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A Brief History Of Hollywood Movies

In the 1880s, the American stage was dominated by ‘Vaudeville shows’, which were cherished by the residents of North America. Being the primitive genre of variety entertainment, these shows differed from burlesque. As entrepreneurs started experimenting with their movie-making skills, these shows lost all of their glory. Here, achievement of the film, ‘The Great Train Robbery’ is noteworthy.

In 1910, director D.W.Griffith, with his troop, started filming in downtown Los Angeles. While searching for a more apt location, they found it in a village that was miles northward — ‘Hollywood’. The first movie shot by Griffith in Hollywood was ‘In Old California’, a melodrama of California. Thorough research work identifies a number of points that ushered the beginning of Hollywood movies. But, it was Griffith’s ‘Birth Of A Nation’, which was the pioneering endeavor that whistled a never-ending journey of American cinema.

Gradually, with the growth of Hollywood industry, films were exhibited in Nicholodeon halls. Ambitious people on the production side emerged as the controlling heads of movie studios. They aided the internationalization of films to reduce America-centric provincialism. At the zenith of its popularity, the industry produced about 400 movies a year, with an audience of 90,000,000 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. Around 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, musical animated cartoons 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.  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 ‘WUTHERING HEIGHTS’, ‘GONE WITH THE WIND’, ‘CASABLANCA’ and such other timeless masterpieces. In the late 1940’s, the separation of the production of films from their exhibition and the advent of television led to the decline of the studio system.

The 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 became focused as they made films that 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 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.

Author: Victor Epand

Posted in Cinema, Director, Entertainment, Film, Films, Golden Age, Hollywood, Movie, Movie Studios, Movies by KeyserSoze : May 19, 2008 - 5:48pm


Top 5 Ways to Become a Pretentious Auteur Filmmaker

Ever wondered what it takes to become a truly pretentious, so-far-up-yourself-you-could-cry, auteur filmmaker? You’ve seen them; either in Hollywood or the independent sector - film directors who think they’re God. Film directors who think they’re conducting work that will change the world as we know it. Danny De Vito once quoted an often heard saying in the industry, “the reason why you become a director is because the position of God has already been filled!”

Today, I’m here to share with you my experience with an absolute insane auteur film director simply called ‘Sputnik’. Filmmakers with one name are always strange enigmas worthy of report somewhere; especially ones named after a Russian space probe. Sputnik has managed to drive everyone he’s worked with totally mad despite his ‘artistic’ achievements. The legend began with his first masterpiece, the five minute opus simply titled “SHORT FILM”.

I had the chance to catch up with Sputnik recently and he provided me with some tips for what he thought would make a great film director like him. And rather than paraphrase, I’ve decided to list his top 5 tips in his own words:

1. “It really is all about the film” – And by extension, it’s about my vision. Every film has to have a vision and everyone who works on the film is serving the director’s vision. If you want to make it in this industry, you have to be prepared to serve the director’s vision. If not, you can go back to your garage with your little handheld camera making movies and distributing them on some cheap internet site. Being a director is not a popularity contest. Some times you have to push people to get the best, and if that means stepping on a few toes along the way, so be it. As long as the results are up there on the screen. I don’t care if they don’t like me! Neither should you!

2. “Actors are window dressing” – Actors have this misconception that they are important to film. What they don’t realise is that they’re just providing elements of a performance to be manipulated later in the editing room. That’s why when you hear famous actors talk about quitting film, it means that they’ve learnt that they’re not the centre of the universe, which is a disturbing thought for most actors leaving their fragile egos crushed in a frenzy of sobbing. Remember, it’s all about the film not all about the actors. Better still, when any actor says a director is a self-absorbed, egotistical wannabe, it means that the director has changed the actor’s performance in editing despite what they discussed on set, and they feel violated. Too bad. It’s not the end of the world. They can always go back to the theatre.

3. “Pick a good title” – The title must encapsulate everything to do with the film. Take my first masterpiece; it really was all about the film. So my first thought was to simply call it, “FILM”. Works well, yes? But then I realised it was only five minutes long, so I decided to call it, “SHORT FILM”. Make sense?

4. “Be dedicated” – You know, most people can’t get off their sorry asses for even two seconds to concentrate and do something worthwhile. When I made “SHORT FILM”, I concentrated for four days to make that film. FOUR DAYS STRAIGHT! And sometimes, I even worked up to seven hours in a day! It was intense, but I was up to it. And that’s why I’m such a brilliant director.

5. “Digital is evil” – I’m stating the word ‘digital’ on this one occasion only because I want filmmakers to understand; ‘digital’ is the tool of the devil. Films are made on film! All these pathetic little upstarts with their whiz-bang digital amateur cameras and their supposedly powerful computers thinking they can break through in to the industry with their backyard prowess. Let me tell you something now: you’re setting yourself up to fail. If you haven’t listened to anything I’ve told you, make sure you listen to this: Films are made on Film. Look at Spielberg, he knows what I’m talking about. Not like his buddy Lucas. Those ‘Star Wars’ films were just great weren’t they?

There you have it. In Sputnik’s own words, what it takes to get yourself to the top of the industry. Sputnik is currently working on a number of projects including his debut feature masterpiece, “Feature Film”. If my experience with him is anything to go by, the behind the scenes footage from the making of that film could potentially be as fascinating as the film itself. Only time will tell!

Author: Todd Murphy

Posted in Auteur, Cinema, Director, Entertainment, Film, Film Maker, Film Making, Filmmaker, Filmmaking, Films, Hollywood, Movie, Movies by KeyserSoze : May 16, 2008 - 9:01pm


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