American Cinema of the 1920s: Themes and Variations (Screen Decades: American Culture/American Cinema)
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In ten original essays, American Cinema of the 1920s examines the film industry's continued growth and prosperity while focusing on important themes of the era.
alluring home wrecker . . . who never had a qualm of conscious about taking another’s husband” (“Sex”). As the ﬁlm’s story begins, Adrienne’s current conquest is Phillip Overman (William Conklin), a self-satisﬁed baron of business who sits in his luxurious private box, simultaneously savoring champagne and his lover’s performance of the “Spider Dance.” The opening theatrical number is set within a faerie-like woodland and begins with Glaum’s dramatic entrance, dressed as a black widow spider. In
into contact with events abroad and the previous nineteenthcentury insular American view of the world was under serious challenge” (2). In part, such internationalism was disillusioning. Allen observed that, for some, there was a sense that “life was futile and nothing mattered much” (67). For F. Scott Fitzgerald, “the events of 1919 left [people] cynical” but simultaneously emboldened. As he remarked: “We were the most powerful nation. Who could tell us any longer what was fashionable and what
increased theater ownership, and built more movie palaces. First National joined Famous Players–Lasky/Paramount and Marcus Loew among the ranks of the vertically integrated (those companies that controlled production, distribution, and exhibition) when it built a giant studio in Burbank, and Warner Bros. Pictures produced its ﬁrst ﬁlms. Hollywood replicated the rapid pace of change in other cultural spheres by cooperating with the other media. The ﬁlm and publishing trade papers noted the
explicitly suggest that Jane’s assertiveness and attire are not qualities to be celebrated; instead, they are seen in negative terms as evidence of her mannish qualities. Frederick’s performance in these scenes stresses her aggressiveness and her need to control every situation (underlined by comic scenes of her absent-mindedly pocketing her assistant’s pencil every time she signs an employee dismissal notice). Frederick’s rigid body and limited 1925 — MOVIES AND A YEAR OF CHANGE 153
of two shots showing them face to face, or side by side. As news of the relationship between Bobby and Jane spreads along the production line (shown in a long tracking shot of workers gossiping), Bobby ﬁnds his masculinity in question. Assuming that this unusual May-December romance must have a maternal quality to it (and with it, an emasculation of Bobby), one seamstress (Wanda Hawley) changes the label on the baby romper suit she is working on from “Baby Romper” to “Her Baby’s Romper” and