On a set in the William Fox Studio at 1401 North Western Avenue, Hollywood. F.W. Murnau was directing the restaurant scene of Sunrise. (Murnau may be visible at the front-most table where the "waiter"—an extra—is taking an order.) It was January 12, 1927. Extras, grips, lighting men, camera operators, and a woman in a fur collar coat stand and wait. The thermometer rose slowly from 39°. In these heady days for Fox and Hollywood, everyone aped everyone.
Heaven was sweeping Hollywood that year. While Murnau created Sunrise, Fox launched its "wonderful stories, biggest directors, greatest players" marketing blitz for Fox major releases of 1927, including 7th Heaven. In September, Gene Austin recorded My Blue Heaven. In his Hollywood novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon (set in 1935), Scott Fitzgerald's narrator describes a studio back lot this way.

Studio Factory

Sidney Lust, Leader Theater, May 16, 1925
Saturday, May 16, 1925. Clarence Darrow of Chicago offered free legal defense that day for a biology teacher, John Scopes. Scopes stood arrested in Tennessee for instructing high school students in Darwin's evolutionary theory. But these customers for the matinée at Sidney Lust's Leader Theater in Washington, D.C. seem little concerned. They assembled for an afternoon of derring-do in The Air Mail (1925).
Street Angel (1928), dir. Frank Borzage. Paired again after their success in 7th Heaven (1927), Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell are a prostitute and an artist joined in love. Borzage shot the film in moody tones in the same Fox Studio where Murnau shot Sunrise. These are not movies for children.
Read it. Learn it. Do it.
William Fox production

You Did It Then: It’s 1927. Lindbergh is flying solo to Paris. Movie mogul William Fox has snapped up the Roxy for millions and he’s about to invest a reported $100 million more in a chain of 300 theaters at the start of 1928. For America, for Hollywood, for Fox, this is the heart of the jazz age. Work with National Screen Service, the leading trailer production house, to create a one-sheet (lobby poster) and trailer integrated media campaign that markets this poetic movie, Sunrise. Step by step instructions and the image sequence are in the button below.

William Fox Studio, North Western Avenue
Janet Gaynor, Photoplay
Sam Rothapfel
William Fox Picture stars 1927


Joseph Hergesheimer, H.L. Mencken, B.P. Schulberg
Olive Borden
Ambassaor Hotel swimming pool 1927
You Do It Now: Hold a production meeting with others to discuss the nuts and bolts of the scene you will be shooting for Chapter 14, (Production Code). Prepare now for that scene from the perspective of each of these: writer, director, producer, actor, cinematographer, sound recordist, makeup artist, production assistant, and investor.
The studio factory of the 1920s moved on multiple appendages. Famous Players-Lasky set up a professional screen acting school. Hollywood—where the stages were—shot movies. Exhibitors screened product selected for their market segment. Movie palaces gilded story with glamor. New York—where the moguls were—negotiated, litigated, advertised, and toted up receipts.
In a studio factory in 1928—Universal—a telephone operator and factory worker dance between the moon and the sea in Lonesome.
If the silent picture in 1924 pulsed with the star light of the 20s, by 1927, the silent era movie theater was already past.