Some basic questionsHere is the opening of our book proposal.

I now think that I should have discussedthe increasing focus on character attention as somewhat parallel to the concurrentshift from expository to dialogue titles. In discussing intertitles in CHC,I emphasized the move during the 1910s from a dependence primarily on expositorytitles to one on dialogue titles (pp. 183–89). One purpose of this shift wasto make the narration of the action less overt, making the story informationseem to come from the characters rather than from a commenting, omniscient non-diegeticsource.

 And we did it all on note cards and typewriters.

:Karl Popper, TheOpen Society and Its Enemies, vol. II: The High Tide of Prophesy: Hegel,Marx, and the Aftermath (London: Routledge, 1990), p. 19.

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Why didn’t we discuss reception? We anticipatedthis query and in our preface we wrote:

Of course, questions have been raised about parts of the industrial and institutionalanalysis. One criticism of the mode of production sections was their failureto discuss the broader industry. When I read that, I actually laughed,partially in agreement. In my first draft of my dissertation, I had anextensive description and analysis of the industry, but wise counsel was thatI was writing two dissertations. I agreed, and we eliminated theindustrial details from the dissertation and the book, trying instead to focuson pertinent effects of the broader industry on its mode of production and leavingto others further detailing of industry structure, conduct, and performance. Afterall, we had over 1200 typescript pages, and not everything could be said to createa somewhat manageable book. So that, for me, has always been oneof those ironies about the project which I might have explained in the foreword.

"Theodor Adorno and the Culture Industry" (1984)

We also had to carve out our area of study because as aphenomenon the classical studio cinema isn’t perfectly parallel to thosewe encounter in orthodox art history. It isn’t a period, because classicallyconstructed films are still being made. It isn’t a movement, at least likeothers in film history, because those, such as Italian Neorealism, are far morelimited. It’s somethingelse, and it makes us rethink the categories we use to study other group styles.

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Wecast our net wide, examining not only films but all the trade periodicals wecould find, archive documents recording studio production practices, and personalrecollections of people we interviewed, like Charles G. Clarke, Stanley Cortez,William Hornbeck, Linwood Dunn, and Karl Struss. This made for a swarm of endnotes,nearly every one packed with many citations.

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It’s important to realize what The Classical Hollywood Cinema isnot and never tried to be. Perhaps the most common strain of criticism was thatit didn’t take into account other things.

The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass ..

Why did we not do a full-blown comparative study, situating Hollywood inrelation to other national cinema traditions? There is a seriousmethodological point here. How, after all, can you be sure that the featuresof technique or narrative that you’re picking out distinguish Hollywood?Perhaps we find the same features in French or Brazilian films. The reply isthat we did rely on our intuitive experience with other traditions to come upwith some broad contrasts with other modes of filmmaking (e.g., Soviet montagecinema, contemporary art cinema). Moreover, especially in the pre-video era,a systematic and fairly comprehensive cross-national study of this sort wasn’tpractical. Kristin and I have gone on to try to trace alternative styles, butfilm studies is still very far from a complete comparative study of aesthetictraditions in international popular cinema. That is largely because most scholarsdo not pursue analysis of form and style.