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Hollywood Vault: Film Libraries Before Home Video Hardcover – 25 Jul 2014

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From the Inside Flap

"Many people are busy trying to figure out the value of film libraries online. Eric Hoyt approaches the question by looking at the earliest decades of the American film industry. In the process, he gives us a new framework for thinking about studio libraries and film historiography. Rather than provide a linear history of technological development, this deeply researched story charts the ups and downs of film libraries as they were subjected to legal, economic, and larger market forces. This is both a groundbreaking historical study and a map for future research." Peter Decherney, author of Hollywood s Copyright Wars: from Edison to the Internet
"We now take for granted that the 'aftermarket' for movies is far more important commercially, and perhaps even culturally, than theatrical releasethat the long tail of TV and home video and digital streaming now wags the dog. In this groundbreaking book, Eric Hoyt provides us with an incisive, in-depth, and invaluable backstory to this crucial industry development, explaining how and why the studio vaults of seemingly worthless old movies steadily transformed into libraries of untold worth."
Thomas Schatz, author of Boom and Bust: American Cinema in the 1940s"

About the Author

Eric Hoyt is Assistant Professor of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-director of the Media History Digital Library. He designed, developed, and produced the MHDL's search and visualization platform, Lantern, which received the 2014 Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award from the Society for Cinema & Media Studies.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Heady Dive into the Vaults 22 Oct. 2014
By B. Hannan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Eric Hoyt has written a highly readable book on a fascinating subject. The book's subtitle - "Film Libraries Before Home Video" - explains his perspective. Starting with the silent era, each chapter deals in turn with a different decade, ending with the 1960s. Each chapter focuses on a seminal event, from which the author ventures out to encompass other relevant elements. Rather than concentrating just on the commercial aspect of theatrical reissues, he widens his scope to include the cultural, legal, labor and longer-term implications. He lifts the lid on a great fraud of the silent era when the films of top movie stars were retitled and sold as new, examines how Warner Brothers in the 1930s plundered its silent vaults to remake them in sound and also how studios routinely destroyed thousands of old silents. The most interesting section evaluates the importance of television in putting an asset value on old movies as he brings to life two of the key characters in film library history - Matty Fox and Eliot Hyman - and the different strategies they utilised in selling old pictures to television. Hyman's story is particularly absorbing for he finessed his asset into "an engine with which he could expand his production operations and grow his company into a major Hollywood studio." Hoyt explains just how Hyman manage to successfully leverage his Seven Arts business into control of Warner Brothers. Although it is an academic book, Hoyt's skill as a writer shines through. I can safely say there is not a dull page.
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