“The Golden Age of Hollywood”, the name alone evokes a sense of elegance and timeless entertainment quality that left a definite mark on the History of Film and in American Culture in general. Essentially, the Classical Hollywood period started with the decline of The Silent Film Era in the late 1920’s and by the early 1960’s had finished its legendary run.
During this 40-year period, the Five Big Hollywood studios (MGM, Paramount, Warner Bros., Fox and RKO) operated as true factories and profusely released films that have stood the test of time.
This list aims to point some of their greatest accomplishments, nonetheless, given the capacity and prolific nature of even smaller studios like Universal Studios, Columbia Pictures, and United Artists, it is by no means a categorical account and should be viewed more as a starting point for those who wish to discover this magical time of stars of enduring beauty and talent and some of the most skilled directors and crews that have ever worked in the Movie Industry.
Please note this list is ranked in chronological order.
1. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
German author Erich Maria Remarque’s meaningful novel about the many hardships of War and its few compensations was adapted to the screen by perfectionist director Lewis Milestone. For his irreproachable work, Milestone was awarded the Best Director Oscar and his masterpiece won as Best Picture of 1930 – The first win for Universal Studios.
Given the solemnity of the theme, the film was produced without any music whatsoever. As novelist Remarque put it, All Quiet on the Western Front is a story about “a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war.” The pacifist message planted in the book found even more resonance with the help of Cinema’s visual trait.
The last scene of the movie, in which a soldier in the World War I trenches, surrounded by death and violence, turns his attention to the simple delicacy of a butterfly is a significant symbol of what separates Film from other art forms.