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
1945 Brief Encounter; On the list of British Film Institute's list of Best Films; unrated
1945
The Bells of St. Mary's 
1945 The Lost Weekend; Academy Award Best Picture; Golden Globe Best Picture; unrated
1946 
Notorious
1946 Best Years of Our Lives : listed between 26-50 in AFI's 100 Greatest Films of all time; Academy Award Best Picture; Golden Globe Best Picture; between 200-250 of IMDb's 250 best movies; unrated
1946
Black Narcissus; On the list of British Film Institute's list of Best Films; unrated
1946
Great Expectations; On the list of British Film Institute's list of Best Films; unrated
1946
It's a Wonderful Life : listed in top 25 of AFI's 100 Greatest Films of all time; in top 25 of IMDb's 250 best movies; unrated
1946
Matter of Life and Death British Film Institute's 50 Greatest British Films
1946 My Darling Clementine
1946 Open City XX
1946 The Big Sleep
1947 Brighton Rock British Film Institute's 50 Greatest British Films
1947 Shoeshine
1948
Bicycle Thieves; between 50-100 of IMDb's 250 best movies; unrated
1948
Johnny Belinda; Golden Globe Best Picture; unrated
1948
Oliver Twist British Film Institute's 50 Greatest British Films; unrated
1948
Red Shoes British Film Institute's 50 Greatest British Films
1948 Treasure of the Sierra Madre : listed between 26-50 in AFI's 100 Greatest Films of all time; Golden Globe Best Picture; between 100-199 of IMDb's 250 best movies; unrated
1949
All the King's Men; Academy Award Best Picture; Golden Globe Best Picture; unrated
1949
Kind Hearts and Coronets; On the list of British Film Institute's list of Best Films; unrated
1949
Stray Dog
1949 The Third Man : listed between 26-50 in AFI's 100 Greatest Films of all time; On the list of British Film Institute's list of Best Films; between 100-199 of IMDb's 250 best movies; unrated
1949
Whisky Galore! On the list of British Film Institute's list of Best Films; unrated

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)