MOVIES 1920

The Cinematograph as seen in the photo above was an early projector and was used display movies throughout the 1920's

Throughout the 30 years following the first movie showing in America in 1896, the motion picture industry swept the nation and dominated American culture. Despite the early progress, it wasn't until the 1920's that the film industry experienced a major boom in the United States. The popularity was clear, and over time, movie theaters or, as the larger one were known, "Motion Picture Palaces", began popping up across the nation. By 1924, there were 20,000 of them. By the end of the decade there were even theaters in most small towns.

The Palladium was a theater built in 1913, but is pictured in 1920. This is an example of the venue for films in the 1920's

Movie theaters became a crucial part of 1920's culture as in the 20's, theaters were visited by on average 80 million people each week. The popularity of films lead to the birth of Hollywood as an international movie hub. For most of the 1920's, the films were silent and any dialogue was displayed through captions. Hollywood produced many genres of silent movies, from crime dramas to comedies.

In this 1928 film, The Lion's Cage, Chaplin's exaggerated actions combined with the music form comedic entertainment for people throughout the nation. Actors and actresses became more well known nationally such as Charlie Chaplin, the star of the video above. Movies allowed viewers to watch and follow the careers and lives of national stars.

Movie posters advertised different films and actors and were widely circulated from the early to late 1920's

The progress in film and media through videos brought social and cultural changes as well as economic progression. The roles that opened up for women gave them the an outlet to gain social status that was not readily available before the film industry became so successful. The ability for women to become famous through movies changed their social standing for the better. This industry was one that moved women towards the social power that was previously help by men.

In addition to the social progression, the movie industry became incredibly beneficial to the American economy. With such popularity, the theater and movie companies were in better financial standings. As explained in the New-York tribune newspaper, the "Actors' Fund Memorial Day Performance" augmented the receipts from matinées of the show and donated the money to the fund, illustrating the fiscal success of this industry. In addition with Hollywood becoming an international player in movie production, the United States was gaining economically through tourism and global interest in American movies.

A photo of the newspaper written about the Actors' Fund Memorial Day

The movie industry was part of what "gassed" the 1920's and accelerated progress in the 1920's. The exponential growth of the movie industry seen in the 1920's both reflected and shaped the culture. Despite the many regressions that took place in the 1920's both socially with organization like the KKK, the lighthearted movies that were produced, provided positive reforms to the social hierarchy as well as the American economy.

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