The Singlereel Film And Changes To Film Form

One of the most important changes to occur at the same time that the MPPC was formed was the adoption of the single reel (a 1,000-foot length) as the industry standard. This move to a standardized format had repercussions not only for industry practice but also for the formal properties defining story films during the next five years. Reliance on a single, interchangeable film length rendered print delivery and rental charges to distributors much more straightforward. Exhibition programs became more predictable, as audiences came to expect films to last a prescribed amount of time. In many ways, the move to a single-reel standard helped push films toward the status of a mass consumer good, insofar as they became a commodity whose value was now regularized.

The changes wrought by the adoption of the single-reel format also registered themselves at the level of production methods and formal features. Now that producers knew exactly how long a film narrative should run, they could fashion stories designed to fit within the specified 1,000 feet. Film narratives began to assume a structural sameness from 1908 onward, hastened in part

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