The name Hollywood is recognised as something more than a place. It is a concept, an idea signifying the American film industry. Paramount, Metro-Goldwin-Meyer, Warner Brothers, the Walt Disney Corporation – the big names in American film business are all centred in this little suburb north of Los Angeles, California. For a century Hollywood has equalled great films, famous directors, stars, celebrities, glitter and glamour. But now an era seems to be over – it is showdown time in Hollywood.
The Hollywood Concept
In the early 20th century, film makers flocked to this place in Southern California, mainly because of the long days that provided good lighting conditions, which was important in times when electricity was deficient and technical equipment was primitive. The rest is history – Hollywood has gained an iconic status in the film world. A Hollywood film's design is based on the American concept of film entertainment – dramatic action, love and emotions, spectacular effects and catchy music. As long as you know what to expect you probably will not be disappointed; and to many a Hollywood-made film is a guarantee of good film entertainment. But now time is up for Hollywood’s hegemony as America’s film capital.
Hollywood and “Hollywood”
Due to state financial support programs it is simply cheaper to move film production elsewhere. This is bad news for a state already financially on its knees. Between 1996 and 2007, film production in Hollywood was down by 41 percent, and over the same period California lost more than 90,000 jobs related to film production. New and more financially favourable locations are found in Detroit, Philadelphia, Louisiana, New Mexico and North Carolina, where the award-winning TV-series Homeland is made.
Hollywood as a concept will probably not disappear, even if a film is produced and set elsewhere, it may still be labelled “Hollywood”. But in the future American films may be slightly different from the traditional Hollywood style, as the new locations may bring on new settings and new ideas that will reflect a more manifold picture of American reality and culture.
Tasks and Activities
- What is the difference between Hollywood and “Hollywood”?
- What is “hegemony”?
- How is the title of the article a pun on a certain genre of Hollywood films?
“The new locations may bring on new settings…" is an example of a phrasal verb. “Bring” belongs to a group of verbs that easily connect with a preposition, and thus change their meaning. (bring on, bring up, bring about, bring down) Follow link for more examples, a full explanation, and do the task on phrasal verbs.
- It may not be fair to generalize, but some will claim that a Hollywood film is recognised by a predictable plot and a set of familiar ingredients. Do you agree? Why / why not? Write a brief article about a typical Hollywood production.
- Write a review of a Hollywood film you have seen recently. (Your article must include a brief summary of the plot, the characters and actors, the effects, the music, a comment on the ending, and a conclusion.)
- Search the net for information about film stars from Hollywood’s golden age. Some of the most famous actors are: Rudolph Valentino, Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Charlton Heston and Gregory Peck. Choose one or two and make a presentation for the class.
- The following American films and TV series are easily classified as “Hollywood" productions. Go on the net and find their actual production location.
- Love and other Drugs
- The Italian Job
- Gran Torino
- Breaking Bad
- The Hunger Games
- Scream 4
- English subject curriculum
- write different types of texts with structure and coherence suited to the purpose and situation
- evaluate different sources and use contents from sources in an independent, critical and verifiable manner
- understand the main content and details of different types of oral texts about general and academic topics related to one’s education programme
- discuss and elaborate on culture and social conditions in several English-speaking countries
- present and discuss current news items from English language sources