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Cinema: History and Criticism Notes, Week 3

by: annazeberlein

Cinema: History and Criticism Notes, Week 3 ENGL 212

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About this Document

These are the notes for the week of 1/26-1/28, covering more of Film History and Citizen Kane.
Cinema: History and Criticism
Dr. Colleen Glenn
Class Notes
Cinema, Film, film history, citizen kane
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by annazeberlein on Monday February 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 212 at College of Charleston taught by Dr. Colleen Glenn in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 31 views. For similar materials see Cinema: History and Criticism in Foreign Language at College of Charleston.

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Date Created: 02/01/16
Cinema: History and Criticism, Week 3 Film History - “Dream Palace” Theatres. 1920s o Sprung up across the countries, smaller versions in smaller cities (ex: Riviera, Americana, Garden -> now Urban Outfitters, Gloria -> Sottile) o Sometimes had exotic names, invoking the far east - Introduction of Sound and Color o Realism achieved through technological advances o 1926 – Warner Bros Vitaphone (synched sound on disks) o 1926 – Fox’s Movietone (sound recorded optically) o transition within a year o The Jazz Singer (1927) – first “talkie” even though there are still many aspects of silent movies such as title cards, but some singing scenes have sound o Theatres are converted, orchestra pits aren’t needed o Even after the Great Depression, people still go to the theatre o Color doesn’t start being more widely used until the 30’s, but it was made in the 20’s and it was expensive. - The Studio System (20s – 50s) o 1908 – most powerful American production companies create the Motion Picture Patents Company trying to control everything about filmmaking and were declared illegal as a monopoly in 1915  MPPC helped stabilize the rapidly growing industry up until the Studio Era o Wall Street invested heavily in the Studio System o During the Red Scare, movies were recognized as a propaganda weapon o The studios were run like a business on a Ford-like assembly line o Warner Bros, Paramount, Universal, MGM, 20 Century Fox, RKO – all developed at the outset, all except RKO still exist today o Each studio had teams of writers, costumers, editors, etc) that were all very formulaic o They controlled every aspect of filmmaking, even the theatres, guaranteeing exhibition o The studio had a team of actors as well so each studio had a reputation of what kind of movies they made  The actors operated on a 7-year contract where the studio told the actors which movies they were going to be in o An efficient system , with a lot of movies being made, but that could result in a drop in quality, or a loss of money, stars being type-casted away from their preference, but on the other hand, teams learned their craft well, they had job stability and security, and a PR team buffeted the stars with stories that were true, fabricated, or completely false. - The Production Code o A result of a campaign against movies by moralists o There were scandals that served as fodder for these moralists o Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors of America (1922) – headed by a conservative republican, made to appease the public and lobby in D.C. for Hollywood o It was discovered that children were half of a given movie audience o Legion of Decency – American Catholic bishops came together to encourage a boycott until movies became more moral o Movie studios formed the Production Code Administration, appointed a priest, Father Joseph Breen in 1934  Extremely repressive, Breen viewed everything and nothing left his office without his approval - End of the studio era o Supreme court declared the studio system a monopoly in 1948 and the dismantling began - Citizen Kane (1941) – Orson Welles o Gregg Toland – director of photography  Deep focus – everything in the scene is in focus o Based on William Randolph Hurst – yellow journalism – sensational stories that will sell  Attempted to ruin the film and Welles, and he succeeded  Newspapers were afraid to review the movie, fearing they would never work again, like Welles  Welles was never allowed to work along on a project again o Begins and ends with the no trespassing sign – symmetrical, but we’re trespassing on Kane’s life o Series of fades opening on the vast, extravagant estate of Xanadu o Characters often in the right foreground (back to camera) o Triangular setup of characters


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