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The Fellows Who Dress the Pictures: Montreal Film Exhibitors in the Days of Vertical Integration (1912-1952)


The Fellows Who Dress the Pictures: Montreal Film Exhibitors in the Days of Vertical Integration (1912-1952)

Pelletier, Louis (2012) The Fellows Who Dress the Pictures: Montreal Film Exhibitors in the Days of Vertical Integration (1912-1952). PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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The city of Montreal offers a valuable case study for the investigation of the multiple ways local film programmes have been shaped by both local agents and vertically integrated transnational organizations in the classical era. This influence negotiated such major transitions as the construction of the first movie palaces in the early 1910s and the later rise of television at the turn of the 1950s. Using data collected in corporate records, newspapers, trade journals, censorship records, official statistics, and even novels and diaries, this thesis posits that Montreal occupied a peculiar position in the continental film market as it was simultaneously integrated in transnational distribution networks and home to a large francophone population. This situation permitted local entrepreneurs to wrest a significant share of the film market from the various distributors and exhibitors affiliated with US producers, largely through the importation and exhibition of French films. The city’s varied population and unique nature also helped local exhibitors affiliated with US-based organizations preserve some degree of control over the programming and policies of their theatres, even though this was an era marked by the growing vertical integration and monopolization of the film industry. This thesis further demonstrates that, while vertical integration did marginalize many of the city’s exhibitors, the need for alternative attractions, created by the independent theatres’ increasingly limited access to US products, emphasized the intermedial nature of film programmes, and consequently facilitated the emergence of local talent. The numerous performers trained in moving picture theatres soon participated in the creation of a popular theatrical tradition addressing the actual experiences and life conditions of Montrealers and, more particularly, of a French-Canadian population ill-represented by both its own backward-looking elite and the current political system.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Pelletier, Louis
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:29 October 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Acland, Charles R.
Keywords:film history, film exhibition, moving picture theatres, cinema, burlesque, intermediality, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
ID Code:975128
Deposited On:17 Jun 2013 15:33
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:39
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