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A BRIEF History of FILM


A BRIEF History of FILM Filmmaking is a chance to live many lifetimes. Robert Altman It s all about context It is important to look at film with ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A BRIEF History of FILM

A BRIEF History of FILM
  • Filmmaking is a chance to live many lifetimes.
    Robert Altman

Its all about context
  • It is important to look at film with regards to
    historical context in particular points of
    history, certain things were possible while
    others were not.
  • A solid way to look at film is to examine the
    FILM MOVEMENTS that consist of
  • Films that are produced within a particular
    period and / or nation and that share significant
    traits of style and form
  • Filmmakers who operate within a common
    production structure and who share certain
    assumptions about filmmaking.

Historical Periods of Filmmaking
  • For each period, we must also look at other
    factors that affect the cinema they produced
  • State of film industry
  • Artistic theories held by filmmakers
  • Pertinent technological features
  • Elements of socioeconomic context of period
  • Such factors are necessary in looking at how a
    movement began, what shaped its development, and
    what affected its decline.

EARLY CINEMA (1893 1903)
  • In order to create the illusion of movement,
    still pictures must appear in rapid succession.
  • The invention of photography in 1826 launched a
    series of discoveries that made cinema possible.
  • By 1893, Thomas A. Edisons assistant developed a
    camera that made short 35mm films.
  • The KINETOSCOPE was invented a peep show
    machine to display films to individual viewers

The Inventors
  • Edison believed movies were a passing fad, he did
    not develop a system to project these images onto
    a large screen.
  • The LUMIERE BROTHERS (Louis and Auguste) did
  • They invented their own camera independently
    which showed the same 35mm shorts BUT also had a
  • On December 28, 1895, the Lumiere brothers held
    the one of the first public showings of motion
    pictures projected onto a screen at the GRAND
    CAFÉ in Paris.
  • Although the Lumiere brothers did not invent
    cinema, they determined the specific form the new
    medium would take
  • Edison soon abandoned the KINETOSCOPES and formed
    his own production company to make films for

A Slow Evolution
  • The first films were simple in form and style.
  • Usually consisted of a single shot framing an
    action, usually from a long distance
  • First film studio Edisons Black Maria
  • Here Edison would stage scenes of entertainers,
    comedy routines, etc.
  • Until 1903, most films showed scenic places or
    noteworthy events but narrative form was starting
    to emerge.
  • After a while, filmmakers had to find new ways to
    keep audiences interested
  • The Lumiere brothers sent camera crews all over
    the world to show important scenes and events.
  • However, by 1905, the brothers output diminished,
    and they stopped making films altogether.

George Melies
  • In 1896 this French artist purchased a projector
    from British inventor Robert William Paul and
    built a similar camera to the Lumiere brothers.
  • He discovered the possibilities of special
  • 1897 he bought his own studio
  • Unlike the Black Maria, his was glass sided which
    allowed sunlight to pour in.
  • He began to create fantasy worlds and became the
    master of the mise-en-scene technique
  • First complete narrative film Voyage dans la
    lune (1895)
  • From 1904 on, narrative form became the most
    prominent type of filmmaking
  • French, Italian and American films dominated the
    world markets.
  • Later, WWI restrictions on film flow would enable
    Hollywood to become the dominant industrial force
    in film production.

The Development of Classical Hollywood Cinema
(1908- 1927)
  • There was a lot of borrowing of ideas with
    regards to film and equipment during this time.
  • Edison tried to force competing filmmakers out of
    business by bringing patent suits against them.
    While he was in court, other people kept making
  • As a result, several independent film companies
    were established
  • Around 1910, these film companies began to move
    to California to shoot the birth of Hollywood!
  • Amoung the advantages of moving were the climate,
    variety of terrain, shooting all year round.

The Demand
  • The demand for films was so great that no single
    studio could meet the demand.
  • In Hollywood, the studios developed a factory
  • Each production was controlled by a producer.
  • Gradually, through the 1910s 1920s, smaller
    studios merged together to form large ones
  • Famous Players joined with Jesse L. Lasky to form
  • By the late 1920s, most of the major companies
    existed MGM (Metro, Goldwyn, Meyer), Fox Film
    Corp., Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount.
  • Though in competition, these studios would
    cooperate to a degree, realizing that no one firm
    could satisfy the demand.
  • Narrative film was the dominant form of choice
    and in 1903 Edwin S. Porter made the prototype
    for the classical American Film The Great
    Train Robbery
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vBc7wWOmEGGY

An Emerging Structure
  • The period of 1900-1917 saw the development of
    the basic continuity principles.
  • By 1920s, the continuity system had become a
    standardized style that directors in Hollywood
    studios used automatically to create coherent
    spatial and temporal relations with narratives.
  • EX. Buster Keatons Our Hospitality (1923) is
    an example of the classic narrative.
  • Keaton masters form and style through the
    carefully motivated recurrences of the narrative
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?v5vYF9-s4voQfeature

The Silent Era
  • Through these silent films, the classic Hollywood
    style developed into a sophisticated movement.
  • The product was still standardized
  • All major studios used the same production system
    with a similar division of labor.
  • Independent artists struggled and in 1919,
    Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Griffith and
    Fairbanks joined together United Artists so that
    they could continue to make independent
  • However, with the introduction of sound, these
    studios declined, and some stars were no longer

German Expressionism (1919 1926)
  • In order to combat the US, the German government
    began to support the film industry.
  • Mostly promoted pro war films
  • Formed the UFA in 1917 combined the government
    and several small film companies.
  • After the war, the industry concentrated on other
    types of films popular adventure, sexual
    exploitation, etc.
  • EXPRESSIONISM emerged in art and the films
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) created a
    sensation in Berlin and reflected this style.
  • The birth of the FILM NOIR genre later.
  • By 1927, the movement of Expressionism died out
    but is still used today (film noir)
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vY0A0sfxM6AE

Classic Hollywood Cinema The introduction of
  • Sound technology came about through Hollywoods
    effort to widen their power.
  • During the mid 1920s Warner Bros. invested in a
    sound machine that would synchronize records with
    film images.
  • They released two talkies Don Juan (1926)
    and The Jazz Singer (1927)
  • For a few years, sound created a setback for the
    Hollywood film style.
  • Camera had to be put inside a sound booth so the
    motor noise would not be heard.
  • Hard to hear
  • Bulky microphones
  • The actors had limited space
  • Despite these setbacks, solutions were found, and
    the resulting footage could be cut together to
    provide a standard continuity editing pattern.
  • After the problems with sound were worked out,
    directors and sound engineers could explore the
    medium creatively.
  • Within these overall patterns, large studios
    developed a distinct approach of their own.
  • MGM became the prestige studio able to utilize
    a huge number of stars, costumes, lights and
    special effects.

  • For a few years, sound created a setback for the
    Hollywood film style.
  • Camera had to be put inside a sound booth so the
    motor noise would not be heard.
  • Hard to hear
  • Bulky microphones
  • The actors had limited space
  • Despite these setbacks, solutions were found, and
    the resulting footage could be cut together to
    provide a standard continuity editing pattern.
  • After the problems with sound were worked out,
    directors and sound engineers could explore the
    medium creatively.
  • Alfred Hitchcock, with his film 'Blackmail', was
    among the directors to bring greater fluidity to
    talkies and experiment with the expressive use of
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vC4UkbBUOOcg

  • Sound films benefited some genres more than
    others. Most obviously, the musical film was
    born. The first classic-style Hollywood musical
    was 'The Broadway Melody' (1929)
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vOxWVH28E1KY

  • Universal pictures was influenced by the Germans
    and began releasing gothic horror films such as
    Dracula and Frankenstein
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?v8H3dFh6GA-A

  • Dialogue now took precedence over "slapstick" in
    Hollywood comedies. This can be seen in the often
    subversively anarchic nonsense talk of the Marx
    Brothers in Duck Soup, (1933)
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vqSabiG8q8-k

  • The star system was the method of creating,
    promoting and exploiting movie stars in Classical
    Hollywood cinema.
  • Studios would select promising young actors and
    glamorize and create personas for them, often
    inventing new names and even new backgrounds.
    Examples of stars who went through the star
    system include Cary Grant (born Archie Leach),
    Joan Crawford (born Lucille Fay LeSueur), and
    Rock Hudson (born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr.)
  • Emphasis on the image rather than the acting,
    although discreet acting, voice, and dancing
    lessons were a common part of the regimen.
  • Women were expected to behave like ladies, and
    were never to leave the house without makeup and
    stylish clothes. Men were expected to be seen in
    public as gentlemen.
  • Morality clauses were a common part of actors'
    studio contract

Formation of Genre
  • Sound made everything possible, and the musical
    genre was invented during this time period.
  • RKO made musicals with two distinct characters
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vmxPgplMujzQ
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vHLIMZ-gKyF0
  • These stories are based on the musical numbers
    and sometimes have a weak connecting narrative.
  • During the 1930s, colour stocks became used for
    the first time.
  • As the technology progressed, so did the art
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vD1ZYhVpdXbQ
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?v4OYIlNCgoUw

  • Two of Hollywood's most famous films of the
    1930's are "The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The
    Wind". Both films were considered spectacular
    because of their use of new technologies that
    allowed for colour productions.
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vnauLgZISozs
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vM4-DIldIX6U

  • Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film,
    directed by and starring Orson Welles. Many
    critics consider it the greatest American film of
    all time, especially for its innovative
    cinematography, music and narrative structure.
    Some say that the most innovative technical
    aspect of Citizen Kane is the extended use of
    deep focus. In nearly every scene in the film,
    the foreground, background and everything in
    between are all in sharp focus.
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vuNaDrnxp3L0

  • The onset of US involvement in World War 2
    brought a proliferation of films as both
    patriotism and propaganda. One of the most
    popular films in this period was 'Casablanca'
    (1942). Its characters, dialogue, and music have
    become iconic, and the film has grown in
    popularity to the point that it now consistently
    ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films
    of all time.
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?v7vThuwa5RZU

Production Code
  • The Production Code lasted from 1930 - 1968.
  • spelled out what was acceptable and what was
    unacceptable content
  • The production code sought not only to determine
    what could be portrayed on screen, but also to
    promote traditional values
  • Sexual relations outside of marriage could not be
    portrayed as attractive and beautiful, presented
    in a way that might arouse passion, nor be made
    to seem right and permissible.
  • All criminal action had to be punished, and
    neither the crime nor the criminal could elicit
    sympathy from the audience.
  • Authority figures had to be treated with respect.
    A recurring theme was "That throughout, the
    audience feels sure that evil is wrong and good
    is right."

  • Although the classical Hollywood cinema was still
    dominant, some films began to stretch boundaries.
  • Post-classical cinema is a term used to describe
    the changing methods of storytelling in the New
  • chronology may be scrambled,
  • storylines may feature "twist endings"
  • lines between the antagonist and protagonist may
    be blurred.
  • Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Hitchcock's Psycho
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vOqGDruqXV5g
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?v0WtDmbr9xyY

  • During the late 1950s and 1960s, there was an
    increasing awareness of foreign language cinema.
    -Italian films like Federico Fellini's La Dolce
    Vita and the stark dramas of Sweden's Ingmar
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vgWQUSZezhbg

The New Hollywood
  • Midway through the 1960s, the Hollywood industry
    seemed to be healthy with blockbuster hits like
    The Sound of Music (1965)
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vLJTRZI2HThU
  • However, problems arose. Expensive studio
    pictures failed miserably.
  • TV networks who had paid huge prices stopped
    bidding for pictures.
  • Movie attendance flattened out.
  • Producers had to fight back they produced
    counter culture films aimed at young people.
  • Ex. Easy Rider (1969) and The Graduate
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vahFARm2j38c
  • Also big hits by young directors The Godfather
    (1972) American Graffiti (1973)
  • These directors became known as movie brats
    most had gone to film school instead of moving up
    the ranks of the studio system.
  • These young directors had tremendous knowledge of
    form and style from previous traditions.
  • Most New Hollywood films were based upon the old
  • Also borrowed ideas from European sources as
  • These directors are the legends of today
  • Spielberg, Coppola, Allen, Scorsese, etc.

  • The phenomenal success in the 1970s of Jaws and
    Star Wars in particular, led to the rise of the
    modern "blockbuster".
  • The Lucas-Spielberg combine would dominate
    "Hollywood" cinema for much of the 1980s, and
    lead to much imitation. Two follow-ups to Star
    Wars, three to Jaws, and three Indiana Jones
    films helped to make sequels of successful films
    more of an expectation than ever before
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vPr-8AP0To4k

  • The early 1990s saw the development of a
    commercially successful independent cinema in the
    United States. Although cinema was increasingly
    dominated by special-effects films such as
    Terminator 2 Judgment Day (1991), Jurassic Park
    (1993) and Titanic (1997), independent films like
    Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies, and Videotape
    (1989) and Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction
    (1994) had significant commercial success both at
    the cinema and on home video.
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vBim7RtKXv90
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vs7EdQ4FqbhY

  • Titanic achieved critical and commercial success
  • fourteen Academy Award nominations and eleven
    Oscar wins, receiving the prizes for Best Picture
    and Best Director
  • first film to reach the billion dollar mark,
    remaining the highest-grossing film of all time
    for twelve years, until Cameron's next
    directorial effort, Avatar, surpassed it in 2010
  • Titanic is also ranked as the sixth best epic
    film of all time in AFI's 10 Top 10 by the
    American Film Institute
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vZQ6klONCq4s

The 90s and beyond
  • Film became a popular culture giant, and is still
    is to this day
  • Despite all of the special effects and CGI we see
    now, what makes movies compelling are stories and
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vWpmILPAcRQo
  • https//www.youtube.com/watch?vOQw5s2oiqk0
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