A Change In Perception: The Evolution Of Entertainment, 1920 1962

2649 words - 11 pages

A Change in Perception: The Evolution of Entertainment Between 1920-1962

In the last century, America and its inhabitants underwent many changes. From the "Roaring Twenties" to the Great Depression, and from the Dust Bowl to the ideal 50's, entertainment evolved to suit an ever changing nation. In D.W. Griffith's film, Way Down East, a young woman seeks out financial assistance from her wealthier family members. In this film in particular an ever widening separation between the classes is evident. In John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath, and The Salt of the Earth, a change has occurred within the sexes, and within the struggles of working class American's. In Leave it to Beaver, American is life depicted as worry free and ideal. It is through movies and television shows of these eras that people of today are able to witness the evolution of a culture first hand. Between 1920 and 1962, movies and television experienced a vast amount of progress. During this century, as is displayed in these films, woman's roles were drastically transformed. The struggles that families faced during the Great Depression and the overwhelming Dust Bowl called on women, especially mother's, to become just as much the backbone of the American family as the father had always been. Another great change that is apparent from the viewing of these films is the ever changing fashion and the prominent emphasis placed on appearances. Perhaps the most momentous change apparent in the comparing of American life in these films is the substantial emphasis placed on the appearance of the home. Within the fifty years between 1920 and 1962 American's and their perceptions of the world changed substantially. By taking an in depth look at women's roles, the emphasis on clothing and ever changing fashion, and the importance of the appearance of the home, we can gain a deeper understanding of what became important to the American family during the different eras of the 20th century. It is important to understand that as the American family changed due to war, financial struggle, or prosperity, entertainment changed as well. Those involved in making these films and television took into consideration the feelings of the families they were meant to depict. In watching these films, one is also watching the evolution of a country and a culture.

In D.W. Griffith's film Way Down East, feminism was portrayed as a woman being somewhat naïve to any sexual awareness. A woman was also expected to do whatever was necessary for the good of her own family. Anna Moore is the main character in this film. She sets out towards Boston to visit her well to do family members the Tremont's. In an effort to help her struggling mother, she arrives in Boston on the evening of her cousins bridge whist party. Anna seems to be unaware of just how unwelcome she is. Lennox Sanderson sees this homey little girl and is at first uninterested but eventually her approaches her. Sanderson is...

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