Richard B Jewell's RKO film grosses, 1929–51: the CJ Trevlin Ledger: a comment

John Sedgwick

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Film historians interested in film as a business will welcome the publication in the HJFRT of both Glancy's (1992) and Jewell's articles on the respective performances of the MGM and RKO studios during the classical Hollywood period. The history of film as a business explicitly acknowledges film as a commodity - albeit with unique characteristics - within the general framework of commodity production. Further, within capitalist economies, the commodity 'film' is generally produced by business organisations operating within a context of rivalry in the pursuit of profit. Certainly, in both American and British markets, the major domestic players were vertically integrated, suggesting the prevalence of monopoly power and practices. They were strategic outfits. That is, they developed plans and organisational structures based upon and congruent with a set of long term objectives. These in turn informed and guided activity and behaviour at an operational level. Accordingly, the size, scope, and internal organisation of the businesses - including both the hierarchical arrangement of authority and the throughput processes - were the consequences of strategic thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalHistorical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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