Before reading this post, we propose you to take part in a little game: How many actors and actresses from The Golden Age of Hollywood can you name? Look at the pictures and check out your answers at the end.
The Golden Age of Hollywood when all the classic films and master acting that modern stars learn happened, started with some simple but meaningful words: ‘wait a minute, you haven’t heard nothin’ yet.’
Those were the first words ever heard in a film, The Jazz Singer, in 1927. Warner Bros, a theatre company founded in 1903, were the ones able to bring into use this brand-new technology and the success couldn’t have been higher. The new profit was quickly invested in buying more theatres and, by acquiring other competitors, Warner Bros developed their own string of theatres changing the balance of power in the industry forever.
Four great studios, MGM, FOX, RKO and Warner owned almost every theatre in America, as well as any other part of the film-making business, and the struggle for dominance was huge. During the Golden Age of Hollywood, studios used to have larger numbers of employees than what they actually needed, in the hope of taking talented actors and directors away from competitors. As more and more films were made, film studios gained enough power as to establish this totally-controlled studio-system for the industry and to put stars under pressure to make more benefits.
Though powerful, the studios weren’t almighty and a joyful and brazen Mae West would bring them down a notch. Her daring smile and provocative scenes were too much for the America of The Grapes of Wrath and MPAA -Motion Pictures Association of America- set the Hays Code on, a list of don’ts and be careful.
The number of things that by no means could appear in a film included any kind of nudity -even silhouettes- and profanity. And film-makers should be very careful about long kisses -specially if one was a heavy, aka a criminal-and first-night scenes if they wanted their film to avoid the cut and the 25,000$ fine. These moral censorship guidelines were the essence of the Golden Age of movies because when Hays Code was substituted by modern rating systems in 1968, classic cinema was finally Gone with the Wind.
MGM was known for creating the first star-system as it had on salary, and bound by thoroughful contracts, the biggest stars of the time. Names such as Lauren Bacal, Humphrey Bogart, Judy Garland, James Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor or Grace Kelly gave us eternal classics such as The Wizard of Oz or Casablanca, that still inspire modern-day producers and film-makers.
Well, as we promised, here comes the list of the names in the pictures: Mae West, Fred Astaire, Sofia Loren and Frank Sinatra. How did it go? Lots of right answers? Let us know!