Peter Labuza on the Legal History of Motion Picture Contracts
In this episode, Peter Labuza, a Ph.D. Candidate in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California and the host of The Cinephiliacs podcast on film criticism, discusses his work on the rise of the legal profession in Hollywood and its role in reshaping both creative labor and financial management of the film industry after World War II. Labuza begins by briefly describing the history of the motion picture industry, from its early free-form days, through the highly regimented studio system, to the shift to independent production. He observes that the prevailing view holds that changes in the motion picture industry were caused by important judicial opinions, but argues that changes in contracting practices also played an important role. He reflects on several different case studies, including the career of the important entertainment lawyer Leon Kaplan. He also discusses interdisciplinary scholarship from the perspective of a humanities scholar doing legal research. Labuza is on Twitter at @labuzamovies.