Hollywod Since 1948 Essay

1715 words - 7 pages

Critically assess the argument that the 'High Concept Film' represents an example of post-classical American Cinema.When considering post-classical American cinema in relation to our argument we must first discover how this era in film history developed. Looking at it's relationship to that of the classical Hollywood tradition we can see that post-classical American cinema emerged through a set of aesthetic norms. It is suggested that up until 1960 there was a specific and consistent style that dominated American studio film making, a style whose principles remained quite invariable throughout decades, studios and genres. It is said that; 'Hollywood cinema sees itself as bound by rules that set stringent limits on individual innovation; that telling a story is the basic formal concern; that unity is a basic attribute of film form; that the film should be comprehensible and unambiguous, and that it possesses a fundamental emotional appeal that transcends class and nation'# Hollywood film making had been seen to illustrate the qualities of a classical art form, conveying notions of decorum, formal harmony, respect for tradition, proportion, not recently associated with American Cinema.Through the work of Jan Mukarovsky we are able to see how and why we can define Classical Hollywood Cinema as an aesthetic system, giving rise to the notion that the Hollywood style has functioned as a set of norms. This early form of cinema shows how a particular set of aesthetic norms prolonged its presence enough to dominate American film production into the 1960's and structure themselves into the Hollywood mode of production. Mukarovsky highlights to us that periods of 'Classicism' tend to lean towards harmony and stability.We now come to the transition between Classical American Cinema and what is now termed post-classical American Cinema, underlining what some post modernist critics have described as 'a series of radical shifts in contemporary American film marked by a breakdown of classical storytelling conventions'# These postmodernist critics, including Fredric Jameson interpret these shifts as a result of the progressive logic of late capitalism, change from a production centred to an information based economy, an increase of control of multi-national corporations.The term post-classical suggests a break with Classical cinema and we can further suggest post-classical cinema emerged from the collapse of the studio system. The 1948 Supreme court decision to order Paramount to divest itself of most of its theatres. By the middle of this decade most studios had split themselves between production and exhibition. The studios 'serviced' small production companies, sometimes called 'the independents', these companies were often owned by film stars or directors and adopted their own style of film production and content. This shift in mode of production ultimately lead to the progressive disbanding of the dominance of the system of classical norms. It is said that;...

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