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From 1920's to the 1950's, MGM, Paramount, Fox, RKO and Warner Brother

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From 1920's to the 1950's, MGM, Paramount, Fox, RKO and Warner Brother  [#permalink]

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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 227, Date : 25-Jul-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


From 1920's to the 1950's, MGM, Paramount, Fox, RKO and Warner Brothers were fully incorporated conglomerates, controlling every aspect of the movie-making industry: production, distribution and exhibition. Employing what became known as Hollywood's 'studio system,' these 'Big Five' were mass-production operations, churning out at least one feature film per week. They hired creative talent whom they often kept under long-term contracts, made films primarily on lots they owned, and distributed their movies to theater chains they either were affiliated with or acquired.

Such vertical control gave rise to the 'star system,' in which actors and actresses were groomed for A-class features, the bulk of a studio's revenues. Studio heads decided what roles their stars would play, how they would appear, and had in-house publicity departments publicizing their 'glamorous' on- and off-screen lives. To finance their first-run market films, studios depended on B-grade movies, made quickly and inexpensively with second-tiered artists. Ticket sales from these features, which usually made up nearly half of total output, gave the studios the cash flow to keep their operations running at full capacity.

'Block booking' was the practice these 'moguls' used to sell their low-budget products to independent theater owners. The practice was conceived in 1915 by Paramount Pictures founder Adolph Zukor in response to the public's attraction to Mary Pickford, his silent-screen contract star and 'America's first sweetheart.' Block booking was an all-or-nothing deal; for any unaffiliated movie house, feature films were packaged with four or five lower quality movies. These anti-competitive and monopolistic 'blind bidding' tactics guaranteed the studios a constant source of revenue.

In the 1948 United States vs. Paramount Pictures, Inc antitrust case that had first been brought against the 'Big Five' nearly a decade earlier, the US Supreme Court ruled that the studios violated free trade enterprise and no longer could own theaters that played only films produced by their houses. This landmark decision outlawed block booking and forced the production studios to begin selling off their theater chains. By 1954, all operational links between production studios and theaters chains were severed, marking the end of an era known as 'The Golden Age of Hollywood.'


1. According to the passage, all of the following are characteristics of 'The Golden Age of Hollywood' EXCEPT:

a. Independent movie chains had little bargaining power with regard to the individual movie titles they wanted to buy.
b. The 'Big Five' had the ability to fight legal proceedings for years.
c. The ratio of output produced to revenue generated of B-list films exceeded that of feature films.
d. Because of the 'star system,' studios decided to vertically integrate their production, distribution and exhibition divisions.
e. The 'star system' played a part in the practice of 'block booking.'



2. Within the context of the passage, Mary Pickford functions to

a. illustrate how America' fascination with movie stars was a catalyst for the studios' questionable business practices.
b. support the rationale behind the studio 'star system.'
c. demonstrate that a star's career was dependent upon 'block booking' practices.
d. show that a star's status influenced how movies were made.
e. provide evidence that the practice of 'blind bidding' was unprofitable for the studios.



3. The passage suggests which of the following about the relationship between the studios and their A-list performers?

a. The actors and actress under long-term contract did not like the control the studios had over them.
b. A studio's star mix and revenue stream were directly correlated.
c. A studio's A-list stars gave each production house its own distinctive style.
d. A studio's major stars could dictate the kind of movies they made.
e. Feature film actors, depending of their audience draw, could negotiate a percentage of their films' profits.



4. The passage is primarily concerned with

a. outlining the factors that made Hollywood a movie capital.
b. summarizing a business practice of a handful of motion picture studios.
c. criticizing the tactics used by the 'Big Five.'
d. describing an event that required federal legislation.
e. providing an overview of a particular period of time within an industry.


Originally posted by globaldesi on 21 Sep 2018, 23:03.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 10 Oct 2019, 22:55, edited 3 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (926).
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Re: From 1920's to the 1950's, MGM, Paramount, Fox, RKO and Warner Brother  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Sep 2018, 09:47
1
All correct took 7 minutes including reading

1:)D
actually, it is the other way around as per the passage

2:)A
mentioned in these lines
Block booking' was the practice these 'moguls' used to sell their low-budget products to independent theater owners. The practice was conceived in 1915 by Paramount Pictures founder Adolph Zukor in response to the public's attraction to Mary Pickford, his silent-screen contract star and 'America's first sweetheart.'

3:)B
mentioned in these lines
such vertical control gave rise to the 'star system,' in which actors and actresses were groomed for A-class features, the bulk of a studio's revenues.

4:)it was more or like between C and E
but the author has not clearly mentioned how these big 5 were doing injustice to other small producers hence i marked E

also i feel difficulty level of the passage is somewhat 600-700
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Re: From 1920's to the 1950's, MGM, Paramount, Fox, RKO and Warner Brother  [#permalink]

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Re: From 1920's to the 1950's, MGM, Paramount, Fox, RKO and Warner Brother  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 01:22
2
All correct in 9 mins, including 3 mins 45 seconds to read.
Para 1- Big Five Hollywood
Para 2- star system
Para 3- 'Block booking'
Para 4- SC ruled against a big-5

1. According to the passage, all of the following are characteristics of 'The Golden Age of Hollywood' EXCEPT:

a. Independent movie chains had little bargaining power with regard to the individual movie titles they wanted to buy.- incorrect, Block booking was an all-or-nothing deal; for any unaffiliated movie house, feature films were packaged with four or five lower quality movies.
b. The 'Big Five' had the ability to fight legal proceedings for years.- incorrect, United States vs. Paramount Pictures, Inc antitrust case that had first been brought against the 'Big Five' nearly a decade earlier
c. The ratio of output produced to revenue generated of B-list films exceeded that of feature films.- incorrect, Ticket sales from these features, which usually made up nearly half of total output, gave the studios the cash flow to keep their operations running at full capacity.
d. Because of the 'star system,' studios decided to vertically integrate their production, distribution and exhibition divisions.- Correct,
Such vertical control gave rise to the 'star system,'
e. The 'star system' played a part in the practice of 'block booking.'- incorrect, The practice was conceived in 1915 by Paramount Pictures founder Adolph Zukor in response to the public's attraction to Mary Pickford, his silent-screen contract star and 'America's first sweetheart.' Block booking was an all-or-nothing deal


2. Within the context of the passage, Mary Pickford functions to

a. illustrate how America' fascination with movie stars was a catalyst for the studios' questionable business practices.- Correct
'Block booking' was the practice these 'moguls' used to sell their low-budget products to independent theater owners. The practice was conceived in 1915 by Paramount Pictures founder Adolph Zukor in response to the public's attraction to Mary Pickford, his silent-screen contract star and 'America's first sweetheart.' Block booking was an all-or-nothing deal

3. The passage suggests which of the following about the relationship between the studios and their A-list performers?
b. A studio's star mix and revenue stream were directly correlated.
in which actors and actresses were groomed for A-class features, the bulk of a studio's revenues.

4. The passage is primarily concerned with
e. providing an overview of a particular period of time within an industry.- COrrect, the passage provides an overview of 'The Golden Age of Hollywood'
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Re: From 1920's to the 1950's, MGM, Paramount, Fox, RKO and Warner Brother   [#permalink] 02 Aug 2019, 01:22
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