Early Cinema


The significant changes occurring to film form during this period operated in concert with other forces of transformation so that by 1915, numerous developments pointed toward the institutionalization of cinema. By 1915, the MPPC had been dissolved by court order. The move toward increased consolidation inaugurated by the struggle between the Independents and the MPPC (the latter dissolved by court order in 1915) continued apace: corporate entities that would become pivotal in the studio era, such as Universal and Paramount, were founded during this period. The move of the American film industry to Hollywood was already underway, as was the establishment of a star system, with figures such as Mary Pickford (1892–1979) and Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977) acquiring the substantial fame and the power that came with it. Feature-length films had begun to dislodge the primacy of the single reeler, while large-scale picture palaces usurped the role of nickelodeons within the exhibition landscape. Movies had moved noticeably closer to the status of mass entertainment, and the increased social responsibility that attends such a shift produced a new phase in the medium's development, a clear departure from the hallmarks of the period that we label retrospectively the era of early cinema.

SEE ALSO Film History ; Narrative ; Pre-Cinema ; Silent Cinema

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Charlie Keil

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