American Film History: Selected Readings, Origins to 1960

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This authoritative selection of introductory and really good readings explores the wealthy and leading edge background of this era in American cinema. Spanning a vital diversity of matters from the early 1900s Nickelodeon to the decline of the studio process within the Nineteen Sixties, it combines a large ancient context with cautious readings of person motion pictures.

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The camera’s narrative role in introducing the film here becomes an emotionally loaded withdrawal from the scene of grief across a landscape which, no longer merely pictorial, resonates with grief and loss” (1999b, 165–166). Griffith echoes a film’s opening in its concluding shot once again in A Corner in Wheat, a film released near the end of 1909, and in many ways the culmination of much that he had been developing over the past 18 months. 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.

Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative (pp. 256–273). London: British Film Institute. Robinson, David. (1985). Chaplin: His Life and Art. New York: McGraw-Hill. Sklar, Robert. (1994). Movie-Made America: A Cultural History of American Movies. Revised and updated. New York: Vintage Books. Staiger, Janet. (1985). ” In David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, & Kristin Thompson (eds), The Classical Hollywood Cinema (pp. 128–141). New York: Columbia University Press. Thompson, Kristin. (1985). Exporting Entertainment: America in the World Film Market 1907–1934.

While American films were being sent overseas for exhibition on international screens, the talent of international cinemas slowly made its way to Hollywood and its impact would be felt throughout the studio era. Even before the consolidation of production in southern California, French film artists, such as directors Maurice Tourneur and George Archainbaud, went to work for the World Film Corporation, an American production and distribution company (Koszarski 1994, 66). From Germany came F. W. Murnau and Ernst Lubitsch, the latter surviving and succeeding well into the sound era.

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