1920s Film Analysis

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The subject of change has always been a prominent area of analysis among historians and the like. The focus of this essay regards the extent to which cinema in the 1920s US informs about the forces for change in society. The inter-relationship between the impact the society on cinema and how a popular film influences the society in turn is undeniably significant. In the 1920s, the American industry, or “Hollywood” reached what is still its era of greatest-ever output, producing an average of 800 feature films annually, or 82% of the global total. Cinema became one of the most popular leisure activities during the 1920s with in particular young Americans visiting the cinema two to three times weekly. They were greatly influenced by what they…show more content…
In the 1920s, popular films has had a substantial impact on the society regarding issues which in turns influenced and is reflected in the cinema these includes race and ethnicity, sexual morals, organized crime and wealth and class. The extent to which popular films in the 1920s US informs about the forces for change is highly significant as regards to certain historical facts and the general attitudes in society. The Jazz Singer directed by Alan Crosland in 1927 exemplifies the force for change in the American society in the 1920s with particular regards the general attitude towards race, ethnicity and America’s “melting-pot” culture. The film was selected for preservation in the American National Film Registry of “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” motion pictures. The film centers a young Jewish man (Jakie Rabinowitz) aspiring to be a jazz singer on Broadway, however his father, a cantor opposes to the idea believing in tradition. The Jazz Singer and its reception can be interpreted to…show more content…
A successful and popular film that was the first to define the crime genre and demonstrate the issue of organized crime in the 1920s was Lights of New York, which was directed by Bryan Foy. Lights of New York was also the first “all-talking” feature film, meaning unlike The Jazz Singer and Don Juan, Lights of New York was the first to have full synchronized speech and sound effects. The film cost only $23,000 to produce, but grossed over $1,000,000. The enthusiasm with which audiences greeted this film was so great that by the end of 1929, Hollywood was producing sound films exclusively. The film centers on a young man from Upstate New York who falls in love with a chorus-girl from Broadway and was set up to take the blame for a mobster gang. Lights of New York informs that there is a rise of organized crime in the 1920s US, and that Broadway and the theatre is a popular leisure activity then. The film also demonstrates censorship to conform to the “Hays Code” (created in the late 1920s) which specified that “no film shall be produced which shall lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience shall never be thrown to the side of crime, wrong-doing, evil or sin”. As abruptly the mafia boss was killed by his own ex-girlfriend and the protagonist and his chorus-girl were saved, which would be highly unlikely in real-life circumstances as
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