Man is a social animal and part of being that is to have social contacts with other humans. In this regard, people look for ways to spend their time productively and at times, spend time in a leisurely fashion. …
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In this regard, people look for ways to spend their time productively and at times, spend time in a leisurely fashion. This latter proclivity is to have some form of entertainment to while away the hours and pass the time so as not to get bored. There are a myriad ways to get entertained such as the travelling shows, circuses and clowns of olden times to the modern video films. A good part of modern entertainment was the rise of Hollywood which cranked out a fair good number of films each year and distributed worldwide for a global audience. There are quite a number of regional film centres as well, such as the copycats of Bollywood, Arabic films of the Middle East, Asian films (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, etc.) and European films too. These films tackle a wide variety of subjects and topics, almost anything under the sun, only subject to some restraints concerning what is decent and of good morals. Pornography was in the early years of the film industry not that prevalent yet, due to the social mores back then. It is quite different today, where various media are freely accessible, such as Internet and DVD. What is decent and acceptable in films can vary within societies over time as values changed. This is why the popularity of certain film genres wax and wane over time, too. Some of the more popular film genres are action, drama, comedy, horror, adventure, epic and others like musicals, science fiction, war, Westerns, and crime and gangster. This last genre is sometimes of particular interest to movie goers and censors alike because they can portray the real-life stories of criminals and gangsters. This particular genre can be realistic enough when trying to show how criminals lived, do their trade and what they do with their loot. Portrayals can be too realistic for comfort when violence is shown on screen. Gangster films enjoyed its own period of popularity like other film trends in which audiences express their preferences. This paper examines why gangster films became so popular and the backlash that resulted in which the film industry adopted guidelines for film makers to abide by, its own code. Discussion The film industry was born when photography was invented and the film makers were able to project their pictures on the wide screen. The earlier films were silent films as it did not have any sound in them. The sound came later on when the phonograph was invented; prior to that, the dialogue was shown on the bottom portion of the film clips as text in which the film goers read what was written in order to make sense of the film's story. The film industry provided a welcome respite from the drabness of ordinary lives of ordinary people. It provided a cheap form of entertainment by which the audience can re-live their fantasies. The early films that were made were not overly realistic in their portrayals of life. Rather, the new film industry enticed audiences by glorying certain aspects and magnifying their expectations. Films were the new forms of escapism and quite cheap to view them, often with proven story lines that were hackneyed and repeated several times over but people welcomed this new medium. But later on, major studios had to contend with the rise of independents (Nowell, 2011:30). Film genres can evolve into several sub-genres as the film industry developed in response to audience preferences. Horror films, for example, have the sub-genres of serial killers, slasher films, teen terror, satanic, science-related like Frankenstein or Dracula, torture and sadism. Its main appeal was to frighten an audience by preying on a person's worst hidden fears. It is the same with crime and gangster films in which the storyline revolves
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