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November 1997, Week 2


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Ellen Au <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 14 Nov 1997 11:37:52 -0700
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At 01:35 PM 13/11/97 EST, you wrote:
>I don't think that there is a single simple explanation.  An explanation that
>disregards economic, political and other factors does have some
>shortcomings.  One must remember that before WWI, several European cinemas
>were extraordinarily well represented in international distribution.  In
>America, Pathe, Eclair, Solax, Great Northern, etc. were major presences in
>the industry.  To a certain extent, the early American industry was
>colonized by companies like these.  I am told that some "branch plant"
>studios in N.J. used French as the working language among management and
>top creative people, while the less skilled and poorly paid Americans spoke
>in the local dialect.
>The effect of WWI on the economic base of European companies and the
>opportunity that this presented to American film companies gave the U.S.
>an advantage in terms of production and distribution that it never
>really lost.  While this doesn't completely explain American dominance
>(for example, access to capital through investment by such firms as Kuhn,
>Loeb & Co., a large and prosperous domestic market, haphazard but
>successful strategies to undermine competing cinemas, etc. were also
>factors), it certainly was a key event.
        I think that what you have taken into is very important in
understanding American Dominance.  After the war, America was not as
devastated as the other countries.  (The war was not fought on American
soil).  The states had the financial advantage to pour money into their film
industry.  I personally think that as a result of their success after the
war, they were able to gain exposure for their films and thus people all
over get used to it and want to see more films just like it!
        How Americans gained exposure may be very contraversial.  I have
heard of unfair trading practices way back when, and now "dumping" seems to
be an issue.  I don't want to step on any toes so I will end here.
>Mark Langer
>Email address: [log in to unmask]
>Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
>University of Alabama.
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