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Hollywood in HavanaUS Cinema and Revolutionary Nationalism in Cuba before 1959$
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Megan Feeney

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226593555

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226593722.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

The Film Business That Unites: Early US Cinema in Havana, 1897–1928

The Film Business That Unites: Early US Cinema in Havana, 1897–1928

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 The Film Business That Unites: Early US Cinema in Havana, 1897–1928
Source:
Hollywood in Havana
Author(s):

Megan Feeney

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226593722.003.0002

This chapter covers film distribution, exhibition, and reception in Havana during the era of silent cinema and of Cuba’s first republic, which roughly overlapped. At the turn-of-the-century, moving pictures arrived in Havana just as Cubans achieved independence from Spain and founded their own nation. But, by forcing the Platt Amendment into Cuba’s constitution, the United States assured that Cuba was only “semi-sovereign” in relation to US power, exerted in the form of military occupations, political tinkering, trade policies, investors, and a flood of US-made goods. Among those goods were US-made films, which began to monopolize Havana’s multiplying moving picture halls especially during World War I, which saw the rise of Hollywood’s studio system and its global dominance. The big Hollywood studios had each opened a distribution office in Havana by the early 1920s, and a number operated their own “picture palaces,” to the dismay of local distributors and exhibitors. This chapter finds that Havana’s early cinemas—and the business and print cultures emerging around them—were sites where Cubans continued to forge their national identity through complex negotiations with US power. They were not just sites for the conveyance of US influence but also for the continued promotion of revolutionary Cuban nationalism.

Keywords:   early cinema, silent cinema, Platt Amendment, fanzines, Spanish-American War (War of 1898), Cuban independence, First Cuban Republic, early film distribution, early film exhibition, early film reception

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