National Velvet: After winning a horse in a raffle, a young girl tries to enter him in the Grand National race.  1945, Liz Taylor, Mickey Rooney  123 minutes

The Best Years of Our Lives: Three veterans return from WWII to find that civilian life may not be easy.  1946, Best Picture, Best Director, 6 other Academy Awards.  AFI's 100 Best Films.  172 minutes

Black Narcissus: A group of nuns take up residence in a former mountain harem in India, only to find that wild spirits persist there and the locals can be dangerous.  1946 British Film Institute's 50 Greatest British Films 100 minutes

It's a Wonderful Life: A man gets a chance to find out what life would have been like if only he hadn't been born.  1946.  Dir: Frank Capra; James Stewart.  AFI's 100 Best Films.  130 minutes

Fort Apache: The new commander doesn't respect the Apache and won't listen to his more experienced captain. 1948.  Dir: John Ford; actors: Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Victor McLaughen; 125 minutes

Treasure of the Sierra Madre: Three man go into the mountains of Mexico looking for gold.  1948, GG Best Picture, American Film Institute's 's 100 Best Pictures; 126 minutes

The Third Man: Arriving in war-torn Vienna after WWII, a man discovers that the friend that offered him a job in the city has been killed and no one wants him to look into it 1949. Best Cinematography.  AFI's 100 Best Films. 98 minutes

The Bicycle Thief: A poverty-stricken man in Italy is offered a chance to make a living, but only if he has a bicycle. 1949.  93 minutes

Other Films: 1945-49
The Bells of St. Mary's 
The Big Sleep
Brighton Rock
XXXX1947 British Film Institute's 50 Greatest British Films
Brief Encounter
XXXX1945 British Film Institute's 50 Greatest British Films
Great Expectations
Johnny Belinda
XXXX1948 GG Best Picture
Kind Hearts and Coronets
XXXX1949 British Film Institute's 50 Greatest British Films
Lost Weekend
XXXX1945 AA Best Picture, GG Best Picture
Matter of Life and Death
XXXX1946 British Film Institute's 50 Greatest British Films
My Darling Clementine
Oliver Twist
XXXX1948 British Film Institute's 50 Greatest British Films
Open City
Red Shoes
XXXX1948 British Film Institute's 50 Greatest British Films
Stray Dog

The Studio System
"The trouble with the movies as a business is that it's an art;
the trouble with movies as art is that it's a business."

What: Today, stars sign contracts to do individual films.  For the first half of the century, they worked for the studio like factory workers worked for a factory. 

How: Everyone is under contract.  Actors were generally told what to do.  They did it or were suspended. 

The studios would loan their actors back and forth as though they were properties, with the expectation that such offers would be reimbursed in kind. 

Stars also worked on more than one picture at a time and often were expected to churn out four or five pictures a year.  For instance, Humphrey Bogart starred in 36 films between 1934 and 1942. 
Casablanca was one of four pictures he completed in 1943. 

Studios went on "talent raids" to Europe to grab new talent. 

Started in the thirties. 

Positives:  It's a family feeling.  Someone on the lot will help you.  A failure didn't crash your career. 

Negatives: It highly industrialized, profit-motivated system.  Women did not get equal treatment. 

The End:
The ability of actors to become "free agents" led to the demise of the old Studio System.  Paramount was the first to give in.

A major source of income for the studios was their ownership of large theater chains.  But in 1949, they were declare monopolies. 

The spread of television in the 1950s

and the rise of the director as auteur (author)