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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Notes: Movies and the Impact of Images

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MMC 2604
Mariam Alkazemi

MMC 2604 10/7/13 Chapter 6 Notes o Early Technology and the Evolution of Movies o The Development of Film  The concept of film goes back as early as Leonardo DaVinci  Thaumatrope: invented in 1824, a two-sided card with different images on each side that appeared to be combined images when twirled  Zoetrope: invented in 1834, a cylindrical device that rapidly twirled images inside a cylinder, which appeared to make the images move  Muybridge and Goodwin Make Pictures Move  Eadweard Muybridge is credited with being the first to manipulate photographs to make them appear to move while simultaneously projecting them on a screen  1884: George Eastman developed the first roll film  Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince invented the first motion picture camera  Le Prince is credited with filming the first motion picture, Roundhay Garden Scene, in 1888  1889: Hannibal Goodwin improved Eastman’s roll film by using thin strips of transparent, pliable material called celluloid  Edison and the Lumières Create Motion Pictures  Edison directed an assistant, William Kennedy Dickson, to create the kinetograph and a single-person viewing system, the kinetoscope  In France, Louis and Auguste Lumière developed the cinematograph, a combined camera, film development, and projection system.  Edison manufactured a new large-screen system called the vitascope, which enabled filmstrips of longer lengths to be projected without interruption and hinted at the potential of movies as a future mass medium o The Introduction of Narrative  The shift to the mass medium stage for movies occurred with the introduction of narrative films: movies that tell stories.  Some of the earliest narrative films were produced and
 directed by French magician and inventor Georges Méliès, who
 opened the first public movie theater in France in 1896.  The first American filmmaker to adapt Méliès’s innovations to narrative film was Edwin S. Porter. o The Arrival of Nickelodeons  Nickelodeons—a form of movie theater whose name combines the admission price with the Greek word for “theater.”  Often managed by immigrants, nickelodeons required a minimal investment: just a secondhand projector and a large white sheet. o The Rise of the Hollywood Studio System o Thomas Edison formed the Motion Picture Patents Company, known as the Trust, in 1908 o Wanting to free their movie operations from the Trust’s tyrannical grasp, two Hungarian immigrants—Adolph Zukor, who would eventually run Paramount Pictures, and William Fox, who would found the Fox Film Corporation (which later became Twentieth Century Fox)— played a role in the collapse of Edison’s Trust. o Production: everything involved in making a movie from securing a script and actors to raising money and filming o Distribution: getting the films into theaters o Exhibition: playing films in theaters. o This control—or vertical integration—of all levels of the movie business gave certain studios great power and eventually spawned a film industry that turned into an oligopoly, a situation in which a few firms control the bulk of the business. o Production  Responding to discerning audiences and
 competing against Edison’s Trust, Adolph
 Zukor hired a number of popular actors and
 formed the Famous Players Company in 1912.  One Famous Players performer was Mary Pickford.  Pickford was so influential that in 1919 she broke from Zukor to form her own company, United Artists.  By the 1920s the studio system firmly controlled creative talent in the industry. o Distribution  Film Exchange system: In exchange for their short films, shown between live acts, movie producers received a small percentage of the vaudeville ticket-gate receipts  Block booking distribution: to gain access to popular films with big stars like Mary Pickford, exhibitors had to agree to rent new or marginal films with no stars.  When World War I disrupted the once-powerful European film production industry, only U.S. studios were able to meet the demand for films in Europe. o Exhibition  Edison’s Trust attempted to control exhibition by controlling the flow of films to theater owners.  Movie palaces: full-time single-
 screen movie theaters that provided a more hospitable
 movie going environment.  Mid-city movie theaters: were built in convenient locations near urban mass transit stations to attract the business of the urban and suburban middle class  Today’s multiplexes  Big Five—Paramount, MGM, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox, and RKO  Little Three (which did not own theaters)—Columbia, Universal, and United Artists o The Studio System’s Golden Age o Hollywood Narrative and the Silent Era  D. W. Griffith, among the first “star” directors, was the single most important director in Hollywood’s early days.  Despite the cringe-inducing racism of this pioneering and controversial film, The Birth of a Nation (1915) was the first feature-length film (more than
 an hour long) produced in America. The three-hour epic was also the first blockbuster and cost moviegoers a record $2 admission. o The Introduction of Sound  Talkies: movies with people talking/sound  In 1927, Warner Brothers produced a feature-length film, The Jazz Singer  The breakthrough film, however, was Warner Brothers’ 1928 release The Singing Fool  Fox studio premiered sound-film newsreels o The Development of the Hollywood Style  Three ingredients that give Hollywood movies their distinctive flavor: the narrative, the genre, and the author (or director)  Hollywood Narratives  Includes two basic components: the story (what happens to whom) and the discourse (how the story is told)  Hollywood Genres  In general, Hollywood narratives fit a
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