Bowery Boys Bookshelf Film History

“Keep ‘Em In The East”: A new book on New York and the movie business

New York City (and the surrounding region) was the capital of movie making at the industry’s inception until the major studios moved out to Hollywood in the mid 1910s.

By the late 1960s, a creative revolution of independently made film — a “New Hollywood” movement, inspired by European filmmakers and driven by film students will bold visions — brought the movie industry back to New York City. Scorsese, Coppola, Allen, Cassavetes.

But in the between years, movie making never went away in New York. In fact the post-war era produced an epic list of classic film, far from the traditional big-studio soundstage.

Kazan, Kubrick, and the Postwar New York Film Renaissance
Richard Koszarski

Calling all movie buffs! Koszarski’s latest movie-industry history is an essential resource for your bookshelves, a detailed inspection of critical film work in the New York City area from the 1930s to 1950s and the release of Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront.

As Koszarski reveals, one key to the continued existence of a local New York film industry was a City Hall friendly to the business, with business-minded mayors like William O’Dwyer attempting to lure filmmakers with financial incentives and streamlined permits.

With the rise of film noir and crime pictures, New York became a perfect physical backdrop and many classic examples (The Naked City being the best known) feature actual city landmarks and locations.

The House on 92nd Street, 1945

But even that post-war surge of gritty movies was built on a small network of filmmakers from the Yiddish and ‘race film‘ scenes which worked on shoestring budgets into the 1930s. Newsreel creators and early documentary filmmakers also had a foothold in New York, leading to the development of a Pathe film studio on 106th Street.

By 1955 — the year On The Waterfront won Best Picture and New York photographer Stanley Kubrick made his second film Killer’s Kiss — the New York region had become a very successful alternative to the glitzy coldness of Hollywood.

Be sure to keep a pen and pad nearby as you read Koszarski dense and delightful work as you’ll have about two dozen new movies you’ll want to watch by the time you’re done.

Poster for the 1949 New York nail-biter The Window

2 replies on ““Keep ‘Em In The East”: A new book on New York and the movie business”

Movie making really started to flourish in NYC when mayor John Lindsay instituted the “One Stop Permit” for film makers and created an office and commissioner to deal with film making. Before that film makers had to deal with multiple city departments and local officials for filming.

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