These studios were not just in the business of creating entertainment but also creating mass amounts of money. Kind of sounds a lot like today-huh? Studios didn't just create film stars but also ran their lives, educated those who were under age, arranged lavender marriages, hid scandals, and bought and sold their stars as well.
I mean these studios literally created stars. They would "suggest" a hair lift there, a nip tuck here, dye your hair blonde, or lose weight. I am sure it is done now in Hollywood on some level but not like they did then. They were THAT powerful. And of course these studios were run by men and only men. So one can imagine the sexism and abuse of power that may have occurred. The term, "casting couch" came from somewhere...
Now I can talk about the old Hollywood studios for days on end but let us take a peak on the brighter side of Hollywood...its Stars.
Norma Shearer, Clarke Gable, Alice Faye, and Wallace Beery
The biggest stars of Hollywood were:
Clark Gable, Paul Muni, Janet Gaynor, Eddie Cantor, Wallace Beery, Mae West, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Astaire and Rogers, Claudette Colbert, Dick Powell, W. C. Fields, Joan Crawford, Marie Dressler, James Cagney, Bing Crosby, Jeanette MacDonald, Barbara Stanwyck, Johnny Weismuller, Gary Cooper, Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Myrna Loy, Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, Veronica Lake, and Katharine Hepburn.
Shirely Temple and Jackie Cooper~Child Stars
Many audiences enjoyed the juvenile company of Shirley Temple, Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland, and Mickey Rooney. There were also a number of British stars in the decade, including Ronald Colman, Basil Rathbone, Charles Laughton, C. Aubrey-Smith, and Leslie Howard.
Some of the best films that were made were:
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), The Blue Angel (Der Blaue Engel) (1930), Camille (1936), Captain Blood (1935), David Copperfield (1935), Dinner at Eight (1933), A Farewell to Arms (1933), Frankenstein (1931), Gunga Din (1939), The Public Enemy (1931), A Tale of Two Cities (1935), and King Kong (1933). These are just a few and there are SO much more!
In my opinion the most important year in film making for the 1930's or for any decade that matter was 1939! I say this because of the best films ever made were made all in that year. The best film of the 1930's and the top grossing film for that decade was Gone with the Wind (1939). It wasn't just the best film but in my humble opinion that film is sheer perfection. Honestly, if Hollywood today decided to remake this film I would literally fly out to California to protest. That is how much I mean what I say. I surely hope they never, ever do!
"Gone with the Wind" Trailer
If you have seen some of the films from the 1930's then you can imagine how much they uplifted the spirits of the viewer. A film like "Gone with the Wind", so epic and so larger than life that it literally sweeps you off your feet!
Going to the cinema was a special event where people dressed their best and really made an effort to make the most of it. The elaborate musicals (which were also very popular in the 1930's as well as gangster films), the romances, and the dashing heroes really allowed people to dream a little more and wish a little harder.
Now that is the sort of thing films should always do....move us, inspire us, and allow us to dare to dream no matter the obstacles are at hand.
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