During the 20th century, film has been a powerful media in which to influence people’s lifestyles and human behavior. Film is for people who do not enjoy reading or other more stimulating leisure and want to be entertained or escape from everyday life. Movies gave society a great way to see vintage fashion, including how to wear period accessories that accompany the clothing. Movies also gave society a view of actors portraying wartime heroes, rebels or gangsters, which may influence peoples human behavior. The film industry introduced flapper movies in the early days. The flapper wore short hair and a short skirt, with turned-down hose and powdered knees. The flapper must have seemed to her mother like a rebel. Flappers offended the older generation because they defied conventions of acceptable feminine behavior. They used make-up and wore baggy dresses, which often exposed their arms as well as their legs from the knees down. The flapper movies were modern and influenced a revolution in fashion.
During the time of the Great Depression, film was a source of cheerful escapism for most. People were out of work, but they did manage to find money to go the movies. Even during the darkest days of the Depression, movie attendance was between 60-75 million per week. The balancing act for film making was to both reflect the realism and cynicism of the Depression period. They also provided escape entertainment to boost the morale of the public by optimistically reaffirming values such as thrift and perseverance.
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During The Golden Age of Hollywood, movies were under strict enforcement and censorship. Film studios submitted their films for review and if they met the strict standards of decency they could be released. Regulations of the code included censorship of language, references to sex, violence, and morality. Without a seal, films were threatened with negative publicity and potential box-office failure. Movies were not allowed to portray gangsters as heroes. Movies of this time, basically influenced people to have better moral standards.
The American film industry was extremely prolific, affluent, powerful and productive during the war years. The world was headed toward rearmament and warfare in the early to mid-1940s, and the movie industry, like every other aspect of life, responded by making movies, producing many war-time favorites. These movies offered escapist entertainment, reassurance, and patriotic themes and morale boosters for the audience.
In the period following the war, post-war affluence increased choice of leisure time activities, conformity, middle-class values, a baby boom, the invention of television, drive-in theaters, and a youth reaction to middle-aged cinema. When most of the films were idealized with conventional portrayals of men and women, young people wanted new and exciting symbols of rebellion. The film industry responded by producing a number movies with portrayals of young men and women rebelling against the establishment. “Rebel Without A Cause” was a movie about a rebellious, misunderstood, middle-class youth who had difficulty relating to his parents. This movie influenced the audience that it was okay to act in a rebellious way to get attention.
When looking back on the film history of the 20th century you begin to realize the great impact these films had on people’s lifestyles and human behavior. Movies influenced they way people dressed and the way people acted. We as, movie goers, must choose what is morally right or wrong and not be influenced by the film industry. We must also choose what is a fashion statement and what is not. The film industry may be protected under the freedom of speech amendment, but we do not have to be influenced by what they project in their movies.
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