“The private, personal goal of the novelist in Hollywood is to successfully adapt their best prose for the silver screen.
Hollywood income was money that compelled writers like Faulker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Aldous Huxley to try their hands at screenwriting. But Fitzgerald had problems with the studio system of the 1930s because he virtually had no control over what happened to what he wrote. As an employee at MGM, he was just another scenario-writing cog in the massive machine … A screenwriter must relinquish a significant amount of control. The novelist, whose craft is largely defined by the vibrancy and specificity of detail, is naturally resistant to surrendering their right to micromanage.”
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“Propaganda soon became the industry rallying cry. As the US laid battle plans, Variety reported that film companies “dealing entirely with Uncle Sam’s preparations for war” were elated over the fact that the government was planning to review films “suitable to promoting the proper propaganda” for army and navy recruiting.
Political film censorship was rampant during this time.
This intense censorship climate was exacerbated by Wilson’s signing of the Espionage Act in June 1917, which attacked any forms of speech construed as critical of the war. Under such conditions, several film figures were arrested.
The most infamous and telling World War I film censorship case was the banning of the independent Revolutionary War picture The Spirit of ’76. Produced by Robert Goldstein (an original investor in Griffith’s 1915 pro-slavery blockbuster The Birth of a Nation), the feature became the center of government attacks after being suppressed by Chicago censors in May 1917, just a month prior to the signing of the Espionage Act. Although Goldstein regained control of the film for Los Angeles, Spirit of ’76 was soon confiscated by the Department of Justice and its producer charged with espionage.”