Hollywood in the 1930’s Essay

The film industry was a big source of entertainment in the 1930’s. During the Great Depression, spending money on entertainment wasn’t reasonable for people. Audiences always looked for “light-hearted screwballs” that would make them forget their troubles for some time (Hollywood and the Film Industry). In the 1930’s, Hollywood movie studios were having trouble financing the transition from silent to talking pictures due to the stock market crash 1929. The movie industry was losing millions of dollars, and to lure back people to theatres, they experimented with new themes, genres, and subject matter.

The most controversial films from this era were the gangster pictures. These movies reflected a cynical view of society, in which the Victorian middle-class success ethic had been change into a drive fueled by merciless and ulitimately self-destructive ambition (Hollywood and the Film Industry). One of the favorites were the Warner Bros. gangster pictures. The studio turned out stark social dramas like I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang and others. They also produced other movies which were alternately exhilarting and grim.

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Their stories were entertaining to the audiences because success was made at a time when it was hard to achieve but thrilling to imagine (Facing the Music). However, during the mid 1930’s, many movies had suddenly become socially unacceptable. This was because movies started becoming extremely violent and sexually provacative and many people didn’t like to watch those films. A code was made by a Catholic motion picture trade publisher that prohibited a range of actions and expressions, especially sexually suggestive ones that had recently made their way into movies (Hollywood and the Film Industry).

The enforcement of this code ended Hollywood’s brief era of adventurism in the early 1930’s. During 1935-1940, top Hollywood producers realized there was greater prestige and profit from more conservative and dignified pictures that appealed to the ideals, dreams, and traditional values of viewers. Big budget films were also released during this time. These movies provided high quality entertainment with conservative morality too (Hollywood and the Film Industry).

The film industry went through a lot during this decade, with shortage of money, however, this shortage made them expand their horizons and come up with new ideas and genres of films that people loved. The Great Depression was a tough time for many, and a cheap source of entertainment like motion pictures were a great way for them to unwind and temporarily forget any troubles they had. After the “adventurism” period of Hollywood, during 1935-1940, many of the movies symoblized the American Dream for the average man. No wonder people loved films, they were cheap and gave them a way to dream.