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The Contemporary Hollywood Film Soundtrack

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    The Contemporary Hollywood Film Soundtrack: Professional Practices and Sonic Styles Since the 1970s …………………………………. 2 Abstract Since the 1970s, the soundtrack in Hollywood has come of age as a complex and sophisticated site of cinematic art. Greater combinations of sounds expressing a wider spectrum of tones, textures and volumes can be heard at the movies more than ever before, while behind the scenes, the number of personnel producing them has grown considerably.

    Moreover, this era has witnessed a proliferation of different artistic and professional approaches to sound. This thesis provides a detailed and wide-ranging picture of these developments and how they were ultimately affected by changes within the American film industry. Drawing on a range of accounts by contemporary sound practitioners and critics, the thesis explores sound production practices, focusing on the sound designer and composer, their creative choices, collaborative relationships – or “sound relations” – and the technologies they employ.

    The soundtrack is also examined in terms of “sonic style”: the ways in which sound effects, music and the voice function variously in the service of contemporary film narration and genre. It is argued that Hollywood sound production practices and styles have diversified to a high degree, particularly during the last three decades. Industrial realignments on the “New Hollywood” landscape in the 1970s and the integration of the independent and major sectors throughout the 1990s have introduced greater flexibility to mainstream filmmaking norms.

    These events have played key roles in the expansion of its different sonic styles and working practices in contemporary Hollywood. I take George Lucas and David Lynch, their respective sound design partners Ben Burtt and Alan Splet and composers John Williams and Angelo Badalamenti, and identify distinctions between their professional modus operandi and sonic styles to illustrate the growing diversification within the industry. Most importantly, these examples are used to demonstrate both the intricacy and variety that characterises the styles and crafts of the contemporary Hollywood soundtrack. The Contemporary Hollywood Film Soundtrack: Professional Practices and Sonic Styles Since the 1970s. Contents Acknowledgements Introduction One. Methodological and Conceptual Issues in the Study of the Film Soundtrack Two. Increased Diversity and Paradigms of Hollywood in the Post Studio Era Three. Sound Authorship and Contemporary Hollywood Four. Behind the Sonic Effect and Symphonic Score: Sound Practices in Contemporary Hollywood Five. Tracking Sound: Professional Practices and Technologies in the Studio Era Six.

    David Lynch, George Lucas and Key Collaborators in Sound Seven. Sound Relations: Studies of Production Practice in Contemporary Hollywood Eight. Stylish and Functional: Sound Analysis and Sonic Narration Nine. The 1970s: Experimental Nightmares and Blockbuster Fantasies Ten. The 1980s: New Adventures in Sci-Fi Eleven. The 1990s: From Suburbia to the Stars Twelve. Into the Sonic Millennium, 2000-2007 Conclusion. A Bird’s Eye View of the Contemporary Film Soundtrack Figures Filmography Bibliography 3 4 5 15 30 53 69 89 102 122 148 187 231 246 266 289 301 311 322 Acknowledgments First and foremost, many thanks go to Helen Hanson whose guidance, encouragement and patience have been invaluable, and extended beyond the confines of this thesis. I would also like to thank Steve Neale, James Lyons, Nadine Wills and Stacey Gillis for helping to cultivate my fascination with the Hollywood cinema, and for kindly assisting me in securing funding for research along the way. Randy Thom and Steve Maslow deserve my gratitude for providing some useful insights (as well as some amusing anecdotes) about their sound work with David Lynch.

    I would like to acknowledge Gianluca Sergi for his advice, and whose work has proved crucial to my own project. I am also grateful to the Arts and Humanities Research Council for funding me for two years. Thanks too to my family who never stopped cheering me on, especially my mother Jan, who inspired me to take this path in the first place. Mary Ings deserves attention for help that I could not have done without. Finally, thanks to my husband Joe, whose editorial suggestions, impeccable grammar and unceasing emotional support saw me through to the end. Introduction There is something about the liquidity and all-encompassing embrace of sound that might make it more accurate to speak of her as a queen rather than a king. But was she then perhaps a queen for whom the crown was a burden, and preferred to slip on a handmaiden’s bonnet and scurry incognito through the backways of the palace, accomplishing her tasks anonymously? (Walter Murch “Stretching Sound to Help the Mind See”) No ay banda: there is no band […] It is all a tape recording (Mulholland Dr. David Lynch) The anonymous “queen”, the nonexistent “band”.

    These take on much symbolic weight when we consider the soundtrack in the cinema, as they imply something elusive, unknown and hidden. Critics have often noted that film studies lean heavily towards analysis of the image, thus leaving the soundtrack shrouded in mystery (Rick Altman 1980 3; Gianluca Sergi 2004 3). The words of sound designer Walter Murch quoted above express dismay at the lesser role that sound has played in the cinema, both in the process of film production and in the theatre. But is the film soundtrack really an under recognised and neglected phenomenon?

    The recent upsurge of film scholars bringing sound to the forefront of their debates would certainly suggest otherwise. Indeed, some have commented on the redundancy of the view that sound is a neglected domain in the study of film and other media (Helen Hanson 2007 28; Randolph Jordan 2007 1). In the last three decades, a number of eminent directors in the American film industry have demonstrated an increasing appreciation of sound in films and the filmmaking process, from Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas to David Lynch and Joel and Ethan Coen.

    The budding prominence of the soundtrack in the filmmaking and scholarly communities is concurrent with recent developments in the aesthetics and professional roles of film sound. In recent years, the personnel dedicated to sound production have increased in number while the soundtrack’s artistic and technical possibilities have grown. Many of these developments are traceable to Hollywood cinema since the 1970s, a decade that marks the beginning of Hollywood’s 6 “contemporary” era.

    A new generation of sound experts including the aforementioned Walter Murch exploited new technological developments like Dolby stereo to realign the professional workplace for sound production while intensifying the intricacy of the sounds on the soundtrack. Wider industrial changes in this period of Hollywood have also made an impact. The increasing overlap between the independent sector and the major studios diversified conventions for cinematic storytelling, style and production practices, expanding both the stylistic and professional possibilities in the area of sound.

    It is these many developments that interest me. This thesis will provide a history of the contemporary soundtrack in Hollywood from the mainstream to the independent margins, tracing the developments in its stylistic features and functions and the professional practices behind its construction. My project is to reveal the ways in which sonic styles and production practices are more complex and diverse in Hollywood films and filmmaking than ever before. It is perhaps for these reasons that the soundtrack has become more enticing to critics and filmmakers alike.

    Contemporary Hollywood provides a rich and exciting area for the study of the film soundtrack. There are a growing number of scholars committed to discussing the soundtrack and its development as a key component in mainstream cinema (Marc Mancini 1985; Charles Schreger 1985; Elisabeth Weis 1995; Sergi 2004 and 2005b). But why the recent interest in this period of Hollywood, and why choose this as the focus of my own study? More fundamentally, what do we mean when we discuss sound in Hollywood, given the complexities involved in defining this cinema?

    In answering the first question, let us briefly examine the key points of interest in the recent history of the film soundtrack, some of which I have flagged above. The major American film industry has long been at the forefront of technological change for film sound, ushering in the industry standardisation of systems like Dolby stereo since it debuted in theatres in the mid 1970s. These systems aimed to heighten sound quality, permitting greater 7 numbers of sounds to be combined on the soundtrack.

    In turn this has both commanded and cultivated the creative talents of an increasing professional body, thus inaugurating new roles such as the sound designer. Walter Murch and his work on Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), and Ben Burtt who has since 1977 collaborated with George Lucas on the Star Wars movies, innovated and arguably revolutionised the soundtrack under these developments (Mancini 1985), thus foregrounding the audio experience in theatres while raising the professional profile of sound personnel to the ublic and critical consciousness (Sergi 2004). With this period of development in mind, it would be reasonable to say that the soundtrack has come of age as a complex artistic phenomenon, reaching maturation in a climate of technological change and intense creativity from a key group of sound professionals. These changes are significant for any understanding of the contemporary soundtrack.

    However, it is not my intention to focus exclusively on the soundtrack’s mainstream milieu as this has been well charted in the studies of others. It is time to explore the margins of Hollywood too. In doing so, I will provide an account of Hollywood that extends beyond the already considerable range of aesthetics and production practices associated with the major studios and top-grossing films and filmmakers. In order to explore its full territory, it is crucial that I outline just what I mean by the Hollywood cinema.

    Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson have argued that since 1917, Hollywood cinema has constituted a distinct “mode of film practice” (1985 xiv). This mode “consists of a set of widely held stylistic norms sustained by and sustaining an integral mode of film production […] Through time, both the norms and mode of production will change, as will the technology they employ, but certain fundamental aspects will remain constant” (1985a xiv).

    According to Bordwell et al, Hollywood is a site of both historical fixity and flux, from its storytelling, aesthetics and filmmaking techniques to working divisions of labour, commercial practices and industrial infrastructure. At its 8 most basic, Hollywood has always been an industry centred around a handful of large corporations, which fund teams of craft specialists to create coherent cinematic stories more or less adhering to “classical” conventions (more will be said on “classical” in later chapters).

    However, Hollywood may also be defined as an industry, a style and a mode of production that permits a considerable degree of departure from existing norms and structures, and this is no more apparent than during its past forty years. As I discuss later, a number of filmmakers working with the major studios during the 1960s and 1970s including Altman, Arthur Penn, Martin Scorcese and Mike Nichols, made films that challenged classical storytelling technique.

    Others, such as Lucas and Coppola, worked outside of Hollywood’s geographical borders, making films under less specialist divisions of labour than were demanded by Hollywood unions. Hollywood has also witnessed change at the level of industry as well as filmmaking practice. One significant development has been the rising prominence of the independent cinema since the 1980s, which reached a definitive turning point in 1993 when the independent distributors Miramax joined forces with major Disney and New Line with Time Warner.

    Since then, Hollywood’s remaining majors either bought independents or developed arms that operated like them to diversify their market. These smaller Hollywood subsidiaries resulted in a growing number of films being made under modes of production distinct from those hitherto typical of Hollywood, at the same time as they incorporated an increasing number of stylistic elements associated with other national cinemas, especially those found in Europe.

    Such industrial, professional and aesthetic hybridity within Hollywood since the 1990s is what I refer to as the “indie” cinema. I employ the term to distinguish this division of Hollywood from the area of complete independence from the majors in terms of production, distribution and finance. Although one must bear in mind that “indie” has been used by others to designate the activity within the entirely independent cinema (Geoff King 2005 3). By exploring Hollywood’s full landscape over the last forty years, from the films and filmmakers of major studios to those of its indie subsidiaries, from big-budget to modest projects and from the classical to the offbeat, my thesis provides an inclusive history behind the contemporary Hollywood soundtrack and thereby allows me to identify a wide range of fascinating developments that have led to the variety and complexity in its sonic styles and practices. Having sketched out the historical parameters of my research, it is now vital that I outline what I mean when I discuss the “soundtrack”.

    The soundtrack is conceptualised in terms of its three main components: dialogue, music and sound effects. No one component is assigned priority in my analysis; rather, I aim to examine the relationships that hold between them. Thus I analyse the soundtrack as a complex, multifaceted whole, and am thereby able to paint a picture of the soundtrack which not only captures more fully its character as a single artistic product but which allows for the capturing of the complex relationships between the various professional roles involved in he creation of that product. The multi-component/multi-craft analysis I employ has some overlap with Sergi, who argues that: By singling out particular elements of a soundtrack, critics have been able to praise individual achievers rather than focus on the much more complex issue of what actually becomes of these ‘individual’ achievements once they are recorded, mixed and reproduced not as single independent units, but as part of the complex structure that is a soundtrack (2004 6).

    Only if we are aware of the relationships between dialogue, music and sound effects can we properly understand, for example, the relationship of the composer to the sound designer, or the sorts of technical and artistic decisions typically faced by the sound editor. Furthermore, the multi-component concept provides a point of departure for an examination of the ways in which the soundtrack has served formal narrative strategies in Hollywood cinema from the 1970s to the present. This examination is theoretically and methodologically distinct from my discussion of sound production and 0 personnel and their recent historical development, although it serves to throw light on some of the more formal artistic aspects of sound production, as well as their relationship to the wider artistic motivations of filmmakers. The methodological terrain of my thesis is as follows. My discussion of sound practice and personnel is the result of extensive data-gathering, largely from writings and interviews by sound practitioners themselves, but also from critical works that have explored sound practice.

    It attempts to provide a full and detailed account of the ways in which the personnel involved in film sound production carry out their work, including the technologies and techniques they employ, the length of time they are allotted for a particular project, the creative freedoms that they enjoy, and their “sound relations” (by which I mean who they collaborate with and how often). Changes in sound practice are traced from the 1970s to the present, and are situated within wider historical and industrial contexts, such as shifts in Hollywood’s industrial infrastructure, its modes of production and the emergence of new technologies.

    My analysis of sound style adopts a different approach. This consists of reading the various sounds on the soundtrack and their intercomponent relations, or “mise-enbande” (Altman et al 2000 341), and their contribution to the process of cinematic narration. Narrative strategies are of course crucial to any understanding of Hollywood cinema and have been theorised extensively, although these theories tend to focus primarily on visual stylistic conventions (e. g. Bordwell 1985b, 2006, 2007; Kristin Thompson 1999).

    Drawing on the work of David Bordwell, I will attempt to contribute to film theory by offering a study of narrative strategies recast in terms of auditory stylistic conventions. Let us briefly examine a few basic examples of how the components of the film soundtrack can help to fulfil the requirements of narrative. Perhaps most conspicuously, spoken language is often a highly effective tool in triggering key plot developments and providing commentary on the states of minds of 11 characters, while the audience’s comprehension is facilitated by delicate volume fluctuations that maximise verbal intelligibility.

    The instrumentation, mood and style of musical compositions provide commentary on events past, present and future, quicken or subdue pace and arouse emotions. There are innumerable sound effects in a typical Hollywood film, from the quotidian (a slamming door, birdsong, the click of heels on a pavement) to the extraordinary (huge explosions, whizzing spacecraft), all recorded, manipulated, mixed and synchronised with the cinematic image with the aim to thrill and impart information about location, space or characterisation.

    Each sound component has a vast range of qualities and functions within cinematic narration and they each interrelate to produce meaningful effects. This thesis will identify some of these qualities, interrelations and effects while examining how they are configured according to different narrational frameworks or “modes” (Bordwell 1985b) within contemporary Hollywood films.

    To help carry out the dual purpose of this thesis – exploring sound practice and examining how auditory stylistic conventions serve narrative strategies in contemporary Hollywood – I employ two case studies, each focusing on a “sound team” active in Hollywood from the 1970s to the present day. Each study serves to substantiate and illustrate findings from both areas of investigation. Director David Lynch, sound designer Alan Splet and composer Angelo Badalamenti constitute the first team; director George Lucas, sound designer Ben Burtt and composer John Williams constitute the second.

    These case studies will be supplemented by (less detailed) studies of numerous other sound professionals. I take the Lynch-Splet-Badalamenti team and the Lucas-Burtt-Williams team as representatives of divergent approaches to professional sound practice and sonic style. Firstly I will explore the differences between their professional modus operandi including their collaborative sound relations and the skills and working techniques that they employ. Secondly I will employ “textual 12 analysis”, that is, multi-component readings of the film soundtracks created by the two sound teams respectively.

    These will include such diverse works as THX-1138, Star Wars (directed by George Lucas 1970, 1977), Dune and Lost Highway (directed by David Lynch 1984, 1997). These films together display a wide variety of narrational strategies and therefore provide rich material for stylistic analysis. These case studies show just how complex and diverse the contemporary Hollywood soundtrack has become since the 1970s and are examined as the result of the wider changes occurring throughout contemporary Hollywood discussed above, including its industrial realignments, its new technologies and trends in narration.

    This study begins with three chapters that lay the methodological, conceptual and historical groundwork for my account of the contemporary Hollywood soundtrack. Chapter 1 sets out by providing a detailed definition of the film soundtrack. In reflecting on a wide body of writing on the subject, I examine the soundtrack in its multicomponent structure and argue that it warrants an interdisciplinary study of its stylistic, textual qualities and its contexts of production.

    In chapter 2 I explore the wider contextual and historical boundaries of the soundtrack by focusing on Hollywood in the post-studio era. I examine industrial shifts and concurrent changes in modes of production, narration and genre, with special attention to the “Hollywood Renaissance” at the end of the 1960s, the modern blockbuster since 1975 and indie filmmaking since the 1990s. Chapter 3 tackles the methodological issues surrounding sound authorship in contemporary Hollywood, and calls for an emphasis on multiple, collaborative considerations of authorship in the study of the soundtrack.

    Hence the case studies in the following chapters emphasise the equal importance of the sound designer, composer and director, as well as taking account of other professional roles. Chapters 4-7 provide an account of sound practices in contemporary Hollywood. In chapters 4 and 5 I detail the role of the sound designer and composer since the 1970s 13 and trace their professional antecedents to the studio era. Drawing on the work of critics and a range of accounts from industry professionals, I chart a history of their creative and collaborative roles in light of Hollywood’s industrial and technological developments.

    I argue that contemporary sound practice is more diverse and fluid across productions due to decreasing standardisation across the industry following the end of Hollywood’s studio system. Chapters 6 and 7 illustrate these claims by focusing on the two “sound teams” of Lynch, Badalamenti and Splet, and Lucas, Williams and Ben Burtt. I discuss their careers in different areas of the film industry, which become backdrops against which I explore their differing group professional approaches and collaborative sound relations.

    In chapters 8-12 I offer a comprehensive study of sound’s function in contemporary cinematic narration. I begin by suggesting approaches to detailed sound analysis, from looking at its inter-component relations between dialogue, music and sound effects, to the specific qualities of individual sounds. I then explore David Bordwell’s theory of the narrational “modes” associated with “classical” Hollywood cinema and European “art” cinema (1985b, 2007), outlining a number of ways in which sounds function in the service of each mode.

    This leads the way to a proposed “contemporary” mode of narration, which incorporates norms from each of the others and thus enables the emergence of more shifting, hybrid sonic styles. This is illustrated in chapters 9-12 through close sound analyses of a range of films by the two “sound teams”. Each sound team is shown to be representative of the contemporary mode of narration, and together they illustrate the breadth of its range, as their distinct approaches to sound reveal. Each analysis is organised chronologically and represents a decade from the 1970s to the present.

    This spans an era during which the new blockbuster film and indie cinema emerged, which helped to consolidate contemporary narration and its diverse sound style. 14 Through these chapters, I will substantiate my overarching claim that since the 1970s the soundtrack in Hollywood can be distinguished by its complexity and variety as a style and a mode of practice, and that this complexity and variety is the product of important shifts in Hollywood’s industry, mode of production, technologies and narrational conventions. 5 Chapter One Methodological and Conceptual Issues in the Study of the Film Soundtrack The question “What is the film soundtrack? ” is more complex than it first appears, as it can be interpreted from a variety of perspectives drawn from professional film practices to cinema studies. This chapter sets out to explore some possible answers to the question by means of a survey of the current literature emerging from critical and practical discourses on the soundtrack. This survey covers a broad range of perspectives to provide theoretical background for the chapters to follow.

    As a result the soundtrack will be considered multifariously. It will be defined as the site of various filmmaking practices, where professional relationships, technical faculties, creative decisions and industrial demands intersect. It will also be understood as the end product of these practices, that is, as a key element of the cinema’s audiovisual experience that serves dramatic functions within a film. In addition this chapter will consider the soundtrack in terms of its key “anatomical” elements, i. e. its sound effects, music and dialogue, each of which are to be studied together with equal attention throughout this project. All of these facets confer upon the soundtrack a complex identity that lies at the centre of this study. The heterogeneity of the film soundtrack is reflected in a diverse and ever growing body of writing on the subject. Current literature ranges from musicological studies, textual analyses and technological historiographies to interviews with creators of film sound and instructive manuals for practitioners.

    These literatures do not necessarily form discrete categories, however. For instance, as Elisabeth Weis points out: “One of the joys of working in sound studies is that there is much cross-fertilization between the practitioners and the academics” (1999 96). There is indeed an increasing dialogue between those interested in the critical study of the soundtrack and the people involved in its actual production: two groups that until recent years would seem by and 16 large unconnected. To critics and theorists like Weis (1999), Gianluca

    Sergi (2004), Rick Altman (2007) and others, this dialogue is indicative of a larger – and important interdisciplinary exchange, something that can enrich our understanding of the soundtrack on numerous levels. This exchange can illuminate how the various components of film sound are created and coordinated, and the nature of the technical and artistic considerations involved in this process. It may offer insights into the working dynamics between sound professionals and the mode of labour in a given film industry, while leading to a more developed understanding as to why a particular film soundtrack sounds as it does.

    Ultimately, a comprehensive critical study of the soundtrack demands an approach that can draw on multiple perspectives and conceptualisations. As Weis and John Belton state in their preface to Film Sound Theory and Practice (1985): “To set forth a single, distinctive analytical methodology at this point in sound studies seems a bit restrictive” (xi). This is as true today as it was over twenty years ago, and has since been illustrated by the substantial and varied body of writings and discussions in circulation.

    In particular, there are several key texts that exemplify the various methodological approaches to the study of film sound, and are worth examining. Trends in Literature on the Film Soundtrack As a starting point, it is important to identify some major tendencies in recent literature on the film soundtrack. Each places a varying degree of emphasis on its identity as a critical object or as a site of production practices. Firstly there is scholarly work that approaches the soundtrack from theoretical perspectives – from gender studies and psychoanalysis (e. g.

    Kaja Silverman 1988; Amy Lawrence 1991; Caryl Flinn 1992), to formal analyses (e. g. Michel Chion 1999) and musicology (e. g. Royal S. Brown 1994). Secondly there is writing by film sound scholars that focuses on the soundtrack’s 17 contexts of production, from the art and technique of professional sound men and women to the technologies employed in the creative process (e. g. Altman 1992; James Lastra 2000; Sergi 2004; William Whittington 2007). A third trend can be identified in works written by the creators of film sound themselves, which have frequently been sourced by scholars.

    They combine the registers of professionalism – providing first hand accounts of creation and production practices – with theoretical reflections on the aesthetics of film sound (a number articles by sound designers Walter Murch and Randy Thom are exemplary). Finally, there are writings by practitioners that are aimed at other practitioners, and are on the whole intended for the purposes of technical and artistic instruction (compiled in professional journals such as Mix and Post).

    Of course, there may be some overlap between these categories as some works on film sound may occupy more than one. Nevertheless, considering key instances of literature with these trends in mind usefully highlights the soundtrack’s intersecting discourses of critical and practical production. Soundtracks and Scholars: Terminologies and Critical Concepts The anatomy of the soundtrack consists of multiple components, which most simply break down into dialogue, music and sound effects. This has had a lasting impact on the ways in which the soundtrack understood by critics.

    As Robynn Stilwell notes, “The tripartite division of the soundscape is replicated academically, as the methodologies are quite divergent [… ] the scholarly division of labour has tended to perpetuate the segregation of the various sound components” (169). Indeed, there is a large corpus of scholarly texts that focus on the individual components of the soundtrack. Film music has received significant critical attention, and these studies encompass a wide range theoretical perspectives.

    For example, the work of Claudia Gorbman (1987) and Flinn (1992) employ theories of film music informed by semiotics and psychoanalysis, while Kathryn Kalinak (1992) and Annette Davison (2004b) 18 employ textual analyses while providing historical accounts of compositional practices in Hollywood. Royal S. Brown (1994) bridges the “gap” between musical connoisseurs or musicologists and primarily film-oriented readers (Gorbman 1995 74), addressing their disciplinary and terminological differences that still loom large in film music studies.

    Recent anthologies edited by Jim Buhler, Flinn and David Neumeyer (2000), K. J. Donnelly (2001), Kay Dickinson (2002) and Peter Franklin and Robynn Stilwell (forthcoming) demonstrate a continuing interest in this area of film sound, while providing a compendium of different methodological approaches in the essays on offer. The growth of writing dedicated to non-musical sounds has continued apace in recent years, as Altman points out: Increasingly, studies have been devoted to filmic uses of language: dialogue, dubbing intertitles, subtitles, the voice, voice-over.

    Even sound effects have received separate attention, particularly since digitally massaged tracks created by a new generation of sound designers began to complement traditional studio work (2000 339). Dialogue has received considerable critical attention. Silverman (1988) and Lawrence (1991) employ psychoanalysis and gender criticism to their studies of the voice. Michel Chion (Le Voix au Cinema, translated The Voice in the Cinema 1999) combines textual analyses with a comprehensive and wide-ranging terminology, while Sarah Kozloff (1988, 2000) discusses the centrality of voice to narrative.

    Scholarly works dedicated to sound effects have also begun to emerge in the past few years. While, as Sergi (2005a) notes, there has been a relative lack of critical attention to sound effects compared with music and dialogue, a number of significant contributions have nevertheless been made, which tend to incorporate accounts of sound practices and technologies into scholarly discussions of sound style (Marc Mancini 1985; Helen Hanson 2007; Whittington 2007). While single component studies of the soundtrack are diverse and many, they are not the only critical approach to be found. Another body of writing considers music, 9 dialogue, and effects within the same study, and thus provides yet another range of conceptualisations and terminologies to the study of film sound. They have also produced some illuminating approaches to aesthetic analysis. In Film Art: An Introduction (2004), David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson dedicate a brief chapter to the study of the art of the soundtrack as a whole. They outline the fundamental formal properties and functions of music, dialogue and sound effects, and offer a basic analytical terminology applicable to each, including the terms “loudness”, “pitch” and “timbre”.

    This provides a useful starting point for understanding the soundtrack as a sonically multifaceted entity, whose different components each carry a variety of distinct qualities. However, as critics like Altman (1992) and Sergi (2004) suggest, the type of vocabulary adopted by Bordwell and Thompson is not entirely adequate for describing the soundtrack’s complex of distinct sounds. As Sergi himself points out: […] the main critical vocabulary employed to analyse soundtracks would seem to have begged, borrowed and stolen from its music counterpart.

    This is particularly evident in the insistence in terms such as timbre, pitch, tone, which though evidently relevant are not flexible enough to articulate the complexity of contemporary soundtracks (2004 6). Of course, a mode of analysis that adopts musical terms can be useful: music is itself a key component of the soundtrack, and several of its qualities are transferable to descriptions of other sounds. However, alternative disciplinary approaches – and corresponding vocabularies – have been proposed by key critics when discussing the soundtrack (Chion 1994a; Altman 2000; Buhler et al 2003; Sergi 2004).

    Michel Chion and Rick Altman are among the most prolific contemporary writers on the soundtrack. Both critics offer different, but equally useful, tools for the aesthetic analysis of sound. Chion has written single component studies Le Voix au Cinema (trans. 1999), Le Son au Cinema (1994b) and La Musique au Cinema (1995b), but his project Audio Vision: Sound on Screen (1994a) considers all components of the 20 soundtrack within one study. Taking the notion of “added value” (5) as his starting point, he observes that, when added to moving images, speech, music, and other sounds play a vital role in the creation of meaning.

    From this point, he continues to offer one of the most extensive vocabularies for the analysis of audiovisual media to date, writing, for example, about the ways in which sound contributes to the experience of dramatic action and sensation (112), and time and space (66-94). Altman (2000) claims that film sound analysts could consider how individual sound components relate to one another within the soundtrack, rather than how they relate to the image alone.

    In collaboration with McGraw Jones and Sonia Tatroe, Altman proposes a model for analysing the elements of the soundtrack using the concept of the mise-en-bande. This refers to the ways in which the dialogue, sound effects and music tracks interweave and function together as a whole. Their method involves graphically plotting the soundtrack elements according to their relative volumes at points in time during a film sequence, which provides a precise tool for analysing sound components and their interrelationships.

    In addition the study offers a useful descriptive vocabulary which accounts for the soundtrack’s multiple component structure, including the terms “inter-relational” and the aforementioned mise-en-bande. Finally, Altman et al. position their analyses in the context of sound work and technology in studio era Hollywood, thus providing an historical and empirical foundation for the study. Ultimately, the authors suggest that we cannot understand the history of film sound without understanding the importance of “intercomponent, intrasoundtrack relationships” (2000 341).

    More recently, critics have joined Chion and Altman et al. in analysing the soundtrack’s multiple structure. To Jim Buhler this can raise detailed questions of textuality, as he points out in an interview: […] taking the whole sound track as the basic unit of analysis allows us to think about the musicality of the sound track as a whole [. . . ] It also 21 allows us to think of the individual components in functional terms: Is this bit of speech functioning as dialogue or sound effect? Is this sound effect symbolic (that is, musical) or merely diegetic?

    Is this music delivering narratively important information or functioning symbolically? (Kyle Barnett et al. 2003 87) Buhler’s questions are important to understanding the meaningful and dramatic role of sounds in the cinema and its system of storytelling or narration. It would seem that a holistic conception of the soundtrack best accommodates such a discussion. Sergi also acknowledges the interrelationships between sounds, music and dialogue in study of the soundtrack, while offering a methodology that recognises the technologies and production contexts involved in its creation.

    He begins by stating that: “We have not looked hard enough into key issues such as relationships between music, sound effects and dialogue” (2004 85). This forms the basis of a model of textual and contextual analysis under the banner of an “organic approach” (2004 140-156). It considers sound dynamics, i. e. how each individual sound element works in terms of “orchestration” (the layering and mixing of key sound components), “contrast” (dynamic or textural shifts), “focus” (degrees of manipulation of audience attention to sounds) and “definition” (repetition or emphasis on significant sounds).

    It also examines broader contextual issues, such as filmmakers, technology, creativity, budgets and audiences. Ultimately, Sergi proposes a mode of textual analysis that considers the relationships between individual sounds, while offering a developed and nuanced vocabulary for discussing and measuring these relationships. Sergi’s approach also suggests various conceptual and disciplinary routes of investigation, some of which are related to practice, which is a growing area of critical discussion in sound studies.

    The discussions led by Chion, Altman, Buhler and Sergi together offer suggestions for analysis and provide terminological bases for studying the soundtrack. Their approaches are particularly useful to this project, which adopts elements of each to closely analyse the soundtrack in terms of style and its contribution to cinematic 22 narration. By addressing the soundtrack’s historical context, from production practices during specific eras to technological developments and industrial milieus, these critics also go some way in contributing to a broad and interdisciplinary field of study.

    Sergi (2004) in particular focuses on the professional and technological practices behind the soundtrack in contemporary Hollywood, and exemplifies an increasing scholarly trend towards addressing the soundtrack’s mode of practice. Soundtracks, Scholars, and Discourses of Practice Commenting on the critical discourses of film sound, Sergi writes that: “we have not yet put enough questions to practitioners about the creative, technological, and personal relationships that dictate the creation of film soundtracks” (2004 86).

    However, there are a growing number of scholars who acknowledge the process of work on the soundtrack – and who often provide insights into specific creative professions, their practices and the attendant technologies they employ. The journal Music, Sound, and the Moving Image 1. 1 (2007), and notable sound and music specials in Cineaste (1995) and Film Comment (1978) have been particularly illuminating. Such a trend in writing may also include case studies of filmmakers who are innovative or prominent in their field (William Darby and Jack DuBois 1990).

    This sometimes incorporates interview material that voices the filmmakers’ personal and professional attitudes and expert reports on the production of the soundtrack, from the books of Vincent LoBrutto (1994) and Nicholas Pasquariello (1996), to the content of specialist film music magazines like Soundtrack! and Film Score Monthly. This literature also includes scholars’ books on how film soundtracks are constructed, with insights into the complex network of artistic, technical and cooperative processes involved (Altman 1992; Lastra 2000; Sergi 2004). 3 One of the earliest and noteworthy accounts of filmmaking practices in the study of the soundtrack is Elisabeth Weis and John Belton’s Film Sound Theory and Practice (1985). The anthology covers considerable methodological ground, from history and aesthetics to technology, economics and politics. Key essays include Marc Mancini’s exposition of the sound design profession and Mary Anne Doane’s ideological study of classical Hollywood’s postproduction work to Charles Schreger’s account of the rise of Dolby stereo and Stephen Handzo’s glossary of sound technology.

    Taken together, they are representative of the scholarly interest in the history of film sound production. Editor Elisabeth Weis has extended her own critical interest in film sound production to numerous other works. They include her book The Silent Scream: Alfred Hitchcock’s Sound Track (1982) and “Sync Tanks: The Art and Technique of PostProduction Sound”, the latter of which is an article that features prominently in Cineaste’s supplement on sound (1995).

    Her discussion of post-production sound includes details on the professional roles, their cooperative relationships, and the complex of creative and technical processes that go into coordinating music, dialogue and effects. The writing on practical subject matter is shot through with the register of scholarly journalism, and thus exemplifies a significant exchange between two distinct discourses. Weis is also important because she belongs to a group of critics that aim to incorporate first hand accounts of sound practice into the study of film sound.

    Her article includes interview material with sound professionals, from dialogue editors to mixers, facilitating scholarly access to the voices of creators of the soundtrack. Sergi (2004) has also undertaken a number of in-depth interviews with a host of leading contemporary sound figures from Hollywood. Three volumes of dedicated interview material with sound practitioners also provide invaluable resources for researchers of film sound. These include Vincent LoBrutto’s Sound-on-Film: Interviews with Creators 4 of Film Sound (1994), Nicholas Pasquariello’s Sounds of Movies: Interviews with Creators of Feature Soundtracks (1996) and David Morgan’s Knowing the Score: Film Composers Talk about the Art, Craft, Blood, Sweat and Tears of Writing for Cinema (2000). These collections are interesting as their authors signal a growing critical appreciation of the professional practices and perspectives surrounding the soundtrack. Practice on Paper: Professionals Writing about the Soundtrack A growing body of literature by sound professionals is further representative of significant interchange between researchers and creators of the film soundtrack.

    For example, the newly published journal Music, Sound and The Moving Image has reprinted an article by composer Ennio Morricone. The School of Sound (2003) has published lectures by both sound professionals and critics, offering an invaluable forum of conceptual exchange. Two key contributors are Hollywood sound designers Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now Francis Ford Coppola 1979) and Randy Thom (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Steven Spielberg 1984; Wild at Heart David Lynch 1990).

    For over a decade they have proved to be prolific writers, their work addressing the technical, aesthetic, conceptual and professional issues associated with the film soundtrack. Essentially, Murch and Thom offer an exceptional mode of writing. While they primarily offer a register of technical expertise, they also articulate certain theoretical perspectives, which could appeal to a wider critical readership (Weis 1999; Sergi 2004).

    For example, (1995 and 2000 respectively) they approach the conceptual issues involved in defining the “sound designer”, a slippery professional title that has, in the past twenty years, entered the scholarly lexicon of the soundtrack (Mancini 1985; Weis 1995; Sergi 2004). With these articles they also offer informed histories of sound in the cinema, along with in-depth discussions of the affective and dramatic uses of sound. 25 Thom’s writing gains a polemic register when focusing on the working relations between sound specialists and other filmmakers.

    For example, in “Confessions of an Occasional Sound Designer”, he calls for greater collaboration between the practitioners of various filmmaking crafts. He also voices the concern that sound and its creators are relegated to a status below that of the image and its attendant personnel. Undoubtedly invaluable for fellow film sound practitioners, this writing is also becoming recognised in the arena of film sound scholarship. It offers an important first hand account of both the aesthetic and expressive functions of sound, and the working practices of sound creation in Hollywood, its labour and its politics.

    The majority of articles written by Murch and Thom can be found online. One of the richest single resources for these writings is the website Filmsound (www. filmsound. org). This is exemplary of a considerable and growing exchange between scholars and practice occurring on the Internet. The ever-expanding site contains pieces on all aspects of film sound, from theoretical discussions of the aesthetics of sound to technical processes occurring during postproduction sound creation, and so is a fertile space of learning and debate for both critics and sound professionals.

    This is encapsulated in the site’s recent publication of an edition of the online journal Offscreen (2007), which contains essays and forum discussions with contributions made by scholars and film sound practitioners. Overall, the online domain provides considerable space for the discussion of the soundtrack, and while key sites ranging from the scholarly to the professional are too numerous to list, many of these have been compiled within an article by Jay Beck and Frank Le Gac in the pages of the film journal Iris (1999), thus providing a useful starting point for finding such resources. 6 Practical Literature for the Professional Domain The writings by sound professionals for sound professionals have been published widely. Professional film journals American Cinematographer and Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers (JSMPE) published articles on sound production since the early years of the talkies. Today such writing spans a range of media.

    This includes recent books such as Sonnenschein’s Sound Design: The Expressive Power of music, Voice, and Sound Effects in The Cinema (2000), and numerous filmmaking journals in print – some of which have an online presence – including Mix and its comprehensive anthology Sound for Picture: An Inside Look at Audio Production for Film and Television (2001). Others include Post, The Association for Motion Picture Sound (AMPS), and The Hollywood Reporter. Of course this literature is primarily aimed at other practitioners interested in learning the filmmaking craft, although it may prove a valuable resource for the scholar willing to xplore the technical, industrial and technological context of the film soundtrack. Today, the wealth of literature on film sound embodies a variety of different discourses, registers, concepts and methodologies across a considerable body of writing. Moreover, it spans a wide range of written media which includes critical works and anthologies dedicated to sound, professional and academic websites, manuals and books on film sound production, and collections of interviews with sound professionals.

    There are also magazines and journals dedicated to sound and music, technical journals on all aspects of cinema including sound, special editions and features on sound in film and arts journals and magazines including Film Comment (1978), Yale French Studies (1980), Sight and Sound (1987), Hollywood Reporter (1991), Cineaste (1995) and Iris (1999), and critical books or anthologies on film, which include substantial sections on sound (Neale 1985; Cook 2002). 7 The material on offer is surely indicative that the film soundtrack is a heterogeneous phenomenon, a fact that need not be overlooked. As an object of critical study, it may therefore be analysed formally in its multiple components of music, sound effect and dialogue; textually as a bearer of dramatic meaning and narrative and contextually in its professional, industrial and technological practices during a given historical moment. The study of the soundtrack is best supplemented by differing the registers of intellectual and professional knowledge.

    While traditional theoretical accounts of sound are worthy, so too is the practitioner’s “view from the trenches” (Sergi 2004 73). A methodology that encompasses multiple perspectives, vocabularies and conceptualisations is key to a wide-ranging and comprehensive study of the soundtrack. Indeed Altman writes that: “Only by imagining broadly – by defining our corpus in the broadest possible manner – can we possibly succeed in revolutionizing the way in which moving images will be heard and seen by future generations” (2007 7).

    The Soundtrack: From Concepts to Contexts The current body of research on film sound is broad indeed, and while it continues to fruitfully explore numerous areas of the soundtrack per se, it also covers many cinematic contexts around the world. From Europe (Noel Carroll 1985; Douglas Gomery 1985; Miguel Mera and David Bernand 2006) to Asia (Shoma Chatterji 2003) and a combination of national cinemas including French, German and American (Chion 1994a and 1999; Charles O’ Brian 2006), it would seem that critical considerations of the soundtrack are now truly global.

    However, Hollywood cinema represents an area of sound studies that has particularly flourished, from its transition to the talkies (Donald Crafton 1997; Gomery 2005), to contemporary sound styles and practices (Donnelly 2000; Sergi 2004). This is most likely because Hollywood has led most of the key innovations in cinema sound in terms of technology, art and technique. As Sergi (2004) 28 writes, “Since the coming of sound in the late 1920s, the history of film sound has been firmly located within the American industry” (5).

    In recent years there has been increasing attention paid to the Hollywood soundtrack from the late 1970s to the present. Contemporary scores (Davison 2004b), sound production technologies and techniques (Mancini 1985; Weis 1995; Sergi 1998 and 2004) and specific creative personnel (LoBrutto 1994) have provided diverse and far-reaching avenues of enquiry, all contributing to a burgeoning critical field. Why should this thirty-year period in Hollywood’s history be of vital interest?

    As I pointed out in the introduction of this thesis, developments in the areas of sound technology and filmmaking practice, such as the industry-wide deployment of Dolby stereo and the increasing finesse of multi-track recording and manipulation techniques certainly deserve recognition in drawing attention to this era of Hollywood. These factors correspond to some key sound professionals, including Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now Francis Ford Coppola 1979) and Ben Burtt (Star Wars George Lucas 1977).

    These two soundmen became expressive of new and innovative approaches to creative sound production. Star Wars became the benchmark of high quality cinema sound, and is said to have contributed to a proliferation of Dolby systems in theatrical exhibition (Cook 2002 386). Walter Murch introduced the term “sound design” while working on Apocalypse Now, which has become a widely used professional title in the film industry since. Finally, this period may be recognised as fostering an interest in film sound among filmmakers.

    Weis and Belton write that: “There have always been isolated directors with good ears, but now there is a whole generation more aware of sound. This is particularly true in the United States among a number of filmmakers who became major figures in the seventies” (9). Lucas, Coppola, Robert Altman (Nashville 1975), Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver 1976; Raging Bull 1980), Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter 1978) and Steven Spielberg (Jaws 1975; Close Encounters of the Third 29 Kind 1977; ET: The Extra Terrestrial 1982) and others began to pay significant attention to sound as a central creative component in the cinema.

    Ultimately these factors may be viewed as key constituents in a contemporary paradigm of film sound. This paradigm is perhaps enticing as it resounds with the notion of change: an expansion of creative ideas and modifications in professional and technological practices in Hollywood. However, this expansion is the result of wider adjustments in Hollywood’s industrial, technological and aesthetic history. Therefore a broader contextual examination will be necessary if we are to fully conceptualise a contemporary paradigm for the soundtrack.

    Changes in Hollywood’s industrial infrastructure and its patterns of production, down to its generic forms and modes of narration, impacted on how the soundtrack was produced, by whom, and what it sounds like today. More specifically, these changes will be able to provide a foundation on which illustrative examples of sound style and practice – from the work of filmmakers David Lynch, Alan Splet and Angelo Badalamenti to George Lucas, Ben Burtt and John Williams and others – can be fully comprehended. Ultimately, we have to start at the beginning and ask: what is contemporary Hollywood cinema? 0 Chapter Two Increased Diversity and Paradigms of Hollywood in the Post Studio Era Although it has been frequently invoked in critical debates for almost four decades, the notion of contemporary Hollywood, with its various designations (“new”, “postclassical” or “postmodern”) continues to elude straightforward definition. Because its history can be analysed through a range of approaches from style, industry, working practice and technology to socio-economics, scholarship on the subject has developed into a complex discourse. The breadth and depth of this discourse offers a number of questions that need to be disentangled.

    For example, how can Hollywood be periodised as new? What are the criteria for change? If significant changes have taken place, what are they and where can they be located? While it is not easy to produce hard and fast answers, I would like to focus on some defining developments and changes in industry, cinematic style and production practice that together show that Hollywood has become increasingly heterogeneous, developing a number of different “strands”. These changes can be traced back to 1948 when the studio system came to an end, loosening Hollywood’s industrial infrastructure.

    Production practices became decentralised and unchained from the studios, leading to an increasing diversification of working modus operandi and stylistic approaches in filmmaking. This diversification intensified after the 1970s thereby forming what I understand to be “contemporary” Hollywood. Most historiographies of the “new”, “postclassical”, “postmodern” or “contemporary” Hollywood anchor it in epochal terms to the 1948 Paramount Decrees (Hillier 1992; Schatz 1993; Tasker 1996; Neale and Smith 1998; Bordwell 2006).

    Government legislation ruled that major studios RKO, Warner, Fox, Paramount, and Loew’s/MGM would divorce their production and distribution operations from theatrical exhibition, thus loosening their oligopolistic control over the whole American movie industry. This break in the studio system has been understood to spark not only a 31 reconfiguration in Hollywood’s industrial infrastructure but also modifications in production practices and film styles, thus marking the end or decline of the pre-1948 classical era which had been ostensibly marked by a degree of stability (Schatz 1993; Tasker 1996).

    However one gauges the significance of this event, it has become the starting point for varied and lively discussions on change or otherwise within Hollywood. Some critics have identified periods of aesthetic innovation and experimentation in filmmaking, particularly since the 1960s, citing examples like Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn 1967) and Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper 1969) and the various contributions of the so-called “movie brats”, who include Coppola, Spielberg, Lucas and Scorsese (Jacobs 1977; Pye and Myles 1979; Biskind 1998; Smith 1998).

    Others trace a process resulting in economic stability, characterised by the style, marketing strategies and broad audience appeal of the blockbuster movie from the mid 1970s (Hillier 1992; Schatz 1993). Others still, situate Hollywood within discussions of the “postmodern”, noting the contemporary cinema’s frequent textual references to past styles or themes (Carroll 1998; Elsaesser and Buckland 2002), or its interaction with various elements within our multimedia culture (Tasker 1996).

    Each of the above have been variously designated by the terms “Hollywood Renaissance”, “New Hollywood”, “postclassical”, “postmodern”, or simply “contemporary Hollywood”, and clearly they are not periodised in the same way, nor are they understood according to the same set of criteria. In opposition to the arguments that changes taking place – whether stylistic, technological, institutional, industrial or economic – warrant the ascription of “newness”, some may claim that nothing has happened to Hollywood that is so significant that it constitutes fundamental transformation (Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson 1985a; Thompson 1999; Bordwell 2006).

    Others speak of departure from, 32 and eventual return to, a mode of storytelling that resembles films made in the pre-1948 studio era, as the blockbusters by Lucas and Spielberg exemplify (Pye and Myles 1979; Schatz 1993). Furthermore there are claims that the classical paradigm of economic, industrial and narrative stability never truly existed, and that the Hollywood system has “maintained essentially the same character from the teens to the present day – with the additional proviso that we should not think of this enduring system as in any sense ‘classical’” (Smith 1998 15).

    According to this position, Hollywood’s history has been consistently fraught with disruptions and modifications on all levels, and so debating the existence of new or different phases throughout could be regarded as futile. So how does one begin to navigate a discussion through such a seemingly rich and complex history? We cannot speak of, at any point, the sudden introduction of an entirely “new” Hollywood.

    Nor can we postulate on a purely “postclassical” cinema, if we are to take it for granted that a “classical” cinema exists, because as Peter Kramer rightly points out: “Post-classicism does not refer to a complete break in American film history” (289). Within Hollywood’s institutional, industrial, aesthetic and economic history are its fibres – its modes of production, narrational and stylistic approaches, genres, marketing strategies and so on. Together they reveal a complex and interwoven landscape of stasis, transformation, departure and return, and where shifts occur, at differing rates and degrees.

    Today’s Hollywood is a cinema marked by breaks, evolutions and continuities on numerous levels, although the significance of these levels and degrees of difference are variables that critics continue to debate. Conceptualising a contemporary paradigm of Hollywood is thus a matter of emphasis and scope. With that in mind I wish to draw attention to some key changes that took place in Hollywood since the 1970s that warrant my ascription of “contemporary” and which distinguish it from past eras of Hollywood. Focusing on the industrial modifications and consequent emergence of new production strands – including the “Hollywood 3 Renaissance” in the late 1960s and early 1970s; the movie brats, who by the mid 1970s had formulated the contemporary blockbuster; the growing prominence of the American independent sector in the 1980s, and its partial assimilation into Hollywood in the 1990s – I will discuss the proliferation of different narrational strategies, new generic trends and individualistic modes of production in this stretch of history. Theorising contemporary Hollywood as essentially diverse does not automatically postulate a homogenous, rigidly uniform cinema of past eras.

    Variety, it is claimed, has always characterised the Hollywood cinema. For instance, Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kristin Thompson cite affectionate terms for the novelties of scriptwriting celebrated during the studio era: “gimmick, twist, boff, yak, weenie, old switcheroo” (1985a 70). Steve Neale discusses the considerable diversity and hybridity of generic production in Hollywood during the 1930s (2000 234). At the same time, contemporary Hollywood does not involve wholesale departure from practices and conventions of the studio or classical era.

    Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson suggest that critics should remain sensitive to the continuing principles that have governed Hollywood filmmaking since 1917. They argue that: “Just as the Hollywood mode of production continues, the classical style remains the dominant model for feature filmmaking” (370). This view of Hollywood’s history constructs a cinematic paradigm that has in some senses endured: it is sufficiently rigid so as to uphold some basic standards of style and practice while allowing for a degree of differentiation and deviation from those standards.

    Nevertheless, I wish to highlight the ways in which Hollywood has demonstrated increasing variations across its industrial infrastructure, production practices and narrational conventions, intensifying in the 1970s and beyond. 34 After 1948: Industry, Mode of Production and Style I will begin my account of contemporary Hollywood by focusing on some key events that preceded, and to an extent, paved the way for this era. From the late 1940s to the mid 1950s, the major studios witnessed considerable changes to their production policies. As Bordwell et al. rite: “instead of the mass production of many films by a few manufacturing firms, now there was the specialized production of a few films by many independents” (1985a 331). More specifically there was the transition from the “producer-unit” system to “package production”. For the producer-unit system, studios contracted a small group of producers who were each required to make six to eight films a year with a relatively identifiable staff. Package production saw a move away from long-term in-house staff employment towards a more freelance project-by-project arrangement (Bordwell et al. 985a 330). This period of Hollywood is therefore significant because its mode of production became a more flexible affair while product differentiation and specialisation increased. The exact conditions for the change in production policy and product specialisation in post-war Hollywood are manifold, and to provide a comprehensive account of these changes would require considerably more space. However, one event that played a significant role in these realignments was the 1948 divorcement, or Paramount decrees, which led the studios to divest their ownership of exhibition outlets.

    Before this happened, the major studios’ ties with exhibition generated the need for a steady flow of production and income, as Maltby observes: Th

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