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Archive for October 14th, 2012

by Allan Fish

You hear it said all the time on American hospital dramas.  “Ok, let’s call it, people!  Time of death…”  With an individual’s life it’s easy to just glance at the watch and blurt it out.  Not so easy when you’re talking about an idea.  Or a dream.  Or both…

Hollywood was once a dream, dreamt up by Cecil B.de Mille and those of his ilk who set out for the West Coast c.1913.  There were financial reasons, of course.  On the West Coast they could escape the patent laws that were strangling the burgeoning New York film industry.  Hollywood was but a tiny settlement near Los Angeles.  Within ten years figures like D.W.Griffith, Adolph Zukor, Carl Laemmle, Mack Sennett, Irving Thalberg and Samuel Goldwyn had made it into the focal point of the dreams of the entire western world.  But dreams were always such fragile things.

In the early days, the halcyon golden days of repute, Hollywood was self-ruling.  They even introduced their own censorship board to avoid government intervention and asked a former postmaster general, Will Hays (if only it could have been Will Hay…), to be their Killjoy in Chief.  Much of the fun and adult nature of movies disappeared then, but Hollywood creative talents once sought to circumnavigate the rules, quality still alternated with dross and the likes of Billy Wilder and Otto Preminger had fun watching the Hays Code crumble. (more…)

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