Entertaining the Classes: An archaeological investigation of historic cinemas in Metropolitan Adelaide, South Austrlaia, and their development in relation to social class, 1896-1949

Author: Antoinette Hennessy

Hennessy, Antoinette, 2016 Entertaining the Classes: An archaeological investigation of historic cinemas in Metropolitan Adelaide, South Austrlaia, and their development in relation to social class, 1896-1949, Flinders University, School of Humanities and Creative Arts

This electronic version is made publicly available by Flinders University in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material and/or you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact copyright@flinders.edu.au with the details.

Abstract

This research analyses the influence of social class on the development of cinemas in metropolitan Adelaide during the period between 1908 to 1949 using a six-point business strategy (location, building, services, programming, airconditioning/ventilation and affordability), relating to the development of effective businesses. It assesses the validity of two competing theories of cinema histories, using a case study of metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia. The long-standing ‘embourgeoisement’ theory argued that cinemas and cinema-going underwent a gentrification process in which cinema proprietors gradually shifted their target demographic towards the wealthier middle classes, and made changes to venues according to middle class tastes and financial capabilities. During the 1970s, this position was questioned by proponents of the ‘revisionist’ theory, which argued that early film audiences were likely to be a mixture of class demographics, including the working, middle and wealthy classes. The results from this study largely supported the revisionist theory of early cinema development in Adelaide, South Australia.

Keywords: historic archaeology, cinemas, picture theatres, Adelaide, South Australia, social class
Subject: Archaeology thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2016
School: School of Humanities and Creative Arts
Supervisor: Heather Burke