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July: 1,200 studio employees walked off the job due to poor wages and working conditions

Photo caption: The crew used a camera mounted on a car to film an action scene in 1923’s The Ten Commandments.

Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Producers seized the strike as an opportunity to shut down production for the rest of the summer and avoid paying expensive salaries to stars.

Briefly, the building trades union and the Alliance put aside their differences to fend off the producers’ attack, but then strikers began crossing each others’ picket lines to go back to work.

The strike, and its damaging effects on smaller studios, contributed to the rise of a few powerful studios.  Wall Street bankers also favored fewer, larger studios as a way of supporting their investment.

This gave even more power to the producers, with those returning to work forced to accept whatever wage rate was offered to them.

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