Screens and the Cinematic Apparatus in 1930s Hollywood and Beyond


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project responds to the widespread idea that the migration of movies to small, mobile screens has dramatically transformed, or even undermined, cinema. It explores various ways in which screens were used in the United States in the 1930s, the height of the classical Hollywood era, in contradistinction to which claims about the radical novelty of contemporary cinema are often tacitly made. Even then, screens of all sizes proliferated within and beyond the movie theater, from the movie set to the home. In examining the historically specific formations of space structured by the proliferating screens of the 1930s, the project illuminates the complex relationship between contemporary and earlier screen practice, framing transformations in cinematic space as a longstanding part of film history.