Boxing Films And Class

More Hollywood films have been made about boxing than any other sport. The most common narrative for the prizefight film involves the boxer's quick rise from disadvantage to the title, followed by a fall from grace usually due to the seduction of wealth and fame, and some form of redemption in the third act. The heroic triumph over long odds implied in such a bare-bones plot summary explains in part why so many boxing films have been made, and also probably why some of the biggest male stars in...

Ray Harryhausen b Los Angeles California June

An American model animation and special effects expert, Ray Harryhausen provided the visual effects for many science fiction and fantasy films. Harryhausen's work was characterized by a combination of anatomical authenticity and creative fantasy, whether he was animating actual animals (the dinosaurs of One Million Years B.C., 1966) or imaginary beasts (the Venusian Ymir of 20 Million Miles to Earth, 1957). As a young man Harryhausen was interested in sculpture and palaeontology, both of which...

Multiple Media System

Stardom in the cinema has always relied on relationships with various other forms of popular mass media. Historically, relationships between film stardom and other media have operated in two main ways the flows of performing talent between other media and film, and the use of other media as channels to promote film stars. As already discussed, theater originally fed the film star system in the earliest decades of cinema. With the birth of radio broadcasting in the late 1920s, a new popular...

ABBOTT and Costello William A Bud Abbott b Asbury Park New Jersey October d April Louis Francis Lou Costello b

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were Universal's top stars of the 1940s, eclipsed only by Paramount's comedy duo of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, and they continued to costar in Universal comedies until the mid-1950s. The duo proved eminently adaptable, shifting from service comedies (comedies about life in the military) to genre parodies to comedy-horror hybrids, although the essence of their onscreen appeal remained the comic banter and classic shtick (like their Who's on First '' routine) first...

Aesthetic Debates

It was by no means a foregone conclusion that sound would be used unobtrusively. When it became obvious that talkies were the sound wave of the future, filmmakers and theorists alike worried that their art form would lose its expressive potential. They worried films would become canned theater,'' in the words of the French director Ren Clair (1898-1981), that the camera's enslavement to the microphone would necessarily stifle the eloquent camera movement, lighting, and montage that many...

After Walt The Sixties Through The Disney Decade

By the 1960s, the company had developed a diversified foundation, with the Disney brand firmly established in a wide range of film products (live action and animation), as well as television, theme parks, and merchandise. The Disney firm also benefited from a policy of re-releasing its popular (already amortized) feature films every few years, reaping additional profits with minimal additional expenditures. For instance, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was re-released in 1952, 1958, and 1967,...

Alexander Dovzhenko b Sosnitsa Russia now Ukraine September d November

Alexander Dovzhenko is regarded as Ukraine's premier filmmaker and the nation's most revered artist of the twentieth century. In nine fiction films and three documentaries, as well as a number of literary works and drawings, Dovzhenko gave creative form to Ukraine's difficult historical progress toward modernity during the Soviet era. His film work takes up themes of the social and economic modernization program sustained by the Soviet regime, while also invoking traditional motifs from...

Alfred Hitchcock b London England August d April

The most famous of all film directors, and the one most closely identified with the thriller, Alfred Hitchcock completed his first film in 1925. However, he did not cement his association with the thriller until the mid-1930s, when he directed five major spy films (TheMan Who Knew Too Much, 1934 The 39 Steps, 1935 Secret Agent, 1936 Sabotage, 1936 and The Lady Vanishes, 1938). In this period, he developed such Hitchcockian trademarks as the double chase (in which a falsely suspected hero such...

American Cinema And The Challenge Of Vietnam

In contrast to the central role played by Hollywood in World War II, representations of the Vietnam War were rare in mainstream American cinema while US troops occupied Southeast Asia. Although a variety of fiction films referenced or showed the influence of the war, few combat films were made about Vietnam during the period of actual combat. Instead, the primary media representation of combat was television news coverage. Because Vietnam was the first ''television war,'' some critics have...

Andrei Tarkovsky b Zavrazhe Ivanono Russia April d December

Andrei Tarkovsky remains the most esteemed Soviet filmmaker of the post-World War II era despite having a relatively small body of work. An uncompromising artist and visionary who refused to bend either to Soviet governmental authorities or to commercial considerations, he completed only seven features and one short. His films were years in the making and often faced distribution delays or limited release. Each answered to his personal vision and gave form to the central concern of his own...

B Archibald Alexander Leach Bristol England January d November

Cary Grant put his stamp on screwball comedy like no other performer. In the genre's heyday he seemed to appear in every other watershed film. These classics include The Awful Truth and Topper (both 1937), Holiday and Bringing Up Baby (both 1938), His Girl Friday (1939), and My Favorite Wife (1940). Moreover, in the post-World War II era, when screwball comedy was less frequently produced, he starred in two excellent revisionist examples of the genre directed by one of the major directors of...

B King Wallis Vidor Galveston Texas February d November

In a film career whose durability was unrivalled by almost any other director, by the early 1920s King Vidor had developed a reputation as a morally earnest director of meaningful, atmospheric pictures about ordinary people in extraordinary and often hostile environments. Vidor's early years were steeped in the movies. As a teenager he filmed footage for the Mutual Weekly newsreels of US troops sent to the border during the Mexican civil war. He continued to sell material on a piecemeal basis...

B Lillian Diana de Guiche Springfield Ohio October d February

Lillian Gish was one of the first female stars of American cinema, best known for her performances in silent films but the recipient of an honorary Academy Award in 1970 for superlative artistry and for distinguished contribution to the progress of motion pictures'' during an exceptionally long career. After working as child stage actors, Lillian and her younger sister Dorothy joined the Biograph Company in 1912. There they worked with the director D. W. Griffith, making their screen debuts in...

B Marion Michael Morrison Winterset Iowa May d June

John Wayne's long and successful movie career earned him legendary status. He became an internationally recognized American icon, representing the strong, silent hero who lived by the virtues of bravery, commitment to traditions, respect for women and children, and a deep patriotism. Wayne was most commonly associated with the western genre, beginning with The Big Trail (1930), his first starring role, to his final movie, The Shootist (1976). More than any other film star, Wayne came to...

B Richard Leslie Taylor Cheshire England February

With Oscars for special makeup effects (2002, 2004), costume (2003, 2004) and visual effects (2002), the critical and popular success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy is to date the high point of Richard Taylor's career. Perhaps the first films planned from the start for DVD release, the trilogy privileged the detailed attention to props, sets, and makeup that characterizes Taylor's work as the cofounder and artistic director of Weta, the firm that coordinated the production effects for the...

B William Clark Gable Cadiz Ohio February d November

Although Clark Gable would obtain the title the King'' during his years in Hollywood, as a contracted performer at MGM, the dominance of the studio system would mean that Gable was always more ruled than ruling. After an unspectacular stage career, Gable secured a couple of supporting roles in film, with MGM then signing him to a two-year contract with six-month options at 350 per week. That year Gable made eight more films for MGM and two on loan to Warner Bros. as he became integrated into...

Betty Grable b Ruth Elizabeth Grable St Louis Missouri December d July

Betty Grable sang and danced her way through Hollywood movies from the age of fourteen. After signing with RKO in 1932, her most memorable roles were as the perky co-ed in films like Collegiate (1936), Pigskin Parade (1936), Campus Confessions (1938), and College Swing (1938). Her career took off in the 1940s, when she signed with Twentieth Century Fox and starred in the Technicolor musical Down Argentine Way (1940). A series of colorful, light-hearted star vehicles followed, each the...

Bosniaherzegovina

Bosnian feature film production began after World War II, and Sarajevo became a vital center of its film culture. Toma Janic (1922-1984) and Hajrudin Krvavac (19261992) were the most prolific directors throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In the late 1960s, former documentary filmmakers took the lead by contributing features in the novi film vein. Bata CengiCs (b. 1933) highly provocative, sarcastic look at Yugoslav society brought him to prominence but also earned official disapproval for his Uloga...

Breaking The New Proscenium

It is a mistake to regard this thirty-year period as primarily a series of misguided intentions and artistic and commercial failures for both the theater and cinema establishments. Quite the contrary. Not only did thousands of plays and players reach a public to which they would otherwise have been unavailable, but the consequences of these collaborations resulted in a reassessment of each medium's artistic and commercial priorities and an exploration of alternative modes of expression. The...

Catherine Breillat b Bressuire France July

Based in Paris, Catherine Breillat became famous as a writer and filmmaker confronting sexuality from a candid and unsentimental viewpoint she was even dubbed a porno auteuriste'' by some critics. Her start in film was a supporting role in Bertolucci's landmark exploration of sexual politics, Last Tango in Paris (1972). Her first film as writer and director, Une vraie jeune ftlle (A Real Young Girl, 1976), focuses on the sexual experiences and desires of a young woman, but eschews the...

Cinema After The Sexual Revolution

By the end of the 1970s, a general cultural backlash against the sexual revolution began to develop in many areas, partly fueled by growing fears of sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes and AIDS. The United States, the United Kingdom, and West Germany, for example, elected conservative politicians that promised to restore traditional values'' which generally meant reestablishing the patriarchal heterosexual family unit. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher promoted a heritage...

Clint Eastwood b Clinton Eastwood Jr San Francisco California

Good Anti Liberal Sayings

In an acting career spanning more than five decades, Clint Eastwood achieved stardom by epitomizing tough masculine independence. This image was the product not only of the characters he played, but of a performance style that remained emotionally impassive and contained. Although Eastwood played a variety of roles, his stardom was defined by those he took in westerns directed by Sergio Leone and police thrillers directed by Don Siegel. Following a succession of minor film roles, Eastwood...

Color And Sound

Long before Technicolor revolutionized the look of movies, color appeared in movies through a number of different methods. One of the first narrative movie directors, Georges Melies (1861-1938), known for his early special effects and camera trickery, used color on occasion to accentuate spectacle, such as bursts of yellow flame and the like. In order to achieve this effect, he had individual frames hand-painted, a laborious and expensive practice. Tinting and toning were more popular, if only...

Croatia

Although best-known internationally for its animation and documentaries, Croatia was also an important center of feature film production. Branko Marijanovic (b. 1923) and Fedor Hanzekovic (1913-1997) were among the directors of the first Croatian films after World War II, most often war films or historical adaptations of literary classics. Beginning in the 1950s, Croatian film production came mostly from Jadran Film Studio in Zagreb. Branko Bauer (1921-2002), best known for his Ne okreci se...

Cut Scenes And Point Of View

The use of cinematic cut scenes in computer-based games is one of the more obvious connections between cinema and games. Cut scenes are short, pre-rendered sequences in which the game player performs a role closer to that of a detached observer than is the case in more active periods of gameplay. Cut scenes tend to employ camera movement, shot-selection, framing, and editing similar to that used in cinema. Many games use cut scenes to establish the initial setting, character and background...

Dadaist Roots

The roots of surrealism begin with the dada movement. Dada was founded in 1915 in Zurich, Switzerland, by an international group of pacifist intellectuals and artists who fled to the neutral country in protest of World War I. This group felt that humanity's megalomania and industrial capitalism were the principle causes of the war, so they considered dada to be a ''moral revolution.'' In the process of creating dada art, the artist held no special significance he or she was merely the vessel...

Darryl F Zanuck b Wahoo Nebraska September d December

Among Hollywood's pioneering producers and studio heads, Darryl Zanuck was unique for his longevity at the helm of the studio he co-founded, 20th Century Fox, as well as for his intense involvement in the filmmaking process. Along with Irving Thalberg and David Selznick, Zanuck was one of Hollywood's first-generation boy wonders, supervising production at a major studio (Warner Bros.) while still in his twenties. But Zanuck alone among top Hollywood executives rose through the creative ranks...

Defining The War Film

Coming up with a generic definition of the war film presents problems. Sometimes movies are labeled war films'' even when they are not set in combat. Since You Went Away (1944), the story of the American home front in 1944, is not about fighting battles with weapons but fighting the daily battle of morale for those whose lives are indirectly affected. Similarly, The Best Years of Our Lives is about the return to civilian life of three soldiers from different economic backgrounds and the...

Definition And History

In common with the Hollywood melodrama, the woman's picture's characteristic themes involve moral dilemmas and conflicts associated with sexuality, home, and family, commonly set in a middle-class milieu and played out in stories of the fates of individuals. However, the woman's picture departs from the melodrama in two key respects in the focus and trajectory of its narrative concerns and in its rhetoric. Within the setting of the family, issues that may be seen as of particular concern to...

Driveins And Art Cinemas

Shrinking movie attendance from the late 1940s into the 1950s, coupled with the increasing suburbanization of America, led to a new round of theater closings as well as to certain technological innovations intended to underscore the superiority of the big-screen experience over the small, black-and-white image of home television. Preeminent were much-publicized wide-screen processes, which offered images wider and more horizontal than the standard academy ratio found on television. Although...

Early Film Westerns And The Coming Of Sound

The western, often viewed as an unusually stable form, did not in fact achieve definition as a film genre until around 1910, when it became one of early cinema's most familiar and successful products. Although Edwin S. Porter's (1870-1941) The Great Train Robbery (1903), produced for the Edison Company and based on an 1896 stage melodrama, is often identified as the first western, film historians have demonstrated that the generic category itself was not yet firmly in place, so Porter's film...

Early Teen Films

The appearance of actual adolescents in movies was not common until the 1930s. By that point Hollywood studios had firmly established their grip on American culture, and even more so on their contract players. But they had difficulty in maintaining public interest in young stars, who inevitably grew out of their youthful charms. This was the case with one of the first teen stars, Deanna Durbin (b. 1921), whose success started at age fifteen in films such as Three Smart Girls (1936), One Hundred...

Film On Network Television From

Diversifying into television may have seemed risky for a studio in the early 1950s, but within a decade television had become firmly entrenched in Hollywood, where the studios had come to depend for their very existence on the income provided by television. Networks and local stations leaned almost exclusively on Hollywood to satisfy their endless need for programming. By the end of the 1950s, 80 percent of network prime-time programming was produced in Hollywood it had become nearly impossible...

Film Stardom As A Cultural Institution

In his 1990 history of the formation of the star system in American cinema, Richard DeCordova argues that after an initial period when the names of film performers were not publicly circulated and films actors remained anonymous to the moviegoing public, the first move towards a star system came with the earliest advertising of performers' names from 1909 onward. Ever since, film stardom has worked through the circulation of performer names and it is through the distribution of those names that...

Formation Of The Film Star System In America

When film and cinema technologies first appeared in Europe and the United States in the mid-1890s, film was sold to consumers on the technological effect of moving images rather than the content of what those images represented. Consequently, the first entrepreneurs who aimed to exploit the commercial potential of the new medium saw its value as an instrument of technological innovation rather than as a new performance medium. In this commercial context, film acting remained an amateur or...

From Cold War To New World Order

Just as the synthesis of glamour and disillusionment in Hitchcock's British espionage films increasingly tended toward a critique of the whole project of spying, the two poles were split for other filmmakers whose view of spying was formed by the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. Following a modest Redbaiting cycle that included I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951), Big Jim McLain (1952), and Pickup on South Street (1953), the glamour of spying returned full force in...

From Multiplex To Megaplex

Before 1960, a few theaters had been built in shopping centers. There were even rare attempts to create twin cinemas, so-called because they included two separate auditoria with a common foyer and box office. But the multiplex was very much a product of the 1960s, usually credited to Stanley H. Durwood (1920-1999), who built his first twin cinema in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1963. Housed in a suburban shopping center, Durwood's multiplex used the same projection facility and concession stand...

From The Zanuck Era To The New Hollywood

The year 1950 also marked the release of All About Eve, Fox's consummate postwar success. Produced by Zanuck, written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1909 1993), the film starred Bette Davis (1908-1989) as a veteran stage star struggling with advancing age and a declining career, and its many awards included Oscars for best picture, director, and screenplay. All About Eve also featured Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) in a bit part one of several in the early 1950s that paved the way to leading...

Further Reading

Alexander Dovzhenko The Poet as Filmmaker. Edited and translated by Marco Carynnyk. Cambridge, MA MIT Press, 1973. Kepley, Vance. In the Service of the State The Cinema of Alexander Dovzhenko. Madison University of Wisconsin Press, 1986. Liber, George. Alexander Dovzhenko A Life in Soviet Film. London British Film Institute, 2002. often subordinates editing to the demands of character development. Eisenstein's more aggressive aesthetic is illustrated in his parallel...

Glamour And Disillusionment

Spying is nearly as old as recorded history. The biblical Book of Joshua tells how Joshua, son of Nun, sent two spies secretly into Canaan in order to ascertain whether the land was fruitful and readily susceptible to conquest. Three thousand years later, Cardinal Richelieu established an elaborate network of secret agents to protect both Louis XIII of France and his own personal interests, an episode fictionalized in numerous novels by Alexandre Dumas and such film adaptations as The Three...

Harold Pinter b London England October

Harold Pinter has said that his works begin with an image, rather than a theme, and that he is a visual writer. It is not surprising, then, that he has found success working in film. Although Pinter winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature is primarily known as a playwright, with many of his plays regarded as masterpieces of the English stage, he has also had a long and celebrated career writing for both film and television. Pinter's screenplays are all adaptations of other works his own...

Heyday Of The American Crime Thriller

After 1940, major developments in the movie thriller centered around various phases of the crime thriller, especially in the American cinema. This cycle began in the detective genre, particularly the hard-boiled detective story associated with such writers as Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) and Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) and adapted by such films as The Maltese Falcon (1941), Murder, My Sweet (1944), and The Big Sleep (1946). In contrast to the refined, detached sleuths of whod unit authors like...

Hollywood Goes To

Following World War I, Americans entered into a period of profound isolationism. The US government, despite the escalation of what Americans called the European War, would remain neutral until 1941. But with the founding of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League in 1936, the Hollywood community politicized itself in advance of the government, a stance strengthened by the nearly complete elimination of the German market for its films. Without the worry of losing overseas profits, Hollywood from 1939 to...

International Postwar Struggles And The Ascendancy Of Hollywood

It was a specific technological development that ended the mature silent period, but it was an international event of epoch-defining magnitude that helped mark its beginning. By and large, World War I, which began in 1914, had a disastrous effect on most national cinemas in Europe, hastening a decline already apparent for some (England, France) while halting the momentum experienced by others (Denmark, Italy). Only two countries, Sweden and Germany, emerged from the war with their national...

James Dean b Marion Indiana February d September

James Dean's breakthrough came when, in his early twenties, he gave profound performances playing teenagers in East of Eden (1955) and Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Before he could thoroughly enjoy the fame these films brought him, his life was tragically cut short in a car accident. His final film, Giant (1956), had not yet been released. Dean's untimely death seemed to assure him everlasting status as a cult figure for youth. Dean was born in Indiana but moved with his family to Los Angeles...

Louis Feuillade b Lunel France February d February

Between 1907 and 1925 Louis Feuillade directed over eight hundred films in almost every contemporary genre in France, but he is now best remembered as the producer, director, and writer of serials. His career in the cinema began when he was hired as a screenwriter by Gaumont in 1905, becoming Head of Production two years later. In 1910 he began making films in series. Fantomas, his first serial, went into production in 1913. Based on a series of novels by Marcel Allain and Pierre Silvestre,...

Luis Bunuel b Calanda Spain February d July

The best-known Spanish filmmaker before Pedro Almodovar, Luis Bunuel had a film career that spanned fifty years and involved work in three national cinemas, those of Spain, France, and Mexico. Ironically, of the thirty-one films he made, only four of them were shot in his native Spain. Along with persistent attacks on Christian dogma and church hypocrisy, Buiiuel's most characteristic theme is a contemptuous view of bourgeois morality and middle-class values. His Mexican period, beginning in...

Mack Sennett b Richmond Quebec Canada January d Woodland Hills California November

It seems appropriate that Mack Sennett, the father of slapstick comedy, made his first stage appearance as the rear end of a pantomime horse at the Bowery Burlesque in New York City. Responsible for inaugurating the conventions of both custard pie-throwing and the comic chase, Sennett's grasp of comedy was always physical rather than verbal. Born Michael Sinnott in Quebec, Sennett left Canada for New England in his youth. Although opera was his initial career goal, he pragmatically settled for...

Mary Pickford b Gladys Smith Toronto Canada April d

No major star within the silent era can match the career longevity of Mary Pickford. Starting at Biograph in 1909, she established herself as a leading performer with her first films and went on to become the industry's biggest female star for the next two decades. Compelling onscreen, Pickford was equally adept at controlling the aspects of stardom that extend beyond the screen. A consummate businesswoman, she capitalized on her popularity from early on, negotiating favorable terms of...

Maurice Schwartz b Sedikov Russia later Ukraine June d

Ulmer is today the best-known of the Yiddish filmmakers, he notoriously did not speak Yiddish and his approach to the Yiddish cinema, polished and insightful though it is, lacks the raw power that one sees in the true masterpieces of Yiddish cinema, including Maurice Schwartz's Tevye der Milkhiker (Tevye the Milkman, 1939). One of many adaptations of Sholem Aleichem's beloved novel of the bedraggled dairyman and his attempts to marry off his numerous daughters, Schwartz's version is...

Michael Mann b Chicago Illinois February

Michael Mann is roughly the same age as Martin Scorsese, Francis Coppola, George Lucas, and the other directors of the film-school generation who revived American filmmaking in the 1970s, but he is seldom thought of as a member of that generation, despite the fact he too attended film school in the 1960s. Like the romantic loners who inhabit his films, Mann followed his own route to the film industry. He attended film school in London, instead of New York or Los Angeles, and while his peers...

Nazi Control

Just as Ufa's Dawn anticipated Nazi cinema, its board preempted official Nazi policy three days before the official Nazi boycott of German Jews was instituted, Ufa fired all of its Jewish employees (29 March 1933). While in the course of 1933 the Propaganda Ministry was established under Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) in order to create a precensorship office for the ideological control of all German film productions and the industry was aryanized by making it illegal for Jews to make films, Ufa...

Opportunities For Supporting Actors

Actors who specialize in supporting roles sometimes describe their work as similar to performing in a stock theater company, for which actors fill multiple roles in a variety of plays over the course of a single season. Similarly, an actor who plays supporting roles will frequently be asked to perform a wide assortment of types. Versatility is a key element in the career of many supporting players. Frances McDormand, for example, played two very different supporting roles in the films Raising...

Original Films Versus Adaptations Remakes And Sequels

Ingrid Bergman And Ernest Hemingway

It should come as no surprise that in Hollywood more scripts are adaptations than original scripts from clearly original ideas. Because Hollywood has always been a business, the fact that a book or a play or even a television show has been popular certainly spurs on producers to say, Let's make the movie '' The year 2003 even saw the adaptation of an amusement park ride into a hit movie (Pirates of the Caribbean) and similarly with a video game (Resident Evil). In such a manner, Gone with the...

Origins Of The Movie Thriller

The thriller goes against the grain of mundane modern life while at the same time remaining immersed in it. This concept indicates that the thriller is an essentially modern form, whose rise coincides with the arrival of urban industrialism, mass society, middle-class lifestyle, and the twentieth century. In other words, the thriller is a response to a modern world that is perceived under normal circumstances to be fundamentally not thrilling. As Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) observed in a 1936...

Origins Of The Western

Recognizable early sources of the popular western can be located in persistent manifestations of the Pocahontas legend, in Indian captivity narratives such as A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison (1824), and in travel memoirs such as Francis Parkman's (1823-1893) The Oregon Trail (1849). Fiction, especially James Fenimore Cooper's (1789-1851) five Leatherstocking novels (18231841) and Bret Harte's (1836-1902) frontier tales from the late 1860s also established influential patterns for...

Outside The Mainstream

Despite the popular appeal of Yesilcam, criticism that it was a commercial cinema that steered away from social problems and realities motivated two major movements outside the mainstream. Alongside the social and the political developments following the 27 May 1960 revolution and the liberal social atmosphere created by the new constitution, there appeared a group of films focusing on the social problems of cities and villages, including issues of class, migration, urbanization, unemployment,...

Peace Or Preparedness

In the period of early cinema, the United States was primarily concerned with its domestic market, but from 1909 the commercial advantage of exporting film overseas became clear. Although Hollywood had successfully exported before 1914, the dominance it achieved a few years later was made possible by the war. France had been the world leader in film export, with Italy and Denmark close behind indeed, France had been at the forefront of cinema's development, with pioneering filmmakers such as...

Pedro Almodovar b Calzada de la Calatrava Spain September

The most acclaimed contemporary Spanish director, Pedro Almodovar developed his skills as a filmmaker in underground shorts he made in the 1970s before turning to commercial feature-length films with Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del monton (Pepi, Luci, Bom, 1980). This raucous comedy, shot on a shoestring, eventually became a cult hit. It portrayed characters from Madrid's pop-culture movement of the late 1970s (Movida) in the flimsiest of plots. In a similar antibourgeois style, Laberinto...

Post Turkish Cinema

After a two-year military administration following the 1980 coup, Turkey entered a new stage of social change with the capitalistic policies of the new civil government. Among the major film trends in the 1980s were films dealing with the coup's psychological effects on individuals, especially intellectuals ''women's films'' paralleling the rise of feminism in Turkey and depicting female characters in search of their identities and liberty and films dealing with cinematic practice itself in...

Poststructuralism From System To Subversion

Beginning in the late 1960s a group of theorists led by Jacques Derrida began to challenge the very basic assumptions that had informed structuralist thought, starting with its cornerstone, Saussurean semiotics. These attacks followed once the initial enthusiasm for structuralism began to wane. Less a theory than an interpretive attitude, poststructuralism in its broadest sense refers to an attention towards those elements unexplained, excluded, or repressed by structuralism's tidy systems, as...

Problems And Debates

It is not difficult to find fault with a concept and the political investment placed in a corresponding mode of film practice introduced over three decades ago. Nevertheless, some constructive criticisms can be, and have been, made in relation to the implications of Solanas and Getino's argument on aesthetic, ethical, and ideological grounds. The first is the problem of an intellectual and artistic vanguard those who are familiar with the language of neocolonial cinema and thought, yet who, in...

Prominent Stage And Screen Artists

A century of theater-film interaction has seen many stage-trained directors, writers, and performers whose motion pictures bear the traces of their theatrical experience and sensibilities. In the silent period, David Wark Griffith quit the life of an itinerant player to score a spectacular success in the burgeoning film industry with smash hits The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Way Down East (1920) (both based on stage plays) in America. Mauritz Stiller (1883-1928) and Victor Sjostrom...

Propaganda

The United States, with a guaranteed freedom of the press, has provided its citizens access to information as a right of the democratic process. The idea of ''propaganda'' is linked to totalitarian governments, with an attendant suspicion of inaccurate, slanted information. Therefore, when the United States became involved in two world wars, it faced the issue of how to mobilize its populace, provide accurate information, and influence morale without violating the basic tenets of democracy. The...

Regulating Sexuality In Early Cinema

Thomas Edison's (1847-1931) first ventures into motion pictures already included representations of sexuality. Hoping to woo viewers to his kinetoscope parlors, Edison's company made short film loops that had sexual appeal ''cooch'' dancers, pillow fights in a girls' dormitory, a close-up of an actor and actress in full embrace. Watching these loops through the kinetoscope created a ''peep show'' experience. While it seems these snippets were mainly aimed at arousing heterosexual men,...

Relationships And Gender

Screwball comedy is often confused with romantic comedy, but while the two genres share some elements, screwball comedy is a parody of romantic comedy. Romantic comedy's earnestness regarding love, as found in the impassioned conclusions of When Harry Met Sally (1989) and As Good As It Gets (1997), is entirely absent from screwball comedy. Such sentiments would immediately be subject to satirical rebuke. For example, in the screwball What's Up, Doc , the traditional love interest (Madeline...

Remakes

A remake is generally thought of as a film based on an earlier film, usually with minor or major variations of plot, characterization, casting, setting, or form, and sometimes language and genre as well. Examples include Scarlet Street (1943), Fritz Lang's Hollywood remake of Jean Renoir's French film, La Chienne (1931) In the Good Old Summertime (1949), a musical remake in color of The Shop Around the Corner (1940) Chori, Chori (1956), an Indian remake of It Happened One Night (1934) The...

Remediation And Synergy

Where games do borrow from cinema, this is for reasons that are far from arbitrary. ''New'' media tends to borrow from older equivalents more generally, as suggested by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin's concept of ''remediation.'' As they argue, the experience of playing computer games that offer cinematic milieu might be understood in terms of a move ''inside'' the world of the cinema screen. The immediate thrill produced by direct engagement in the interactive experience is often based on...

Renie Clair b Paris France November d March

Ren Clair epitomized the ambiguous relationship many filmmakers had with sound in the transition-to-sound period between 1928 and 1933. Whereas others like Ernst Lubitsch, Jean Vigo, and Rouben Mamoulian pushed the boundaries of the new technology, experimenting in a variety of styles, Clair initially stood among those who believed that sound would constrain the possibilities of film as a visual medium. He was hesitant to embrace sound because it increased production costs and because the...

Resistance To Hollywood

Although American films enjoyed unchallenged success in the domestic market and dominated abroad, other nations made their mark by offering a distinctive alternative to classicism. Though quite different in their approaches to establishing unique forms of cinematic expression, Germany, France, and the USSR each forged national film movements during the 1920s, resulting in a body of idiosyncratic films that could lay claim to the status of art. These countries made conventional films in...

Revolutionary Period

When the new Bolshevik regime began to organize its own governmental agencies in early 1918, the leadership took stock of the nation's extant cinema resources in the hope the medium could serve as an instrument of political persuasion. Authority for cinema affairs was assigned to the Commissariat of Education and its energetic head, Anatoly Vasilyevich Lunacharsky (who served in that post from 1917 to 1929) who found the Russian film industry had plunged into recession. Movie theaters closed...

Samuel Fuller b Worcester Massachusetts August d October

Samuel Fuller is a key figure in the history of the American war film because his movies are shaped by his own experience in combat. Fuller became a crime reporter by the age of seventeen and moved to Hollywood to begin writing screenplays in 1936. He joined the army after World War II broke out, serving in the Sixteenth Regiment of the First Army Division (''the Big Red One''), receiving the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and the Purple Heart. Fuller fought the full European war, from the...

Science Fiction Goes Big Budget

In THX 1138, a gently amplified female voice tells the tranquilized population to ''buy now, buy more.'' Lucas's tepid critique of capitalism is ironic, of course, since a few years later he would reinvent toy licensing, famously taking a salary cut in exchange for the merchandising rights for Star Wars. Star Wars was an innocuous film with no well-known actors and an inflated special effects budget a film doomed to fail, most people reasoned, because everyone knew that science fiction was only...

Selfregulating Sexuality In Hollywood

Sex did not disappear from Hollywood cinema in the wake of the 1915 Supreme Court ruling, as vamps, pansies, and racial minorities lusting for white partners roamed the screens even if the narratives framed them as wicked or ridiculous. As well, various sex scandals erupted around a number of Hollywood stars in the early 1920s. Hollywood gained an image of wild parties and scandalous affairs, and studio motion pictures generally championed the growing sexual liberation of the post-Victorian...

Sequels

Sequels are usually defined as films that contain characters and continue story lines established in previous films. Examples include Edison, the Man (1940), a sequel to Young Tom Edison (1940), and Father's Little Dividend (1951), a sequel to Father of the Bride (1950). Prequels set characters and story lines in periods of time prior to those of previous films, as in Butch and Sundance The Early Days (1979), a prequel to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), and Indiana Jones and the...

Sequels Series And Remakes

Sequels, series, serials, and remakes are evidence of the commercial imperatives governing most forms of cinema. Producers, directors, and writers have often been under pressure to recycle popular formats, formulas, and themes as a way to minimize risk and ensure profitability. Sequels, series, and remakes also reflect the tendency of most forms of entertainment and art to engage in repetition or variations on a theme. Artistic patterns can be found in all genres trilogies, suites, triptychs,...

Sexuality Beyond The United States And Western Europe

The development of film industries in areas outside the United States and western Europe also had to negotiate representations of sexuality. For example, in many nations where the Catholic Church held a powerful presence, such as some Latin American countries, there was a strong pressure on filmmakers to keep their representations of sexual desire within the bounds of religious doctrine. It is also important to recognize that filmic depictions of sexuality in these regions differed from motion...

Shots

A shot is often defined as the basic building block of cinema because filmmakers work by creating a film shot by shot, and then, during editing, they join these shots in sequence to compose the overall film. From this standpoint, a shot corresponds to the length of film that is exposed during production as it is run through the camera from the time the camera is turned on until it is turned off. In this way, the shot forms one unit of a larger scene or sequence that, in turn, is made up of...

Sidney Lumet b Philadelphia Pennsylvania March

Sidney Lumet's career began at an extraordinary and unique moment in the history of American television. For a few years during the first decade of television, the TV networks broadcast live theatrical performances from studios in New York and Los Angeles to a vast audience nationwide. These ephemeral productions as immediate and fleeting as any witnessed in the amphitheaters of ancient Greece, yet staged in the blinding glare of commercial television served as the training ground for a...

Silent And Precode Romantic Comedy

Filmic romantic comedy in the United States derived most directly from the stage. While higher forms of comedy were produced on stage before 1915, theatrical comedy was dominated by vaudeville, minstrel shows, and musical reviews. Vaudeville and other forms of ''low'' comedy were the first to influence film, and this influence accounts for the bulk of silent film comedy. Farce typically deals with characters who are or have previously been married, and it derives its humor by calling attention...

Silent Cinema

By 1915 cinema seemed poised to enter a new phase of its development with bigger-budgeted multireel films, popular and widely publicized stars, new modes of production and distribution, picture palaces, and aspirations of artistry all vying to define the medium in different ways, that sense of potential was more than met in the fifteen years that followed. What no one could have predicted was that the end of the 1920s would mark not only the completion of cinema's third full decade of...

Since The s

By the mid-1990s, the visibility of teen films clearly increased from the previous ten years, with successful John Hughes. everett collection. reproduced by permission. John Hughes. everett collection. reproduced by permission. television shows providing Hollywood with new teen stars, and with a renewed comfort in the industry for handling adolescent issues. Teen films of the mid- to late-1990s began looking at sexual orientation, gender discrimination, and the postmodern nature of teen culture...

Sound And After

For James Agee, slapstick was dealt its death blow as a viable comic form by the talkies. The coming of sound required, at least initially, a more static camera, which slowed the comic antics on screen to a less frenzied pace. Other film theorists, such as Steve Neale and Frank Krutnik, however, disagree, and suggest that slapstick was already a marginal subgenre by the time of what is considered its heyday, from about 1912 through 1930. As a ''low'' form of humor, slapstick fell out of step...

Spanish Cinema Since

The direction and look of Spanish cinema of recent decades has been transformed by the advent of regional cinemas and the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers who have once again reinvented a new Spain in their films. These developments occasioned new strategies of coproduction with state television and cofunding with foreign sources such as the European Community, gradually leading to a new dynamic in which Spanish cinema operates both globally and locally. Though local in inspiration,...

Spectatorship And Academic Film Studies

When film studies began to establish itself as an academic discipline in the 1970s, film theorists looked to other fields, most importantly semiotics and psychoanalysis, for cues on how to best articulate the ways in which film functions as a system of language. Both semiotics and psychoanalysis are based on the understanding that larger structures or systems govern the ways in which individuals engage with the world. These structures are inescapable individuals have no control over their...

Sports Films And History

Knute Rockne All American (1942) offers an example of this combination of utopian simplicity and historical complexity. In keeping with the patriotic tone of many Hollywood films made during World War II, Rockne's life is shown as representative of the social mobility possible in America even a boy from a working-class, immigrant family can grow up to become a national sports hero. Yet while Knute Rockne All American ostensibly offers the biography of the Notre Dame football coach as historical...

Spying For Hitchcock

In the meantime, Ambler and Greene's British contemporary Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) had begun directing the most varied and entertaining series of films ever made about spies. It is no coincidence that The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and The 39 Steps (1935), the films that made Hitchcock famous throughout England and around the world respectively, are his first two films about spies. Both involve innocent characters who are thrown into a world of international intrigue under circumstances...

Star Performance

While film technique has undergone substantial revision throughout film history, narrative filmmaking has maintained certain basic conventions to center and emphasize the star performer. Leading roles, close-ups, backlighting, tracking shots, or character-related soundtrack melodies are just some of the narrative and aesthetic devices repeatedly used to isolate and focus on star performers onscreen. Despite historical differences between styles in filmmaking, the persistence of these devices...

Stardom In Other National Cinemas

Many popular cinemas have stars, but beyond Hollywood, few national film industries can claim to have developed a star system. As early American film saw considerable interaction between theater and film, so in Britain, France, and India professional performers of the dramatic and comedy stages occasionally worked onscreen but most early film performers in these countries remained anonymous. In Britain, stage stars appeared on film from two sources the legitimate theater Clark Gable worked...

Steven Spielberg b Steven Allan Spielberg Cincinnati Ohio December

Steven Spielberg, one of Hollywood's most prominent filmmakers, has won his highest honors including two Academy Awards for Best Director (1994 and 1999) and one for Best Picture (1990) for movies not connected with science fiction. However, he is perhaps best known by audiences for his innovative sci-fi films. By the 1970s, science fiction had developed into one of the most politically progressive genres, and SF films were frequently critical of environmental destruction, government...

Studio System

Since the advent of commercial cinema over a century ago, the costs and complexity of filmmaking have encouraged producers to develop a factory-oriented approach to production. The benefits of such an approach include the centralization of both production and management the division and detailed subdivision of labor a standardized mode of production, film style, and type of product cost efficiencies derived from economies of scale consistent production values and the cultivation of a brand name...

Surrealism

Surrealism was an avant-garde art movement in Paris from 1924 to 1941, consisting of a small group of writers, artists, and filmmakers, including Andr Breton (1896-1966), Salvador Dali (1904-1989), and Luis Bunuel (1900-1983). The movement used shocking, irrational, or absurd imagery and Freudian dream symbolism to challenge the traditional function of art to represent reality. Surrealism in film was limited to a small number of films, and the movement ended when it failed to remain shocking to...

Surrealist Cinema

After World War I, France looked toward avant-garde cinema to make its mark against Hollywood. Impressionism, which focused on psychological realism, naturalism, and symbolism, became the dominant French film movement. The surrealists, many of whom were avid film spectators, despised impressionism, but they admired lowbrow American serials and slapstick comedies. Breton and his fellow surrealists found the modernism of Hollywood cinema an exciting medium in its infancy, unencumbered by a...

Technology

The development of sound, color, and the widescreen process changed the look of war on the screen, increasing the opportunity for Hollywood filmmakers to work on a wider canvas with greater realism. Adding the sounds of guns firing, the sight of red blood flowing, and a complex spatial continuity increased the war film's power to startle and emotionally engage the audience. Changing morality loosened censorship restrictions, so that using these new developments for an increase in gore, horror,...

Thaw And Newwave

Within two years of Stalin's death in 1953, Soviet writers and artists perceived a ''thaw'' in the party's cultural politics. Statements from the new leader Nikita Khrushchev (first secretary of the party from 1953 to 1964, and premier from 1958 to 1964) promised more creative freedom. Meanwhile, the film industry reorganized in this more tolerant climate to increase both productivity and diversity in annual film plans, gradually boosting outputs through the decade. By 1960 the USSR was...

The A Western In Hollywood

While the critically celebrated Stagecoach has often eclipsed the hundreds of westerns that preceded it, there's no questioning the artistry or impact of the film, which associated director Ford and star John Wayne (19071979) with the genre for the rest of their long careers. Stagecoach was in fact one example among an increased production of prominent westerns by major Hollywood studios (even as B westerns continued to be cranked out by Poverty Row studios, with Roy Rogers (1911-1998) emerging...

The Cinema Of Stalinism

During the late 1920s and early 1930s the Stalinist wing of the Communist Party consolidated its authority and set about transforming the Soviet Union on both the economic and cultural fronts. The economy moved from the market-based NEP to a system of central planning. The new leadership declared a ''cultural revolution'' in which the party would exercise tight control over cultural affairs, including artistic expression. Cinema existed at the intersection of art and economics so it was...

The Classical

The 20th Century Fox merger was an instant success by any measure, especially in terms of production efficiency, quality pictures, increased revenues, and profits. The success came relatively quickly, but only after Zanuck did some extensive house-cleaning in terms of both contract talent and projects in development. Zanuck brought with him from 20th a few key artists and technicians, notably the composer Alfred Newman (1901-1970) and editor Barbara McLean (1903-1996) (essentially a coeditor...

The Coming Of Sound

Before anyone had made a single film, Thomas Edison (1847-1931) decreed in 1888 that the phonograph and the motion picture would come together. Early attempts, such as Cameraphone (c. 1908-1909) and Britain's Cinephone (c. 1910-1913), recorded voice in playback to the image. Edison's own Kinetophone in 1913 applied mechanical amplification to a recording horn to place it out of camera range. This enabled sound (recorded on a phonograph) and picture to be recorded at the same time, but sync was...

The Film Industry And Audiences

The film industry is interested in studying the tastes and opinions of actual audiences through empirical studies, such as surveys, focus groups, and interviews. Because the film industry is a moneymaking enterprise, it remains successful only by producing films that make a profit over and above their (increasingly sizable) budget and marketing costs. The industry needs to bring in as many viewers as possible and therefore must keep close tabs on what types of stories will appeal to the...