If the filmmaking practice by the low-end independents in the 1930s represented an alternative cinema that was characterised by 'an air of flatness and unreality'68 and was defined against the dominant - classical - cinema of the studios, this continued to be the case in the 1940s. Exemplified primarily by the ultra-low-budget films produced and distributed by PRC as well as by a significant number of films by Monogram and Republic (see the discussion of Charlie Chan in the Chinese Cat ), low-end independents continued to prize action and pace to the detriment of character motivation and narrative coherence. From the mid-1940s, however, the two most significant Poverty Row studios stopped making exclusively B pictures and gradually entered the A film market. This meant that their films - produced mainly by ex-studio filmmakers like Borzage for Republic and Del Ruth for Monogram - started embracing the properties of classical narrative and style more readily and therefore becoming part of mainstream American cinema. Despite this evolution, however, which occurred towards the end of the studio period, the films of the Poverty Row studios represent historically a type of cinema that differs from the mainstream in both economic and aesthetic terms and therefore deserve the label independent, perhaps more so than their top-rank counterparts.
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