Enter the characters you see below Sorry, we just need to make sure you’p&g pp1a programmer not a robot. Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the film type. Not to be confused with Bee Movie.
A B movie or B film is a low-budget commercial movie, but not an arthouse film. In either usage, most B movies represent a particular genre—the Western was a Golden Age B movie staple, while low-budget science-fiction and horror films became more popular in the 1950s. Latter-day B movies still sometimes inspire multiple sequels, but series are less common. As the average running time of top-of-the-line films increased, so did that of B pictures. From their beginnings to the present day, B movies have provided opportunities both for those coming up in the profession and others whose careers are waning. Celebrated filmmakers such as Anthony Mann and Jonathan Demme learned their craft in B movies.
Soon, director Frank Capra’s association with Columbia would help vault the studio toward Hollywood’s major leagues. With the widespread arrival of sound film in American theaters in 1929, many independent exhibitors began dropping the then-dominant presentation model, which involved live acts and a broad variety of shorts before a single featured film. The major studios, at first resistant to the double feature, soon adapted. All established B units to provide films for the expanding second-feature market. Block booking became standard practice: to get access to a studio’s attractive A pictures, many theaters were obliged to rent the company’s entire output for a season.
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In the standard Golden Age model, the industry’s top product, the A films, premiered at a small number of select first-run houses in major cities. Double features were not the rule at these prestigious venues. As described by Edward Jay Epstein, “During these first runs, films got their reviews, garnered publicity, and generated the word of mouth that served as the principal form of advertising. The introduction of sound had driven costs higher: by 1930, the average U.
A broad range of motion pictures occupied the B category. A number of the top Poverty Row firms consolidated: Sono Art joined another company to create Monogram Pictures early in the decade. In 1935, Monogram, Mascot, and several smaller studios merged to establish Republic Pictures. The former heads of Monogram soon sold off their Republic shares and set up a new Monogram production house. Taves estimates that half of the films produced by the eight majors in the 1930s were B movies. Calculating in the three hundred or so films made annually by the many Poverty Row firms, approximately 75 percent of Hollywood movies from the decade, more than four thousand pictures, are classifiable as Bs.
The Western was by far the predominant B genre in both the 1930s and, to a lesser degree, the 1940s. Series of various genres, featuring recurrent, title-worthy characters or name actors in familiar roles, were particularly popular during the first decade of sound film. Fox’s many B series, for instance, included Charlie Chan mysteries, Ritz Brothers comedies, and musicals with child star Jane Withers. 400,000, a negligible increase over ten years.
Considerations beside cost made the line between A and B movies ambiguous. Particularly in the realm of film noir, A pictures sometimes echoed visual styles generally associated with cheaper films. Programmers, with their flexible exhibition role, were ambiguous by definition. Often marketed as pure sensationalism, many films noir also possessed great visual beauty. Robert Smith, is “resplendent with velvety blacks, mists, netting, and other expressive accessories of poetic noir decor and lighting. In the 1940s, RKO stood out among the industry’s Big Five for its focus on B pictures.