We're back in our time machine with the broken dial, and this time we land in 1927.

What Was the Story?

Calvin Coolidge was president, and enjoyed a good strong decade, doing a better job than his predecessor, and presiding over the "Roaring Twenties," before the Great Depression hit in 1929. Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs and the Yankees won the World Series. The first transatlantic telephone call was made, and the world population was a measly 2 billion. Popular music of that year included tunes by Duke Ellington's "Black and Tan Fantasy," Hoagy Carmichael's "Star Dust," and Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Matchbox Blues." Louis Armstrong's legendary Hot Five and Hot Seven bands were also recording during this time. People were reading things like Agatha Christie's 'The Big Four,' Virginia Woolf's 'To the Lighthouse,' Upton Sinclair's 'Oil!' and B. Traven's 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.'

Why Was 1927 Significant?

By 1927, the studio system -- with the "big five" (Warner Bros., Paramount, RKO, MGM and Fox) -- was soundly in place. It was the height of the silent era. The art of film had made leaps and bounds since the previous decade, and some of the great works of art in cinema history -- Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis,' F.W. Murnau's 'Sunrise,' Abel Gance's 'Napoleon,' Buster Keaton's 'The General' -- were being produced. Comedy was king, with Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and Harry Langdon making some of the year's most notable films (Charlie Chaplin was between films that year). Movie buffs mostly flocked to see their favorite stars, and Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks became the first such stars to place their prints in the cement in front of Grauman's Theater.
categories Columns, Cinematical