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Transcript of Film History
YOU ARE HERE
Now let's journey back in time...
The history of film spans over more than 100 years, from the latter part of the 19th century to the present day. Motion pictures developed gradually from a carnival novelty, to one of the most important tools of communication, entertainment and mass media in the 20th and 21st century. Motion picture films have substantially effected the arts, technology and politics.
people would travel long
distances to see major dioramas, theater and dance performances, or to visit amusement parks
this is an example of a diorama -
a model representing a scene with 3D figures
The Camera Obscura:
An optical device that projects an image of its surroundings onto a screen
The Zootrope, Stroboscope or Phenakistoscope (named differently becuase different people invented them around the same time)
'Roundhay Garden Scene' is known to be the earliest surviving motion picture. It was recorded at 12 frames per second, and runs for 2.11 seconds.
As a result of the developments taking place,
many researchers in the 19th century knew
that the world was on the verge of being able
to record motion picturs, and so inventers scrambled to develop a successful recording apparatus
In 1981 A fully developed camera called the Kinetograph was
patented by Thomas Edison and W.K.L Dickson. It took a series of instantaneous photographs recorded onto a transparent celluloid strip. The camera was a success, however the recordings had to be viewed one at a time, looking through a peep hole into a large wooden box.
1984: with the invention of the projector, called a 'Phantoscope,' images could now be viewed by larger audiences. The films of the time were seen mostly via temporary storefront spaces and traveling exhibitors or as acts in vaudeville programs. A film could be under a minute long and would usually present a single scene, authentic or staged, of everyday life, a public event, a sporting event or slapstick. There was little to no cinematic technique: no editing and usually no camera movement, and flat, stagey compositions.
1895: Louis and Auguste Lumiere (known as the lumiere brothers) perfected a device known as the cinematograph, an apparatus that took, printed and projected film. In 1895 they screened their first show of projected pictures.
THE SILENT ERA
For the first 30 years of their history, films were silent because no practical method of combining images with synchronised sound had been devised.
Georges Méliès was the largest producer of fiction films in France, and his output was almost entirely films featuring trick effects, which were very successful in all markets. The special popularity of his longer films, which were several minutes long, led other makers to start producing longer films. 'A Trip To The Moon' paved the way for many popular 'Science Fiction' films.
THE EXECUTION OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS (1985) -Edison
This showed a person dressed as the queen placing her head on the execution block in front of a small group of bystanders in Elizabethan dress. The executioner brings his axe down, and the queen's severed head drops onto the ground. This trick was worked by stopping the camera and replacing the actor with a dummy, then restarting the camera before the axe falls. The two pieces of film were then trimmed and cemented together so that the action appeared continuous when the film was shown.
Afer watching Edison's tricks with a camera, Georges Méliès began to make films of his own, experimenting with special effects. This film shows a woman being made to vanish by using the same stop motion technique as the earlier Edison film.
Another basic technic for trick cinematography involves double exposure of the film in the camera. The Four Troublesome Heads by Georges Méliès is an example of multiple superimpositions are used in the one shot.
Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory (1985),
Train Arriving at the Station (1985), Lumière Brothers
Mary Queen of Scots (1985), Edison Company
The Vanishing Lady (1986), Georges Méliès
In 1906, Albert Edward Smith and James Stuart Blackton at took the next step in stop motion, in their 'Humorous Phases of Funny Faces', what appear to be cartoon drawings of people move from one pose to another. This is done for most of the length of this film by moving jointed cut-outs of the figures frame by frame and altering drawings.
In 1906 AUSTRALIA was the first to produce a feature film. It was titled 'The Story of The Kelly Gang' and was four reels long (at this point all other films were only one reel - around 30min in length.
Troublesome Heads (1898) Georges Méliès
Thomas Edison introduced to the public the first practical moving picture camera, and the Kinetoscope - a cabinet in which a continuous loop of celluloid film was back lit by a lamp and seen through a magnifying lens. The spectator viewed the image through an eye piece. The films were mostly mundane incidents, such as Fred Ott's Sneeze, and entertainment acts, such as acrobats, music hall performers and boxing demonstrations.
Fred Ott's Sneeze (1893), Thomas Edison
Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906)
Roundhay Garden Scene (1888) - Louis Le Prince
Continuity means showing action moving from one shot into another joined to it. In 1900 continuity of action across successive shots was definitively established by George Albert Smith and James Williamson in 'Through the Telescope', in which the main shot shows street scene with a young man tying the shoelace and then caressing the foot of his girlfriend, while an old man observes this through a telescope. There is then a cut to close shot of the hands on the girl's foot shown inside a black circular mask, and then a cut back to the continuation of the original scene.
Initially films were mostly shown as a novelty in special venues, but the main methods of exhibition quickly became either as an item on the programmes of variety theatres, or by traveling showman in tent theatres, which they took around the fairs in country towns. The first successful permanent theatre showing nothing but films was “The Nickelodeon”, which was opened in Pittsburgh in 1905. By this date there were finally enough films several minutes long available to fill a programme running for at least half an hour, and which could be changed weekly when the local audience became bored with it. Other exhibitors in the United States quickly followed suit, and within a couple of years there were thousands of these nickelodeons in operation. The American situation led to a worldwide boom in the production and exhibition of films from 1906 onwards.
By 1907 there were about 4,000 small “nickelodeon” cinemas in the United States. The films were shown with the accompaniment of music provided by a pianist, though there could be more musicians. There were also a very few larger cinemas in some of the biggest cities. D.W. Griffiths was a director at the time who made hundreds of films for screening in the nickelodeon
The Story of The Kelly Gang (1906)
With the increase of Nickelodeons, the demand for new films was great, and so films began to be produced on mass. Artificial lighting was developed during this time so that film studios did not have to depend on sunlight. This increased the number of hours in a day that a film could be made. Low key lighting (lighting in which most of the frame is dark) slowly began to be used for sinister scenes.
Silhouette effects in location scenes began to appear in 1909. The most important aspect of this was that such shots involved having the sun light the scene from behind, and this approach was extended by using the reflected sunlight from a white surface below the camera to light up the shadow on the actors faces from the front. This is the one novel technique that D.W. Griffith may really have invented. Up to this point artificial lighting in studio scenes had always been put on from the front or side-front. In 1912 that the effect of backlighting of the actors by the sun began to be mimicked in studio lighting, by using a powerful arc spotlight shining from above and behind the set down onto the actors. This slowly became a standard component of the studio lighting of figures in American films.
Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation (1915) made pioneering use of advanced camera and narrative techniques, and its immense popularity set the stage for the dominance of the feature-length film. It also proved extremely controversial at the time and ever since for its negative depiction of Black Americans and their supporters, and its positive portrayal of slavery and the Ku Klux Klan. Griffith responded to his critics with his next film, Intolerance (1916), intended to show the dangers of prejudiced thought and behavior.
The Birth of a Nation (1915) - D.W. Griffith
Around 1910 we see the first use of a Point of View shot (POV) - This is where a shot of someone looking at something is followed by a cut to a shot taken from their position.
1911 brought with it 'reverse angle shots' ; that is, continuing a scene with a cut to a shot of the action taken from the opposite direction. The next step, 'reverse angle cutting'; in which two actors facing each other are shown in successive close shots from taken opposite directions towards each of them, is seen in 'The Loafer', made by Arthur Mackley
Intertitles containing lines of dialogue began to be used Film-makers slowly progressed from putting these dialogue titles before the scene in which they were spoken, to cutting them into the middle of the shot at the point at which they were understood to be actually spoken by the characters.
During World War 1, the bulk of American production film production was carried out there on America's west cost, around Los Angeles.
When World War 1 broke out, in 1914, film production in many countries was disrupted as many artists, or technicians joined the armed forces. However America didn’t enter the war until 1917 and Hollywood took advantage of the lack of competition to dominate the cinema scene worldwide.
To complete pictures on time and on budget, studios began to
follow a pattern and operated as “film factories” using detailed scripts and tight schedules.
By the 1920’s five studios dominated Hollywood; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Paramount, Fox, Universal and Warners.
THE STUDIO ERA
During late 1927, Warners released The Jazz Singer, which was mostly silent but contained what is generally regarded as the first synchronized dialogue (and singing) in a feature film.
This led to swift changes in the industry, and by 1929, almost all hollywood films included sound. These pictures were known as 'Talkies'
The big studios in Hollywood wanted to produce films of the highest quality entertainment. However on the other hand they only wanted to produce films that would make money.
To minimise the risk of making a film that wouldn’t be financially successful, they began to concentrate on groups of films called genres.
These genres reused the most popular plots, characters, locations and themes to guarantee box office success. Among the most successful genres were; Crime, Horror, Comedy, Melodrama, Action-Adventure and the Western.
One of the most creative and influential personalities of the Silent Era was Charlie Chaplin - English comic actor and film director. He became one of the best-known film stars in the world before the end of the First World War. Chaplin used mime, slapstick and other visual comedy routines,
The transition to sound was a difficult one, but was sorted out fairly quickly, In 1929, several successful 'talkies' were produced. Alfred Hitchcock, with his film 'Blackmail', was among the directors to bring greater fluidity to talkies and experiment with the expressive use of sound.
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.
Dialogue now took precidence over "slapstick" in Hollywood comedies. This can be seen in the often subversively anarchic nonsense talk of the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, (1933)
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.
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.
During the 1970s, a new group of American filmmakers emerged, such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Brian De Palma. This coincided with the increasing popularity of the auteur theory in film literature and the media, which posited that a film director's films express their personal vision and creative insights. The development of the auteur style of filmmaking helped to give these directors far greater control over their projects than would have been possible in earlier eras. This led to some great critical and commercial successes, like Scorsese's Taxi Driver, Coppola's The Godfather films, Polanski's Chinatown, Spielberg's Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and George Lucas's Star Wars.
By the late 1960s, Hollywood filmmakers were beginning to create more innovative and groundbreaking films that reflected the social revolution taken over much of the western world such as Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Graduate (1967), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Rosemary's Baby (1968), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Easy Rider (1969) and The Wild Bunch (1969). Although the 'New Hollywood' had its roots in earlier films such as 'Psycho' and 'Rebel Without a Cause, Bonnie and Clyde is often considered the beginning of the so-called New Hollywood.
Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American comedy musical film starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds and directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, with Kelly also providing the choreography. It offers a comic depiction of Hollywood, and its transition from silent films to "talkies."
Although it was not a big hit when first released, it was accorded its legendary status by contemporary critics. It is now frequently described as one of the best musicals ever made, topping the AFI's 100 Years of Musicals list, and ranking fifth in its updated list of the greatest American films in 2007.
It's a Wonderful Life is an American Christmas drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, that was based on the short story "The Greatest Gift", written by Philip Van Doren Stern. Despite initially being considered a box office flop due to high production costs and stiff competition at the time of its release, the film has come to be regarded as a classic and a staple of Christmas television around the world. The film has since been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, and placed number one on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time.
Two things happened to cause see the end of the studio system and the golden age of hollywood.
1. A government decision was made to stop studios owing their own theatres and holding exclusivity rights on which theatres would show their films.
2. With the advent of television, cinema was no longer the only means of seeing moving pictures.
Although the classical Hollywood cinema was still dominant, some films began to stretch boundaries. As early as 1960 we can see evidence of Hollywood changing. Post-classical cinema is a term used to describe the changing methods of storytelling in the New Hollywood. It has been argued that new approaches to drama and characterization played upon audience expectations acquired in the classical period: chronology may be scrambled, storylines may feature "twist endings", and lines between the antagonist and protagonist may be blurred. The roots of post-classical storytelling may be seen in film noir, in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and in Hitchcock's storyline-shattering Psycho (1960).
During the depression of the 40s and 50s, a visual style of film became popular. It was known as 'Film Noir'. Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography. Many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression. 'Double Indemnity' (1994) is classified as a Film Noir.
Walt Disney, who had previously been in the short cartoon business, stepped into feature films with the first English-speaking animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
During the 1960s, the studio system in Hollywood declined because many films were now being made on location in other countries, or using studio facilities abroad. "Hollywood" films were still largely aimed at family audiences, and it was often the more old-fashioned films that produced the studios' biggest successes. Productions like Mary Poppins (1964), My Fair Lady (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965) were among the biggest money-makers of the decade. The growth in independent producers and production companies, and the increase in the power of individual actors also contributed to the decline of traditional Hollywood studio production
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)
Universal pictures was influenced by the Germans and began releasing gothic horror films such as Dracula and Frankenstein
During the Silent Era, Germans made a variety of horror films. This was known as the German Expressionist style. Two of the most influential films of this style were; The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) - famous for its stylised sets and twist ending, - and, 'Nosferatu' (1922), an adaptation of the novel 'Dracula'.
NEW HOLLYWOOD / POST CLASSICAL
THE MODERN BLOCKBUSTERS
THE DECLINE OF THE STUDIO SYSTEM
During the late 1950s and 1960s, there was an increasing awareness of foreign language cinema. The French New Wave directors such as François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard produced films such as Les quatre cents coups, Breathless and Jules et Jim which broke the rules of Hollywood cinema's narrative structure. As well, audiences were becoming aware of Italian films like Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita and the stark dramas of Sweden's Ingmar Bergman.
The "New Hollywood" or "Post Classical Cinema" are terms used to describe the decline of the studio system and the end of the production code, which was replaced by the film rating system. Because the production code no longer existed, filmmakers in the 70s increasingly depicted explicit sexual content and showed gunfight and battle scenes that included graphic images of bloody deaths.
The phenomenal success in the 1970s of Jaws and Star Wars in particular, led to the rise of the modern "blockbuster". Hollywood studios increasingly focused on producing a smaller number of very large budget films with massive marketing and promotional campaigns.
While the musical film genre had declined in Hollywood by this time, musical films were quickly gaining popularity in the cinema of India, where the term "Bollywood" was coined for the growing Hindi film industry in Bombay (now Mumbai) that ended up dominating South Asian cinema, overtaking the more critically acclaimed Bengali film industry in popularity. Hindi filmmakers combined the Hollywood musical formula with the conventions of ancient Indian theatre to create a new film genre called "Masala", which dominated Indian cinema throughout the late 20th century. These "Masala" films portrayed action, comedy, drama, romance and melodrama all at once, with song and dance routines thrown in.
The end of the decade saw the first major international marketing of Australian cinema, as films such as Peter Weir's 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' and George Miller's 'Mad Max' gained critical acclaim.
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
British cinema was given a boost during the early 1980s by the arrival of David Puttnam's company Goldcrest Films. The films Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, The Killing Fields and A Room with a View appealed to a "middlebrow" audience which was increasingly being ignored by the major Hollywood studios.
Against some expectations, the rise of the multiplex cinema did not allow less mainstream films to be shown, but simply allowed the major blockbusters to be given an even greater number of screenings. However, films that had been overlooked in cinemas were increasingly being given a second chance on home video.
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.
Animated films aimed at family audiences also regained their popularity, with Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), and The Lion King (1994).
During 1995 the first feature length computer-animated feature, Toy Story, was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Disney. After the success of Toy Story, computer animation would grow to become the dominant technique for feature length animation, which would allow competing film companies such as Dreamworks Animation and 20th Century Fox to effectively compete with Disney with successful films of their own. During the late 1990s, another cinematic transition began, from physical film stock to digital cinema technology. Meanwhile DVDs became the new standard for consumer video, replacing VHS tapes.
The success of Gladiator lead to a revival of interest in epic cinema, and Moulin Rouge! renewed interest in musical cinema.
There has been an increasing globalization of cinema during this decade, with foreign-language films gaining popularity in English-speaking markets. Examples of such films include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Mandarin), Amelie (French), Lagaan (Hindi), Spirited Away (Japanese), City of God (Portuguese), The Passion of the Christ (Aramaic), Apocalypto (Mayan), Slumdog Millionaire (a third in Hindi), and Inglourious Basterds (multiple languages).
After James Cameron's 3D film Avatar became the highest-grossing film of all time, 3D films have gained increasing popularity with many other films being released in 3D, with the best critical and financial successes being in the field of feature film animation such as DreamWorks Animation's How To Train Your Dragon and Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar's Toy Story 3.
As of 2010, the largest film industries by number of feature films produced are those of India, the United States and China
Upon its release on December 19, 1997, Titanic achieved critical and commercial success. It equaled records with fourteen Academy Award nominations and eleven Oscar wins, receiving the prizes for Best Picture and Best Director. With a worldwide gross of over $1.8 billion, it was the 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
The documentary film rose as a commercial genre for perhaps the first time, with the success of films such as March of the Penguins and Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11.
The star system was the method of creating, promoting and exploiting movie stars in Classical Hollywood cinema. Studios would select promising young actors and glamorise 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.)
The star system put an 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 contracts.
During the golden age of Hollywood (1930s-60s), the Hollywood Studio System was created by five major studios. These studios were known as 'The Big Five', and incuded MGM, Paramount, Warner Brothers, RKO Radio Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
The System was to make films in factory-like production lines. These 5 large motion picture studios would make movies on their own filmmaking lots, using their own with creative personnel including camera crew and actors. Studios had enormous controll over stars, and also attempted to controll the distribution of the films produced.
The Production Code lasted from 1930 - 1968. It spelled out what was acceptable and what was unacceptable content for motion pictures produced for a public audience in the United States. 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."
Through a Telescope (1900) - G. A. Smith
A Trip to The Moon (1902) - Georges Melies
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) - Robert Wiene
Nosferatu (1922) - F. W. Murnau
The Circus (1928) - Charlie Chaplin
The Jazz Singer (1927)- Alan Crossland
Broadway Melody (1929) Harry Beaumont
Blackmail (1929) - Alfred Hitchcock
Frankenstein (1931) James Whale
Duck Soup (1933) - Leo McCarey
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) William Cottrell
The Wizard of OZ (1939) Victor Flemming
Gone With The Wind (1939) Victor Flemming
Citizen Kane (1941) - Orson Wellles
Casablanca (1942) - Michael Curtiz
Double Indemnity (1944) - Billy Wilder
It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - Frank Capra
Singin' In The Rain (1952) - Stanley Doonen
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) - Nicholas Ray
Psycho (1960) - Alfred Hitchcock
Jules et Jim (1962) - François Truffaut
Mary Poppins (1965) - Robert Stevenson
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - Arthur Penn
The Graduate (1967) - Mike Nichols
The Godfather (1972) - Francis Ford Coppola
WARNING: GRAPHIC SCENE - BLOOD
Jaws (1975) - Steven Speilberg
WARNING: SCARY SHARKS
Taxi Driver (1976) - Martin Scorsese
Star Wars (1977) George Lucas
Sholay (1975) - Ramesh Sippy
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) Peter Weir
Mad Max (1979) - George Miller
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - Steven Speilberg
Chariots of Fire (1981) - Hugh Hudson
Aladdin (1992) - Ron Clemments, John Musker
The Lion King (1994) - Roger Allers, Ron Minkoff
Pulp Fiction (1994) - Quinten Tarantino
Jurassic Park (1993) - Steven Speilberg
Toy Story (1995) - John Lasseter
Titanic (1997) - James Cameron
Gladiator (2000) - Ridley Scott
Moulin Rouge (2001) - Baz Luhrmann
Amelie (2001) - Jean Pierre Junet
Spirited Away (2001) Hayao Miyazaki
March of the Penguins (2005) Luc Jacquet.
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) - Micahael Moore
Avatar (2010) - James Cameron