The classical hollywood cinema




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THE CLASSICAL HOLLYWOOD CINEMA


Film Style & Mode of Production to 1960

David Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kristin Thompson



(výběr)

Part Two
The Hollywood mode of production to 1930

JANET STAIGER

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8
The Hollywood mode of production: its conditions of existence

Introduction


The making of a product—particularly when it is a film—can sometimes fascinate us as much as the product itself. Rumors of offscreen affairs between the stars create auxiliary dramas and, when the film is seen, provide two plots for the price of one. Fascinating, too, are accounts of fabulous extravagance and ingenuity: 35,000 extras, real cream baths on the sets, multimillion-dollar location shooting ruined by hurricanes, dangerous stunt work actually performed by the hero or heroine. Part of the fascination must be that these are presented as true stories. In a wide-spread contagion they fascinate both those who worship Hollywood, its aura, its glamour, and those who condemn it. It infects film critics and historians as well, few of whom suspect themselves to be colleagues of Rona Barrett. Nor is this book immune. But we might ask questions about the implications of those stories, what they do tell us about Hollywood production practices, including, in fact, the reasons for generating such stories.

We want to know more about Hollywood production practices primarily because of the films that group of filmmakers created. Hollywood films and their stars have been a source of pleasure for us. Often we use that term, ‘the Hollywood film,’ as if we know exactly what it means. Analyzing the classical Hollywood cinema as a group style is the work of this entire book. Part One has indicated that this concept has a valid claim for a concrete historical existence as a group style. By systematically surveying typical films, we have been able to verify and refine that group style as a historical film practice. If the similarities among the Hollywood films cannot be attributed to accident, we must account for the uniformity.

The purpose of this part is to ground the film practices of Hollywood in the particular historical situation of their making. I assume that because production practices allowed the films to look and sound the way they did, we need to understand the production practices, how and why those practices were what they were. As noted in the Preface, Raymond Williams has outlined the question: ‘We have to discover the nature of a practice and then its conditions.’ We need to understand that the production of meaning is not separate from its economic mode of production nor from the instruments and techniques which individuals use to form materials so that meaning results. Furthermore, the production of meaning occurs in history; it is not without real changes in time. This suggests that we need to establish the conditions of the existence of this film practice, the relations among the conditions, and an explanation for their changes.

Some historians have already theorized what the conditions of existence of a film practice would include. Jean-Louis Comolli has pointed out the need to consider a socio-economic base, the ideological result of that base, and technology as an effect of both. He would include, as well, the influence of other signifying practices besides the medium of film. By using the term ‘signifying practices,’ Comolli stresses that film is a production of meaning, a work which, as an art, is not reducible to an ideology, but is a sociohistorical practice with an ideological function. As a signifying practice, the material specificity of the medium has to be considered, that it can exceed any communicative meaning. Any film is a site of the interrelations, reinforcements, and contradictions of these terms at that time.1

In a somewhat different version, John Ellis has constructed four sorts of conditions of a film practice: the ideological (which includes various

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forms of visual representation as well as narrative developments, and so forth), the economic, the political, and the technological. Unlike Comolli, Ellis, and more recent theorists, do not privilege the socio-economic as a basis causing any ‘superstructure’ of ideology and technology. Rather, as Geoffrey Nowell-Smith has suggested, the history of cinema needs to be posed as ‘immersed in a series of histories,’ the histories of economy, technology, politics, ideology/ representation, and the unconscious. For Nowell-Smith, histories do not accumulate but become the terrain of possibilities. Finally, Ellis stresses that production and stylistic practices cannot be seen as necessarily the result of these histories: ‘The history of cinema cannot be read off from its conditions of existence.’ By this, Ellis means that, for instance, ‘the existence of a particular form of factory production did not “make” the studio develop its studio system, though it did provide one model for securing the reproduction of capital involved in mass cinema.’2

It is this latter course which most closely typifies my position. While economic practices are an important condition of existence for Hollywood’s production practices, equally significant was the film industry’s commitment to particular ideological/signifying practices such as those typified by the group style examined in Part One. Both practices were part of a socio-political formation which also often influenced their construction (e.g., instances of censorship, current social debates, state intervention in labor relations, patent and copyright formulations). These practices, as well, were influenced by other media both in terms of their economic practices (e.g., systems of production, distribution, and exhibition for theater, vaudeville, side shows) and their ideological/signifying practices (e.g., narrative structures, systems of constructing meaning). Yet as Ellis suggests, the conditions of existence must also be seen as internal to the industry. Once initiated, the industry generated its own economic and ideological/signifying practices that interacted with practices in adjacent industries.

Moreover, this commitment to particular practices was not due to some essentialist ‘force’ but rather to specifiable discourses discussing, describing, and validating these practices. These discourses appeared throughout the institutions within and connected to the film industry. This part will develop their historical construction and context.

This part will also show that these discourses and practices were the conditions of the existence of the particular mode of production. Thus, rather than considering Hollywood’s mode only as the historical conditions allowing a group style to exist, we must also see production practices as an effect of the group style, as a function permitting those films to look and sound as they did while simultaneously adhering to a particular economic practice. The circularity needs concrete explanation.

No film historian has ever questioned that the American film industry was an instance of the economic system of capitalism. Films’ manufacturers intended to produce films to make a profit. But capitalism has changed over the past eighty-five years. The implications of these changes have to be analyzed. In addition, many people have noted that the production practices were an instance of, as Ellis puts it, ‘a particular form of factory production.’ Now we need to specify what that form of factory production was, how it affected the dominant production practices, and why and how it changed during subsequent years. Among other things, to the present, the organization of the US film industry has utilized six kinds of management structures and after 1907, film production increasingly subdivided its work into more and more specialities to handle new technologies and increased output. Furthermore, many of Hollywood’s production practices result from a tension in the economic practices: a movement toward standardizing the product for efficient, economical mass production and a simultaneous movement toward differentiating the product as the firms bid competitively for a consumer’s disposable income. This tension helps explain why Hollywood film style remained so stable through the years and still manifested minor changes.

However, equally significant in the construction of production practices were ideological/ signifying practices. The organization of this part may imply that the economic practices are the more potent explanation for the mode of production. While in the last instance economic practices may have been determinant, this part will stress that ideological/signifying practices

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continually influenced the necessity to divide labor and to divide it in its particular configuration. Here we have to understand the intertwining of determinants. A very particular group style became the film practice for Hollywood, and this did not exist in toto in 1896; in fact, it was a result of a process of movements among alternative practices, culminating around 1917 in the style that finally characterized Hollywood’s films. (See Part Three.) What is most revealing is that the mode of production constructed was by no means the cheapest filmmaking procedure. Take, for instance, editing. By the 1920s, the post-shooting phase of production not only involved a film editor but also an assistant editor (to keep track of thousands of pieces of film), a writer (to construct additional bits of narrative information and dialogue for intertitles), and an elaborate system of paperwork (including a continuity script, notes taken during shooting by a script secretary, notes from a cameraman’s assistant, and written directions from producers and directors.) In the balance between economical production and a presumed effect on the film, the latter won out. Thus, while economic practices helped produce a divided labor system of filmmaking, in many cases, ideological/ signifying practices influenced how the firms divided that labor.



Technology enters here as a result of not only scientific developments (another history) but of both these economic and ideological/signifying practices. On the one hand, we shall find that technological changes in the industry increased production economies, differentiated products for competitive market positions, and ‘improved’ the product. On the other hand, technological change had to be accommodated within both production and film practices. That Hollywood was able to do so is attributable to the ways in which the industry developed its technologies and assimilated those changes. (See Parts Four and Six.)

Finally, what was occurring was not a result of a Zeitgeist or immaterial forces. The sites of the distribution of these practices were material: labor, professional, and trade associations, advertising materials, handbooks, film reviews. These institutions and their discourses were mechanisms to formalize and disperse descriptive and prescriptive analyses of the most efficient production practices, the newest technologies, and the best look and sound for the films. It is with these terms, then, that we can construct a history of the conditions of the existence of US film production practices.


A mode of production: initial definitions


Understanding the Hollywood mode of production requires analyzing what factors are involved in its organization and the relationship of those factors to each other. (‘Mode of production’ will refer specifically to production practices. The ‘mode’ is distinct from the ‘industry’ which is the economic structure and conduct of the particular companies which produced, distributed, and exhibited the films. For a brief history of the industry, see Appendices B and C.) A dynamic relationship—each element affects and influences each of the others. Generally, three elements will be referred to in this relationship: 1) the labor force, 2) the means of production, and 3) the financing of production.

This concept of a mode of production comes from Karl Marx. As Marx puts it: ‘In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces.’ In his writings, Marx outlined various prior modes of production but concentrated his analyses on capitalism.3

The first term, labor force, includes all workers involved directly and indirectly in the production of the films or the production of physical means to make them. In cinema, these workers include cameramen, scriptwriters, stagehands, lens-makers, producers, breakaway-prop-makers, and so on.

The fact that these workers are not labeled by proper names indicates one aspect of this mode: it is organized by the work functions, not the identity of individuals. In addition, we all know that the breakaway-prop-maker, while a contributor to the final product, has a lot less to say about how a film will look and sound than will a scriptwriter or cameraman—who in turn will have different things to say about the film than will a producer. A hierarchical and structural arrangement of control over subordinate and

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separate work functions and hence, input into the product, is also a characteristic of the labor force. A system of management controls the execution of the work. The mode assigns work functions to each key management position, making the worker in that position responsible for supervising part of the total labor process.



The second term, the means of production, includes all physical capital related to the production of the commodity. Generally, the means of production consists of the physical aspects of a company such as its buildings, its sets and paints and glue, its costumes. A very particular part of the means of production for filmmaking is its technology, its tools and materials (cameras, film stock, lighting equipment). Technology also implies technique: the methods of use of those tools and materials. Thus, the cameraman’s placement of an arc lamp is a concrete example of one of the relationships between the labor force and the means of production and, hence, part of the history of the mode.4

The third term is the financing of the production. In a capitalist firm, individual persons and other companies supply capital to a legal entity (the firm) which purchases labor power and physical capital. The purpose of providing capital is to make a profit, usually to maximize the profit. Some historians have argued that different forms of financing affected the films; we will examine that issue in Chapter 24. Ownership of a firm is a separate concept from the work function of managing a company. At times ownership and management will be congruent; at other times they will not. This theoretical and historical separation will become useful in understanding changing divisions of responsibility in the studios.


The historical context


Hollywood’s mode of production has been characterized as a factory system akin to that used by a Ford plant, and Hollywood often praised its own work structure for its efficient mass production of entertaining films. The employment of a mass-production system fulfilled the owners’ goals of profit maximization. Concurrent US business practices had set up a particular mode of production which seemed to insure the most efficient and economical work arrangement. It was within that context that the film industry began operating.5

Two major changes in the relationship between the workers and the work processes which led to the typical factory mode of production need to be described: ‘mass production’ and ‘division of labor.’ ‘Mass production,’ Henry Ford wrote, ‘is the focussing upon a manufacturing product of the principles of power, accuracy, economy, system, continuity and speed…and the normal result is the productive organization that delivers in quantities a useful commodity of standard material, workmanship and design at a minimum cost.’6 Ford’s definition is debatable (are all mass-produced products ‘useful’?), but it does include certain requisites for understanding mass production, and these can be summed up as interchangeability, standardization, and assembly.



Interchangeability is by no means a modern concept. As John Perry points out, interchangeability of parts goes back to ancient times. What Eli Whitney as a ‘father of mass production… did was standardize production operations and narrow tolerances for the dimensions of parts.’ But Perry also notes that genuine mass production implies standardization at a distance: parts made by a worker in one plant must fit with parts made by other workers in other plants.7 Whitney managed this interchangeability primarily by designing machine-tools and precision gauges. A less skilled laborer could operate these tools with a precision and speed that the gunsmith craftsman could never have reached. Whitney’s example was rapidly disseminated to others, and the 1820s and 1830s saw the quick expansion of machine-tool technology. One economist summarized the cost advantages in this degree of interchangeability:‘(a) the percentage of spoiled work will probably be lower; (b) the parts are more likely to be interchangeable, which would decrease the assembly cost; and (c) the [tool] can probably be [used] by a less skilled workman, receiving a lower hourly rate.’8 Necessary goods, such as tools, shoes, and clothes, and upper-class luxuries, such as harpsichords, clavichords, and spinet pianos, went into mass production by the 1840s. Lower costs and more goods available meant a better consumers’

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market, and mass production practices increased correspondingly.

Standardization, necessary for precision fit, had economic advantages within any firm which mass produced goods, but not so apparent to the firm were the advantages of inter-company uniformity. Companies traditionally varied their products for competing in the markets and used patent protection over these variations to effect a monopoly not only of the product but of replacement parts. For example, in the 1840s, railroad lines were operating under a variety of gauges which effectively prevented use of one road’s lines by another company. The advantages of standardization—facilitation of economies of production, research and design; minimization of engineering problems; and reduction of costs of patterns, retooling, carrying large stocks, labor retraining, and accounting—eventually began to outweigh its disadvantages. The post-Civil-War shift toward company mergers and the move to eliminate ‘ “idiotic competition” ’9 (a phrase used to rationalize the collusion of firms), also enhanced the change. ‘Industrial standardization,’ as the full-blown movement was known, eventually included:10

1 Nomenclature and definitions of technical terms used in specifications and contracts; also technical abbreviations and symbols.

2 Uniformity in dimensions necessary to secure interchangeability of parts and supplies, and makes [sic] possible the interworking of apparatus. Dimensional standards.

3 Quality specifications for materials and equipment; composition, form, and structure.

4 Methods of testing to determine standards of quality and performance.

5 Ratings of machinery and apparatus under specific conditions.

6 Safety provisions and rules for the operation of apparatus and machinery in industrial establishments. Safety codes and standards of practice.

7 Simplification by the elimination of unnecessary variety in types, sizes, grades, this selection being usually based upon the relative commercial demand.

Prime movers in the trend were engineers and efficiency experts who created an institutional discourse about standardization in their technical journals, societies, textbooks, and handbooks. The creation in 1901 of the federal government’s Bureau of Standards provided not only a new repository for physical objects defining standards of length, weight, volume, time, and temperature but now a testing facility for quality and performance of materials. One of the bureau’s first activities was determining standards for electric lamps, which led to new testing equipment: needing a measure of brightness, it developed a rapid commercial photometer. The federal bureau gave the State’s blessing to standardization and supplied national rather than state or industry guidelines.

Assembly, a third aspect of mass production, also involves ‘division of labor.’ Just as with all other elements of this changing work system, division of labor has very old sources. Societies have commonly parceled out work, often on the basis of gender: men and women may do different tasks. Within initial splits may be further ones—some laborers making pottery, others weaving, and others growing and harvesting crops. This is usually termed a social division of labor.11 Within social division of labor, a worker will know and perform an integral series of tasks, from conceiving an object to be made and gathering the materials to working on those materials and completing the object. Even if the worker at times performs only parts of the whole task, knowledge of and skill in the entire craft belongs to the worker’s repertoire.

This situation changed with mass production. Within a capitalist economy, a laborer must sell his or her labor power to a company. The company has the option of relying upon the social division of labor to define the worker’s job. Analysts of capitalism have pointed out, however, that a company with a profit motive seeks to obtain as much labor power for its wages as it can. Although the social division of labor was adequate for certain tasks, mass production could be more efficient with a new type of work arrangement: detailed division of labor. Here the process of making a product is broken down into discrete segments, and each worker is assigned to repeat a constituent element of that process. Harry Braverman explains why the change to a new mode was made: ‘The subcontracting and “putting out” systems [entailed by the social division of

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labor] were plagued by problems of irregularity of production, loss of materials in transit and through embezzlement, slowness of manufacture, lack of uniformity and uncertainty of the quality of the product.’12 Capitalists saw possibilities in labor which were wasted in the social division mode. Furthermore, that mode could not insure the standardization of the product parts or rapid assembly necessary for mass production—which detailed division of labor could.



Braverman argues that the central difference between the modes is that in a detailed division of labor the conception and execution of the work is divided: management does all of the former and laborers do only the latter. As the work is complicated and the tasks are segmented further, the individual worker becomes more and more specialized and loses understanding of the entire process.13

Capitalism found detailed division of labor less costly: only the laborer doing the most skilled portion of the work had to be paid the highest rate. Marx makes several other distinctions which will become important in understanding Hollywood’s mode of production. Within divided labor, he locates two phases—manufacturing and, later, machine-tool (or modern) industry. Manufacturing developed either when a capitalist assembled workers with multiple handicrafts into one workshop or when a capitalist gathered a group of craftsmen to make the same product and then divided their labor. Marx also defines manufacturing as either ‘heterogeneous’ or ‘serial.’ In ‘heterogeneous’ manufacture, all the parts of a product are made by separate workers; then the commodity is assembled by one individual. The case example is the manufacture of a watch. In ‘serial’ manufacture, the commodity goes through ‘connected phases of development.’ Thus, the workers are dependent on one another. In such a work process, the laborer must spend no more time than is necessary on his or her part, mass production requiring ‘continuity, uniformity, regularity, order’ for best profits. It is in serial manufacture that a hierarchy of skilled and unskilled workers forms.14

Machine-tool, or modern, industry is organized via the machines. Detailed division of labor meshed well with the introduction of machine-tool technology and the centralized work place. We have seen that the move to machine-tool technology had distinct economic advantages: less spoiled work, increased interchangeability, and less-skilled (hence cheaper) laborers. Machine-tool technology, in turn, required a centralized work place. More complicated technology necessitated the physical unification of the work, centralization reduced waste of time and cost in moving work from site to site, and centralization made it easier for management to control the workers’ use of the machines. Once the company taught the laborer one process with one machine all training costs were over, and uniformity and standard quality in the product were assured. Thus, detailed division of labor and the new technology and work organization reinforced one another.

Both the changing industrial structure in contemporary United States and the mode of production supported one another. A steady supply of raw materials enhanced the assembly system—which in turn encouraged vertical integration of the corporate unit. Mass-production industries came to depend upon efficient distribution and marketing (which produced more vertical integration), the use of by-products (which resulted in diversification), and the elimination of competition (which induced horizontal integration).15* The shift to mass production and the growth of the corporate industrial structure went hand-in-hand.

For Marx, manufacturing had the potential of collective cooperation; in modern industry, any cooperation is only simple.16 We shall see that although it is accurate to define the Hollywood mode of production as mass production and detailed division of labor, its organization most closely approximates serial manufacture, allowing some collective activity and cooperation between craft workers.

Detailed division of labor and commercial filmmaking


It is useful to classify the Hollywood mode of production as mass production, but that does not explain the disparity between D.W.Griffith at the Biograph Company in 1910 and Dore Senary at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1950. In one sense, both men were managing the mass production of films, but there is a significant difference between producing one one-reel Biograph after another and

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turning out reels of glossy MGM features. A description of all Hollywood production systems at one broad level of generality cannot account for more specific levels of description nor can it account for changes over time.

Theoretical models have the advantage of any generalization—they permit a simplification and unification of detail into a pattern. Likewise, they have the disadvantage of the loss of individual differences. Just as no single film is the classical Hollywood film, no actual production company is the site of the classical Hollywood production mode. Furthermore, just as the classical film can be subdivided into genres or styles with distinctive characteristics, so too can Hollywood’s production mode. Because no one has attempted before to characterize or construct the mode in any extended analysis, no precedents form a basis for categorizing the available information.

I will be analyzing the mode of production by virtue of two descriptive and explanatory schemata related to the organization of the labor force: the division of the work and the management systems. Theoretically, these are separate concepts, and any historical explanation must consider different patterns of change in each.

In examining the division of the work, I will trace the increasing subdivision of the initial work functions and order. For instance, the cameraman’s duties subdivided to laboratory technicians, to assistants, and to continuity clerks. This subdivision happened regardless of the management system; the causes lie not in the management structure per se, but in economic practices (increased production rate, increased technological complexities) and in ideological/ signifying practices (demands for certain stylistic qualities in the films).

For the management systems, I will identify two modes. The distinction between the modes of social and detailed division of labor applies to the US film industry, which seems to have used both. The detailed division of labor mode, however, quickly became dominant when commercial filmmaking started emphasizing the production of narrative fiction films after 1906. Just as in the general sector, detailed divisions of labor in filmmaking allowed faster and more predictable product output. But as we shall see, in filmmaking mass production never reached the assembly-line degree of rigidity that it did in other industries. Rather it remained a manufacturing division of labor with craftsmen collectively and serially producing a commodity. After describing the social division mode manifested in the ‘cameraman’ system, I will split the detailed division mode into five specific systems which appeared in a sequential order (I will use the term ‘mode’ for the broader description of the work structure as defined by Braverman and the term ‘system’ for a more specific description of one form of a mode):

1) the ‘director’ system, the dominant system from 1907 to 1909;

2) the ‘director-unit’ system which developed as the manufacturers increased output after 1909;

3) the ‘central producer’ system which became dominant around 1914;

4) the ‘producer-unit’ system which resulted from a major rearrangement in the early 1930s; and

5) the ‘package-unit’ system which started in the early 1940s and became dominant by the mid-1950s.

All five systems display a detailed division of labor.

In detailed division of labor systems, Braverman argues, work positions are divided between those who conceive the work and those who execute it. At the lowest echelons of the structural hierarchy, the split between conception and execution has caused the worker to lose the overall knowledge he or she had of a craft. Instead, the worker knows only the part that the company or schools train him or her to do. For Braverman, this helps explain the alienation of the worker from the work.

Although Braverman mentions a ‘middle-layer’ of employment, he generally avoids the problem of analyzing the managerial level of workers in the modern corporation. In the approach of Antony Cutler, Barry Hindess, Paul Hirst, and Athar Hussain, ‘managers are economic agents employed to exercise the capacity of direction on behalf of a capital.’ Four functions are involved in that management direction:17

1) Direction of Investment: the central function here is the calculation of financing (source and level of funds), the definition of the areas of operation of the capital—this will take the

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form of an overall investment decision or plan….

2) Production Planning: as a consequence of basic investment decisions this level involves decisions as to the products, type of production process, general level of production, etc….

3) Production Operation: decisions as to the purchases of raw materials, labour-power, etc., are made on the basis of assessment of market conditions within the constraints imposed by the financial strategy….

4) Co-ordination and Supervision: the integration of the phases of a process of production and the maintenance of production performance.

Functions 1 and 3 involve decisions which directly affect the nature and level of economic operation of the enterprises—they are functions which in some sense must be united in a single agency of calculation and decision. These functions define the economic subject—the agency of direction of a capital. Functions 2 and 4 are in general technical consequences of factors in economic and operational decisions, and are subordinate to them….

… ‘Managers’ performing functions 1 and 3 are specialists hired to act as agents of an economic subjectivity, directors of capital. Specialists performing functions 2 and 4 exclusively are technical functionaries ancillary to the economic subject.

Alfred D.Chandler, Jr, has distinguished between management decisions along roughly the same lines, calling those decisions involving long-range capital direction (functions 1 and 3) strategic decisions, and those involving the day-to-day carrying out of the plans of a company (functions 2 and 4) tactical decisions. Both Cutler et al. and Chandler note that in actual operation in capitalist firms, strategic-decision managers top the pyramid in the hierarchy. In other words, they have the power to countermand any subordinate decision—a prerogative, we shall see, they will seldom employ in the larger companies because of the lack of familiarity with the lower-level work processes and technology. The tactical-decision makers (which Cutler et al. call technical functionaries) are the middle management.18

Thus, three levels of work exist: strategic management, tactical or technical management, and execution. At least at the technical level, the managers have retained craft knowledge and will probably be directly involved with varying amounts of its execution.

Besides focusing on the division of the individual work functions and the management structure and hierarchy, I will be emphasizing the importance of the script as a blueprint for the film. While a written plan of the film has always been useful, I will show how in the early teens a detailed script became necessary to insure efficient production and to insure that the film met a certain standard of quality defined by the industry’s discourse. While pertinent before the early teens, the simultaneous diffusion of the multiple-reel film and certain stylistic options at that point placed such demands on the production crew that a precise pre-shooting plan became necessary. The script, furthermore, became more than just the mechanism to pre-check quality: it became the blueprint from which all other work was organized. These issues will be raised in the discussions of the first three systems of management in a detailed division of labor, culminating in the central producer system in which the continuity script became standard practice.

Throughout this chapter, I have suggested that various more specific formats of management organizations and the subdivision of work appeared in sequential order. I need to provide, then, causal explanations of these changes. Changes within the mode will be attributed to its conditions of existence: economic and ideological/ signifying practices. Regarding the latter, I have already referred to standards of systems of representation which I said the filmmakers’ institutions constructed—and in many cases, appropriated in mediated form from other signifying practices. As I suggested, a major part of my explanation as to why the mode of production developed as it did is the standards which the film industry discourse established. In particular, we will be looking at certain traits of the classical Hollywood group style: the primacy of the narrative, ‘realism,’ causal coherence, continuity, spectacle, stars, genres. These traits, among others, influenced the emphasis on certain job tasks and in some cases caused firms to create individual jobs. Two of the more obvious instances of this are the addition of research staffs in the mid-teens and the continuity clerk in the late teens.

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Hollywood production practices related to the prevalent capitalist mode of production, justifying a broad claim of the mode being a massproduction, factory system. Furthermore, extensive analysis reveals subtleties in its organization which can be described and explained, and the practices can account for the uniformity and stability of the style of the films. This analysis also provides an explanation for the fascinating stories about making films in Hollywood. In the next chapter, we will see how in capitalism advertising the values of the films is an important selling technique. Thus, publicity releases, true or apocryphal, about thousands of extras, millions of dollars, and unique star personalities are all part of the Hollywood mode of production.

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