A world well into its 21st century is not satisfied
with merely being one of the nine planets of a star-studded universe. It wants star status for itself, to be a part of the
star cast in every act of the universe. This is obvious if we take stock of the entertainment scenario that dominates the
world. Love, hate, love-hate relationships, comedy, tragedy, tragicomedy, accidents, evolution, the creation of the universe,
the destruction of the universe, extraterrestrials, Martians, the influence of other planets, curses, sex, horror, mystery,
romance, violence, action, food, eviction drives, sanity, insanity, God, Satan......in short we have films on every possible
topic in this universe, every aspect of life.
For anyone who lived through
the 1960s on a campus,` there has to be a shock of recognition on seeing the anti-war demonstration in Bom on the Fourth (1989),
Oliver St0ne’s film based on the life of Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic. A feeling that you were once present at this very
scene, saw these very students on the steps of a university hail, with their long hair, Afros, beards, levis, bandannas; witnessed
these very gestures, the raised arms and clenched fists; heard this very speechifyíng by Blacks and whítes,
the denun-ciations ofwar7 the shouted Words Nixon, On strike, Shut it down, Right on.Even that middle aged figure on the steps,
Wearing a dashiki and calling for a March on Washington, looks strangely familiar - but at the same time some-how too old
and out of place. Before the tear-gas bombs explode and the cops descend with swinging clubs We (Who Were around in the Sixties)
may realize: that is Abbie Hoffmzln7 King ofthe Yippies, saying precisely the kind of things The sequence is based upon a
real event. The film lets us know that this is Syracuse University shortly after the Cambodia ‘incursion’ and
the killings at Kent State, that moment in early May 19 70 when hundreds, thousands, of col-lege and high school campuses
Went on strike. Syracuse was among them, but the demonstration there was far different from the one We see on the screen.
At Syracuse the Words might have been violent, but the afternoon was peaceful; the police did not shoot oñctear,-gas
and they did not Wade into the crowd with clubs. Nor Was the demonstration there attended by Ron Kovic, the hero of the film,
and author ofthe book on which itis based. Nor by his girlfriend, for he did not have a girlfriend. Nor was it addressed by
A creation of director Oliver Stone, this sequence is not exactly a complete
fabrication but, rather, a cunning mixture of diverse visual elements – fact, near fact, displaced fact, invention.
It refers to the past, it prods the memory7 but can we call it history? Surely not history as we usually use the Word, not
history that attempts to accurately reproduce a specific7 documentable moment of the past. Yet one might see it as a generic
historical moment, a moment that claims its truth by standing in for many such moments. The truth that such demonstrations
were common in the late 19605. The truth of the chaos, confusion, and violence of many such encounters between students and
By the end of 1930 Warner Bros. Developed into one of the major studios in Hollywood.
Harry Warner used the companies’ success with The Jazz Singer in 1927 to expand the company so that by the end of 1930
Warners’ owned 51 subsidiary companies, including 93 film exchanges, 525 theaters in 188 American cities and the huge
studios in Burbank and on Sunset Boulevard.1 Many of their theaters were in the ‘populous East’ especially in
Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, which in turn led to the development of more ‘city based’ realistic views
of American life.2 However the companies’ sense of enthusiasm and prosperity were tempered by net losses of nearly 8
million dollars in 1931 and 14 million in 1932.3 The drastic downturn in their economic status resulted in a cutting of costs
throughout the company and the switching of the Warner Brothers political affiliation from Republican to Democrat. The Warner
Brothers worked to help elect Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 by staging rallies for him in Los Angeles that they broadcast over
their radio station KFWB. They contributed to his campaign with financial and promotional support and when he was elected
in November of 1932 Roosevelt promised to make Jack Warner Los Angeles chairman of the National Recovery Act that was to be
a key component of Roosevelt’s New Deal.4 The support of Roosevelt by the Warner Bros. Impacted them personally as well
Film scholars Giuliana Muscio and Nick Roddick
argue that of all the studios the Warner Bros. Were the most supportive of Roosevelt and in turn produced films that reflected
their backing of the New Deal and the administration’s political goals, including a scene in the musical like Footlight
Parade (1933) where the image of Roosevelt’s Blue
Eagle, the symbol of the National Recovery Administration and Roosevelt’s face were featured prominently.5 I argue that Warner Bros. Not only produced films that supported the New Deal but in the process
were responsible for crafting an image of masculinities on screen that were noticeably more complex and incongruous at times.
What is evident in looking at the company records for Paul Muni, George Brent, Dick Powell and Errol Flynn that are the focus
of this study is that there was in fact no single unified approach adopted by the company to construct and market each of
these men’s films. In fact, what the records make clear is that Warner Bros struggled to define each of these men’s
screen masculinities. Warner Bros. Could define masculinity as “hard” in the persona of James Cagney and his violent
acts such as shoving a grapefruit into a woman’s face in The Public Enemy (1931) as well as displaying “soft”
qualities in the persona of Dick Powell as he sang love songs to swooning young women as they dreamily listened and watched
Lewis Jacobs argued
that many of the films of the 1930s that were made were in fact ‘trivial.’ While some of the studios like Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer,
Paramount and RKO and their pictures reflect Lewis Jacobs’s criticism that the films of the period were ‘trivial.’
Warner Bros. Sought to make films that were both profitable and illustrative of the concerns of the people. Of Warner Bros.
Leo Rosten writes: Warner Brothers emphasizes drama and melodrama, fast-moving stories with hard-surfaced characters in muscular
situations. The Warners’ pictures aim at the powerful rather than the pleasant. The Warners’ roster of stars suggests
the characteristics of its output: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Edward G. Robinson, Pat 3
O’Brien, Ida Lupino, John Garfield, Humphrey Bogart, and, for many years, Paul Muni; even the studios “glamorous”
personalities—Errol Flynn, Ann Sheridan— thrive in violent rather than genteel locales. Warners specializes in
emotions, not manners
Rosten’s view of Warner Bros. Has
come to be accepted as the standard definition of the studio’s house style and the types of stars it employed. In fact,
in The Genius of the System Thomas Schatz echoes Rosten’s assessment when he writes that, “Warners shunned
the high-gloss, well-lit world of M-G-M and Paramount, opting instead for bleaker, darker world view. Warners’ Depression
era-pictures were fast-paced, fasttalking, socially sensitive (if not downright exploitative treatments of contemporary stiffs
and lowlifes), of society’s losers and victims rather than heroic or well-heeled types.
Warner Bros. Gangster films of the early 1930s like The Public Enemy (Wellman,
1931) and Little Caesar (1930) are representative of Sklar and other film historians who argue that it was the gangster
figure on screen who was aggressive, and a rugged individualist as played by James Cagney and Edward G.
Robinson that epitomized Warner Bros. Ideal screen masculinity. Sklar argues in
his book City Boys that “[James] Cagney established a new cultural type on the American screen and in the world’s
imagination. It was the urban tough guy—small, wiry, savvy, and street smart, a figure out of the immigrant ghettos
and ethnic neighborhoods of Chicago, New York.”10 Robert McElvaine in his history
of the Depression analyzes the character 7
of Rico in Little
Caesar played by Edward G. Robinson. He argues that “[Rico] is the epitome of the self-centered, acquisitive man,
one who will use any means of competition to eliminate (often literally) his rivals.”11
In each of these cases the filmic image of masculinity is one that celebrates the self-made man as the positive and
ideal figure of American masculinity and the “American Dream.”
In 1878, under
the sponsorship of Leland Stanford, Eadweard Muybridge successfully photographed a horse named "Sallie Gardner"
in fast motion using a series of 24 stereoscopic cameras. The experiment took place on June 11 at the Palo Alto farm in California
with the press present. The cameras were arranged along a track parallel to the horse's, and each of the camera shutters
was controlled by a trip wire which was triggered by the horse's hooves. They were 21 inches apart to cover the 20 feet
taken by the horse stride, taking pictures at one thousandth of a second.
The second experimental film, Roundhay Garden Scene, filmed
by Louis Le Prince on October 14, 1888 in Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, UK is now known as the earliest surviving
motion picture. On June 21, 1889, William Friese-Greene was issued patent no. 10131 for his 'chronophotographic'
camera. It was apparently capable of taking up to ten photographs per second using perforated celluloid film. A report on
the camera was published in the British Photographic News on February 28, 1890. On 18 March, Friese-Greene sent a clipping
of the story to Thomas Edison, whose laboratory had been developing a motion picture system known as the Kinetoscope. The
report was reprinted in Scientific American on April 19. Friese-Greene gave a public demonstration in 1890 but the low frame
rate combined with the device's apparent unreliability failed to make an impression.
The Frenchman Louis Lumiere is sometimes credited
as the inventor of the motion picture camera in 1895. Other inventors preceded him, and Lumiere's achievement should always
be considered in the context of this creative period. Lumiere's portable, suitcase-sized cinematographe served as a camera,
film processing unit, and projector all in one. He could shoot footage in the morning, process it in the afternoon, and then
project it to an audience that evening. His first film was the arrival of the express train at Ciotat. Other subjects included
workers leaving the factory gates, a child being fed by his parents, people enjoying a picnic along a river. The ease of use
and portability of his device soon made it the rage in France. Cinematographes soon were in the hands of Lumiere followers
all over the world, and the motion picture era began. The American Thomas Alva Edison was a competitor of Lumiere's, and
his invention predated Lumiere's. But Edison's motion picture camera was bulky and not portable. The "promoter"
in Lumiere made the difference in this competition. For a good description of these historical developments, read Erik Barnouw's
Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film, 2nd revised edition, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1993.
For the first twenty years of motion picture history most silent films were short--only
a few minutes in length. At first a novelty, and then increasingly an art form and literary form, silent films reached greater
complexity and length in the early 1910's. The films on the list above represent the greatest achievements of the silent
era, which ended--after years of experimentation--in 1929 when a means of recording sound that would be synchronous with the
recorded image was discovered. Few silent films were made in the 1930s, with the exception of Charlie Chaplin, whose character
of the Tramp perfected expressive physical moves in many short films in the 1910's and 1920s. When the silent era ended,
Chaplin refused to go along with sound; instead, he maintained the melodramatic Tramp as his mainstay in City Lights (1931)
and Modern Times (1936). The trademarks of Chaplin's Tramp were his ill-fitting suit, floppy over-sized shoes and a bowler
hat, and his ever-present cane. A memorable image is Chaplin's Tramp shuffling off, penguin-like, into the sunset and
spinning his cane whimsically as he exits. He represented the "little guy," the underdog, someone who used wit and
whimsy to defeat his adversaries.
In the 1880s, the American stage was dominated by 'Vaudeville
shows' which was cherished by the residents of North America. Being the primitive genre of variety entertainment, these
shows differed from burlesque or minstrelsy. But as entrepreneurs started experimenting with their movie-making skills, these
shows lost all their glory. In 1910, director D.W.Griffith and his troop started filming in downtown Los Angeles. While searching
for a more apt location, they found it in a village miles northward -- 'Hollywood'.
Jack Hawkins (born John Edward Hawkins) was born on
the 14th September 1910 in Wood Green, London, UK. Crusty, craggy British leading man he began as a child actor, studying
at the Italia Court School of Acting. He made his London theatrical debut at age 12, playing the elf king in Where The Rainbow
Ends. At 17, he got the lead role of St. George in the same play. At 18, he made his debut on Broadway in Journey's End.
At 21, he was back in London playing a young lover in Autumn Crocus. That year he also played his first real film role in
the 1931 sound version of Hitchcock's The Lodger.
During the 30s Hawkins languished for several years in secondary roles before achieving minor stardom by the end
of the '30s. This was due to him taking his roles in plays more seriously than the films he made. During the war, Hawkins
was a colonel in ENSA, the British equivalent of the USO. He spent most of his military career arranging entertainment for
the British forces in India. One of the actresses who came out to India was Doreen Lawrence who became his second wife after
the war. Alexander Korda advised Jack to go into films and offered him a three-year contract. In his autobiography, Jack recalled:
"Eight years later I was voted the number
one box office draw of 1954. I was even credited with irresistible sex appeal, which is another quality I had not imagined
I possessed." He became a major movie "name" in the postwar era, often as coolly efficient military officers
in such films as The Cruel Sea (1953), Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), The League of Gentlemen (1961), and Lawrence of Arabia
(1962, as General Allenby). He was considered an Academy Award shoe-in for his portrayal of Quintus Arrius in 1959's Ben-Hur,
but the "Best Supporting Actor Oscar" went to another actor in that blockbuster, Hugh Griffith. His performance
in The Cruel Sea as the captain of the Compass Rose is all the more remarkable when you realise he suffered from life long
real life sea sickness!
same time, Hawkins was one of four rotating stars in the J. Arthur Rank-produced TV series The Four Just Men; the other three
were Vittorio de Sica, Dan Dailey and Richard Conte. In 1966, Hawkins underwent an operation for cancer of the larynx. Though
the operation cost him his voice, publicity releases indicated that Hawkins was training himself to talk again with an artificial
device -- and also that he defiantly continued chain-smoking.
Hawkins remained in films until his death, but his dialogue had to be dubbed by either Charles Gray
or Robert Rietti. In his next-to-last film Theatre of Blood (1973), he was effectively cast in a substantial role that required
no dialogue whatsoever -- something that the viewer realizes only in retrospect. Ironically, Hawkins' biography was titled
Anything for a Quiet Life. Jack Hawkins was married twice, to actresses Jessica Tandy (1932 - 1942) (divorced) (1 daughter)
and Doreen Lawrence (1946 - 1973) (his death). He died of throat cancer on the 18th July 1973 in London, UK.
Roy Rogers (born Leonard Franklin Slye) (November 5,
1911 – July 6, 1998), was a singer and cowboy actor, as well as the namesake of the well-known Roy Rogers Restaurants
chain. He and his second wife Dale Evans, his golden palomino Trigger, and his German Shepherd Dog, Bullet, were featured
in over one hundred movies and The Roy Rogers Show. The show ran on radio for nine years before moving to television from
1951 through 1957. His productions usually featured a sidekick, often either Pat Brady, (who drove a jeep called "Nellybelle")
or the crotchety Gabby Hayes. Roy's nickname was "King of the Cowboys". Dale's nickname was "Queen
of the West." For many Americans (and non-Americans), he was the embodiment of a cowboy.
Hollywood movies just scratch the surface of what could
be recommended for viewing. No matter what your film preference, the pleasant atmosphere of romantic comedies, the thrills
of action and suspense, or a motion picture epic, the Hollywood classics of the 1920's through the 1950's offer something
for everyone. one with the Wind was released in 1939, directed by Victor Fleming and is a classic of epic proportions. Gone with the Wind, first published on May, 1936, is a romantic novel and the only
novel written by Margaret Mitchell. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia and Atlanta, Georgia during the American Civil
War and Reconstruction and follows the life of Scarlett O'Hara, the daughter of an Irish immigrant plantation
owner. Scarlett marries two men she does not love, all the while thinking that she is in love with Ashley Wilkes, who has
married Melanie Hamilton. During both marriages, Scarlett spends a lot of time with Rhett Butler. After her second husband
dies, Scarlett marries Rhett, who is aware of her passion for Ashley but hopes that one day she will come to love him instead.
Scarlett eventually comes to realize that she does love Rhett, but only once the couple have been through so much that Rhett
has fallen out of love with her.
Martin Scorsese was born on November 17, 1942 in Flushing,
New York. Through most of his life, his chosen career goal was to be a priest. However, he later had a change of heart, and
decided instead to become a filmmaker. In 1964, he graduated from New York University from the film program. During the rest
of the 60's, Scorsese made various student films, eventually becoming an assistant director and co-editor of the documentary
Woodstock in 1970. This film, along with his others, caught the eye of veteran low budget producer Roger Corman. In 1972,
Scorsese directed Boxcar Bertha for Corman. In 1973, he followed that up with his amazing feature, Mean Streets. As Walter
Melnyk pointed out, that film provided benchmarks for the Scorsese Style: New York settings, loners struggling with inner
demons, pointed-shoes rock meets opera soundtracks, and unrelenting cathartic violence.
In 1974, Scorsese directed
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore which earned Ellen Burstyn a Best Actress Academy Award. In 1976, Scorsese directed the
film for which he is probably most famous for, the ultra-violent Taxi Driver which drew controversy after it inspired John
Hinckley's assasination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In 1980, Scorsese made another film with Robert De
Niro, Raging Bull. The film was an amazing, black and white biography of middleweight fighter Jake LaMotta which earned two
Academy Awards. One for Best Actor - Robert De Niro, and one for Best Editing - Thelma Schoonmaker. Later, it was selected
as best film of the decade by film critics, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. His next few works were King of Comedy in 1983 with
Robert De Niro, After Hours in 1985, and in 1986, Paul Newman earned an Academy Award for his reprisal of the role of gambler
Eddie Felson in The Color of Money. His next film was probably his most controversial to date, The Last Temptation of Christ
which outraged some religious groups by attempting to portray a human son of God. In 1990, he directed the excellent film,
GoodFellas. In 1991, he directed a remake of Cape Fear, a remake of the classic 1961 film. In 1993, he directed The Age of
Innocence. Casino, his epic about the rise and fall of a mob figure in Las Vegas was released in 1995. In 1999, Scorsese released
Bringing Out the Dead, an adaptation of Joseph Connelly's novel about an overworked, stressed ambulance driver fighting
insanity. Scorsese has stayed busy over the years, directing Gangs of New York in 2002, and The Aviator in 2004, with The
Departed scheduled for release in 2006, with an incredible cast, consisting of such talent as Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio
(a Scorsese favorite of late), Martin Sheen, Matt Damon, and Alec Baldwin, and a great story concept, being of cross spies,
one being in the Boston Police Department, and the other being in the Irish Mafia in Boston.
Martin has never won
an Academy Award, however, in 1997, he was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.
A film adaptation of Margaret Mitchells 1936 novel,
it stared some of the biggest names in film history. Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, and Olivia de Havilland helped
propel Gone with the Wind to 10 Academy Awards. It has sold more tickets in the United States than any other film in history.
In AFI's 2007 list of the top 100 American Films of all time it is ranked number 6, and is considered one of the most
enduring symbols of Hollywood's Golden Age.
The unforgettable and timeless Casablanca was released in 1942
and has enjoyed increased popularity every year since its release. Featuring a strong international cast led by Humphrey Bogart
(in his first romantic lead role), Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, Austrian actor Paul Henreid, English actor Claude Rains,
German actor Conrad Veidt, English actor Sydney Greenstreet, and Hungarian actor Peter Lorre
1940s The Philadelphia
Story is another must-watch Hollywood classic. A romantic comedy (based on real life socialite Helen Hope Montgomery Scott)
about a bride-to-be whose plans suddenly become very complicated. Starring Katharine Hepburn, once labeled as box office poison
due to the failure of some previous films, Cary Grant, and James Stewart. This film was a great success and is rated number
44 on the American Film Institutes list of the top 100 movies, and number 15 on the list of the top 100 comedies.
There is no doubt that Freidrich Willhelm Murnau’s
Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Symphony of Horror) is a piece of landmark cinema, both for its Expressionist filmmaking
and its unique treatment of the vampire as plague. Yet few people saw this monumental film prior to 1960. Though slated for
destruction by Bram Stoker’s widow, the film managed to survive, popping up in the most peculiar places.
Nosferatu debuted at the Marble Hall of the Berlin
Zoological Gardens in 1922. The movie was the first and last product of a small art collective called Prana Films —
the brainchild of artist Albin Grau (later Nosferatu’s production designer). A month later Florence Stoker caught wind,
and she started the legal machines rolling. Her only income at this point was her deceased husband’s book Dracula, and
she would not let some German production company steal her meal ticket. During the 1920s, intellectual rights were a bit dodgy,
so Florence paid one British pound to join the British Incorporated Society of Authors to help defend her property. Never
mind that the society would also pick up the tab for the potentially huge legal bills.
The world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame was constructed
in the year 1958 and the first star was placed in 1960. The Walk of Fame was placed as a tribute to the artists working in
the entertainment industry. It is embedded with more than 2,000 five pointed stars featuring the names of not only celebrities,
but also fictional characters. Self financing Hollywood Historic Trust maintains this Walk of Fame. The first star to receive
this honor was Joanne Woodward. An artist receives a star based on career and lifetime achievements in motion pictures, live
theatres, radio, television, and music.
famous Hollywood sign which originally read Hollywoodland, was constructed in the year 1923 as an advertisement of a new housing
development. The sign was left to disuse until in 1949 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce repaired and removed the last four
letters. The sign, now located at Mount Lee, is now a registered trademark and hence cannot be used without the permission
of the Chamber of Commerce.
film industry can be called the Mecca of film industries. Though geographically it is located in Hollywood, it resides in
the hearts of millions of film lovers and film related persons. The Hollywood remains and will remain a king, without a scepter.
The House of Un-American Activities
Committee investigated Hollywood in the early 1950s. Protested by the Hollywood Ten before the committee, the hearings resulted
in the blacklisting of many actors, writers and directors, including Chayefsky, Charlie Chaplin, and Dalton Trumbo, and many
of these fled to Europe, especially the United Kingdom.
The Cold War era zeitgeist translated into a type of near-paranoia manifested in themes such as invading armies of
evil aliens, (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The War of the Worlds); and communist fifth columnists, (The Manchurian Candidate).
During the immediate post-war years the cinematic
industry was also threatened by television, and the increasing popularity of the medium meant that some movie theatres would
bankrupt and close. The demise of the "studio system" spurred the self-commentary of films like Sunset Boulevard
(1950) and The Bad and the Beautiful (1952).
In 1950, the Lettrists avante-gardists caused riots at the Cannes Film Festival, when Isidore Isou's Treatise
on Slime and Eternity was screened. After their criticism of Charlie Chaplin and split with the movement, the Ultra-Lettrists
continued to cause disruptions when they showed their new hypergraphical techniques. The most notorious film is Guy Debord's
Howls for Sade of 1952.
Distressed by the increasing number of closed theatres,
studios and companies would find new and innovative ways to bring audiences back. These included attempts
to literally widen their appeal with new screen formats. Cinemascope, which would remain a 20th Century
Fox distinction until 1967, was announced with 1953's The Robe. VistaVision, Cinerama, and Todd-AO
boasted a "bigger is better" approach to marketing movies to a dwindling US audience. This
resulted in the revival of epic films to take advantage of the new big screen formats. Some of the most successful examples
of these Biblical and historical spectaculars include The Ten Commandments (1956), The Vikings (1958),
Ben-Hur (1959), Spartacus (1960) and El Cid (1961). Also during this period a number of other significant
films were produced in Todd-AO, developed by Mike Todd shortly before his death, including Oklahoma!
(1955), Around the World in 80 Days (1956), South Pacific (1958) and Cleopatra (1963) plus many more.
The New Hollywood' and 'post-classical cinema'
are terms used to describe the period following the decline of the studio system during the 1950s and 1960s and the end of
the production code. During the 1970s, filmmakers increasingly depicted explicit sexual content and showed gunfight and battle
scenes that included graphic images of bloody deaths.
'Post-classical cinema' is a term used to describe
the changing methods of storytelling of the "New Hollywood" producers. The new methods of drama and characterization
played upon audience expectations acquired during the classical/Golden Age period: story chronology may be scrambled, storylines
may feature unsettling "twist endings", main characters may behave in a morally ambiguous fashion, and the lines
between the antagonist and protagonist may be blurred. The beginnings of post-classical storytelling may be seen in 1940s
and 1950s film noir movies, in films such as Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and in Hitchcock's Psycho. 1971 marked the
release of controversial films like Straw Dogs, A Clockwork Orange, The French Connection and Dirty Harry. This sparked heated
controversy over the perceived escalation of violence in cinema.
During the 1970s, a new group of American filmmakers
emerged, such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Brian de Palma. This coincided
with the increasing popularity of the auteur theory in film literature and the media, which posited that a film director's
films express their personal vision and creative insights. The development of the auteur style of filmmaking helped to give
these directors far greater control over their projects than would have been possible in earlier eras. This led to some great
critical and commercial successes, like Scorsese's Taxi Driver, Coppola's The Godfather films, Spielberg's Jaws
and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and George Lucas's Star Wars. It also, however, resulted in some failures, including
Peter Bogdanovich's At Long Last Love and Michael Cimino's hugely expensive Western epic Heaven's Gate, which
helped to bring about the demise of its backer, United Artists.
The financial disaster of Heaven's Gate marking
the end of the visionary "auteur" directors of the "New Hollywood", who had unrestrained creative and
financial freedom to develop films. The phenomenal success in the 1970s of Jaws and Star Wars in particular, led to the rise
of the modern "blockbuster". Hollywood studios increasingly focused on producing a smaller number of very large
budget films with massive marketing and promotional campaigns. This trend had already been foreshadowed by the commercial
success of disaster films such as The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno.
During the mid-1970s, more pornographic
theatres, euphemistically called "adult cinemas", were established, and the legal production of hardcore pornographic
films began. Porn films such as Deep Throat and its star Linda Lovelace became something of a popular culture phenomenon and
resulted in a spate of similar sex films. The porn cinemas finally died out during the 1980s, when the popularization of the
home VCR and pornography videotapes allowed audiences to watch sex films at home. In the early 1970s, English-language audiences
became more aware of the new West German cinema, with Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wim Wenders among its leading
In world cinema, the 1970s saw a dramatic increase in the popularity of martial arts films, largely
due to its reinvention by Bruce Lee, who departed from the artistic style of traditional Chinese martial arts films and added
a much greater sense of realism to them with his Jeet Kune Do style. This began with The Big Boss (1971), which was a major
success across Asia. However, he didn't gain fame in the Western world until shortly after his death in 1973, when Enter
the Dragon was released. The film went on to become the most successful martial arts film in cinematic history, popularized
the martial arts film genre across the world, and cemented Bruce Lee's status as a cultural icon. Hong Kong action cinema,
however, was in decline due to a wave of "Bruceploitation" films. This trend eventually came to an end in 1978 with
the martial arts comedy films, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master, directed by Yuen Woo-ping and starring
Jackie Chan, laying the foundations for the rise of Hong Kong action cinema in the 1980s.
In world cinema, Academy
Award winning Japanese director Akira Kurosawa produced Yojimbo (1961), which like his previous films also had a profound
influence around the world. The influence of this film is most apparent in Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
and Walter Hill's Last Man Standing (1996). Yojimbo was also the origin of the "Man with No Name" trend.
Meanwhile in India, the Academy Award winning Bengali director Satyajit Ray wrote a script for The Alien in 1967,
based on a Bangla science fiction story he himself had written in 1962. The film was intended to be his debut in Hollywood
but the production was eventually cancelled. Nevertheless, the script went on to influence later films such as Steven Spielberg's
In the movies of the 1990s, violence
was more prevalent and graphic than ever before, and it seemed to be celebrated in a deliberately enticing manner. Many educators,
politicians, and even some filmmakers expressed concerns about a possible connection between violence on the screen and increasing
violent behavior in schools and on the streets. Director Oliver Stone’s 1994 film, Natural Born Killers, in which a
pair of criminals go on a murder spree in order to become famous, was intended to depict American society’s obsession
with violence and celebrity. After the film’s release, however, teenaged murderers around the world claimed to have
been inspired by the movie. Social critics pointed out that the staging of the April 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado
was similar to those in The Basketball Diaries (1995), a film in which a trench-coatclad young man with a machine gun attacks people who
had mocked him. One of the most critically acclaimed movies of 1994 seemed to raise the threshold of acceptable screen violence. Director
Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction was an outrageous comedy filled with profanity, senseless shootings and stabbings, and drug overdoses. The
movie contained one explicitly violent scene after another, designed to shock unsuspecting audiences. Tarantino conceived the movie as a tribute
to pulp magazine stories from the 1930s and 1940s about hard-boiled detectives who survive in an amoral world by being as tough and ruthless
as the criminals they are trying to defeat. While some film critics took Tarantino to task for the film’s violence,
many others praised the movie’s artistry.
A few of the best?
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Director Robert Wise's classic is not only one of the greatest science
fiction films of all time, but also a powerful anti-war message film. Released at the height of The Cold War, this cautionary
tale employs the science fiction genre to explore the true danger nuclear escalation poses to the entire planet. Kalatu, a
dignified alien who comes to Earth to preach pacifism, ends up getting shot by a spooked infantryman within minutes of his
arrival. Over the course of the film, Klaatu and his robot sidekick proceed to prove their superior power to the world by
bringing all machinery to a halt for one hour (hence the film's title). Voted to the Congressional Film Registry in 1995.
2001 A Space Odyssey (1968) This is the quintessential modern science fiction film. Stanley Kubrick's
epic masterpiece ushered in the era of truly realistic special effects, made the concept of routine space travel appear plausible,
and permanently changed how audiences view science fiction films. Shifting between the clinically realistic and the fantastically
expressive, this somber tale of man's lonely journey into the unknown and the ultimate search for his origins, also chillingly
refined and updated the paranoid plot of intelligent machines gone awry, featuring the now famous and creepily-voiced computer
villain, HAL. Nominated for four Academy Awards, it won the Oscar for Best Special Effects, and was also inducted into the
Congressional Film Registry. Blade Runner (1982) With its dark and mesmerizing production design, Ridley Scott's
masterpiece emerged as most important science fiction film of the 1980's, establishing the tone for the more somber and
thoughtful sci-fi fare that would emerge in the decade. Adapted from master sci-fi scribe Phillip K. Dick's short story,
the film explored themes of seemingly emotionless replicants longing for community, bio-engineering gone awry, and the role
memory plays in creation of identity. The film ultimately asks this question: "What does it mean to be human?" and
leaves the audience spellbound in the process. Nominated for two Academy Awards for Art Direction and Special Effects, and
inducted into the Congressional Film Registry. Things to Come (1936) directed by William Cameron Menzies (U.K.) The visionary writer H.G. Wells penned this grim vision of a future dominated by global war, destruction, and ultimately,
scientific achievement. Featuring remarkable special effects for its time, this film also unveiled many brilliant concepts
such as gigantic video screens, flying cars, people-moving monorails, the first manned spacecraft to the moon, and artificial
sunlight, and has influenced modern sci-fi films from "Blade Runner" to "Road Warrior." Wells' script
also examines the role technology plays in saving a society devastated by years of war, and the inherent conflicts created
when science becomes a society's "culture." The Thing From Another World (1951) directed by Christian
Nyby "There are no enemies in science, only phenomena to study," declares the enthusiastic research scientist
who unwittingly allows a dangerous alien to roam freely in the remote Artic research lab where the creature's craft has
landed. The intelligent script's devotion to the scientific point of view, as well as the creature's ability to clone
itself mark this early 50's classic as an early example of the film industries' attempt to both deal with and capitalize
on the UFO craze. Along with "The Day the Earth Stood Still," this film established the cinematic tone for sci-fi
fare for years to come, cementing the dangerous and confusing relationship that aliens would have with man. Frankenstein
(1931) directed by James Whale This film single-handedly ushered in the classic era of horror films, while also unveiling
the archetypal image of science gone terribly awry: the horribly disfigured, square-headed, and living-dead Frankenstein monster.
Boldly displaying loads of fantastic mad scientist paraphernalia (including equipment created to reanimate dead human brain
waves via electric current gleaned from the heavens), and featuring campy performances by the cast, Whale's film also
featured a dark and serious tone, paying particular attention to gruesome detail regarding the entire process of dealing with
death and the reanimation of the dead. Metropolis (1926) directed by Fritz Lang Fritz Lang's German Expressionist
vision of the dystopian future is not only one of the all time great science fiction films, many historians consider it the
first science fiction film ever made. While Lang's film broke ground for its remarkable special effects, set design, and
previously unparalleled epic scope for a "fantasy" film, this remarkable work also introduced 1920's audiences
to the genre's very first robot, the evil Maria. Contact (1997) Penned by the late Carl Sagan, this film is
considered one of the most accurate portrayals of man's quest to make contact with possible alien life. Director Robert
Zemeckis deftly combines the fantastical and the realistic, offering up a detailed representation of SETI, and numerous other
realistic glimpses into the actual science involved in spying on the heavens -- one of the rare examples of a sci-fi film
that puts the "science" first, and the "fiction" second. The film was nominated for one Academy Award
in the ‘best sound’ category. The Matrix (1999) directed by the Wachowski Brothers This is the
film that altered the trajectory of the sci-fi film from the familiar late 80's model into a whole new animal. Featuring
an array of remarkably novel special effects, this film also offered up pop-psychology and a quasi-religious vision for the
masses. Many bold ideas marked this film, such as the electrical current from human beings being used as a power source to
fuel armies of maniacal robots, and a computer program that shrouds the consciousness of all living beings into believing
they are actually living normal lives while their world is actually a post-nuclear nightmare. This film was nominated for
four Academy Awards, and won an Oscar for Best Special Effects. Star Wars (1977) With its remarkably realistic
special effects, spectacular spaceship and space station designs, and numerous other jaw-dropping innovations, George Lucas
reinvented the science fiction genre, while also creating one of the one of most important film of the 1970's. Hoards
of imitators would follow, but none would quite capture the potent mixture of the old and new worlds of science fiction that
Lucas wove together and unleashed on an unsuspecting populace in 1977. Nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning six (all
in technical categories) and also winning a Special Achievement Award, "Star Wars" was also inducted into the National
James Dean: The 'First American Teenager'
Giant - 1956James DeanThe anguished, introspective teen
James Dean (1932-1955) was the epitome of adolescent pain. Dean appeared in only three films before his untimely death in
the fall of 1955. His first starring role was in Elia Kazan's adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel East of Eden (1955)
as a Cain-like son named Cal vying for his father's (Raymond Massey) love against his brother Aron.
It was followed by Nicholas Ray's best-known melodramatic, color-drenched
film about juvenile delinquency and alienation, Warner Bros.' Rebel Without a Cause (1955). This was the film with Dean's
most-remembered role as mixed-up, sensitive, and defiant teenager Jim Stark involved in various delinquent behaviors (drunkenness,
a switchblade fight, and a deadly drag race called a Chicken Run), and his archetypal scream to his parents: "You're
tearing me apart!"
Dean also starred
in his third (and final) feature, George Stevens' epic saga Giant (1956) set in Texas, and also starring Rock Hudson,
Elizabeth Taylor, and Dennis Hopper. (The 24 year-old actor was killed in a tragic car crash on September 30th 1955 while
driving his Silver Porsche 550 Spyder -- affectionately nicknamed 'The Little Bastard', around the time that Giant
was completed and about a month before Rebel opened. Dean was on his way to car races in Salinas on October 1st. The crash
occurred at the intersection of Routes 41 and 46 near Paso Robles at Cholame, and he died enroute to the hospital.) [Dean's
two co-stars in the film also experienced untimely deaths: Sal Mineo (as Plato) was stabbed to death at age 37, and Natalie
Wood (as Judy) drowned at age 43.] In his honor, James Dean was awarded two post-humous Best Actor nominations: for his role
as rebellious Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955) and as oil-rich ranch-hand Jett Rink in Giant (1956).
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in the
charity ward of a Los Angeles hospital in 1926. Her career as an actor and singer made her an icon of the twentieth century.
Her trademark looks helped her become one of Hollywood’s greatest ever sex symbols. Her death in 1962 remains a mystery;
officially it was suicide but many say she was murdered. Norma Jeane had a poor childhood and grew up in foster homes and
orphanages. She married at 16 to escape life in government care but divorced four years later. In 1946, she joined a modelling
agency and took singing and acting lessons. She soon caught the eye of a Hollywood movie executive, who offered her a six-month
acting contract. Norma Jeane changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. She spent seven years taking on small roles and doing part-time
modelling. In 1953, she starred in the film ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ and sang the legendary ‘Diamonds
Are A Girl’s Best Friend’. She became a Hollywood sensation. All her movies were instant box office hits.
She won a Golden Globe Award in 1959 for ‘Some Like It Hot’. Monroe became an American superstar. She married
baseball great Joe Di Maggio and then playwright Arthur Miller. Many believe she was involved with President John F. Kennedy.
Her last significant appearance was singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" at a televised birthday party for him
in New York. Monroe’s looks and personality have inspired generations of performers since her death.
The history of film cannot be credited to one individual
as an oversimplification of any his-tory often tries to do. Each inventor added to the progress of other inventors, culminating
in progress for the entire art and industry. Often masked in mystery and fable, the beginnings of film and the silent era
of motion pictures are usually marked by a stigma of crudeness and naiveté, both on the audience's and filmmakers'
parts. However, with the landmark depiction of a train hurtling toward and past the camera, the Lumière Brothers’
1895 picture “La Sortie de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon” (“Workers Leaving the Lumière
Factory”), was only one of a series of simultaneous artistic and technological breakthroughs that began to culminate
at the end of the nineteenth century. These triumphs that began with the creation of a machine that captured moving images
led to one of the most celebrated and distinctive art forms at the start of the 20th century. Audiences had already reveled
in motion pictures through clever uses of slides and mechanisms creating "moving photographs" with such 16th-century
inventions as magic lanterns. These basic concepts, combined with trial and error and the desire of audiences across the world
to see entertainment projected onto a large screen in front of them, birthed the movies. From the “actualities”
of penny arcades, the idea of telling a story in order to draw larger crowds through the use of differing scenes began to
formulate in the minds of early pioneers such as Georges Melies and Edwin S. Porter. This Discovery Guide explores the early
history of cinema, following its foundations as a money-making novelty to its use as a new type of storytelling and visual
art, and the rise of the film industry.
One of the greatest achievements in editing is the Odessa
Steps sequence, in his film Potemkin (1925). Eisenstein intercut between shots of townspeople trapped on the steps by Czarist
troops, and shots of the troops firing down upon the crowd. Members of the crowd became individual characters to viewers as
the montage continued. Within the editing track the fate of these individuals was played out. A mother picks up her dead child
and confronts the troops. Then she is shot. A student looks on in terror and then flees--his fate uncertain. An old woman
prays to be spared, but she is killed by a soldier who slashes her face with his saber. When a woman holding her baby carriage
is killed, she falls to the steps, and the carriage begins a precipitous decline--shots of the baby crying are intercut with
wide shots of the carriage rolling down the steps. To Eisenstein, each individual shot contributed an energy within the editing
track that yielded far more than the sum total of shots. In other words, the "combination" of shots through editing
created a new entity, based on the expressive emotional energy unleashed through the editing process. Brian De Palma imitated the Odessa Steps sequence in The Untouchables
(1987) in a scene where Kevin Costner, playing Eliot Ness, and his companions are waiting to ambush several mobsters. This
confrontation is punctuated by the use of the baby carriage plummeting down a long series of steps while the good guys and
the bag guys remain in a standoff. A more effective homage to Eisenstein can be seen in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse,
Now (1976), when at the end of the film a cow is slaughtered ritualistically by the native people deep in the Vietnamese jungle.
Shots of the slaughter are intercut with shots of the Martin Sheen character wielding a machete against the hulking Marlon
Brando character, the crazed former American officer who has retreated to the jungle from the horrors of war and has become
a sort of deity to the native people in his compound. Coppola was aware of a famous scene in Eistenstein's Strike (1925),
when two dramatic scenes are intercut: one of Czarist troops massacre peasants, another of a cow being butchered.
The London Palladium opened on Boxing Day 1910 with
the first ‘grand variety bill’ featuring acts as diverse as Nellie Wallace and classical actor Martin Harvey. The Frank Matcham designed building occupies a site
which was previously home to a Corinthian Bazaar, Henglers Grand Cirque and the National Ice Skating Palace. By the 1950s
the theatre was known as the ‘Ace Variety Theatre of the World’, a reputation enhanced by the enormous worldwide
popularity of ATV’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium. For many years it played host to the annual Royal Variety
Performance and was the home of London’s most spectacular pantomimes. The history of performances at The Palladium is by its very nature little more than a list of star names. The great
and the good from both stage and screen queued up to top the bill at ‘the world’s most famous theatre’ and
audiences flocked to see them. Famous bill toppers in the 1920s included Harry Houdini, Dickie Henderson, Gracie Fields, Billy
Bennett, Sophie Tucker, Burns and Allen, Jackie Coogan and Ivor Novello. In 1930 The Palladium hosted the first Royal Variety
Performance and the following year the first Crazy Week which brought together the famous Crazy Gang, and the theatre became
their home with later shows including Life Begins at Oxford Circus and Round About Regent Street. Other stars of the 1930s
included Jack Benny, Paul Robeson, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ramon Navarro, Cab Calloway, Ethel Barrymore, Josephine
Baker, Fats Waller and Tom Mix.
1940 Top of the World played only four performances before being closed by the Blitz, but the theatre soon reopened in 1941
with Max Miller and Vera Lynn in Apple Sauce. Star names of the 1940s included Arthur Lucan (Old Mother Riley) and Kitty McShane,
Tommy Trinder, Elisabeth Welch, Tessie O'Shea, Jewel and Warris, Gracie Fields, Betty Hutton, Dinah Shore, the Andrews
Sisters, Carmen Miranda, Martha Raye and Laurel and Hardy. In 1945 Val Parnell took over as Director and General Manager and began a regular policy of importing major American
stars, the first great success being Danny Kaye. Kathryn Grayson, Eleanor Powell, Harpo and Chico Marx, Benny Goodman, Dorothy
Lamour, Frank Sinatra, Abbott and Costello, Nat King Cole, Donald O’Connor, Hoagy Carmichael, Judy Garland, Jimmy Durante,
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope and Gypsy Rose Lee all followed. Home-grown talents to top the bill were Max Bygraves,
Julie Andrews, Alma Cogan, Harry Secombe, Terry Thomas, Billy Cotton, Charlie Drake, Cilla Black, Norman Wisdom, Des O’Connor,
Frankie Howerd, Ken Dodd, Tommy Steele, Ronnie Corbett, Arthur Askey and Shirley Bassey. Sunday Night at The London Palladium
was first broadcast in 1955 and made stars of its hosts Bruce Forsyth, Norman Vaughan and Jimmy Tarbuck. The annual lavish
pantomimes featured the biggest stars of the day including Cliff Richard and the Shadows in 1964 and 1966. In 1968 Sammy Davis
Jr starred in Golden Boy, the Palladium’s first proper musical show (as opposed to panto or revue), based on the Clifford
The next musical was
Harold Fielding’s Hans Anderson starring Tommy Steele, which was booked for the 1974 Christmas season, stayed for a
year and returned in 1977. In 1979 The King and I arrived with Yul Brynner recreating his most famous role supported by Virginia
McKenna and John Bennett. 1981 saw Michael Crawford star in Harold Fielding’s production of Barnum and the next spectacular
followed in 1983 with Fielding’s stage premiere of Singin’ in the Rain with Tommy Steele, Roy Castle, Sarah Payne
and Danielle Carson (revived in 1989).
1986 a two-week season with Liza Minnelli was followed by Jerry Herman’s La Cage Aux Folles starring George Hearn and
Denis Quilley. Ziegfeld the musical, starring Len Cariou and later Topol opened and closed in 1988. Other successful shows
include a stage version of ’Allo ’Allo with all of the television cast including Gordon Kaye and Carmen Silvera
(twice), The Pirates of Penzance with Paul Nicholas and Bonnie Langford, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber starring Sarah Brightman,
and an award-winning production of Show Boat produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Opera North (two seasons). Meanwhile
variety was kept alive with seasons by Ken Dodd, Russ Abbott and Bruce Forsyth, not to mention regular Sunday concerts.
Abbott and Lou Costello (born Louis Francis Cristillo)
were an American comedy duo whose work in radio, film and television made them one of the most popular teams in the history
of comedy. Thanks to the endurance of their most popular and influential routine, "Who's on First?"---whose
rapid-fire word play and comprehension confusion set the preponderant framework for most of their best-known routines---the
team are also the only comedians known to have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bud Abbott was born in Asbury
Park, NJ, October 2, 1897 and died April 24, 1974 in Woodland Hills, California. Lou Costello was born in Paterson, NJ, March
6, 1906 and died March 3, 1959 in East Los Angeles, California. After working as Allen's summer replacement, Abbott and
Costello joined Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy on The Chase and Sanborn Hour in 1941, while two of their films (Buck Privates
and Hold That Ghost) were adapted for Lux Radio Theater. They launched their own weekly show October 8, 1942, sponsored by
Camel cigarettes. The Abbott and Costello Show mixed comedy with musical interludes (usually, by singers such as Connie Haines,
Marilyn Maxwell, the Delta Rhythm Boys, Skinnay Ennis, and the Les Baxter Singers). Regulars and semi-regulars on the show
included Artie Auerbrook, Elvia Allman, Iris Adrian, Mel Blanc, Wally Brown, Sharon Douglas, Verna Felton, Sidney Fields,
Frank Nelson, Martha Wentworth, and Benay Venuta. Ken Niles was the show's longtime announcer, doubling as an exasperated
foil to Abbott & Costello's mishaps (and often fuming in character as Costello insulted his on-air wife routinely);
he was succeeded by Michael Roy, with annoncing chores also handled over the years by Frank Bingman and Jim Doyle. The show
went through several orchestras during its radio life, including those of Ennis, Charles Hoff, Matty Matlock, Jack Meaking,
Will Osborne, Freddie Rich, Leith Stevens, and Peter van Steeden. The show's writers included Howard Harris, Hal Fimberg,
Parke Levy, Don Prindle, Ed Cherokee, Len Stern, Martin Ragaway, Paul Conlan, and Ed Forman, as well as producer Martin Gosch.
Sound effects were handled mostly by Floyd Caton. Abbott and Costello moved the show to ABC (the former NBC Blue Network)
five years after they premiered on NBC.
The first movie shot by Griffith
in Hollywood was In Old California, a melodrama of California. Thorough research work identified a number of points
which helped in establishing Hollywood movies. But it was Griffith's 'Birth of a Nation'
which was the pioneering movie. Gradually, with the growth of Hollywood industry, films were exhibited
in Nicholodeon halls. Ambitious people in the production side emerged as controlling heads of movie
studios. They aided the internationalization of films to reduce American provincialism. In no time,
the industry produced about 400 movies a year, with an audience of 9,00,00,000 Americans per week.
The American studios, however, confronted major difficulties
when their sound productions were rejected in various foreign language markets. Also, the synchronization technique was too
primitive. In the 1930s, parallel language versions of films were produced to provide a befitting solution to the problem.
With rapid advancement of synchronization, dubbing also became more realistic.
During the Golden Age of Hollywood (1920-1950), the film industry was at the peak
of its success. Adherence to the formula of western slapstick comedy was the formula and musical animated cartoon contributed
to it. The same creative team worked on films made by the same studio.
The most renowned studios were Warner Bros., MGM, RKO, etc. Each studio had its own specialized characteristics,
a trait not seen today. Yet, each film was unique in its own flavor, since the moviemakers were all artists and creative people.
The release of classics that enriched the industry, were Wutheirng Heights, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, and such other
masterpieces. In the late 1940s, the separation of the production of films from their exhibition and the advent of television
led to the decline of the studio system.
postclassical cinema gave birth to directors from a new school of thought. They introduced new filming techniques and strategies
and developed upon the prevailing ones. Films like Jaws, Godfather, Psycho, and other modern blockbusters have no doubt added
a new dimension to Hollywood. With independent films, another new generation of moviemakers came forward with films which
were often innovative, critical, unconventional, and contradictory. However, for their considerable financial success and
crossover into popular culture, they have become a very influential part of the Hollywood mainstream films. With the passage of generations, directors with their
exclusive style and innovations have come up with intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking creations, making the history
of Hollywood movies interesting as well as amazing.
Although the technology for making movies was invented
in 1895, a significant realization of the potential for film as art occurs with the appareance of D. W. Griffith's 1915
full-length epic, Birth of a Nation. In this film Griffith utilized crosscutting (parallel editing) effectively, particularly
at the climax, when a number of editing tracks play off one another. He also portrayed battle scenes magnificently, with action
in one set of shots moving from left to right, while action in another set of shots moves from right to left. But Griffith's
work is diminished severely by the overt racism employed in characterizations and plotting and the positive portrayal of the
Ku Klux Klan. As a sidelight, readers interested in films about Griffith should check Good Morning, Babylon (1987), directed
by the Taviani brothers. It tells the story of two Italian immigrants who become carpenters on the set of Griffith's epic
film Intolerance (1916). The English actor Charles Dance plays Griffith. Other well-known Griffith melodramas include Broken
Blossoms (1919) and Way Down East (1920). The
German directors listed below deserve credit for their experimentation with unusual camera angles and complex stage settings.
Two examples of this approach is The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) by Robert Wiene and the nightmare-like Nosferatu (1919)
by F. W. Murnau. The latter is also credited with perfecting the use of visual language in The Last Laugh (1924), a film about
a lonely old man who is ridiculed by others. Few titles are used in the film because Murnau is able to communicate meaning
by virtue of well-placed visual cues. One of the most unforgettable openings to a film is the opening scene from M (1931),
directed by Fritz Lang. In that opening a child is shown playing with a ball. These shots are intercut with shots of the child's
mother setting the table for a meal. As the scenes progress, it becomes evident that someone is following the child. Meanwhile,
the mother completes the table setting. The last shot in the scene shows the ball rolling away. Where is the child? The murderer
(M) has taken her. Fritz Lang went on to make films in America in the 1930s and 1940s. Another German director who went to
Hollywood is F. W. Murnau. He made his first American film in 1927. The film, Sunrise, portrayed a married man's downfall
when he is seduced by an evil dark temptress. A
last note: the 1922 film Nanook of the North, directed by the American Robert Flaherty, is often credited as the first great
achievement of documentary (or non-fiction) film. Flaherty lived among the Eskimos for six months, edited the film back in
America, and was lauded for his achievement when the film premiered in New York City.
Film industry is an amalgamation of technological and
commercial institutions of film making. It generally consists of film production companies, film studios, cinematography,
film production, screen writing, pre-production, post production, film festivals, actors, directors and film personnel.
Today the film industry is spread all around the world. In the present century the major business centers of filmmaking
are concentrated in the United States, India and China. Hollywood is a district in Los Angeles, California, that is situated
in west- northwest of Downtown Los Angeles. Due to its fame and the cultural individuality of movie studios and movie stars,
the word Hollywood is often used as a metaphor for the cinema of the United States which is popularly known as Hollywood film
The history of Hollywood film industry probably started in the hands of D.W. Griffith when the Biograph
Company sent him and his crew. They started filming on a vacant lot in downtown Los Angeles in early 1910. Soon the company
explored new territories to find that the region was quite friendly and very ideal for shooting. So, Griffith then filmed
the first ever movie shot in Hollywood, titled In Old California. The movie company then stayed there for some months to shoot
several of their films and then returned to New York.
Starting in 1913, this wonderful place came into the limelight
when movie makers started heading there. Thus Hollywood film industry took birth. The first feature film made in Hollywood
was called The Squaw Man. Nestor Studio, founded in 1911, was the first movie studio in Hollywood. Fifteen other small studios
also were established in Hollywood. Gradually Hollywood came to be so powerfully associated with the film industry that this
term began to be used as a synonym for the entire industry.
During the 1960s the studio system in Hollywood declined,
because many films were now being made on location in other countries, or using studio facilities abroad, such as Pinewood
in the UK and Cinecittà in Rome. "Hollywood" movies were still largely aimed at family audiences, and
it was often the more old-fashioned films that produced the studios' biggest successes. Productions like Mary Poppins
(1964), My Fair Lady (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965) were among the biggest money-makers of the decade. The growth in
independent producers and production companies, and the increase in the power of individual actors also contributed to the
decline of traditional Hollywood studio production.
There was also an increasing awareness of foreign language
cinema during this period. During the late 1950s and 1960s the French New Wave directors such as François Truffaut
and Jean-Luc Godard produced films such as Les quatre cents coups, Breathless and Jules et Jim which broke the rules of Hollywood
cinema's narrative structure. As well, audiences were becoming aware of Italian films like Federico Fellini's La dolce
vita and the stark dramas of Sweden's Ingmar Bergman.
In Britain, the "Free Cinema" of Lindsay Anderson,
Tony Richardson and others lead to a group of realistic and innovative dramas including Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,
A Kind of Loving and This Sporting Life. Other British films such as Repulsion, Darling, Alfie, Blowup and Georgy Girl (all
in 1965-1966) helped to reduce prohibitions sex and nudity on screen, while the casual sex and violence of the James Bond
films, beginning with Dr. No in 1962 would render the series popular worldwide.
During the 1960s, Ousmane Sembène
produced several French- and Wolof-language films and became the 'father' of African Cinema. In Latin America the
dominance of the "Hollywood" model was challenged by many film makers. Fernando Solanas and Octavio Gettino called
for a politically engaged Third Cinema in contrast to Hollywood and the European auteur cinema.
Further, the nuclear
paranoia of the age, and the threat of an apocalyptic nuclear exchange (like the 1962 close-call with the USSR during the
Cuban missile crisis) prompted a reaction within the film community as well. Films like Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove
and Fail Safe with Henry Fonda were produced in a Hollywood that was once known for its overt patriotism and wartime propaganda.
In documentary film the sixties saw the blossoming of Direct Cinema, an observational style of film making as well
as the advent of more overtly partisan films like In the Year of the Pig about the Vietnam War by Emile de Antonio. By the
late 1960s however, Hollywood film makers were beginning to create more innovative and ground breaking films that reflected
the social revolution taken over much of the western world such as Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (1967),
The Graduate (1967), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Rosemary's Baby (1968), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Easy Rider (1969) and
The Wild Bunch (1969). Bonnie and Clyde is often considered the beginning of the so-called New Hollywood.
Sometimes a person just wants to see a good crime solved.
Take mobster films for example, these black and white classics still have the potential to entertain audience of all ages.
So if you're getting tired of the same old story, try watching one of these old school crime dramas. Actors like James
Cagney and Edward G. Robinson will have you on the edge of your seat.
Cagney made his re-entry into the mobster
film genre with the film White Heat. Cagney had grown tired of producers stereo typing him, placing him in the same roles
over and over again. But after significant pressure, he gave in to the producers' whims and gave viewers one of his best
performances ever. Cagney's character, Cody Jarrett, finds himself with two problems: he can't stay out of prison,
and he's obsessed with his mama. Once he finally makes his way out of jail, he tackles his next job. Cagney made movie
history with the final scene of White Heat. Those who watch this movie will have its images permanently burned in their minds.
With two versions, Scarface made it impact during two separate decades. The 1932 version still shocks viewers in the
twenty-first century. And the Brian De Palma edition put out decades later is most famous for just one thing: Al Pacino. In
the original film, the main character, Tony Camonte, is played by Paul Muni. Police arrest Tony for suspected murder when
his boss Big Louis Costillo goes missing. But the body never turns up, and the police let Tony go. Like any good mobster,
Tony then goes through town with the purpose of controlling the mafia territory by using stereotypical muscle. The film reaches
a climax when Tony has to deal with his enemies, friends, family, police, and ultimately, his own destructive personality.
Alfredo James "Al" Pacino (born April 25,
1940) is an American film and stage actor and director. He is best known for his roles as Michael Corleone in The Godfather
trilogy, Sonny Wortzik in Dog Day Afternoon, Tony Montana in Scarface, Carlito Brigante in the 1993 film Carlito's Way,
Frank Serpico in Serpico, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman, Lt. Vincent Hanna in Heat, and Roy Cohn
in Angels in America. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992 for his role in Scent of a Woman after receiving seven
Thousands of full-length films were produced
during the 1990s. Many films were specifically filmed or edited to be displayed both on theater screens as well as on the
smaller TV screens, such as showing close-up scenes during dialog, rather than just wide-angle scenes in a room. The
1990s were notable in both the rise of independent cinema -- as well as independent studios such as Miramax, Lion's Gate,
and New Line -- and the advancements in CGI-technology, seen in such films as Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Jurassic Park, Forrest
Gump, Twister, and the 1997 re-release of the Star Wars Trilogy. The Disney Renaissance begins in 1989 with The Little Mermaid,
reaches the peak in popularity with The Lion King in 1994, and ends in 1999 with Tarzan. The home-video market became a major
factor in total revenue for a film, often doubling the total income for a film.
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), also known simply
as Disney, is the largest media and entertainment conglomerate in the world. Founded on October 16, 1923 by brothers
Walt Disney and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, the company was reincorporated as Walt Disney Productions
in 1929. Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying
into live-action film production, television, and travel. Taking on its current name in 1986, The Walt Disney Company expanded
its existing operations and also started divisions focused upon theatre, radio, publishing, and online media. In addition,
it has created new divisions of the company in order to market more mature content than it typically associates with its flagship
Robert De Niro, Jr. (born August 17, 1943) is an
American actor, director, and producer.
De Niro won his first Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather, Part II (1974), followed by a Best
Actor Academy Award win for Raging Bull (1980). His film roles include John 'Johnny Boy' Civello in Mean Streets,
the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, cabbie Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, soldier Michael Vronsky in The Deer
Hunter, boxer Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, mobster David "Noodles" Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America, plumber/terrorist
Harry Tuttle in Brazil, bounty hunter Jack Walsh in Midnight Run, mobster Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas, Al Capone in The Untouchables,
Louis Gara in Jackie Brown, Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers, Max Cady in Cape Fear, Cop. Moe Tilden in
Cop Land, Neil McCauley in Heat, Sam Rothstein in Casino and Frank Goode in Everybody's Fine. Perhaps no other collaboration between De Niro and Scorsese was more admonished
and admired at the same time than "Raging Bull" (1980). A critical darling, but financial
disaster upon release, "Raging Bull" had, over the years, become a seminal classic that
ranked high on many lists as being one of the greatest films of all time. In Scorsese's brutal look at a man consumed
by violence, "Raging Bull" depicted the public and private life of former middleweight
boxer Jake La Motta, a Bronx-born, street-tough brawler who became champion in 1948, only to lose everything, including
his wife (Cathy Moriarty), his title and eventually his self-respect after collaborating with the mob to throw a fight.
For an entire year prior to production, De Niro trained as a boxer with La Motta, who molded the actor into what he thought
would translate onscreen as a top middleweight contender. On the flipside, Scorsese stopped production for four months so
De Niro could go to France and eat his way to gaining 60-odd pounds. In the end, De Niro delivered a visceral portrayal
of a man who can only use animalistic violence to deal with complex human emotions, earning his first Academy Award for
Best Leading Actor.
Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch or И́сер
Даниело́вич; December 9, 1916) is an American actor and film
producer recognized for his prominent cleft chin, his gravelly voice and his recurring roles as the kinds of characters Douglas
himself once described as "sons of bitches". He is the father of Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas. He
was no17 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male American screen legends of all time. Douglas was born
in Amsterdam, New York, to Bryna (née Sanglel) and Herschel "Harry" Danielovitch, a businessman. Douglas's
parents were Russian Jewish immigrants from Gomel, now in independent Belarus. His father's brother, who emigrated
earlier, used the surname Demsky, which Douglas's family adopted in the United States. Douglas grew up as Izzy Demsky,
although he never legally changed his name.
Coming from a poor family, as a boy, Douglas sold snacks to mill workers
to earn enough to buy milk and bread. Later, he delivered newspapers and claims to have worked at more than forty jobs before
becoming an actor. He found living in a family of six sisters to be stifling, "I was dying to get out. In a sense, it
lit a fire under me." During high school, he acted in school plays, and discovered "The one thing in my life that
I always knew, that was always constant, was that I wanted to be an actor."
British films are rarely successful in the United States.
However, the animated adventures of a cheese-loving, eccentric inventor and his canine companion are proving to be a surprise
hit in America, having taken the number one position in the US box office on the weekend of its release. In a year which has
seen poor ticket sales for big-budget, action movies it seems that the gentle, quirky humour of ‘Wallace and Gromit:
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ has captured the American public’s imagination. Although Wallace and Gromit have
been stars in the UK for a number of years, they
are less well-known abroad. For those who don’t know, Wallace is a hare-brained inventor with a passion for Wensleydale
cheese. Gromit is his wily dog. Both are clay models brought to life through the painstaking process of stop-motion animation.
Their creator, Nick Park, dreamed them up whilst still a student at the National Film and Television School in the 1980s.
Their first film ‘A Grand Day Out’ began as his graduation film and was completed whilst working for his first
employers, Aardman Animations. Since then their rise has been steady but slow. Because the technique of stopmotion animation
is so labour intensive, typically producing two seconds of film per day’s work, Wallace and Gromit films are few and
far between. They have appeared in only three half-hour films for television and ten one minute films specially made for the
Internet. Nevertheless, they have received a great deal of critical acclaim. Their first film was nominated for an Oscar whilst
their second and third outings ‘The Wrong Trousers’ and ‘A Close Shave’ both won Oscars. Hollywood
came calling in 2000 when Aardman Animations made a fivemovie deal with Steven Spielberg’s film studio Dreamworks. ‘The
Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ has taken four years and a reported $30 million to make, and features the voices of international
stars Helena Bonham-Carter and Ralph Fiennes. Despite hitting the big time, one thing hasn’t changed since their earliest
days. Wallace’s voice remains that of veteran, sit-com actor Peter Sallis. Sallis first agreed to take the role after
receiving a letter from then student Nick Park and an offer of a £50 donation to the charity of his choice.
And a few more
The Fly (1958) directed by Kurt Neumann Another 50's classic dealing with science gone terribly awry. A
brilliant scientist invents a machine that transmits objects through time and space by disassembling and reassembling them
in transportation pods. Horrific consequences ensue when he uses himself as a guinea pig, not realizing that he shares the
teleportation pod with a housefly. Famous for its closing images of the helpless fly-with-a-man's-head caught in a spider
web sequence, this gem also featured the very expressive "fly's eye" point of view, a kaleidoscopic effect used
to represent the multi-eyed insect-man's image of his screaming wife. 20. Spider-Man (2002) directed by Sam Rami
Science student and uber-nerd Peter Parker gets bitten by a genetically modified spider during the course of a science
demonstration and becomes the arachnid-themed super hero from the famous Marvel comic book. One of cinema's finest comic-book
adaptations (second only to the remarkable "X-Men" series), Rami not only delivers on the special effects front,
but also provides a palatable storyline that not only respects the original comic's sober tone, but also translates the
original's focus on the relationship between "power and responsibility" to a fresh audience. Nominated for two
Academy Awards. 4 21. The Hulk (2003) directed by Ang Lee In this tale of mutated DNA transforming a mild-mannered
scientist into an enormous green monster, the film's producers actually created a replica of the existing and functional
Gamma Sphere housed at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. The only catch is the real-life Gamma Sphere detects radiation,
while the movie version emits it. But why quibble? There at least is an attempt to show some real-life science right next
to a one ton growling mutant. Nominated for four Saturn Awards by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.
22. 2010 (1984) directed by Peter Hyams The sequel could never truly compare to the original, but this film is
a remarkably strong sci-fi effort, and does manage to convey a lot of the tension and mystery associated with the original.
This time out the crew goes off in search of the ill-fated USS Discovery to discover what the hell happened out there when
the HAL 9000 lost its marbles. Astounding production design and once again featuring innovative spaceship designs, and other
realistic earmarks of the futuristic potential of space travel. Nominated for a Best Art Direction Academy award. 23.
Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) directed by Joseph Sargent Following in the footsteps of the "computer-gone-mad"
scenario explored in "2001," this film focuses on a huge computer designed to control American missile defense systems.
Unfortunately for man, Colossus starts to communicate with its Russian counterpart and the machines decide they are no longer
going to take orders from man, and in the process seek to attain control over the entire world. Fun to watch for all its dated
70's computer technology, this film also continues to explore the dangerous and mysterious aura surrounding artificial
intelligence. 24. War Games (1983) directed by John Badham The movie that suddenly made computer nerds very cool,
and also updated the "computer-gone-awry" sub-genre with an 80's twist: this time the computer wants to play
games, rather than conquer the world. But the game -- "Thermo Nuclear War" – turns out to be the real thing.
While also introducing film audiences to gadgets like "home computers," this film also equated geekdom with the
world's movers and shakers, assuring for eternity, unfortunately, the eventual inclusion of a tech geek in every action
and sci-fi film made ever since. Nominated for two Academy Awards.
The 50s decade was known for many things: post-war affluence
and increased choice of leisure time activities, conformity, the Korean War, middle-class values, the rise of modern jazz,
the rise of 'fast food' restaurants and drive-ins (Jack in the Box - founded in 1951; McDonalds - first franchised
in 1955 in Des Plaines, IL; and A&W Root Beer Company - formed in 1950, although it had already established over 450 drive-ins
throughout the country), a baby boom, the all-electric home as the ideal, white racist terrorism in the South, the advent
of television and TV dinners, abstract art, the first credit card (Diners Club, in 1951), the rise of drive-in theaters to
a peak number in the late 50s with over 4,000 outdoor screens (where young teenaged couples could find privacy in their hot-rods),
and a youth reaction to middle-aged cinema. Older viewers were prone to stay at home and watch television (about 10.5 million
US homes had a TV set in 1950).
MonroeIn the period following WWII when most of the films were idealized with conventional portrayals of men and women, young
people wanted new and exciting symbols of rebellion. Hollywood responded to audience demands - the late 1940s and 1950s saw
the rise of the anti-hero - with stars like newcomers James Dean, Paul Newman (who debuted in the costume epic The Silver
Chalice (1954)) and Marlon Brando, replacing more proper actors like Tyrone Power, Van Johnson, and Robert Taylor. [In later
decades, this new generation of method actors would be followed by Robert DeNiro, Jack Nicholson, and Al Pacino.] Sexy anti-heroines
included Ava Gardner, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe - an exciting, vibrant, sexy star.
One of the decade's best comedies was Harvey (1950), with James Stewart as
a lovable, eccentric drunk named Elwood P. Dowd whose best friend was an imaginary, six-foot-tall rabbit. Another of the most
popular films in the late 50s was Leo McCarey's romantic drama An Affair to Remember (1957), the story of an ill-fated
romance between Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant due to an automobile accident, delaying a rendezvous at the top of the Empire
State Building in New York City. It was a remake of the director's own tearjerker film Love Affair (1939) with Irene Dunne
and Charles Boyer. The same story would inspire the making of Nora Ephron's Sleepless in Seattle (1993) with leads Tom
Hanks and Meg Ryan (who had first appeared together in Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)), and Love Affair (1994) with real-life
couple Warren Beatty and Annette Bening.
Paul Newman was one of the few actors who successfully
made the transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s. His rebellious persona translated well to a subsequent
generation. Newman starred in Exodus (1960), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Harper (1966), Hombre (1967), Cool Hand Luke
(1967), The Towering Inferno (1974), Slap Shot (1977), and The Verdict (1982). He teamed with fellow actor Robert Redford
and director George Roy Hill for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973). He appeared with his wife,
Joanne Woodward, in the feature films The Long, Hot Summer (1958), Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!, (1958), From the Terrace
(1960), Paris Blues (1961), A New Kind of Love (1963), Winning (1969), WUSA (1970), The Drowning Pool (1975), Harry &
Son (1984), and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990). They both also starred in the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, but did not have any
scenes together. In addition to starring in and directing Harry & Son, Newman also directed four feature films (in which
he did not act) starring Woodward. They were Rachel, Rachel (1968), based on Margaret Laurence's A Jest of God, the screen
version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972), the television screen
version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Shadow Box (1980), and a screen version of Tennessee Williams' The Glass
Menagerie (1987). Twenty-five years after The Hustler, Newman reprised his role of "Fast" Eddie Felson in the Martin
Scorsese-directed The Color of Money (1986), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He told a television interviewer
that winning an Oscar at the age of 62 deprived him of his fantasy of formally being presented with it in extreme old age
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