From the cinema of attractions to the cinema of narrative integration part 2
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From the cinema of attractions to the cinema of narrative integration, part 2. Lecture 5. What constitutes, at the level of form, the cinema of narrative integration?. The Case of Sherlock, Jr. Narrative Cinema Voyeuristic Absorptive Affects the spectator like sleep or drugs suspenseful

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From the cinema of attractions to the cinema of narrative integration part 2

From the cinema of attractions to the cinema of narrative integration,part 2

Lecture 5


What constitutes at the level of form the cinema of narrative integration

What constitutes, at the level of form, the cinema of narrative integration?

The Case of Sherlock, Jr.


From the cinema of attractions to the cinema of narrative integration part 2

Narrative Cinema

  • Voyeuristic

  • Absorptive

  • Affects the spectator like sleep or drugs

  • suspenseful

  • Psychological

  • Gives the illusion of a coherent space (i.e. the illusion of realism)

Cinema of attractions

  • Exhibitionist

  • Direct address

  • Filming of events

  • Emphasizes *theatrical display*

  • “displays its visibility”

  • affects the spectator like a rollercoaster

  • A-psychological


How exactly is narrative absorption achieved

How exactly is narrative absorption achieved?

  • Suspense

  • Psychologizing characters

  • Producing the illusion of realism by creating realistic spaces


How exactly is narrative absorption achieved1

How exactly is narrative absorption achieved?

  • Suspense

    • Stylistic technique: cross-cutting

  • Psychologizing characters

    • Stylistic technique: close-ups

  • Producing the illusion of realism by creating realistic spaces

    • Stylistic techniques: eyeline matches, continuity editing


Character psychology mary jane s mishap

Character psychology?Mary Jane’s Mishap


Character psychology

Character psychology?


Spatial realism and continuity editing 1

Spatial Realism and Continuity Editing 1

  • From The Lonedale Operator


Spatial realism and continuity editing 2

Spatial Realism and Continuity Editing 2

  • From The Lonedale Operator


Spatial realism and continuity editing 3 the eyeline match from the lonedale operator

Spatial Realism and Continuity Editing 3: the eyelinematch: From The Lonedale Operator


Spatial realism and continuity editing 4 from the lonedale operator

Spatial Realism and Continuity Editing 4From The Lonedale Operator


From the cinema of attractions to the cinema of narrative integration part 2

How and why did filmmaking practice shift from a cinema of attractions in the pre-1908 period to a cinema of narrative integration in the post-1908 period?


In order to answer that question we need to understand the following

In order to answer that question we need to understand the following:

  • What constitutes, at the level of form, the cinema of attractions?

  • What constitutes, at the level of form, the cinema of narrative integration?

  • What historical and economic factors explain the shift ?

  • Why does the shift occur around 1908?


Key terms

Key terms

  • Mode of representation

    • What are the predominant techniques used in the film texts themselves?

  • Mode of production

    • How and by whom are films being produced?

  • Mode of exhibition

    • How and where are films being exhibited?

  • Mode of distribution

    • How the films are getting from the producer/manufacturer to the exhibiter

  • Mode of appreciation

    • How are actual audiences interacting/enjoying/appreciating the films?


From the cinema of attractions to the cinema of narrative integration part 2

Pre-1908 mode of representation (m.o.r), mode of production (m.o.p.), mode of distribution (m.o.d.), mode of exhibition (m.o.e.), mode of appreciation (m.o.a.)

  • 1896-1901: Self-Contained Producers

    • Mode of representation (M.O.R.)

      • Cinema of attractions

    • Mode of production (M.O.P)

      • Companies developed the technology and made the films, and sometimes assisted with the exhibition

        • Edison, Lumière, American Mutoscope (later Biograph), PathéFrerès, Vitagraph

    • Mode of distribution (M.O.D)

      • Companies rented out the technology (projectors), the films, and a person to help with the projection

      • i.e. no distributors

    • Mode of exhibition (M.O.P.)

      • *Vaudeville theaters*

        • One part of a show

      • Theaters rented a “complete service” from the production companies

      • Few theaters that only showed films

    • Mode of appreciation (M.O.A.)

      • Illusions and novelty


P b chase s polite vaudeville theater program bill washington d c week of april 29 th 1901

P.B. Chase’s Polite Vaudeville Theater Program BillWashington, D.C., Week of April 29th, 1901


P b chase s polite vaudeville theater program bill washington d c week of april 29 th 19011

P.B. Chase’s Polite Vaudeville Theater Program BillWashington, D.C., Week of April 29th, 1901


P b chase s polite vaudeville theater program bill washington d c week of september 21 st 1908

P.B. Chase’s Polite Vaudeville Theater Program BillWashington, D.C., Week of September 21st, 1908


Chase s theater ca 1912

Chase’s Theater (ca. 1912)


From the cinema of attractions to the cinema of narrative integration part 2

Pre-1908 mode of representation (m.o.r), mode of production (m.o.p.), mode of distribution (m.o.d.), mode of exhibition (m.o.e.), mode of appreciation (m.o.a.)

  • 1902-1904: Independent Exhibitors

    • Mode of representation (M.O.R.)

      • Cinema of attractions

    • Mode of production (M.O.P)

      • Companies sold (rather than rented) the technology (projectors) and the films

      • Projectors were easier to use (less need for a projectionist)

    • Mode of distribution (M.O.D)

      • Direct exchange between production and exhibition

      • i.e. no real distributors

    • Mode of exhibition (M.O.P.)

      • Exhibitors bought projectors and films

      • Increasing number of Vaudeville theaters incorporated films in playbills

      • *Travelling entertainments*

        • Fairgrounds, parks, etc…

      • Exhibitors played a curatorial role; each show was “unique”

      • No standardization

      • Few film-only theaters

    • Mode of appreciation (M.O.A.)

      • Story films had become very popular

        • The Great Train Robbery (1903) was the most commercially successful in the pre-Griffith period

      • Audiences were familiar with many of the stories and dramatized events

        • Jack and the Beanstalk, 1903


From the cinema of attractions to the cinema of narrative integration part 2

Pre-1908 mode of representation (m.o.r), mode of production (m.o.p.), Mode of Distribution (m.o.d.), mode of exhibition (m.o.e.), mode of appreciation (m.o.a.)

  • 1904-1908: Film Exchanges and the Rise of the Nickelodeon

    • Mode of representation (M.O.R.)

      • Cinema of attractions

    • Mode of production (M.O.P)

      • American MutoscopeBiograph company emerges as the first company to shift to ‘feature’ films

      • Growing demand for films

      • Power and control of industry passed from production to exchanges and exhibiters

    • Mode of distribution (M.O.D.)

      • Companies usually soldthe technology (projectors) and the films to EXCHANGES rather than exhibiters

      • Emergence of a new intermediary: the film exchangeman (like a distributor)

        • Bought films from production companies and rented them to exhibitors

    • Mode of exhibition (M.O.P.)

      • This helped propel the “nickelodeon boom”

        • huge increase in theaters (nickelodeons) whose prime attraction was films

        • CINEMA AS MASS ART

      • Traveling exhibitors went out of business

    • Mode of appreciation (M.O.A.)

      • Story films were most popular

      • Stories were often familiar to the audience


Published in the chicago sunday tribune april 8 th 1906

Published in the Chicago Sunday Tribune, April 8th, 1906

Title: “Nickel Theatre Pays Well; Small Cost and Big Profit”

“[At the shopping-district theater], they must gather 2,200 5 cent coins before profit begins. The house seats 399 people, and two shows an hour are given, except Saturday and Sundays when the crowds are largest and an extra performance is wedged into every sixty minutes.

The hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and during this time there is no cessation. It is the genuine continuous. The rush hours of the theater’s day are from 12 to 2, and from 6 to 8 p.m., when the capacity of the house is taxed as a rule”


From the cinema of attractions to the cinema of narrative integration part 2

Lubin Nickelodeon, Philadelphia, ca. 1907


From the cinema of attractions to the cinema of narrative integration part 2

Detroit, Michigan, 1909


Nickelodeon audiences

Nickelodeon audiences

From Views and Film Index (1906):

“They all do business. This is evident at any hour during the day and up to 12 o’clock at night. Places are continually opening. East of the Bowery lies the great East Side section of New York, with its great tenements and the countless humanity living in it. The character of the people who use the Bowery as thoroughfare and who may be classed as transient is not of such a nature that they would attend these shows: therefore the logical conclusion, and what is now the established fact, is that these moving picture shows and arcades are supported by the residents of the vicinity, the great Italian settlement on the one side and the great Jewish settlement of the other.”


Impact of the nickelodeon boom

Impact of the “nickelodeon boom”

  • Cinema became a mass art

  • Film reel (vs. projectors or “complete service”) became the industry’s main commodity

  • ‘Feature’ film (half reel to one reel in length) became the industry’s main product

  • Demand for films increased

  • New worries about film’s respectability


What explains the shift in the mode of representation around 1908

What explains the shift in the mode of representation around 1908?

  • Emergence of film as a mass art with the “nickelodeon boom” increased demand

  • Criticism of films whose storylines were unclear suggested the need for narrative efficiency in order to maintain profitability

    • Familiar stories were limited

    • broader, more diverse audience less familiar with once taken-for-granted cultural referents

  • Standardization of the industry evidenced in the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC)

  • Concerns of reformers about the class composition of nickelodeon audiences pushed the industry to try to appeal to a middle class public


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