Classical Hollywood Cinema:(1917-1960 Hollywood studio era)

linear centered on the psychology and agency of individual characters

coherence of time and space

sour romance

formal patterns of good and evil,cause and effect

overall compositional unity and closure

system of continuity editing

and star system

Case study: 1930s Shanghai Cinema

Historical context:

1842 The Treaty of Nanjing , Shanghai became a semi-colonial city

transnational incursions and foreign aggression (Japan, Europe, America)

cinema as a transnational medium arrived Shanghai against the semi-colonial reality

‘cinema was both a popular institution and a new visual medium in 1930s Shanghai’–Leo Ou-fan Lee

Cinema in 1930s Shanghai:

According to ab official report to the U.S. Department of Commerce: ‘In 1927, there were 106 movie theaters in China, and 26 out of them were in Shanghai’, ‘by the middle of 1930, there were 40 movie theaters in Shanghai, and the Odeon was the largest and most sumptuous in the Orient.’

During that time, Shanghai cinema was domained by Hollywood movies, the eight Hollywood major studios ‘had contractual rights to show theri first-run movies’ in Shanghai. –Leo Ou-fan Lee,p84

By the end of 1920s, Shanghai’s silent movies occupied a large market, and in 1932, the first sound film was born in Shanghai.

Cinema and print culture:

As a center of film production and film consumption, Shanghai welcomed moviegoing as a new lifestyle.

Influenced by the Hollywood star system, the modern consumption culture in Shanghai focused on women consumers especially. Similar to Hollywood, the film industry in Shanghai also catered the related merchandise rather than film itself. Different kinds of magazines appeared in Shanghai, such as movie magazines, female magazines.

During 1921 to 1949, there were 206 movie magazines in all (Lee). Some of the magazines had some critical movie reviews and moviegoing tips, such as how to choose a movie, how to buy cheaper snacks in movie theater. The most famous female magazine was Linglong, which had weekly ratings of on-show movies , English movie titles, numerous photos of Chinese and Western movie stars. Linglong represented the arrival of new commercial print culture.

The ‘modern woman’ image became very popular as well: Shanghai women started to live in apartments alone, good-looking was not enough, knowledge was more important, shopping and moviegoing became the new lifestyle.

The print culture and cinema culture both constructed the urban modernity of 1930s Shanghai.

Linglong magazine: a link of Columbia University’s study on this magazine


Film Industry in 1930s Shanghai:

Hollywood studio system: vertical integration


1930s Shanghai also followed that system, and with the finical linkage became a major Southeast Asian film market.

Film StreetAngel 1937 by Yuan muzhi ,starred by Zhouxuan

StreetAngel is notable for its stylistic hybrid with a mix of American, European and emergent Chinese film techniques and genres.–Ma Ning

We can see the Hollywood continuing editing , French montage and Soviet-style long shots from the opening scenes and the whole film.

StreetAngel is a combination of Hollywood melodrama with Chinese social content.

I have to apologize for the clips, it’s really difficult to find one with English subtitles for such an old movie.

A much longer one ,the first 1 min of the clip is a part of the opening scenes

Discussion: the relationship between print culture and cinema culture