This authoritative number of introductory and really good readings explores the wealthy and leading edge historical past of this era in American cinema. Spanning an important variety of topics from the early 1900s Nickelodeon to the decline of the studio method within the Sixties, it combines a huge ancient context with cautious readings of person motion pictures.
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Additional info for American Film History: Selected Readings, Origins to 1960
Typically characterized as the crowning achievement of Griffith’s early period, A Corner in Wheat fuses the director’s increasingly authoritative use of editing with his penchant for social protest, resulting in a film that the New York Dramatic Mirror labeled “an editorial,” doubtless because it weaves together three narrative strands, linked only by broad-based economic causes as opposed to character interaction. A Corner in Wheat may stand as Griffith’s D. W. GRIFFITH AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN NARRATIVE CINEMA most abstract employment of editing until the ambitious experiment of Intolerance: Cuts draw parallels emphasizing the nature of social relations, most pointedly in the alternation between shots of the Wheat King’s feast and those of the starving masses at the bakery.
Massood observes in the volume, most notably perhaps his Body and Soul (1925) that marked the film debut of Paul Robeson, as a bit of a shyster, but nonetheless charismatic, preacher. Newsreels The ancestry of the weekly newsreel dates back to the Kinetoscope when the Edison Company staged prizefights at its Black Maria studio. Edison-era actualities and films of the Spanish–American War, many of them staged for the camera, established in the minds of moviegoers the sense that the cinema could provide more than theatrical entertainment.
Griffith, a refugee from the theatrical world eager to exercise his creative prerogative, even in the degraded arena of film production, arrived at Biograph at an opportune time. Storytelling Challenges and Stylistic Strategies Any filmmaker starting out in 1908 would have found the prospect of directing a dramatic film daunting. Few models existed for crafting a compelling and comprehensible narrative of under 20 minutes. While the theater and the short story might provide material for adaptation and even general principles of narrative construction, nothing could prepare filmmakers of the era for the challenge of how to translate the scenarios they were assigned into short films that audiences could easily grasp and find involving.
American Film History: Selected Readings, Origins to 1960