Classical American Film Texts. Hollywood Films between 1917 and 1960. Table of Contents. Film as Illusion Classical American Film as Realist Film The Paradox of Classical American Film. Film as Illusion.
between 1917 and 1960
‘The old experience of the movie-goer, who sees the world outside as an extension of the film he has just left (because the latter is intent upon reproducing the world of everyday perceptions), is now the producer’s guideline. The more intensely and flawlessly his techniques duplicate empirical objects, the easier it is today for the illusion to prevail that the outside world is the straightforward continuation of that presented on the screen. This purpose has been furthered by mechanical reproduction since the lighting was taken over by the sound film.’ Theodor V. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 126
FILM IS ILLUSION OF WHAT?
‘… spectators experience the diagetic world as environment.’ Noël Burch
(diegesis = telling, recounting)
Film as combination of ‘imaginary signifiers’ Christian Metz
(imaginary = the state in which you cannot distinguish between real and fantasy > Lacanian psychoanalysis
(signifier = sign)
CLASSICAL AMERICAN FILM AS ILLUSIONIST FILM
CONTINUATION of the Established Uniformity of Narrative and Visual Style
A) telling a story is the basic formal concern.
B) uniformity is a basic attribute of film form.
C) The Hollywood film purports to be realistic in an Aristotelian sense - true to the probable.
D) the Hollywood film strives to conceal its artifice through techniques of uniformity and 'invisible' storytelling.
E) the film should be comprehensible and unambiguous.
F) it possesses a fundamental emotional appeal which transcends class and nature.
PROBABLE, CREDIBLE, NATURAL AND REAL