Shared Pleasures presents the first comprehensive history of how Americans have watched their favorite movies. Douglas Gomery tells the complete story of the film exhibition business, from the humble nickelodeon to movie palaces to today's mass markets of cable TV and home video rentals. Along the way Gomery shows us how the American economy and society altered going to the movies.
Shared Pleasures answers such questions as: How and where have Americans gone to the movies? What factors prompted the growth of specialized theaters? To what extent have corporations controlled the means of moviegoing? How has television changed the watching of motion pictures? Gomery analyzes social, technological, and economic transformations inside and outside the movie industry-sound, color (and later, colorization), television movies, cable movie networks, and home video, as well as automobiles, air conditioning, and mass transit. He traces the effects of immigration, growing urban and suburban cultures, two world wars, racial and ethnic segregation, and the baby boom on the movie theater industry, noting such developments as newsreel theaters and art cinemas.
Gomery shows how the movie theater business has remained a profitable industry, transforming movie houses from storefronts to ornate movie palaces to the sticky-floored mall multiplexes of today. Contrary to some gloomy predictions, Gomery contends that movie watching is not declining as a form of entertainment. With the growth of cable TV, home movie rental, and other technical changes, more Americans are watching (and enjoying) more movies than ever before.
About the Author
Douglas Gomery is professor in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Maryland and senior researcher at the Media Studies Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. He is the editor of High Sierra: Screenplay and Analysis, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press. His other books include The Hollywood Studio System, Movie History: A Survey, and four other books examining the economics and history of American media.