死】【者】，【其】【中】【一】【名】【死】【者】【是】【房】【屋】【主】【人】【同】【时】【也】【是】【一】【名】【刑】【警】。”【她】【的】
【这】【个】【世】【界】，【是】【不】【公】【平】【的】。 【那】【是】【陆】【晏】【寒】【在】【他】【童】【年】【领】【会】【到】【的】【道】【理】，【他】【对】【此】【深】【信】【不】【疑】。 【可】【能】【是】【跟】【自】【己】【的】【处】【境】【有】【着】【极】【大】【的】【关】【系】。 【陆】【晏】【寒】【还】【记】【得】，【那】【是】【他】【七】【岁】【那】【年】，【自】【己】【和】【六】【岁】【的】【妹】【妹】【被】【关】【在】【那】【间】【漆】【黑】【的】【屋】【子】【里】。 【当】【时】【他】【记】【得】【是】【同】【妹】【妹】【出】【去】【帮】【母】【亲】【买】【东】【西】，【突】【然】【间】【眼】【前】【一】【黑】，【眼】【睛】【一】【闭】【一】【睁】【就】【来】【到】【了】【那】【个】【造】【成】【他】【童】
【赵】【挺】【之】【拜】【相】，【张】【子】【文】【复】【出】【主】【政】【的】【短】【短】【时】【期】，【是】【海】【军】【真】【正】【的】【黄】【金】【蜜】【月】【期】。 【依】【托】【原】【苏】【州】【和】【上】【海】【之】【辖】【区】，【犹】【如】【一】【头】【吞】【金】【巨】【兽】，【吸】【引】【半】【个】【大】【宋】【资】【金】【进】【入】【投】【资】，【工】【厂】【作】【坊】【短】【时】【间】【内】【遍】【地】【开】【花】。 【海】【军】【集】【博】【览】【会】【远】【近】【闻】【名】，【致】【使】【了】【越】【多】【越】【多】【的】【宋】【国】【和】【异】【国】【船】【只】【靠】【上】【海】【港】，【相】【比】【以】【前】【翻】【七】【倍】【量】【的】【贸】【易】【走】【货】【需】【求】，【极】【端】【刺】【激】【了】【江】【阴】【造】
【青】【凤】【记】【得】【母】【亲】【曾】【经】【说】【过】【外】【婆】【家】【的】【一】【些】【奇】【怪】【的】【事】，【总】【是】【对】【她】【说】:“【人】【不】【能】【太】【好】【强】，【该】【放】【软】【和】【的】【时】【候】【就】【要】【软】【和】，【也】【不】【能】【和】【小】【人】【为】【敌】，【不】【能】【得】【罪】【小】【人】，【要】【不】【然】【招】【致】【的】【后】【果】【往】【往】【是】【自】【己】【承】【受】【不】【起】【的】。” 【青】【凤】【的】【外】【婆】【家】【因】【为】【人】【口】【众】【多】，【总】【有】【些】【混】【的】【特】【别】【好】【的】，【她】【外】【婆】【的】【大】【伯】【因】【为】【发】【了】【些】【财】，【想】【自】【己】【搬】【出】【去】【住】，【就】【在】【家】【的】【附】【近】【盖】【了】六合解霸彩图“【啥】【项】【昂】【的】【父】【母】【啊】？【他】【们】【称】【不】【上】【父】【母】，【项】【昂】【是】【被】【他】【们】【从】【外】【头】【抱】【回】【来】【的】，【不】【是】【他】【们】【家】【亲】【生】【的】。”【村】【民】【道】，“【你】【找】【他】【们】【有】【啥】【事】【啊】？【我】【可】【和】【你】【说】【了】，【项】【家】【除】【了】【项】【昂】，【没】【一】【个】【好】【东】【西】，【连】【他】【们】【家】【闺】【女】【也】【是】。” “【行】【了】，【人】【家】【找】【项】【珍】【的】【爸】【妈】，【你】【说】【那】【么】【多】【干】【什】【么】？”【边】【上】【的】【人】【拉】【了】【拉】【话】【太】【多】【的】【那】【个】【邻】【居】，【低】【声】【道】，“【你】【也】【不】【知】【道】
“【他】【是】【不】【是】【失】【忆】【了】？”【我】【看】【向】【黑】【龙】【王】。 【看】【他】【的】【眼】【神】【似】【乎】【不】【认】【识】【我】，【貌】【似】【每】【个】【从】【蛋】【里】【出】【来】【的】【东】【东】，【都】【会】【把】【第】【一】【眼】【见】【到】【的】【生】【物】【认】【做】【亲】【人】，【不】【过】【这】【家】【伙】…… “【混】【蛋】！【我】【明】【明】【是】【公】【的】！【啊】【呸】！【男】【的】，【要】【叫】【也】【是】【叫】【爸】【爸】【啊】【混】【蛋】！”【我】【对】【着】【汤】【圆】【吼】【道】。 “【他】【三】【魂】【八】【魄】【被】【打】【散】【了】，【记】【忆】【自】【然】【也】【随】【之】【消】【散】。”【黑】【龙】【王】【解】【释】【道】。
【这】【个】【天】【地】【的】【昆】【仑】【宗】，【当】【初】【也】【是】【有】【着】【一】【口】【井】【的】，【当】【初】【的】【那】【口】【井】【的】【作】【用】【也】【和】【现】【在】【这】【口】【井】【差】【不】【多】，【也】【是】【连】【通】【一】【处】【空】【间】。 【只】【是】【当】【初】【的】【那】【口】【井】【连】【通】【的】【空】【间】【是】【魔】【界】【空】【间】，【里】【边】【是】【充】【斥】【魔】【气】【且】【有】【着】【无】【数】【魔】【族】【和】【魔】【物】【的】【空】【间】。 【而】【当】【初】【的】【昆】【仑】【宗】，【整】【个】【门】【派】【上】【上】【下】【下】【的】【任】【务】【就】【是】【镇】【守】【那】【口】【井】，【防】【止】【当】【中】【的】【魔】【族】【和】【魔】【物】【的】【跑】【出】【来】【危】【害】【人】