Thursday, May 5, 2011

Transition from the Studio Era to The New Hollywood

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season FourThe New Hollywood

     In his book "The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era," Thomas Schatz uses the term "The New Hollywood." The New Hollywood was characterized by diminishing studio authority and a spreading out of the overall power structure of the motion picture industry (Schatz, 1988, p. 469). With the advent of the television technology on the rise, this new era reduced studio control over the industry and transferred it to independent filmmakers and television network producers. The "studio system" was gone and replaced by The New Hollywood.

More Freedom and Opportunity for Producers, Directors, and Stars

     Since the studios still retained the best production facilities, they were still prominent players in the motion picture industry. However, there was now an unprecedented freedom and opportunity given to leading producers, directors, and stars that never existed before during the studio era. A prime example of the transition to The New Hollywood was producer-director Alfred Hitchcock. He expanded his moviemaking prominence to television through the 30-minute series called "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." Although he did not have much to do with the actual filming of the television series, he did serve as producer, script supervisor, as well as personally introduce each episode. (Schatz, 1988, p. 484). His television series did so well after a few years that it was expanded to a one-hour series and retitled to "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour."

The Package-Unit System
     The Old Hollywood with its base of power and authority centralized in the major studios was decentralized through The New Hollywood era to independent producers and filmmakers. This transition was accompanied by a new style of Hollywood film production known as "the package-unit system." Instead of the studios mass producing films, film production was transferred to independent filmmakers. The package-unit system allowed independent film producers to organize a film project, obtain its financing, and arrange for all of the workers, facilities, and equipment through leasing arrangements with a major studio and other supporting film companies.

The Alfred Hitchcock Hour "Behind the Locked Door" (Part 3 - Originally Aired 27 March 1964)


Schatz, Thomas. (1988). "The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era." New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company.

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