Comparison and Contrasting of themes

Comparison and Contrasting of themes




The paper seeks to analyze the themes in mainstream Hollywood and those in independent productions. Producers may vary content to different levels in any production but they always seek to remain relevant to the audience who the film targets. In both Hollywood and independent production, the producers use different approaches but remain to pass their intended message and remain relevant in the film industry. The paper therefore will analyze the ways in which similarities and differences occur in the two streams using the two films: “Godfather” produced by Albert S. Ruddy, which is an example of a mainstream production, and “The Palm Beach Story” which is an independent production.

Themes provide the audience with a platform of understanding the content in a film in terms of content within a particular work of literature. Besides understanding a particular work of literature using themes, one can also make comparisons and contrast works from different productions. Hollywood films tend to focus on the things that affect human kinds since way in the historical times to the present times. The film industry has evolved and many productions have emerged which in their different capacities create films based on the human nature and especially things that people can relate to in their daily lives. Films are of different types among them war films, political films and romance comedy films. The themes about war and ethnicity are very popular in mainstream Hollywood especially because of the Vietnam War. Racial segregation emerged during the war and this provides a rich source of information for anyone who wishes to learn about the American history because he/she can do it through watching the films. (Belton 2004 200-224).

Mainstream Hollywood productions focus on a wide audience and therefore since their productions are on large scale vary their content much more than the independent productions. Mainstream content varies to contents that exhibit modern ways of life and controversial topics such as sex, and homosexuality while on the other hand, independent productions limit their content to more reserved content in the society. Mass production and a wide range and diverse audience who have different preferences explain the reason for the disparity. Independent productions create their films on themes focus on a smaller audience such as children, religions for example Christianity. However, due to the changes in time and technology, mainstream Hollywood and independent productions use modern technology in their production, which has enabled integration of some aspects in their works. As Belton points out, the attendance of cinemas among audience has reduced drastically due the emergence of home appliances where one can watch the content at their convenience.

The film “Godfather” produced by Albert S. Ruddy is an example of a mainstream production, which has content in drugs, murder and politics, violence. In the film, we see Vito using his political power to get his way through in everything that he does. He can influence people and even engages in the drug trade, which only the people of his political class can. The characters in the film execute their roles, and the film is a reflection of what happens in the society today. The themes especially in politics, drugs and violence are very prevalent in the society, and the audience can understand and even relate some situations they have been into. As much as mainstream productions have content that requires viewer discretion, the themes show the reality that people are living in or the past that was which informs the younger generations and gives them an insight of the past life.

Independent productions in most cases use animations to bring out their themes and this makes them more favorable for children since, even though, the film has violence, the animations will be the ones engaging in fights and extraordinary actions. In the movie, “The Palm Beach Story” which is an independent production, the producer uses animations which are an indication that it can be watched at a wide range of audience especially children. The themes in this movie are quite different from those in “God Father”.  The movie has the theme of love, which is the most dominant and luck between Colbert and Joel, who take the role of Gerry and Tom respectively. The Tom and Gerry are facing difficulty in their marriage and after a divorce, it is so automatic that she plans to meet a wealthy man, and the meeting takes place. The movie ends with their reunion, which indicates a successful conclusion and a predictable ending as well. On the contrary, mainstream Hollywood Production uses people as characters to pass on their message, and this makes it realer and in some cases explicit.

The themes and content seem to vary a lot since when compared to “God Father”, “Palm Beach Story” has the common theme of love, the fact that the characters are animations makes it suitable for children unlike “God Father” where the themes are more explicit, and the characters are humans. Adults can comfortably watch mainstream Hollywood films showing violence and learn from them. Children can watch a film in animation, which does not contain explicit content such as vulgar, sex, and still learn about violence as the producer intended. Therefore, there are some similarities and differences in themes in both mainstream Hollywood production and independent productions. The numbers of the audience, age, and exposure to the target audience bring the variations between the since they are the major determinants in the film production industry.


Borthaiser, N. (n.d.). John Belton: American Cinema/American Culture (Second Edition). E-Journal of American Studies In Hungary. Retrieved April 13, 2015, from

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