Celebrating the History of Motion Pictures from 1890 to 1960

1933 Timelines: 1930 to 1939

According to statistics published by the U.S. Ministry of Commerce, American cinema attendance has dropped by 56% since 1928.


RKO’s production chief, David O. Selznick, leaves the company to produce pictures for MGM.


Registering a 40% drop in attendance at its theaters, and having produced few successful films, RKO goes into receivership and dismisses a large number of employees as it reorganizes. Though the studio continues to produce and release films, it will not emerge from receivership for seven years.


Paramount, and its Paramount–Publix theater chain that controls 1,500 movie theaters, files for bankruptcy and begins a financial reorganization.


Under the increasing pressure of public opinion, the heads of all the major Hollywood studios have undertaken to ensure that the moral provisions set down in the 1930 Production Code will be adhered to in the future.


“The Screen Writers Guild” and “The Screen Actors Guild” are formed.


Darryl F. Zanuck leaves Warner Bros. and, with Joseph Schenck, the president of United Artists, founds a new independent production company called, “20th Century Pictures”. Their films will be distributed by United Artists.


On signing his contract with MGM, the actor Joseph Yule, Jr., takes the new stage–name, Mickey Rooney.


In New York the Roman Catholic Church founds the “National Legion of Decency”. Its aim is to stop all forms of “incitement to moral depravity” in movies.


The famous silent film comedian, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, dies, penniless and forgotten.


The British Film Institute is established to “encourage the development of the art of the film”.


The Nazi Party passes legislation which establishes that it constitutes the only political party in Germany. As one of its acts, the Nazi Party takes over all German film production.


Significant Films:

Universal releases, “The Invisible Man”. Directed by James Whale, this adaptation of an H.G. Wells novel introduces Claude Rains, and is notable for its innovative special effects.

Paramount releases, “She Done Him Wrong”, with Mae West in her first starring role. Her steamy one–liners and double–entendres outrage many self–appointed moral guardians, but her popularity brings in needed cash for the debt–ridden studio.

RKO releases, “King Kong”, starring Fay Wray. This innovative film fantasy astonishes audiences.

Fox releases, “Cavalcade”. This adaptation of a Noel Coward play uses an all–British cast, and wins the Academy Award for “Outstanding Production”.

RKO releases, “Morning Glory”, starring Katharine Hepburn. Her performance wins the “Best Actress” Academy Award.

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