1970's Film and the Failure of the Studio System

Known as the "maverick" or "auteur" era of American film, the 1970’s represented a unique era of American film-making, perhaps the most experimental since early silent ear. Traditional musicals, melodramas, and epics were no longer drawing in audiences, and, desperate, studios began giving money to fledgling directors often fresh from the brand new film schools cropping up, leading to far more daring and unusual films, such as Taxi Driver, the Godfather, and Star Wars. Well documented as this period is, take some time to examine the period just preceding, and how it enabled these films to exist at all.
That is, look back, first at the Paramount Decision in 1948, which ended the studios monopolies on theatres and film distribution and enabled independent filmmakers to gain foothold in the American film landscape, and the rise of television in the 1950’s, which forced to make going to the movies far more of an event, with big-budget epics, full color, and features such as 3-D and widescreen. By the late 1960’s, the mediocre performances of the anachronistic Hello, Dolly! and plodding Cleopatra rendered tried and true money makers impotent. Examine how changing audience expectations, over saturation of the market, and other such factors allowed movies like Bonnie and Clyde to set the scene for the New Hollywood of the 1970’s. If the studio system hadn’t failed, would the 1970’s era of film-making ever been allowed to happen in the first place?

  • I would include certain film and TV examples that defined where the Studio System was heading towards. – BMartin43 5 years ago

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