Cinema in Modernism. An overview of the evolution of movies during modernism.
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Cinema in Modernism An overview of the evolution of movies during modernism.
For hundreds, even thousands of years, people have been trying to make moving pictures. This began in 2nd century China with the invention of the Magic Lantern. This was basically a modern day slide projector. Simple slides of art were showed on it, some with special effects making the slide appear to move or be under water.
The Birth of Movies • In 1894, Thomas Edison invented the Kinetoscope. • Short clips were shown in “Kinetoscope parlors” • There was no system for sound in these early machines
The Evolution of Film, Projection • In 1895 the Lumière brothers introduced the cinematograph into the world of motion pictures. This new invention could project images onto screens instead of being viewed through a lens. They promptly started showing films to audiences.
By the early 1900’s, films made the move from simple moving art, to stories and tales with plots and themes. One of the earliest is Le Voyage dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon)
Le Voyage Dans La Lune • In this short 15 minute film, a group of scientists are gathered at a forum. One of them suggests making a voyage to the moon, and upon dissent, throws papers at the riotous young scientist. They then cast a giant cannon and build a giant shell that they sit in. They fire the cannon and fly to the moon, landing in his eye. They then prance around the moon, exploring, and towards the end, fighting off strange aliens. They then make their hasty escape by simply tilting the shell off the edge of the moon, landing safely back on earth. This film is an incredible display of an actual theme, and imagination and a peek into the science of the time. • This film can be found in it’s entirety here (dial up) or here (broadband).
The Evolution of Film, Sound • In 1926 Warner Bros. introduced the Vitaphone, this was a huge improvement over simple silent films and piano players. The first film with sound, The Jazz Singer, which had a scene with synchronized sound and singing, was produced in 1927. The Lights of New York quickly followed. This began the new era of “talkies”.
The Jazz Singer • In this movie, there is one scene where a man is talking to his mother. He invites her over to a piano to listen to his new song, he then proceeds to play an up-beat jazz song and sing to it. After the song, they converse, overjoyed, he sings the song again, but this time very merrily and much faster. An old man then comes in and startles them both. All this happens while they maintain a perfect synchronization between the picture and sound. This was an amazing feat for the current technology and amazed audiences.
One of the greatest films of the modernistic movement was made in 1930. All Quiet on the Western Front. Adapted from the 1929 book of the same title, it is often considered the best war film of all time.
All Quite on the Western Front • This film is almost universally considered the best war film of all time. It was based upon the book of the same title, written by Erich Maria Remarque, it tells of the horrors of war and how it permanently changes men for the worse. This film is considered the best “talkie” of all time also, having been produced with synchronized sound throughout the movie, including sound effects.
Milestones in Modernistic Film • Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) 1902, one of the earliest films to have an actual plot. • The Jazz Singer 1927, the first major production to have a scene of synchronized sound. • All Quiet on the Western Front 1930, widely considered the best war film, and also the best “talkie” of all time.
Related Works • Some other films and pieces of literature that relate to the modernistic movement. • Stalag 17 was a 1953 film about a World War 2 POW camp. This film takes a very comedic and ironic view of a very serious and grave subject, much like “The Nose” by Nikolai Gogol. • The Road Back, a book written by Erich Maria Remarque, considered a sequel to All Quite on the Western Front. It also has an accompanying movie. • Another book by Remarque, the sequel to The Road Back, Three Comrades, was also made into a film.
List of works. • Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) • The Jazz Singer • The Lights of New York • All Quiet on the Western Front • Stalag 17 • “The Nose” • The Road Back • Three Comrades