1. A low-budget film shown as part of a double bill alongside a major studio release.
2. A second-best film comparing unfavourably with the main attraction. Associated with US cinema in the 1930s (though appearing from the late 1910s), the rise of the double bill was in part a consequence of Depression-era innovation, with filmmakers and exhibitors having to work harder to maintain their audience. B-movies were often but not always genre films, with the western, science fiction, the crime film, and the horror film predominating. The term B-actor is sometimes used to refer to a performer who finds work primarily or exclusively in B-movies. The major Hollywood studios (see studio system) made some B-movies, which enabled resources to be used as efficiently as possible, with sets, costumes, etc., recycled from other higher-budget films. A number of dedicated B-movie studios were also established: these were known as the ‘B-Hive’ or Poverty Row, and included Republic Pictures, Monogram Productions, and Grand National Films.
Kuhn, A.and Westwell, G. (2012). "B-movie." In A Dictionary of Film Studies. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 16 Feb. 2017.
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