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Film and American Culture

             The development of production, distribution, and exhibition under the studio system in the 1920's marked a transformational time for the film industry. Nickelodeons, which were movie houses established primarily on the east coast, began to receive huge response from audiences. Expanding on the success of this newfound movie system, were people would pay pennies to see a short clip, the Hollywood industry and the advent of theaters took off. New technology and demand for movies gave rise to the studio system of movie making. The 1920's saw the rise of five major studios Warner Bros. Pictures, MGM, Radio-Keith-Orpheum Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and 20th Century Fox. These studios developed a system that dominated the film industry; with their ability to control all aspects of a film's development, which Douglas Gomery referred to as vertical integration. These new companies owned their own theatres as well as production and distribution aspects of the film making process; enabling them to distribute their films to a network of studio-owned theaters, mostly in urban areas Pratt (The American Film Industry). Silent films were the predominant movies in this new factory system of development. Charlie Chaplin was among the biggest of these silent film movie stars Pratt (The American Film Industry). This paper will examine The Gold Rush, which was produced by Charlie Chaplin in 1925 through a studio (United Artists) he had formed with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith Lecture 10/16. Though the movie was a comedy it reflected many of the harsh social aspects of society during the gold rush and the great depression. Without the use of sound Chaplin through his extraordinary acting and directing abilities is able to put across the screen certain distinguishable characters that represented the surge of idealistic values of US culture during the 1920's. .
             To fully understand Chaplin's ability to embody the social bearing of the time I will give a brief overview of the film.

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