Tino Balio: Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise, 1930-1939

Tino Balio: Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise, 1930-1939
Publisher: University of California Press (1993)
ISBN: 9780684191157
Pages: 496|djvu|5mb


This fifth volume in the History of the American Cinema series sketches a broad-ranging history of American movies during the Great Depression years. It emphasizes how the social and political backdrop of the 1930s was reflected in film and how Hollywood adapted technologically and economically to the cinematic trends of the decade--the talkies, the rise of individual stars, the public cry for censorship, and the development of B films, avant-garde film, and documentaries.
Each of the 10 chapters begins with a short overview of the subject later covered in detail, and each ends with a summary of the thesis of the chapter. Some were written by Balio, a professor of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin, and others were contributed by other film scholars. The book is illustrated with striking, large black-and-white photos of film scenes and of actors and studio executives referred to in the text.
Although a great number of films are mentioned in each chapter, the purpose of the book is not to provide criticism. The authors are more concerned with how the American public reacted to a film than with analyzing it critically. There is considerable discussion about how the great film studios developed during this formative decade.
Appendixes include a list of the top-grossing films of the 1930s (compiled by Variety), an Academy Award list by year, and Film Daily's "Ten Best Films" for each year of the decade. An extensive bibliography, a general index, and an index of films conclude the book.
There are many histories of American film that cover the films of this period with more critical attention, but this is the most comprehensive treatment of the film industry during the thirties. It will be most useful in the circulating collections of public and academic libraries supporting film-studies and business-history programs. Large research libraries may also find it valuable to include a copy of Grand Design (as well as the other books in this series) in their film reference collections.
The 10-volume, illustrated series considers the film industry from its early roots in the 19th century right up to 1990. It examines the development of film and the film industry, analyzing both the genres, themes and technology that defined each decade and the political and economic background that gave rise to them. Each volume focuses on a separate decade, providing a narrative on the evolution of both the business and the art of film in America. Each volume is heavily illustrated, and ends with several indexes, notes, a bibliography and a variety of appendixes of top-grossing films, stars and Oscar winners, and more. 
  • History of the American Cinema: The Emergence of the Cinema: The American Screen to 1907. Volume 1
  • History of the American Cinema: The Transformation of Cinema, 1907-1915. Volume 2
  • History of the American Cinema: An Evening's Entertainment: The Age of the Silent Feature Picture, 1915-1928. Volume 3
  • History of the American Cinema: The Talkies: U.S. Cinema's Transition to Sound, 1926-1931. Volume 4
  • History of the American Cinema: Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise, 1930-1939. Volume 5
  • History of the American Cinema: Boom and Bust: The American Cinema in the 1940s. Volume 6
  • History of the American Cinema: The Fifties: Transforming the Screen, 1950-1959. Volume 7
  • History of the American Cinema: The Sixties: 1960-1969. Volume 8
  • History of the American Cinema: Lost Illusions: American Cinema in the Age of Watergate and Vietnam, 1970-1979. Volume 9
  • History of the American Cinema: A New Pot of Gold: Hollywood Under the Electric Rainbow, 1980-1989. Volume 10

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