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...

Aftermath

With the 1920s came the jazz age, providing distractions from events that for many were far from resolved. In Germany the social and psychological trauma caused by the war inspired the Expressionist movement. Contemporary anxieties were played out in the distorted, fantastical settings of films such as Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Robert Wiene, 1920) and Nosferatu (F. W. Murnau, 1922). Although this style gave German films a distinctive national aesthetic,...

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...

At The Movies

As much as the star scandals of the early 1920s may have outraged sectors of the American populace, the negative publicity did little to dampen the general enthusiasm for motion pictures. During the mature silent period, movies acquired the status of a mass commercial entertainment, with audience levels climbing throughout the 1920s, especially in the latter part of the decade. Weekly paid admissions in the United States jumped from 40 million in 1922 to 65 million in 1928. In fact, it was...

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 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...

Background

Supporting roles were an essential element in the theater long before the movies were invented, and they served much the same function that they would come to serve in motion pictures. Supporting actors were unnecessary in the earliest movies short documentaries, called actualite s, featured images from real life and therefore did not use actors at all, and others were short, staged scenes that featured only a very small number of performers. By the early twentieth century, film narratives...

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...

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...

Britain Prepared

In the United Kingdom the need to continue with everyday life resulted in a business-as-usual approach by cinema managers, echoing the practical patriotism of the United States. In British theaters during the winter of 1915, audiences of uniformed men laughed at the broad comedy of pantomime one moment and sang melancholy war anthems, such as ''Keep the Home Fires Burning,'' the next in similar fashion, cinema's blend of reality with escapism was readily accepted. Movie theaters accommodated...

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

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...

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...

D November

Stage and screen director Tony Richardson was a major shaping influence in British theater and film during the 1950s and 1960s. Born the only child of a pharmacist in the West Riding region of Yorkshire, he was educated at Ashville College, Harrogate, and Wadham College, Oxford. After earning a B.A. in English Literature in 1951, he enrolled in the Director Training Program at the British Broadcasting Corporation. During the next four years he not only directed several notable television...

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...

Digital Animation

Some important developments in technologies, and the formal capacity they offer for rendering versions of new fictional worlds, are also shared between cinema and games, most obviously in the area of digital animation. The fact that new standards of realism in computergenerated graphics are offered as one selling point of games and animated films creates a point of crossover between the two media. This is especially the case in a film such as Final Fantasy The Spirits Within (2001), based on...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

Literary Roots

Mary Shelley's (1797-1851) Frankenstein (1818) is often cited as a crucial literary antecedent to sci-fi films. The novel is of particular interest because of its portrayal of creating life from non-living materials and, equally importantly, because of Shelley's investigation of the ethical ramifications of the human (specifically male) creation of life. Later science fiction narratives about robots, cyborgs, artificial intelligence, and cloning clearly owe a debt to Shelley, though few if any...

Michael Curtiz b Mihaly Kertesz Budapest Hungary December d April

Warner Bros.' consummate house director during the classical era, Michael Curtiz was an expert technician who worked in a variety of genres and with a wide range of top studio stars, and like all of Warner's long-term contract directors, he was amazingly prolific. Curtiz directed nearly one hundred features over some twenty-seven years at Warner (1926-1953), including over fifty films during the manic 1930s. Most were routine studio fare, although he occasionally directed prestige productions...

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...

Novi Film

A tendency rather than a film movement called novi film emerged in the wake of the political and economic liberalization of Yugoslavia in the 1960s and 70s. While lacking a program or coherent aesthetics, novi film sought to free Yugoslav cinema from bureaucratic dogmatism and promote free expression and experimentation. Inspired by Italian Neorealism and various new waves in European cinema, the filmmakers rejected the dominant style of socialist realism, with its officially sanctioned...

Original Films Versus Adaptations Remakes And Sequels

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

Cinema was introduced into Russia through the initiative of Europeans. One sign of foreign influence on Russian cinema is the number of cognates in Russia's film lexicon. One finds German (e.g., the Russian word for cinema, kino, derives from the German Kino) as well as many French traces in the language (e.g, the Russian montazh derives from montage). The Lumi re organization first ventured into the region in 1896, with successful public showings of programs in St. Petersburg and Moscow. 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...

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...

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...

Recent Directions

Another recent thriller movement marked by historical consciousness is neo-noir. Recycling and reconceiving film noir's dark themes, flamboyant stylization, and convoluted structures, the neo-noir revival was spurred in the 1980s by such films as Body Heat (1981), Blood Simple (1984), and Blue Velvet (1986), and it continued (with an extra dollop of self-consciousness akin to that of the Scream-led stalker revival) in Pulp Fiction (1994), Memento (2000), Mulholland Drive (2001), Femme Fatale...

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

Believing that films were strictly for entertainment, Golden Age film producer Sam Goldywn is reputed to have said, ''If you want to send a message, use Western Union.'' Notwithstanding a handful of so-called social problem films, Hollywood films do tend more toward the innocuous than the politically confrontational. Science fiction films, though, are often notable for their idea-driven narratives social commentary, although not always profound, is a frequent element of sci-fi. It is not...

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...

Semiotics

The terms semiology and semiotics are frequently used interchangeably by academics and film theorists. Broadly speaking, both terms refer to the study of signs and language systems, though the term semiology owes its provenance to the work of Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) and semiotics to the American philosopher Charles Peirce (1839-1914). This is a deceptively simple definition of semiology, which in fact encompasses a wide range of academic debates and positions. Semiology is a...

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,...

Series

Series are generally defined as groups of films with self-contained stories that share the same principal character or characters and often the same situations and settings. Series may be conceived as such from the outset, as was the case with The Hazards of Helen (119 episodes from 1914 to 1917), or, as in the case of the James Bond (over 20 films from 1962 to the present) and Halloween (8 films between 1978 and 2002) films, they may emerge, evolve, or become institutionalized over the course...

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...

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,...

Sports Films

Since the start of the motion picture industry in the United States, sports have been a frequent subject for the movies. Hollywood has produced hundreds of films about sports for the same reason that synergistic ties have been established between American movies and other cultural forms, including theater, literature, fashion, television, advertising, and toys. From the documentary-style ''news films'' of major prizefights and the World Series that were an important part of the early film...

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...

Sports Films And Race

With the exception of two 1930s films, Spirit of Youth (1938) and Keep Punching (1939), which were made for black audiences, African Americans appeared only as secondary characters (if at all) in feature-length sports movies from the coming of sound through the beginning of the civil rights movement. Until the 1950s most of the infrequent appearances by black characters were in films about prizefighting, such as Golden Boy and Body and Soul, probably because it was the least exclusionary...

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...

Stars As Images Labor And Capital

Stars function in three main ways within the culture and commerce of popular cinema. First, as performers who appear in films, stars are part of the aesthetic or symbolic content of films. Alongside films, movie stars also appear in other media, like television or radio advertisements, posters, and magazine interviews. Film stars are therefore always presented to the public as mediated identities what is often referred to as a star's image. Second, stars are a part of the labor force involved...

Structuralism And Poststructuralism

Structuralism and poststructuralism are theoretical attitudes arising out of film studies' ''linguistic turn'' the attempt to reconceptualize cinema using language as an explanatory paradigm in the 1960s and 1970s. At this time, the discipline was just beginning to attain footing as a serious field of scholarly inquiry and become an established presence as an academic department at universities. In many ways symptomatic of the fledgling field's anxiety about being taken seriously, the...

Supporting Actors

The category of supporting actor includes all actors who play secondary, supporting roles in films. These roles can be played by actors who also appear in leading roles in other films, or by character actors. Character actors typically play similar roles from film to film, and very frequently have a distinctive look, voice or manner which precludes them from playing leading roles in most mainstream films. George Clooney is an example of an actor who has played both leading roles (Ocean's...

Teen Films

The teen film has been a fixture in American cinema since the mid-twentieth century, yet serious study of the genre did not begin until the 1980s. David Considine wrote the first exhaustive study, The Cinema of Adolescence, in 1985, illuminating many of the messages and trends contained in films about teenagers. Since then film scholars have pointed to the ways in which the Hollywood studios capitalized on youth trends and attitudes through movies that directly addressed the teenage audience...

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 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 Hollywood Cinema

Tendencies already evident in the previous period grew more pronounced as firms became larger and films became longer and more costly. In particular, the production process became progressively more standardized, with division of labor and departmentalization of crafts refined even further to rationalize the process of making films within a large-scale studio system. Thomas Ince (1882-1924) and Mack Sennett (1880-1960), both early proponents of a centralized production process wherein a...

The Golden Age Of Silent Film

When they joined Svenska Bio in 1912, Sjostrom and Stiller had considerable experience in the theater but none in film. Both learned by doing, and they learned quickly. Encouraged by Magnusson, they drew on liter ary and theatrical source material and on carefully crafted scripts to convey fully developed fictional stories. Together with Jaenzon, their primary cinematographer, they experimented with innovative visual techniques such as double exposure and the tracking shot. To avoid the...

The Impact Of Cable And Home Video From

The first three decades of network television in America represent a period of remarkable stability for the television industry. Once the basic structure of the television industry had been established, the television seasons rolled past with comforting familiarity. However, the rapid growth of cable television and home video in the 1980s, followed by a new round of consolidation in the media industries, disrupted the balance of power in the television industry and led to the complete...

The Nickelodeon

By 1907 cities and towns across the United States and Canada were home to a new site for commercial amusement, the nickelodeon an inexpensive, unadorned moving picture theater charging a mere five cents per ticket. It is difficult to ascertain when the first nickelodeon appeared. One frequently cited origin is the Nickelodeon theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, opened in June 1905 by Harry Davis, a local commercial entertainment entrepreneur. Before this date, moving pictures had often been...

The Origins Of Semiology

As a field of academic enquiry, semiology has its origin in linguistics as developed by the Swiss academic Ferdinand de Saussure. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Saussure gave an influential series of lectures on linguistics in which he proposed semiology as a model for the investigation of language and language systems. Saussure's work was unusual in several respects, not least because, counter to the dominant approach advocated by linguists at the time, he was not...

The Relationship Between Film And Television

We tend to think of film and television as rival media, but their histories are so deeply intertwined that thinking of them separately is often a hindrance to understanding how the film and television industries operate or how people experience these media in their everyday lives. Starting in the late 1950s, Hollywood studios began to produce substantially more hours of film for television (in the form of TV series) than for movie theaters, and that pattern holds to this day. Since the early...

THE s And After

The 1960s brought significant change to the rendering of film violence long before the US assault on Vietnam registered in the public mind via the mass media. Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) took the horror film in a new direction with his portrayal of serial murder, in particular the film's famous shower scene wherein the ostensible heroine is stabbed to death, her blood running down the drain. Three years later, the same director's The Birds (1963), another venture into the fantastique that...

The Silent Proscenium

Beginning shortly after the turn of the century and continuing sporadically for the next ten years or so, Lumi re and Pathe studios in France, Edison and Biograph and Vitagraph studios in America, the Nordisk Film Kompagni in Denmark, Svenska Bopgrafteaterm in Sweden, were among the many production entities around the world that released film recordings of vaudeville turns, dramas (including Shakespeare), operas, and magic acts. Stage magician Georges M li s' (1861-1938) made fantasy films that...

The Studio System And Stars

The emergence of publicly circulated knowledge about performers was foundational to the making of film stardom. In the 1930s and 1940s Hollywood stardom reached its most systematic phase. During these decades the major vertically integrated studios all instituted arrangements for systematically cultivating and marketing star performers. Talent scouts were hired by the studios to search theaters and clubs for promising new performers. Once signed to a studio, performers would receive in-house...

The Television Era And The New Hollywood

When the movie industry's postwar collapse caught up with Warner Bros. in 1948, contracts with top stars like Davis, Bogart, and Flynn were phased out, as were many other contract personnel. Conditions became so dire, in fact, that, despite a suspension of production for several months to regroup, the studio still failed to place a single film in the top twenty-five box-office releases in 1949. Deep budget cuts and personnel layoffs offset falling revenues in 1950, when Warner Bros. actually...

Theater

In its mystery, blends different beauties, sang Mario Cavaradossi in Puccini's opera, Tosca. Indeed, the saga of stage and film interaction over the course of a century has resulted in what historian Robert Hamilton Ball has called ''a strange and eventful history.'' The two media, one the inheritor of centuries of dramatic tradition and the other, an upstart technology bereft of dramatic antecedents, have been linked from the days of the very first moving picture experiments by Thomas Edison...

Theaters

Throughout the twentieth century, motion pictures were screened in a host of different places, including schools, churches, parks, and retail stores. But until the use of the home VCR became widespread in the 1980s, the primary site for film exhibition was the movie theater, which offered on a regular basis and always for the price of a ticket a moving picture program, a social experience, and sometimes much more. ''Despite the glamour of Hollywood,'' wrote economist Mae Huettig in 1944, ''the...

Theaters Built For The Movies

The nickelodeon boom echoed throughout North America between 1906 and 1910, and in some regions, this type of low-overhead, barebones moving picture theater remained a viable business venture well into the 1910s, especially in villages and small towns. But the competition for the commercial amusement market and the desire to reach a broader and likely more middle-class audience meant that the simple storefront nickelodeon increasingly gave way to larger, more pretentious, and more permanent...

Thomas W Lamb b Dundee Scotland d February

Lamb was the most important of several notable architects who had a significant effect on the design, prestige, and cultural role of the American movie theater during the age of the picture palace. Lamb (and his firm) designed more than three hundred theaters, primarily in the United States but also in Canada, England, Australia, and South Africa. Born in Dundee, Scotland, in 1871, Lamb moved to the United States in 1899 and soon thereafter graduated from Cooper Union Institute with a...

Thrillers

The thriller goes 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. Although it is often classified as a genre, in practice the thriller spreads itself across several recognized genres. One may speak of detective thrillers, horror thrillers, spy thrillers, and police...

United Artists

Unlike the other major motion picture companies, United Artists (UA) never owned a studio or had actors and directors under contract. It functioned throughout its life solely as a distribution company for independent producers. The history of the company can be conveniently divided into three periods (1) from 1919 to 1950, when the company was owned by Mary Pickford (18931979), Charles Chaplin (1889-1977), and their partners and functioned mainly as a boutique distributor of quality films (2)...

V

Digital animation in George Lucas's Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope (special edition, 1997). kobal collection lucasfilm 20th century fox. reproduced by permission. greater sense of the presence of a real camera on the virtual or hybrid set. Pyrotechnic effects may be scaled to match the scene, in which case the effects of their light on the immediate environment needs to be considered. Animatronics, water effects (sometimes shot at speeds over a hundred frames per second), puppets, digital...

Veterans And Allegories

For many critics, the failure of The Green Berets to tell an accurate story of the war and to find and persuade an audience signaled the end of the combat film as a genre. For the duration of the war, Vietnam was represented on screen not by images of battle but by images of the war's veterans. Films focusing solely on individuals tended to depoliticize and personalize the conflict. The earliest of these were low-budget, independently produced exploitation'' pictures that incorporated Vietnam...

Video Games

The field of computer game studies is a relatively new one, especially in terms of detailed textual analysis of the forms of games themselves (as opposed to studies based on assumptions about their social or psychological effects). A number of different theoretical paradigms are in potential competition in current efforts to map the field. Cinema might seem a logical point of reference for many games, especially with the movement of adventure-style games from text to animated graphical form,...

Video In Film

Video has become in many ways the everyday form of film, the dominant means for the circulation of images in daily life. Film becomes, in contrast, a more specialized practice, a more expensive activity for both producers and viewers, who pay increasingly high ticket prices to see films projected in theaters. Because video has become part of everyday experience, filmmakers frequently include video within their films, sometimes for the aesthetic contrast between the high-definition film image...

Violence

The representation of violence in the cinema has been a topic nearly as contentious as sexuality for those concerned with what is proper for the content of film. Yet censorship organizations have focused less on violence than on sexual images or images suggestive of various forms of gender liberation. Cursory application of psychoanalytic theory provides at least tentative answers for this Western civilization, heavily influenced by organized religion, has been fairly obsessed with policing the...

War And Its Aftermath

The German invasion of June 1941 produced an immediate crisis of national survival and led to a four-year ordeal for the Soviet population, eventually costing the lives of approximately 20 million Soviet citizens. All major industries were pressed into emergency service after June 1941, including cinema. But the initial military situation also disrupted the film industry's operations. The two major production centers, Leningrad and Moscow, soon came under threat from the German army. Much of...

War Films

War has been a popular topic for motion pictures since the invention of the medium in the late 1800s. But there is no single generic type of war film, as the category encompasses many types of filmed stories about conflict. The Napoleonic Wars have been the subject of costume dramas, frontier wars in westerns pit cowboys against Indians. Star Wars (1977) presents an imaginary interga-lactic conflict in the realm of science fiction. Other films make use of war as metaphor The War of the Roses...

Wiring For Sound

The American film industry's transition to sound, which began in 1927 and was completed by 1930, had an immediate effect on the nation's movie theaters. The cost of installing a sound system wiring for sound,'' as it was called could be prohibitive for the independent owner-operator of a small theater. There were competing sound systems, and each system required the purchase of new projection equipment in addition to speakers. Costs for converting theaters to sound had dropped significantly by...

Yiddish Cinema

Yiddish cinema must be unique in the annals of world film history as the only manifestation of a major filmmaking enterprise not primarily associated with a national entity. We might say, at the very least, that Yiddish cinema was the first truly transnational cinema, but one which ironically and perhaps ultimately tragically lacked a foundation in a national setting, that is, in a nation or a unique, sovereign state. A transnational cinema without the national, Yiddish cinema represents the...

Yugoslavia

A cinematic tradition in the lands inhabited by Southern Slavs has evolved under various political divisions, of which Yugoslavia covers the longest time span. The film legacy of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is also crucial to the formation of national cinemas of several states, such as Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, and Macedonia. The term Yugoslavia, which came into use in 1929, designates here a territorial, linguistic, and cultural entity...

B Stalingrad Russia now Volgograd Russia July d October

One of the leading figures of the post-World War II Russian cinema, Elem Klimov's influence was felt as both a filmmaker and as a film industry reformer who helped guide his nation's cinema through the transition to democratization and privatization in the late Soviet era. Born and raised in a family of Communist Party members, Klimov eventually became a critic of the Soviet system, in part because his work often ran afoul of Soviet censors, and also because he championed the reform movement...

Time Warner The Modern Conglomerate

The year 1989 was a watershed for Warner Bros. on two interrelated fronts. One was the release of Batman, a feat of blockbuster filmmaking that effectively redefined the creation and propagation of the movie-driven global entertainment franchise. Batman reached 100 million in only ten days, a studio record, and went on to become the biggest hit and the most successful franchise in Warner's history to that point. Much of that success was due to the other epochal event in 1989, WCI's merger with...