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Film HistoriesAn Introduction and Reader$
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Paul Grainge, Mark Jancovich, and Sharon Monteith

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748619061

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619061.001.0001

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The Age of the Dream Palace and the Rise of the Star System

The Age of the Dream Palace and the Rise of the Star System

(p.93) 5 The Age of the Dream Palace and the Rise of the Star System
Film Histories

Paul Grainge

Mark Jancovich

Sharon Monteith

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses the age of the dream palace and the rise of the star system. By the end of the First World War, the cinema was an established cultural fact in an era of rapid social change. In America, theatres or dream palaces were crucial to the structuring of the film industry. They were the places where cinema came to the masses and the studios successfully exploited such venues as they did the movie stars under contract to them. The system of star-making was perfected during the ‘Jazz Age’, the era that F. Scott Fitzgerald had declared ‘open’ in 1919. The studios made the stars a phenomenon peculiar to the movies; they were industrial tools and their pictures in theatre lobbies ensured box office success. The chapter includes a study by Douglas Gomery, which traces American cinematic presentation from its origins through the rise of the ‘dream palaces’ down the decades to include the domestic viewing of home videos and the rise of the multiplex.

Keywords:   dream palaces, film industry, cinema, star system, film studios, national theatre chains, Douglas Gomery, film history

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