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Regulating onscreen and off-screen spaces, both real and imagined, was crucial to the transition from silent to sound cinema.
For example, a featurette in a 1930 issue of Paramount Publix Opinion explains how one Tennessee exhibitor sold King Vidor's film Hallelujah (1929) by constructing a cotton field in his lobby: he created an off-screen space to directly mirror the space represented onscreen.
By resorting to the central minstrel stereotype of a plantation, the exhibitor also spoke to white audiences' fear of miscegenation, creating in his exhibition space a means of regulating blackness and whiteness in public.
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