Architecture of the Feature Film, 1915–25

  • John Izod


In the period from 1908 to 1914 a number of new motion picture theatres were designed in imitation of fashionable public buildings. Traditionally such designs were based, as May says, on the classical architecture of Greece and Rome.1 Soon, however, it became possible to find evidence of new motion picture theatres (like Boston’s Modern, opened in 1914 to take an audience of 1000 people) in which classicism had become deeply confused with various European styles. The ruling principle of the Modern’s architecture was Gothic, but Romanesque and romantic styles were also commonly used.2 It was not uncommon to find architectural styles thrown together in a mishmash, with the visual excitements of the Gothic or Romanesque oddly framed by ‘the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian pillar associated with classicism and reason’.3


Lighting Pattern Feature Film Movie Theatre Theatre Chain Legitimate Theatre 
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Notes and References

  1. 4.
    Ben M. Hall, The Golden Age of the Movie Palace (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1961) p. 95.Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    Q. David Bowers, Nickelodeon Theatres and their Music (Vestal, NY: Vestal Press, 1986) pp. 131ff.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Douglas Gomery, The Hollywood Studio System (London: British Film Institute/Macmillan, 1986) p. 17.Google Scholar
  4. 19.
    Douglas Gomery, ‘The Picture Palace: Economic Sense or Hollywood Nonsense?’, Quarterly Review of Film Studies 3, 1 (Winter 1978) pp. 24–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 26.
    Charlotte Herzog, ‘Movie Palaces and Exhibition’, Film Reader 2 (1977) pp. 185–97 gives a full account of these astonishing effects.Google Scholar
  6. 36.
    Tino Balio, United Artists (London: University of Wisconsin Press, 1976) pp. 35–6.Google Scholar
  7. 52.
    Jeanne Allen, ‘The Film Viewer as Consumer’, Quarterly Review of Film Studies 5, 4 (Fall 1980) p. 484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 53.
    Douglas Gomery, ‘The Movies Become Big Business: Publix Theatres and the Chain Store Strategy’, Cinema Journal 18, 2 (Spring 1979) pp. 26–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 56.
    Sklar, p. 82; David Robinson, Hollywood in the Twenties (London: A. Zwemmer, 1968) pp. 16–19.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kenneth John Izod 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Izod
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Film and Media StudiesUniversity of StirlingUK

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