1912. Film-makers from the east coast of the USA came to California, first in small number and then in thousands.
1912. The Hollywood industry was born.
There were several reasons why film makers went to Hollywood. Firstly, there was a lot of space, secondly, California's warm sunny weather was ideal for making films outside. Thirdly, there was a variety of locations for filming: ocean, mountains, deserts, villages, woodland and rivers.
By 1939 the great dream factory studios made nearly 500 movies a year, drew American audience of 50 million a week and earned over 700 million dollars at the box office-all with the help of 30,000 employees who dealt with everything from processing film to fan mail.
In the 1950s and 60s Hollywood became more international. Famous stars like Maurice Chevalier from France, Marlene Dietrich from Germany and Sofia Loren from Italy came to Hollywood. Even today many international stars like Gerard Depardier and Arnold Schwarzeneger make films in Hollywood.
A big film studio, like MGM or Warner Brothers, brought to life a lot of film stars. They could make or break a star.
The Hollywood film studio produced different types. There were the silent Charlie Chaplin comedies of the 20s, gangster films, Frankenstein horror films and Greta Garbo romantic melodramas of the 30s, the musicals of the 40s and 50s, the westerns (cowboy films) of the 50s, the historical epics of the 60s, the science fiction films of the 70s and the Steven Spielberg action films and violent horror films of the 80s. Who knows what the next century will be famous for?
Most visitors to Los Angeles, California want to go and see Beverly Hills. This is where you find the homes of the movie stars. But Beverly Hills isn't Los Angeles. It's a small city next to Los Angeles. All kinds of celebrities live in Beverly Hills. These celebrities may be movie stars, television stars, sport stars, or other people in the news. Tourists can buy special maps for the homes of the stars. These homes are very beautiful. They usually have swimming pools and tennis courts. But sometimes you cannot see very much. The homes have high walls or trees around them. Beverly Hills is also famous for Rodeo Drive. This is one of the most expensive shopping streets in the United States. Rodeo Drive started to be an elegant street in the 1960s. Many famous stores are opened on the street. People liked all the new styles and fashions they could buy. Today you can find the most expensive and unusual clothing, jewelry and furniture in the world on Rodeo Drive. Rodeo Drive is a very special street. When you want to park your car in public parking, an attendant will come and park your car for you. Beverly Hills is really a small city. Only About 35,000 people live there. But during the day more than 200,000 people come to Beverly Hills to work or to shop!
The major film genres.
The major film genres developed in the United States are the following:
Comedy. Charles Spencer Chaplin became the most widely recognized comedy figure in the world. He emphasized the development of character and plot structure, in contrast to the simple reliance on gags and gimmicks that characterized the work of other comedy producers of the day.
Westerns. The Western (a film about life in the American West in the past) was the first American genre to be developed and has remained a staple of the American motion-picture art and industry. It has been estimated that one quarter of US films have been Westerns. However, today most American Westerns are made in Italy and are called '"spaghetti Westerns".
Musicals. The musicals of the late 1920s and the early 1930s consisted of a series of "numbers" by established stars of Broad-way, vaudeville and radio. Later manifestations of the form were the biographical musicals, often highly fictionalized, about great composers, musicians, singers, providing an opportunity to string together some of their most popular hits. The transferring of musicals intact from the Broad-way stage became almost automatic beginning in the 1950s.
Gangster films. While the Western deals with a mythical American past and the musical with a fantasy land, the gangster film is closely tied to a real facet of American life. In earlier films, the gangster had risen to the top to enjoy wealth, power, beautiful women, expensive homes and large cars, but before the end of the film he was bound to be caught by law-enforcement officers, overthrown by fellow gang members or killed. Such punishment was considered obligatory. By 1971, however, "The Godfather" showed how far the genre has evolved: Marion Brando, in the title role, dies of old age. The gangster was another businessman.
War films. They have evolved into a major American genre, since wars have occupied so much of contemporary American history. The Second World War has been the subject of the greatest number of American films in this genre.
Horror films (thrillers). In the 1920s the creation of a monster who gets out of control or is coming to life from non-human beings who survive by killing the living provided the basic story lines of countless horror films. These films also have dealt with supernatural forces that manifest themselves as an unseen power rather than in individual form. A third major kind of horror films deals with people who are insane or in the grip of psychological powers beyond their control.
Horror films as a genre is associated with the name of Alfred Hitchcock. Like Walt Disney with animated cartoons, Alfred Hitchcock was thought not just to have invented a film genre but to have patented it (hence "Hitch", another name for a horror film).
Detective and spy films. These include first of all the James Bond series. Hitchcock's films of this genre feature ordinary people who accidentally become involved with spies or other evil doers.
Science fiction. After the Second World War science-fiction films increasingly suggested that the dangers of the future stemmed from what human beings were doing in the present.
Columbia Pictures (also Columbia)-American film company, which produces films for cinema and television.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) — a film company based in Hollywood, which has made many famous films and animated cartoons.
Paramount- a film company in Hollywood.
20th Century-Fox — an American film company.
United Artists — a film company (studio) in Hollywood.
Universal — n film company (studio) in Hollywood.
Warner Bros (Brothers) — an American film company.
Film Directors and Producers
Alien, Woody (1935—) — a comic actor and maker of humorous films. Since the late 1960s, he has been directing films and acting in them, usually playing a neurotic, bookish New Yorker. Some of his best-known films have been "Annie Hall", "Manhattan" and "Hannah and Her Sisters".
Capra, Frank (1897-1991) - a film director, best known for the films "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "It's a Wonderful Night".
Chaplin, Charlie (Charles Spencer) (1889-1977) — an English actor and director who worked mainly in the United States in silent black-and-white comedy films. He created the beloved character, the Little Tramp, who wore a shabby black suit, derby hat and floppy shoes, and walked with the backs of his feet together and the toes pointing outwards. He always walked with a cane.
By 1918 Chaplin had forsaken short comedies for longer, independently made films, including "Shoulder Arms" (1918) and "The Kid" (1921). His major films, produced for United Artists (a film company which he helped to found in 1923), included "The Gold Rush" (1925), "The Circus" (1928), "City Lights" (1931) and "Modern Times" (1936), the latter two made as silent films with synchronized sound effects. Chaplin spoke on the screen for the first time in "The Great Dictator" (1940), which ridiculed Hitler and Mussolini. In "Monsieur Verdoux" (1947), which draws an acid analogy between warfare and business morality, the tramp disappeared entirely; the film provided further ammunition for a growing anti-Chaplin group who attacked his unconventional personal life and political views.
After 1952 Chaplin resided in Switzerland. He starred in his production "A King in New York" (1957), a sharp satire on contemporary America, and wrote and directed "A Countess from Hongkong" (1967). Chaplin made a triumphant return to the United States in 1972. He was given an Academy Award (an Oscar) for his part in "making motion pictures the art form of the century".
Coppola, Francis Ford (1939)- a film director, best known for the films "'The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now".