Horizon High School Film History
1895 Birth of Cinematography • Robert W. Paul invented a film projector, giving his first public showing in 1895 • Movies were seen mostly via temporary storefront spaces and traveling exhibitors or as acts in vaudeville programs.
1895 Birth of Cinematography • Films under a minute long and usually presented a single scene, authentic or staged, of everyday life, a public event, a sporting event or slapstick. • No cinematic technique: no editing and usually no camera movement, and flat, staged compositions.
1895 Birth of Cinematography • Sally Rand, The Fan Dance • An exotic dancer and actress. • During the 1920s, she acted on stage and appeared in silent films. • Arrested a few times due to indecent exposure while dancing, but the nudity was only an illusion.
Silent Era 1895-1927 • Paris stage magician Georges Méliès did films of fantasy and the bizarre, including A Trip to the Moon (1902). He pioneered many of the basic special effects techniques used in movies for most of the twentieth century. He also led the way in making multi-scene narratives as long as fifteen minutes.
Silent Era 1895-1927 • Edwin S. Porter, pushed forward the sophistication of film editing in works like the first movie Western, The Great Train Robbery (1903). Porter arguably discovered that the basic unit of structure in a film is the shot, rather than the scene.
The Great Train Robbery (1903) • Western filmed in New Jersey. • Originally distributed with a note saying that the famous shot of the bandit firing his gun at the camera could be placed either at the beginning or at the end of the film, or both. Audiences at the time, for whom moving pictures were still very new and unfathomable, would usually scream in fear, then laugh in relief.
Silent Era 1895-1927 • Boom in nickelodeons, the first permanent movie theaters. • 10,000 in the U.S. alone by 1908 (Cook, 1990). • Standard length of a film remained one reel, or about ten to fifteen minutes, partly based on producers' assumptions about the attention spans of their still largely working class audiences.
Silent Era 1895-1927 • Leading the trend for longer movies, in America was director D.W. Griffith with his historical epics The Birth of a Nation (1915 - 190 minutes) and Intolerance (1916 – 197 minutes).
Birth of a Nation (1915) • Credited with securing the future of feature length films (films over 40 minutes) as well as solidifying the language of cinema. • Pioneered techniques as deep focus, jump-cut, and facial close-ups, now integral to conventional cinematic style. • Introduced cinematic innovations, special effects, and artistic techniques.
Birth of a Nation (1915) • Voted one of the "Top 100 American Films" (# 44) by the American Film Institute in 1998. • In its day, the highest grossing film, taking in more than $10 million at the box office (equivalent to $300 million in 2006). • In 1992 the United States Library of Congress deemed it "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Silent Era 1895-1927 • 1920s, U.S. produced an average of 800 feature films annually, or 82% of the global total (Eyman, 1997). • The comedies of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and the Swashbuckling adventures of Douglas Fairbanks and the romances of Clara Bow, made these performers’ faces iconic on every continent.
Talking Pictures 1927 • Turning point came in 1927, when Warner Brothers Studios released The Jazz Singer, which was mostly silent but contained the first synchronized dialogue (and singing) in a feature film.
Golden Age of Hollywood • 1927-1940’s • American cinema reached its peak of efficiently manufactured glamour and global appeal during this period.
Golden Age of Hollywood • Top actors of the era are now thought of as the classic movie stars, such as Clark Gable, Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and the number one box office draw of the '30s, child performer Shirley Temple.
Golden Era of Radio 1930’s • 1930’s • Affordable for every household • Brought the world to your living room • Broadcasts included; Opera, Melodrama, Variety Shows, game Shows, Comedies and Dramas.
Golden Era of Film 1940’s • 1940’s, started in 1939 with The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind. • US involvement in WWII brought a proliferation of movies as both patriotism and propaganda.
Golden Age of Film 1940’s • Notable American films from the war years include Watch on the Rhine (1943); Shadow of a Doubt (1943), directed by Alfred Hitchcock; Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), starring James Cagney, and Casablanca (1942), with Humphrey Bogart.
Golden Era of Film 1940’s • Bogart would star in 36 films between 1934 and 1942 including John Huston's The Maltese Falcon (1941), one of the first movies now considered a classic film noir.
Golden Era of TV 1950’s • Television introduced to the American public at the 1939 NY World’s Fair • Regular broadcasts didn’t begin until after WWII. • Prime Time viewing (family hour) 6-8 p.m.
Golden Era of TV 1950’s • Famous 1950’s television shows. • I Love Lucy 1951-1957 • Invented the three camera technique • Introduced a live audience • Filmed her ‘sitcom’
Film History Review • 1895 Birth of Cinematography • 1895-1927 Silent Era • 1927 Talking Pictures Introduced • 1927-1940’s Golden Age of Hollywood • 1930’s Golden Era of Radio • 1940’s Golden Era of Film • 1950’s Golden Era of Television