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Love Rules: Silent Hollywood and the Rise of the Managerial Class

Mark Garrett Cooper
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Love Rules
    Book Description:

    Through close study of such films as Birth of a Nation, Enoch Arden, The Crowd, Why Change Your Wife? and The Jazz Singer, Mark Garrett Cooper uncovers an intimate connection between Hollywood romances of the silent era and the empowerment of a managerial class. _x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9254-5
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-30)

    The lovers find one another at last. Their eyes meet and remain locked in a mutual stare as they are drawn together through the frame. Speech cannot render the depth of emotion this image implies. True love beams from the faces that fill the screen. Although this is their first real meeting, the permanence of the couple’s union appears self-evident.

    Despite its inevitability, this ending arrives as if by magic. Indeed, from the very beginning of the film, those situations that suggest a bond between the partners also imply that only superhuman coordination will make it secure. At first the...

  5. 1. The Visual Love Story
    (pp. 31-76)

    The movies became indispensable to American culture by giving new form to a well-established kind of story. In their landmark study of Holly wood filmmaking, David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, and Kristin Thompson estimate that 95 percent of all U.S. films released between 1915 and 1960 include a romance plot. Bordwell notes that this “is not startling news” and goes on to provide the customary reminder that such stories stem from “the chivalric romance, the bourgeois novel, and the American melodrama.” He also suggests that American cinema may be distinguished from its antecedents by the degree to which it makes all...

  6. 2. The Public
    (pp. 77-118)

    In modern national cultures, “public” names the realm in which private individuals govern themselves as citizens. To function properly, it must be separate from the state as well as from private business interests and domestic life. At its inception, it required print to mediate its discussions; the circulation of novels and newspapers was prerequisite for the development of a modern public sphere. Numerous accounts of modern publicity have disagreed over the importance of reading relative to spoken debate, just as they have disagreed over the extent to which a public sphere ever served to capture a general social interest. Yet...

  7. 3. The Influence Industry
    (pp. 119-158)

    No trope for describing how movies affect their audience has proved more durable than that of “influence.” Such language reverberated through the magazines, daily newspapers, and social science journals of the 1920s and became indispensable to the two bodies of writing that typically organize histories of the motion picture industry in that period. Business writers called upon “influence” to explain what made movies a legitimate, profitable enterprise. Advocates of censorship and reform, meanwhile, used the term to dispute industrial control over motion picture content. The contest between these two camps took shape as an argument about how cinema’s commercial appeal...

  8. 4. Ethnic Management
    (pp. 159-198)

    In their compulsion to depict the romantic couple as a white one, silent feature films accorded white persons a normative status they denied the nation’s other inhabitants. But the movies also demonstrated that no embodied person, no matter how white, could see and arrange spaces well enough to secure the couple. Such supervision depended on an ability to stand aloof from any particular population, to distinguish types of individuals from one another, and to place individuals in social space. In this final chapter, I address the logical question of how a culture can persist in both beliefs. To locate “America”...

  9. Conclusion: Hollywood in the World
    (pp. 199-216)

    It may well seem peculiar to have deferred the problem of Hollywood’s global reception to these final pages. U.S. cinema, after all, often provides the archetypal example of global culture, with all the arguments about cultural imperialism that entails. Moreover, the process of incorporation in general was predicated on businesses of transnational scale and scope. A wide range of histories finds that the rise of managerial capitalism coincided with ascendancy of the United States as a global political and economic power.¹ In the introduction, I echo Richard Abel’s observation that the project of defining the movies as American only made...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 217-268)
  11. Index
    (pp. 269-280)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 281-281)