“The American cinema is a classical art, why
not then admire in it what is most admirable, i.e., not only the talent of this
or that filmmaker, but the genius of the system, the richness of its ever
vigorous tradition, and its fertility when it comes into contact with new
elements” André Bazin .
The book Contemporary Hollywood
Cinema, fills the lacuna in the study of the system of Hollywood .It is a
brilliant collection of essays which
explore in detail some of the principal cycles and trends in Hollywood’s during
the last half of the 20th century.
The book was first published in
1998 , its origins lie in a conference held at the university of Kent in 1985
and was last reprinted in 2003. Hence it may not so contemporary anymore, but still feels
fresh in bringing together a detailed study of Hollywood as todays generation
is experiencing it, through its nineteen essays on the film industry .This study is conducted by leading international cinema scholars who explore
the technology, institutions, film makers and their movies, specifically it
documents the big changes that Hollywood went through after the collapse of the studio system.
Amongst other things its essays explore the rise of budgets, the change
of the tastes of the modern audience, the growth in star marketing, and the rise of the major independent
production and distribution companies.
The book is formatted into four sections Hollywood historiography;
Economics, industry and institutions; Aesthetics and technology; and Audience,
address and ideology to explore the temporal parameters of the Hollywood
industry. The essays look at the exploration that has been so far within these
parameters alongside speculating the future trends of the business.
The first chapter Theses on the philosophy of Hollywood history by the
editor Maurray Smith himself sets the tone of the book.
He looks at what exactly has changed in the Hollywood of post 1940s, and
the multidimensional nature of factors involved.
What does the transition from a classical to a post – classical American
cinema really mean. Is the industry a post-Frodist industry driven by services.
He also considers the opinions in favor of the notion of the ‘new’ or post
classical Hollywood , on the basis of the interconnections between film style
and mode of film production within the industry, as well as more radical
arguments which dispute the classism of studio era Hollywood and the logic of speculating a post-classical period.
In the following essay by Richard Maltby we get an overview of
institutional and economic
developments in the post war era. He mainly argues that classical Hollywood
cinema is only a partial study of Hollywood, concerned with the relationship
between film style and the organization of management of production within the
industry . He gives prominence to the economics of production and exhibition
rather than film styling touching upon telefilm production, home videos and
other new technologies of the time suggesting that postwar years saw the
emergence of a new kind of American film industry.