Classical Hollywood cinema  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Classical Hollywood cinema or the classical Hollywood narrative, are terms used in film history which designates both a visual and sound style for making motion pictures and a mode of production used in the American film industry between roughly the 1910s and the 1960s.

Classical style is fundamentally built on the principle of continuity editing or "invisible" style. That is, the camera and the sound recording should never call attention to themselves (as they might in a modernist or postmodernist work).

Overview

While the boundaries are vague, the Classical era is generally held to begin in 1915 with the release of The Birth of a Nation. The end of the classical period is considered to be the 1960s, after which the movie industry changed dramatically and a new era (the post-classical or the New Hollywood era) can be said to have began. Some critics divide this era into pre-Code and post-code Hollywood, referring to the Hays Code.

Classical style is fundamentally built on the principle of continuity editing or "invisible" style. That is, the camera and the sound recording should never call attention to themselves (as they might in a modernist or postmodernist work).

The mode of production came to be known as the Hollywood studio system and the star system, which standardized the way movies were produced. All film workers (actors, directors, etc.) were employees of a particular film studio. This resulted in a certain uniformity to film style: directors were encouraged to think of themselves as employees rather than artists, and hence auteurs did not flourish (although some directors, such as Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles, fought against these restrictions).

The end of Hollywood classicism came with the collapse of the studio system, the growing popularity of auteurism among directors, and the increasing influence of foreign films and independent filmmaking, which brought greater variety to the movies, although some would argue that the level of craftsmanship in filmmaking declined.

Some historians believe we are now in a 'post-classical' era in which movies are very different from Classical Hollywood. Others argue that the differences are superficial and that the basic methods of storytelling have not actually changed that much.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Classical Hollywood cinema" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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