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The Golden Age of Hollywood: 1930s - 1940s

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Bibliographies & Indexes
Frequently Cited Works
General Databases
Genre Sources
Guides & Encyclopedias
Journals & Magazines
Locating Relevant Books
Major Films & Names


Scope note
This pathfinder is intended for UNC Chapel Hill undergraduate and graduate students who have an interest in researching Hollywood’s Golden Age, including actors, directors, films, and studios of the period. The goal of the pathfinder is to introduce students to high-quality physical and virtual resources located on campus and the internet.

The decade marked by the Great Depression and leading into World War II is remembered as Hollywood’s Golden Age. During this period, new genres were formed, new stars were born, and the studio system rose to mammoth status. The eight major studios, each known for its distinctive style and stars, collectively produced 95% of all American films. More than 7,500 features were released by the studios between 1930 and 1945 to eager audiences. More than 80 million people took in a least one film per week at the height of the cinema’s popularity. This period also saw the introduction of the Production Code, B-Films, and the first animated feature of Snow White. Hollywood’s Golden Age began to decline in the late 1940’s due to the introduction of television, Hollywood blacklisting, and the ability of actors to become ‘free agents.’ A final blow to the industry occurred in 1948, when antitrust suits were filed against the major studios.

Source: “Motion Pictures.” The New Encyclopedia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2002.

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Created for INLS 111: Information Resources and Services
School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by April Edlin
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Page created: November 20, 2003 / Last updated: December 11, 2003

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