Before I describe what escapism in movies means, I will explain what escapism means in general. Simply said, escapism is a way of avoiding boring things. You do this for example by thinking or reading a book. Another form of escapism is going on holiday, you are going somewhere and you are trying to have fun without having to think about boring things like studying or working. Escapism in movies means that movies offer you a way to escape reality. So basically, millions of people see movies as a way to escape the real world.
People go to movies so that they can live in a fiction world for a few hours. Escapism in the form of movies began during the Great Depression. During this period of time, escapism gave people a way out of reality and into a world of fiction and fantasy. This world looked more liveable than the awful world they were living in. Hollywood films were a great way of showing the audience what this fantasy world looked like, with films such as The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, and the Seven Dwarfs.
During the Great Depression, action movies were very popular, such as King Kong. The green screen effect was a creative way to pull people out of the depression for even just a couple of hours. There was also a famous American actress around this era, named Shirley Temple. She used her singing and dancing to impress and entertain the audience. She was not the type of actress that starred in horror movies, but she starred in movies like Curly Top, Dimples and Heidi.
The second era of escapism was the Second World War. During this era, the movies gave people an option to ‘switch off’ for a few hours and to not think about all the war and economic problems that was happening outside this movie world. Famous actors during this time were Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, who acted and danced during the movies. A famous actress during that time was Esther Williams, who acted in movies where the men could see girls in bathing suits.
During the 1950s and 1960s, movies totally changed. Women were not allowed to be that naked anymore. They had to look pretty all the time and had to take care of the family. Someone who supported this was Doris Day, who became the biggest and most popular movie star of the 1950s. Another famous movie star was Marilyn Monroe, who did the exact opposite of Doris Day. She usually played the dumb blonde girl and wore sexy clothes. This made her the sex symbol of the 1950s. During this era there was no war, so people could afford to go to the cinema. Movies were used as a way to let the people entertain themselves.
During the 1960s social values changed. There was another war, the Cold War, and a generation conflict. The younger generation did not have the same interest and opinions as the older generation, there was a generation gap. For the younger generation, the film industry changed itself in a way that helped them escape their lives and problems. In the 1960s the younger generation got a remarkable increase in their salary, so they could easily afford to go to the cinema. In the 1960s, the movie industry produced James Bond/007. They also produced lots of futuristic films, like Star Trek. In these movies, people lived in the future and flew around the galaxy using spaceships.
There were lots of different eras, events and actors that influenced the movie industry. Escapism played an important role during these eras. Without escapism back then, there would have not been the same interest in movies today. If people would have not gone to the movie as often as they did back then than maybe the film industry would have not been successful at all and maybe we wouldn’t have any movies at all right now! Without Hollywood movies there wouldn’t have been movie studios like 20th Century Fox, MCU or Warner Bros. If they didn’t start producing movies in the Great Depression, we would have not had the same visual effects as we have now.