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What was the duration of movies in the 1930s?

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2009-11-15 15:27:07
2009-11-15 15:27:07
Shorts, Newsreels, Serials ...

There are many movies made in the 30's available on DVD today (Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind), so their length is known. If you mean the whole experience, it was common to have newsreels, short features, the latest serial installment (part VI of Flash Gordon Against the Shadowmen) an overture and an intermission (as if it were live theater) so a long day at the movies might take 30-60 minutes more than the movie itself. I believe double features were more common as well.

Dracula(1931), Frankenstein(1931) and The Mummy(1932), for example, were all between 70 and 75 minutes in duration. These were "seven-reelers" - a typical length for a medium-budget feature, at the time. The standard length of a 35 mm motion picture reel was 1,000 feet and each ran for approximately 11 minutes (at 24 frames per second).

A so-called "two-reeler", such as those produced by The Three Stooges, would have run about 17 minutes. Cartoons, such as Popeye, would have been about 7 minutes.

There were plenty of movies that ran at around 100 minutes (a pretty average length, today) but Gone with the Wind, at 226 minutes, still seems pretty huge.

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