As part of The Classic Movie History Project Blogathon, I chose to write about American film in 1948. For this introductory post, I share some interesting events within the industry to put things in perspective. I also thought it pertinent to list the Top 10 Films in the USA in that year.
In 1948, the followig major events in the cinematic industry in Hollywood took place:
- Maverick film producer, aviator, and eccentric wealthy industrialist Howard Hughes purchased RKO Studios for a reported $8.8 million. Hughes led RKO during a long period of decline until the mid-1950s.
- The Supreme Court and the federal government’s anti-trust Paramount Decree or Decision of 1948 ruled that the major Big Five movie studios (Warner Bros., MGM, Fox, RKO, and Paramount) were guilty and had to end their monopolization of the industry. They were forced to divest themselves from owning theater chains, by selling them off… This marked the beginning of the end of the studio system, and was partially responsible for a major slump in the movie business by all the studios in the late 1940s.
- Olivia de Havilland‘s courageously-daring, Oscar-nominated starring role in The Snake Pit (1948) graphically depicted the treatment of the mentally-ill. Although some criticized the patient’s cure (to become a wife and mother) as unsatisfying, the film spurred efforts to improve conditions in some US ‘insane asylums’ (mental health institutions).
- In the horror comedy spoof Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Bela Lugosi (as Count Dracula) and Lon Chaney, Jr. (as The Wolf Man) portrayed their iconic horror characters for the last time on-screen in a feature film. It was Lugosi’s second and final time as Count Dracula, following the original 1931 film.
- By the late 1940s, the studio system and the Golden Age of Hollywood succumbed to two forces:
- a federal antitrust action that separated the production of films from their exhibition; and
- the advent of television.
That same year, the Top 10 Grossing films in the USA were:
There were certainly some great films released in 1948. And it’s also interesting to see the array of themes and topics that these Top 10 films depict. One can see how things are beginning to change and evolve in American cinema at this juncture.
I will continue contributing to this blogathon in the next day or so with my thoughts on a film from this particular film. Please stay tuned.
Sources: wikipedia, filmsite.org.