By Lucy Fischer, Angela Dalle Vacche, Jennifer M. Bean, Sumiko Higashi, Professor Michael Aronson, Professor Mark Anderson, Professor Sara Ross, Professor Gwenda Young, Professor Maureen Turim, Marcia Landy
In ten unique essays, American Cinema of the 1920s examines the movie industry's endured progress and prosperity whereas targeting vital issues of the era.
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Additional info for American Cinema of the 1920s: Themes and Variations
National ratiﬁcation came with the success of a closely fought ﬂoor battle in the Tennessee legislature on 18 August, after which thirty-six states had passed the amendment, making it the law of the land. In the next day’s Waukesha Daily Freeman, the leader of Wisconsin’s suffrage forces, Mrs. Henry M. Youman, was quoted on the front page as saying that she believed the amendment’s passage to be “the most advanced step society has taken in years—equal in importance to the founding of representative government and the abolition of slavery” (“Suffrage”).
Halsey 214) Throughout the boom and bust of the twenties the American ﬁlm industry continued to grow and prosper, ﬁnding ways to sell movies that celebrated the nation’s victories (war, prosperity, technology) and exploited its lapses (crime, Prohibition, scandal). A ﬁnancial publication of 1926 reported the following statistics about American cinema: the nation had 20,000 movie theaters (two-ﬁfths of the world’s total) (Halsey 172). Many of these were so-called “picture palaces,” beautifully appointed motion picture showplaces, like the Chicago Theater in Illinois (1921), the Loew’s Penn in Pittsburgh (1925), and Grauman’s Chinese (1927) and Egyptian (1922) in Los Angeles.
By 1924, the backlash against immigrants was so great that laws were changed to delimit America’s “open-door” policy. In fact, the National Origins Act pushed the base period for determining national immigration quotas back to 1890, thus favoring northern Europeans (Miller 147). Contributing to this counterattack was the infamous Sacco and Vanzetti case. In 1920 a Massachusetts paymaster and guard were killed during a robbery and two Italian immigrants with alleged anarchist leanings were charged with the crime.