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The Hollywood Studio System: A History

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1844570645
ISBN-10: 1844570649
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gomery, who teaches communications at the University of Maryland, has produced a detailed textbook on the economics of the Hollywood studio system which will no doubt become required reading at every film school. The eight major corporations which dominated the "golden age"1930 through 1949are examined in terms of management style, financial stability, labor and production, distribution and exhibition. Balance sheets for each are provided to substantiate Gomery's conclusion that the profit motive dictated all artistic decisions. Competitors had difficulty breaking into the charmed corporate circle of MGM, Warner Bros., Paramount et al.; any illusions about Hollywood autonomy are swiftly dispelled by a description of the financial clout centered in New York City's brokerage houses. For those interested in a comprehensive view of the megabucks industry, this is a solid grounding in the business side of a glamorous, ephemeral workplace. Photos. January 6
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In what reads somewhat like a doctoral dissertation, Gomery presents a history of the business side of the Hollywood studio system, with particular emphasis on the system's halcyon years, 1930-49. There are chapters on each of the major studios. Gomery frequently emphasizes his points that most money in the picture business was made in distribution and exhibition, not production; and most power resided with the studios' corporate headquarters in New York City, not in the Hollywood film factories. Unfortunately, he seems unaware of Robert Stanley's The Celluloid Empire (LJ 5/15/78), which covers the same topic more readably and with a broader focus, though with somewhat less detail. This book does have some information not included in the Stanley book and will be useful in special collections. John Smothers, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Freehold, N.J.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: British Film Institute (September 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844570649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844570645
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Hart on February 12, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Doug Gomery has written a fine book on the history of the Hollywood studio system. Whereas earlier treatments of this topic tend to neglect the period after the rise of television, Gomery does an excellent job of covering that period as well. One argument in the book that scholars will recognize as original is that the studio heads have always been quite concerned about distribution issues and that even though they no longer directly control the majority of movie screens they still have a lot to say about what gets screened and where. There is considerable detail in the book on the history of each of the major studios based on archival materials and interviews. This book should be required reading, in short, for anyone writing about Hollywood in the future.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By oz reader on March 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a quite interesting book and definitely looks at Hollywood from a different perspectives. It isn't really a balance look, tho, as it definitely has its loves and hates. Loves old Paramout/Zukor and Wasserman (Universal), hates Zanuck (20th Century Fox) and Hughes (RKO). With Hughes he states numerous time that he destroyed RKO but then only provides a two sentence reason. Given all the space he gives to Zukor and Wasserman, a better description would be helpful. Sometimes he assumes the reader has no knowledge of an event goes on ad nauseum, other times he assumes you know all the details and gives you none. Toward the end he bails and declines to go in depth on a couple of studios because the head is still around (Disney) even tho he's been there for 20 years. More description and even analysis is possible. It also has some really stupid basic mistakes which proofreaders should have caught - million instead of billion, years movies came out, especially Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs (which is given 3 different years). But overall a very good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric Mascarin Perigault on March 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unlike other histories of the major Hollywood studios that stop at the time when these were sent to separate their production operations, distribution and exhibition, which along with the advent of television decayed produced a to them, this book goes further and reaches modern times. It is interesting to know how they were born, who founded and worked the studies and their creators, all its difficulties, but we should know of those studies now, as Sony is Columbia Pictures, and Paramount sold its catalog to Universal, WB to Seven Arts and all that. These are issues rarely touched in other books on the subject. Interesting and complete.
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