The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960 / Edition 1

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How films are conceived,planned, and produced leaves a mark upon the films, directly and structurally. The relations between film style and mode of production are, according to the authors, reciprocal and mutually influencing. The authors trace such topics as style, economics, and technology over time, demonstrating how significant changes occurrred in Hollywood from the earliest days through the sixties.

Here is the book serious film devotees have been waiting for: a broad history of American cinema unique in its remarkable scholarship and its unsurpassed depth.

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Editorial Reviews


"This brilliant achievement will not soon be surpassed. It will be the foundation for all future research in the field..."

American Film

"A tour de force... destined to become itself a classic in film studies and a magnificent introduction to the American cinema for a much wider audience... 'The Classical Hollywood Cinema' will surely arouse discussion and debate--how could it not, since no one who studies film at whatever level can henceforth ignore it."


"This brilliant achievement will not soon be surpassed. It will be the foundation for all future research in the field..."

American Film
A tour de force . . . destined to become itself a classic in film studies and a magnificent introduction to the American cinema for a much wider audience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231060554
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 2/12/1987
  • Series: King's Crown Paperback Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 506
  • Product dimensions: 7.49 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

David Bordwell is Professor of Film at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and head of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.

Janet Staiger is Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at New York University.

Kristin Thompson is Honorary Fellow at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Part 1. The classical Hollywood style, 1917-60 by David Bordwell An excessively obvious cinemaStory causality and motivationThe Hollywood mode of production to 1930, by Janet StaigerClassical narrationThe formulation of the classical style, 1909-28, by Kristin ThompsonTime in the classical filmFilm style and technology to 1930Space in the classical filmThe Hollywood mode of production, 1930-60, by Janet StaigerShot and sceneFilm style and technology, 1930-60, by David BordwellThe bounds of differenceHistorical implications of the classical Hollywood cinema, by David Bordwell and Janet StaigerThe Hollywood mode of production: its conditions of exerciseStandardization and differentiation: The reinforcement and dispersion of Hollywood's practicesThe director system: management in the first yearsThe director-unity system: management of multiple-unit companies after 1909The central producer system: centralized management after 1914The division and order of production: the subdivision of the work from the first years through the 1920sFrom primitive to classicalThe formulation of the classical narrativeThe continuity systemClassical narrative space and the spectator's attentionThe stability of the classical approach after 1917Technology, style and mode of production, by David Bordwell and Janet StaigerInitial standardization of the basic technology, by Kristin ThompsonMajor technological changes of the 1920s, by Kristin ThompsonThe Mazda tests of 1928The introduction of sound, by David BordwellThe labor-force, financing and the mode of productionThe producer-unit system: management by specialization after 1931The package-unit system: unit management after 1955Deep-focus cinematographyTechnicolorWidescreen processes and stereophonic soundSince 1960: the persistence of a mode of film practiceAlternative modes of film practice

Columbia University Press

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