Cinematography: Everything You Need To Know(sin-uh-muh-tahg’-ruh-fee)Cinematography is the technique and art of making motion pictures, whichare a sequence of photographs of a single subject that are taken over timeand then projected in the same sequence to create an illusion of motion. Each image of a moving object is slightly different from the preceding one. ProjectorA motion-picture projector projects the sequence of picture frames,contained on a ribbon of film, in their proper order. A claw engagesperforations in the film and pulls the film down into the film gate,placing each new frame in exactly the same position as the preceding one. When the frame is in position, it is projected onto the screen byilluminating it with a beam of light. The period of time between theprojection of each still image when no image is projected is normally notnoticed by the viewer.Order now
Two perceptual phenomena–persistence of vision and the critical flickerfrequency–cause a continuous image. Persistence of a vision is theability of the viewer to retain or in some way remember the impression ofan image after it has been withdrawn from view. The critical flickerfrequency is the minimum rate of interruption of the projected light beamthat will not cause the motion picture to appear to flicker. A frequencyabove about 48 interruptions a second will eliminate flicker. CameraLike a still camera (see CAMERA), a movie camera shoots each pictureindividually. The movie camera, however, must also move the film preciselyand control the shutter, keeping the amount of light reaching the filmnearly constant from frame to frame.
The shutter of a movie camera isessentially a circular plate rotated by an electric motor. An opening inthe plate exposes the film frame only after the film has been positionedand has come to rest. The plate itself continues to rotate smoothly. Photographic materials must be manufactured with great precision.
Theperforations, or holes in the film, must be precisely positioned. Thepitch–the distance from one hole to another–must be maintained by correctfilm storage. By the late 1920s, a sound-on-film system of synchronousSOUND RECORDING was developed and gained widespread popularity. In thisprocess, the sound is recorded separately on a machine synchronized withthe picture camera.
Unlike the picture portion of the film, the soundportion is recorded and played back continuously rather than inintermittent motion. Although editing still makes use of perforated filmfor flexibility, a more modern technique uses conventional magnetic tapefor original recording and synchronizes the recording to the pictureelectronically (see TAPE RECORDER). If the number of photographs projected per unit time (frame rate) differsfrom the number produced per unit time by the camera, an apparent speedingup or slowing down of the normal rate is created. Changes in the framerates are used occasionally for comic effect or motion analysis.
Cinematography becomes an art when the filmmaker attempts to make movingimages that relate directly to human perception, provide visualsignificance and information, and provoke emotional response. History of Film TechnologySeveral parlor toys of the early 1800s used visual illusions similar tothose of the motion picture. These include the thaumatrope (1825); thephenakistiscope (1832); the stroboscope (1832); and the zoetrope (1834). The photographic movie, however, was first used as a means of investigationrather than of theatrical illusion. Leland Stanford, then governor ofCalifornia, hired photographer Eadweard MUYBRIDGE to prove that at sometime in a horse’s gallop all four legs are simultaneously off the ground. Muybridge did so by using several cameras to produce a series ofphotographs with very short time intervals between them.
Such a multiplephotographic record was used in the kinetoscope, which displayed aphotographic moving image and was commercially successful for a time. The kinetoscope was invented either by Thomas Alva EDISON or by hisassistant William K. L. Dickson, both of whom had experimented originallywith moving pictures as a supplement to the phonograph record.
They laterturned to George EASTMAN, who provided a flexible celluloid film base tostore the large number of images necessary to create motion pictures. The mechanical means of cinematography were gradually perfected. It wasdiscovered that it was better to display the sequence of imagesintermittently rather than continuously. This technique allowed a greaterpresentation time and more light for the projection of each frame. Anotherimprovement was the loop above and below the film gate in both the cameraand the projector, which prevented the film from tearing.
By the late 1920s, synchronized sound was being introduced in movies. These sound films soon replaced silent films in popularity. To prevent themicrophones from picking up camera noise, a portable housing was designedthat muffled noises and allowed the camera to be moved about. In recentyears, equipment, lighting, and film have all been improved, but theprocesses involved remain essentially the same. RICHARD FLOBERGBibliographyBibliography: Fielding, Raymond, ed. , A Technological History of MotionPictures and Television (1967); Happe, I.
Bernard, Basic Motion PictureTechnology, 2d ed. (1975); Malkiewicz, J. Kris, and Rogers, Robert E. ,Cinematography (1973); Wheeler, Leslie J. , Principles of Cinematography,4th ed.
(1973). film:——————————–film, history of——————————–The history of film has been dominated by the discovery and testing of theparadoxes inherent in the medium itself. Film uses machines to recordimages of life; it combines still photographs to give the illusion ofcontinuous motion; it seems to present life itself, but it also offersimpossible unrealities approached only in dreams. ^The motion picture wasdeveloped in the 1890s from the union of still PHOTOGRAPHY, which recordsphysical reality, with the persistence-of-vision toy, which made drawnfigures appear to move.
Four major film traditions have developed sincethen: fictional narrative film, which tells stories about people with whoman audience can identify because their world looks familiar; nonfictionaldocumentary film, which focuses on the real world either to instruct or toreveal some sort of truth about it; animated film, which makes drawn orsculpted figures look as if they are moving and speaking; and experimentalfilm, which exploits film’s ability to create a purely abstract,nonrealistic world unlike any previously seen. ^Film is considered theyoungest art form and has inherited much from the older and moretraditional arts. Like the novel, it can tell stories; like the drama, itcan portray conflict between live characters; like painting, it composes inspace with light, color, shade, shape, and texture; like music, it moves intime according to principles of rhythm and tone; like dance, it presentsthe movement of figures in space and is often underscored by music; andlike photography, it presents a two-dimensional rendering of what appearsto be three-dimensional reality, using perspective, depth, andshading. ^Film, however, is one of the few arts that is both spatial andtemporal, intentionally manipulating both space and time. This synthesishas given rise to two conflicting theories about film and its historicaldevelopment. Some theorists, such as S.
M. EISENSTEIN and RudolfArnheim, have argued that film must take the path of the other modern artsand concentrate not on telling stories or representing reality but oninvestigating time and space in a pure and consciously abstract way. Others, such as Andre Bazin and Siegfried KRACAUER, maintain that film mustfully and carefully develop its connection with nature so that it canportray human events as excitingly and revealingly as possible. ^Because ofhis fame, his success at publicizing his activities, and his habit ofpatenting machines before actually inventing them, Thomas EDISON receivedmost of the credit for having invented the motion picture; as early as1887, he patented a motion picture camera, but this could not produceimages. In reality, many inventors contributed to the development ofmoving pictures.
Perhaps the first important contribution was the seriesof motion photographs made by Eadweard MUYBRIDGE between 1872 and 1877. Hired by the governor of California, Leland Stanford, to capture on filmthe movement of a racehorse, Muybridge tied a series of wires across thetrack and connected each one to the shutter of a still camera. The runninghorse tripped the wires and exposed a series of still photographs, whichMuybridge then mounted on a stroboscopic disk and projected with a magiclantern to reproduce an image of the horse in motion. Muybridge shothundreds of such studies and went on to lecture in Europe, where his workintrigued the French scientist E.
J. MAREY. Marey devised a means ofshooting motion photographs with what he called a photographic gun. ^Edisonbecame interested in the possibilities of motion photography after hearingMuybridge lecture in West Orange, N.
J. Edison’s motion pictureexperiments, under the direction of William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, beganin 1888 with an attempt to record the photographs on wax cylinders similarto those used to make the original phonograph recordings. Dickson made amajor breakthrough when he decided to use George EASTMAN’s celluloid filminstead. Celluloid was tough but supple and could be manufactured in longrolls, making it an excellent medium for motion photography, which requiredgreat lengths of film.
Between 1891 and 1895, Dickson shot many 15-secondfilms using the Edison camera, or Kinetograph, but Edison decided againstprojecting the films for audiences–in part because the visual results wereinadequate and in part because he felt that motion pictures would havelittle public appeal. Instead, Edison marketed an electrically drivenpeep-hole viewing machine (the Kinetoscope) that displayed the marvelsrecorded to one viewer at a time. ^Edison thought so little of theKinetoscope that he failed to extend his patent rights to England andEurope, an oversight that allowed two Frenchmen, Louis and Auguste LUMIERE,to manufacture a more portable camera and a functional projector, theCinematographe, based on Edison’s machine. The movie era might be said tohave begun officially on Dec. 28, 1895, when the Lumieres presented aprogram of brief motion pictures to a paying audience in the basement of aParis cafe. English and German inventors also copied and improved upon theEdison machines, as did many other experimenters in the United States.
Bythe end of the 19th century vast numbers of people in both Europe andAmerica had been exposed to some form of motion pictures. ^The earliestfilms presented 15- to 60-second glimpses of real scenes recorded outdoors(workmen, trains, fire engines, boats, parades, soldiers) or of stagedtheatrical performances shot indoors. These two early tendencies–torecord life as it is and to dramatize life for artistic effect–can beviewed as the two dominant paths of film history. ^Georges MELIES was themost important of the early theatrical filmmakers.
A magician by trade,Melies, in such films as A Trip to the Moon (1902), showed how the cinemacould perform the most amazing magic tricks of all: simply by stopping thecamera, adding something to the scene or removing something from it, andthen starting the camera again, he made things seem to appear anddisappear. Early English and French filmmakers such as Cecil Hepworth,James Williamson, and Ferdinand Zecca also discovered how rhythmic movement(the chase) and rhythmic editing could make cinema’s treatment of time andspace more exciting. American Film in the Silent Era (1903-1928)A most interesting primitive American film was The Great Train Robbery(1903), directed by Edwin S. PORTER of the Edison Company.
This earlywestern used much freer editing and camera work than usual to tell itsstory, which included bandits, a holdup, a chase by a posse, and a finalshoot-out. When other companies (Vitagraph, the American Mutoscope andBiograph Company, Lubin, and Kalem among them) began producing films thatrivaled those of the Edison Company, Edison sued them for infringement ofhis patent rights. This so-called patents war lasted 10 years (1898-1908),ending only when nine leading film companies merged to form the MotionPicture Patents Company. ^One reason for the settlement was the enormousprofits to be derived from what had begun merely as a cheap novelty. Before 1905 motion pictures were usually shown in vaudeville houses as oneact on the bill. After 1905 a growing number of small, storefront theaterscalled nickelodeons, accommodating less than 200 patrons, began to showmotion pictures exclusively.
By 1908 an estimated 10 million Americanswere paying their nickels and dimes to see such films. Young speculatorssuch as William Fox and Marcus Loew saw their theaters, which initiallycost but $1,600 each, grow into enterprises worth $150,000 each within 5years. Called the drama of the people, the early motion pictures attractedprimarily working-class and immigrant audiences who found the nickelodeon apleasant family diversion; they might not have been able to read the wordsin novels and newspapers, but they understood the silent language ofpictures. ^The popularity of the moving pictures led to the first attacksagainst it by crusading moralists, police, and politicians. Localcensorship boards were established to eliminate objectionable material fromfilms.
In 1909 the infant U. S. film industry waged a counterattack bycreating the first of many self-censorship boards, the National Board ofCensorship (after 1916 called the National Board of Review), whose purposewas to set moral standards for films and thereby save them from costlymutilation. ^A nickelodeon program consisted of about six 10-minute films,usually including an adventure, a comedy, an informational film, a chasefilm, and a melodrama.
The most accomplished maker of these films wasBiograph’s D. W. GRIFFITH, who almost singlehandedly transformed both theart and the business of the motion picture. Griffith made over 400 shortfilms between 1908 and 1913, in this period discovering or developingalmost every major technique by which film manipulates time and space: theuse of alternating close-ups, medium shots, and distant panoramas; thesubtle control of rhythmic editing; the effective use of traveling shots,atmospheric lighting, narrative commentary, poetic detail, and visualsymbolism; and the advantages of understated acting, at which his actingcompany excelled. The culmination of Griffith’s work was The Birth of aNation (1915), a mammoth, 3-hour epic of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Its historical detail, suspense, and passionate conviction were to outdatethe 10-minute film altogether. ^The decade between 1908 and 1918 was one ofthe most important in the history of American film. The full-lengthfeature film replaced the program of short films; World War I destroyed orrestricted the film industries of Europe, promoting greater technicalinnovation, growth, and commercial stability in America; the FILM INDUSTRYwas consolidated with the founding of the first major studios in Hollywood,Calif. (Fox, Paramount, and Universal); and the great American silentcomedies were born.
Mack SENNETT became the driving force behind theKeystone Company soon after joining it in 1912; Hal Roach founded hiscomedy company in 1914; and Charlie CHAPLIN probably had the best-knownface in the world in 1916. ^During this period the first movie stars rose tofame, replacing the anonymous players of the short films. In 1918,America’s two favorite stars, Charlie Chaplin and Mary PICKFORD, bothsigned contracts for over $1 million. Other familiar stars of the decadeincluded comedians Fatty ARBUCKLE and John Bunny, cowboys William S.
HARTand Bronco Billy Anderson, matinee idols Rudolph VALENTINO and JohnGilbert, and the alluring females Theda BARA and Clara BOW. Along with thestars came the first movie fan magazines; Photoplay published its inauguralissue in 1912. That same year also saw the first of the FILM SERIALS, ThePerils of Pauline, starring Pearl White. ^The next decade in American filmhistory, 1918 to 1928, was a period of stabilization rather than expansion. Films were made within studio complexes, which were, in essence, factoriesdesigned to produce films in the same way that Henry Ford’s factoriesproduced automobiles.
Film companies became monopolies in that they notonly made films but distributed them to theaters and owned the theaters inwhich they were shown as well. This vertical integration formed thecommercial foundation of the film industry for the next 30 years. Two newproducing companies founded during the decade were Warner Brothers (1923),which would become powerful with its early conversion to synchronizedsound, and Metro-Goldwyn (1924; later Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), the producingarm of Loew’s, under the direction of Louis B. MAYER and IrvingTHALBERG. ^Attacks against immorality in films intensified during thisdecade, spurred by the sensual implications and sexual practices of themovie stars both on and off the screen.
In 1921, after several nationallypublicized sex and drug scandals, the industry headed off the threat offederal CENSORSHIP by creating the office of the Motion Picture Producersand Distributors of America (now the Motion Picture Association ofAmerica), under the direction of Will HAYS. Hays, who had been postmastergeneral of the United States and Warren G. Harding’s campaign manager,began a series of public relations campaigns to underscore the importanceof motion pictures to American life. He also circulated several lists ofpractices that were henceforth forbidden on and off the screen. ^Hollywoodfilms of the 1920s became more polished, subtle, and skillful, andespecially imaginative in handling the absence of sound. It was the greatage of comedy.
Chaplin retained a hold on his world-following withfull-length features such as The Kid (1920) and The Gold Rush (1925);Harold LLOYD climbed his way to success–and got the girl–no matter howgreat the obstacles as Grandma’s Boy (1922) or The Freshman (1925); BusterKEATON remained deadpan through a succession of wildly bizarre sight gagsin Sherlock Jr. and The Navigator (both 1924); Harry Langdon was ever theinnocent elf cast adrift in a mean, tough world; and director ErnstLUBITSCH, fresh from Germany, brought his “touch” to understated comediesof manners, sex, and marriage. The decade saw the United States’s firstgreat war film (The Big Parade, 1925), its first great westerns (TheCovered Wagon, 1923; The Iron Horse, 1924), and its first great biblicalepics (The Ten Commandments, 1923, and King of Kings, 1927, both made byCecil B. DE MILLE). Other films of this era included Erich Von STROHEIM’ssexual studies, Lon CHANEY’s grotesque costume melodramas, and the firstgreat documentary feature, Robert J.
FLAHERTY’s Nanook of the North(1922). European Film in the 1920sIn the same decade, the European film industries recovered from the war toproduce one of the richest artistic periods in film history. The Germancinema, stimulated by EXPRESSIONISM in painting and the theater and by thedesign theories of the BAUHAUS, created bizarrely expressionistic settingsfor such fantasies as Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1919),F. W. MURNAU’s Nosferatu (1922), and Fritz LANG’s Metropolis (1927). TheGermans also brought their sense of decor, atmospheric lighting, andpenchant for a frequently moving camera to such realistic political andpsychological studies as Murnau’s The Last Laugh (1924), G.
W. PABST’sThe Joyless Street (1925), and E. A. Dupont’s Variety (1925). ^Innovationalso came from the completely different approach taken by filmmakers in theUSSR, where movies were intended not only to entertain but also to instructthe masses in the social and political goals of their new government.
TheSoviet cinema used MONTAGE, or complicated editing techniques that reliedon visual metaphor, to create excitement and richness of texture and,ultimately, to affect ideological attitudes. The most influential Soviettheorist and filmmaker was Sergei M. Eisenstein, whose Potemkin (1925) hada worldwide impact; other innovative Soviet filmmakers of the 1920sincluded V. I. PUDOVKIN, Lev Kuleshov, Abram Room, and AlexanderDOVZHENKO.
^The Swedish cinema of the 1920s relied heavily on the strikingvisual qualities of the northern landscape. Mauritz Stiller and VictorSjostrom mixed this natural imagery of mountains, sea, and ice withpsychological drama and tales of supernatural quests. French cinema, bycontrast, brought the methods and assumptions of modern painting to film. Under the influence of SURREALISM and dadaism, filmmakers working in Francebegan to experiment with the possibility of rendering abstract perceptionsor dreams in a visual medium. Marcel DUCHAMP, Rene CLAIR, Fernand LEGER,Jean RENOIR–and Luis BUNUEL and Salvador DALI in Un Chien andalou(1928)–all made antirealist, antirational, noncommercial films that helpedestablish the avant-garde tradition in filmmaking. Several of thesefilmmakers would later make significant contributions to the narrativetradition in the sound era.
The Arrival of SoundThe era of the talking film began in late 1927 with the enormous success ofWarner Brothers’ The Jazz Singer. The first totally sound film, Lights ofNew York, followed in 1928. Although experimentation with synchronizingsound and picture was as old as the cinema itself (Dickson, for example,made a rough synchronization of the two for Edison in 1894), thefeasibility of sound film was widely publicized only after Warner Brotherspurchased the Vitaphone from Western Electric in 1926. The originalVitaphone system synchronized the picture with a separate phonographicdisk, rather than using the more accurate method of recording (based on theprinciple of the OSCILLOSCOPE) a sound track on the film itself. Warnersoriginally used the Vitaphone to make short musical films featuring bothclassical and popular performers and to record musical sound tracks forotherwise silent films (Don Juan, 1926). For The Jazz Singer, Warnersadded four synchronized musical sequences to the silent film.
When AlJOLSON sang and then delivered several lines of dialogue, audiences wereelectrified. The silent film was dead within a year. ^The conversion tosynchronized sound caused serious problems for the film industry. Soundrecording was difficult; cameras had to shoot from inside glass booths;studios had to build special soundproof stages; theaters required expensivenew equipment; writers had to be hired who had an ear for dialogue; andactors had to be found whose voices could deliver it. Many of the earliesttalkies were ugly and static, the visual images serving merely as anaccompaniment to endless dialogue, sound effects, and musical numbers. Serious film critics mourned the passing of the motion picture, which nolonger seemed to contain either motion or picture.
^The most effective earlysound films were those that played most adventurously with the union ofpicture and sound track. Walt DISNEY in his cartoons combined surprisingsights with inventive sounds, carefully orchestrating the animated motionand musical rhythm. Ernst Lubitsch also played very cleverly with sound,contrasting the action depicted visually with the information on the soundtrack in dazzlingly funny or revealing ways. By 1930 the U. S.
filmindustry had conquered both the technical and the artistic problemsinvolved in using sight and sound harmoniously, and the European industrywas quick to follow. Hollywood’s Golden EraThe 1930s was the golden era of the Hollywood studio film. It was thedecade of the great movie stars–Greta GARBO, Marlene DIETRICH, JeanHARLOW, Mae WEST, Katharine HEPBURN, Bette DAVIS, Cary GRANT, Gary COOPER,Clark GABLE, James STEWART–and some of America’s greatest directorsthrived on the pressures and excitement of studio production. Josef vonSTERNBERG became legendary for his use of exotic decor and sexualsymbolism; Howard HAWKS made driving adventures and fast-paced comedies;Frank CAPRA blended politics and morality in a series of comedy-dramas; andJohn FORD mythified the American West. ^American studio pictures seemed tocome in cycles, many of the liveliest being those that could not have beenmade before synchronized sound. The gangster film introduced Americans tothe tough doings and tougher talk of big-city thugs, as played by JamesCAGNEY, Paul MUNI, and Edward G.
ROBINSON. Musicals included the wittyoperettas of Ernst Lubitsch, with Maurice CHEVALIER and Jeanette MACDONALD;the backstage musicals, with their kaleidoscopically dazzling dancenumbers, of Busby BERKELEY; and the smooth, more natural song-and-dancecomedies starring Fred ASTAIRE and Ginger ROGERS. Synchronized sound alsoproduced SCREWBALL COMEDY, which explored the dizzy doings of fast-moving,fast-thinking, and, above all, fast-talking men and women. ^The issue ofartistic freedom versus censorship raised by the movies came to the foreagain with the advent of talking pictures. Spurred by the depression thathit the industry in 1933 and by the threat of an economic boycott by thenewly formed Catholic Legion of Decency, the motion picture industryadopted an official Production Code in 1934. Written in 1930 by DanielLord, S.
J. , and Martin Quigley, a Catholic layman who was publisher of TheMotion Picture Herald, the code explicitly prohibited certain acts, themes,words, and implications. Will Hays appointed Joseph I. Breen, theCatholic layman most instrumental in founding the Legion of Decency, headof the Production Code Administration, and this awarded the industry’s sealof approval to films that met the code’s moral standards.
The result wasthe curtailment of explicit violence and sexual innuendo, and also of muchof the flavor that had characterized films earlier in the decade. Europe During the 1930sThe 1930s abroad did not produce films as consistently rich as those of theprevious decade. With the coming of sound, the British film industry wasreduced to satellite status. The most stylish British productions were thehistorical dramas of Sir Alexander KORDA and the mystery-adventures ofAlfred HITCHCOCK. The major Korda stars, as well as Hitchcock himself,left Britain for Hollywood before the decade ended.
More innovative werethe government-funded documentaries and experimental films made by theGeneral Post Office Film Unit under the direction of John Grierson. ^Sovietfilmmakers had problems with the early sound-film machines and with theapplication of montage theory (a totally visual conception) to soundfilming. They were further plagued by restrictive Stalinist policies,policies that sometimes kept such ambitious film artists as Pudovkin andEisenstein from making films altogether. The style of the German cinema wasperfectly suited to sound filming, and German films of the period 1928-32show some of the most creative uses of the medium in the early years ofsound. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, however, almost all thecreative film talent left Germany.
An exception was Leni RIEFENSTAHL,whose theatrical documentary Triumph of the Will (1934) represents a highlyeffective example of the German propaganda films made during thedecade. ^French cinema, the most exciting alternative to Hollywood in the1930s, produced many of France’s most classic films. The decade founddirector Jean Renoir–in Grand Illusion (1937) and Rules of the Game(1939)–at the height of his powers; Rene Clair mastered both the musicalfantasy and the sociopolitical satire (A Nous la liberte, 1931); MarcelPAGNOL brought to the screen his trilogy of Marseilles life, Fanny; theyoung Jean VIGO, in only two films, brilliantly expressed youthfulrebellion and mature love; and director Marcel CARNE teamed with poetJacques Prevert to produce haunting existential romances of lost love andinevitable death in Quai des brumes (1938) and Le Jour se leve (1939). Hollywood: World War II, Postwar DeclineDuring World War II, films were required to lift the spirits of Americansboth at home and overseas.
Many of the most accomplished Hollywooddirectors and producers went to work for the War Department. Frank Capraproduced the “Why We Fight” series (1942-45); Walt Disney, fresh from hisSnow White (1937) and Fantasia (1940) successes, made animatedinformational films; and Garson KANIN, John HUSTON, and William WYLER allmade documentaries about important battles. Among the new Americandirectors to make remarkable narrative films at home were three formerscreenwriters, Preston STURGES, Billy WILDER, and John Huston. OrsonWELLES, the boy genius of theater and radio fame, also came to Hollywood toshoot Citizen Kane (1941), the strange story of a newspaper magnate whoseAmerican dream turns into a loveless nightmare. ^Between 1946 and 1953 themovie industry was attacked from many sides.
As a result, the Hollywoodstudio system totally collapsed. First, the U. S. House ofRepresentatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities investigated allegedCommunist infiltration of the motion picture industry in two separate setsof hearings. In 1948, The HOLLYWOOD TEN, 10 screenwriters and directorswho refused to answer the questions of the committee, went to jail forcontempt of Congress. Then, from 1951 to 1954, in mass hearings, Hollywoodcelebrities were forced either to name their associates as fellowCommunists or to refuse to answer all questions on the grounds of the 5thAmendment, protecting themselves against self-incrimination.
Thesehearings led the industry to blacklist many of its most talented workersand also weakened its image in the eyes of America and the world. ^In 1948the United States Supreme Court, ruling in United States v. Paramount thatthe vertical integration of the movie industry was monopolistic, requiredthe movie studios to divest themselves of the theaters that showed theirpictures and thereafter to cease all unfair or discriminatory distributionpractices. At the same time, movie attendance started a steady decline;the film industry’s gross revenues fell every year from 1947 to 1963. Themost obvious cause was the rise of TELEVISION, as more and more Americanseach year stayed home to watch the entertainment they could get mostcomfortably and inexpensively.
In addition, European quotas againstAmerican films bit into Hollywood’s foreign revenues. ^While major Americanmovies lost money, foreign art films were attracting an enthusiastic andincreasingly large audience, and these foreign films created social as wellas commercial difficulties for the industry. In 1951, The Miracle, a40-minute film by Roberto ROSSELLINI, was attacked by the New York CatholicDiocese as sacrilegious and was banned by New York City’s commissioner oflicenses. The 1952 Supreme Court ruling in the Miracle case officiallygranted motion pictures the right to free speech as guaranteed in theConstitution, reversing a 1915 ruling by the Court that movies were notequivalent to speech. Although the ruling permitted more freedom ofexpression in films, it also provoked public boycotts and repeated legaltests of the definition of obscenity.
^Hollywood attempted to counter theeffects of television with a series of technological gimmicks in the early1950s: 3-D, Cinerama, and Cinemascope. The industry converted almostexclusively to color filming during the decade, aided by the cheapness andflexibility of the new Eastman color monopack, which came to challenge themonopoly of Technicolor. The content of postwar films also began to changeas Hollywood searched for a new audience and a new style. There were moresocially conscious films–such as Fred ZINNEMANN’s The Men (1950) and EliaKAZAN’s On The Waterfront (1954); more adaptations of popular novels andplays; more independent (as opposed to studio) production; and a greaterconcentration on FILM NOIR–grim detective stories in brutal urbansettings.
Older genres such as the Western still flourished, and MGMbrought the musical to what many consider its pinnacle in a series of filmsproduced by Arthur Freed and directed by Vincente MINNELLI, Gene KELLY, andStanley Donen. The Film in Europe and Australia From 1950The stimulus for defining a new film content and style came to the UnitedStates from abroad, where many previously dormant film industries sprang tolife in the postwar years to produce an impressive array of films for theinternational market. The European film renaissance can be said to havestarted in Italy with such masters of NEOREALISM as Roberto Rossellini, inOpen City (1945), Vittorio DE SICA, in The Bicycle Thief (1948) and UmbertoD (1952), and Luchino VISCONTI, in La Terra Trema (1948). Federico FELLINIbroke with the tradition to make films of a more poetic and personal naturesuch as I Vitelloni (1953) and La Strada (1954) and then shifted to a moresensational style in the 1960s with La Dolce Vita (1960) and theintellectual 8 1/2 (1963). Visconti in the 1960s and ’70s would also adopta more flamboyant approach and subject matter in lush treatments ofcorruption and decadence such as The Damned (1970).
A new departure–bothartistic and thematic–was evidenced by Michelangelo ANTONIONI in hissubtle psychosocial trilogy of films that began with L’Aventura (1960). The vitality of a second generation of Italian filmmakers was impressivelydemonstrated by Lina WERTMULLER in The Seduction of Mimi (1974) and SevenBeauties (1976) and by Bernardo BERTOLUCCI, who in films like Before theRevolution (1964), The Conformist (1970), Last Tango in Paris (1972), and1900 (1977) fused radical social and political ideology with a stunningaestheticism. ^With the coming of NEW WAVE films in the late 1950s, theFrench cinema reasserted the artistic primacy it had enjoyed in the prewarperiod. Applying a personal style to radically different forms of filmnarrative, New Wave directors included Claude CHABROL (The Cousins, 1959),Francois TRUFFAUT (The 400 Blows, 1959; Jules and Jim, 1961), Alain RESNAIS(Hiroshima Mon Amour, 1959), and Jean-Luc GODARD, who, following thesuccess of his offbeat Breathless (1960), became progressively morecommitted to a Marxist interpretation of society, as seen in Two or ThreeThings I Know About Her (1966), Weekend (1967), and La Chinoise (1967). Eric ROHMER, mining a more traditional vein, produced sophisticated “moraltales” in My Night at Maud’s (1968) and Claire’s Knee (1970); while LouisMALLE audaciously explored such charged subjects as incest andcollaborationism in Murmur of the Heart (1971) and Lacombe Lucien (1974). The Spaniard Luis Bunuel, working in Mexico, Spain, and France–and defyingall categorization–continued to break new ground with ironic examinationsof the role of religion (Nazarin, 1958; Viridiana, 1961; The Milky Way,1969) and absurdist satires on middle-class foibles (The Discreet Charm ofthe Bourgeoisie, 1972).
^From Sweden Ingmar BERGMAN emerged in the 1950s asthe master of introspective, often death-obsessed studies of complex humanrelationships. Although capable of comedy, as in Smiles of a Summer Night(1955), Bergman was at his most impressive in more despairing,existentialist dramas such as The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries(1957), Persona (1966), and Cries and Whispers (1972), in all of theseaided by a first-rate acting ensemble and brilliant cinematography. ^Britishfilm, largely reduced to a spate of Alec GUINNESS comedies by the early1950s, was revitalized over the next decade by the ability of directorsworking in England to produce compelling cinematic translations of the”angry young man” novelists and playwrights, of Harold PINTER’sexistentialist dramas, and of the traditional great British novels. Britain regained a healthy share of the market with films such as JackClayton’s Room at the Top (1958); Tony Richardson’s Look Back in Anger(1959), The Entertainer (1960), A Taste of Honey (1961), and Tom Jones(1963); Karel Reisz’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) and Morgan(1966); Lindsay ANDERSON’s This Sporting Life (1963); Joseph LOSEY’s TheServant (1963) and Accident (1967); Ken RUSSELL’s Women in Love (1969); andJohn Schlesinger’S Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971).
The popularity of theJames Bond spy series, which began in 1962, gave the industry an addedboost. ^The internationalism both of the film market and of filmdistribution after 1960 was underscored by the emergence even in smallercountries of successful film industries and widely recognized directorialtalent: Andrzej WAJDA and Roman POLANSKI in Poland; Jan KADAR, MilosFORMAN, Ivan PASSER, and Jiri Menzel in Czechoslovakia; and, more recently,Wim WENDERS, Werner HERZOG, and Rainer Werner FASSBINDER in West Germany. The death (1982) of Fassbinder ended an extraordinary and prolific career,but his absence has yet to be felt–particularly in the United States,where many of his earlier films are being shown for the firsttime. ^Australia is a relatively new entrant into the contemporary worldfilm market. Buoyed by government subsidies, Australian directors haveproduced a group of major films within the past decade: Peter WEIR’sPicnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave (1977), Gillian Armstrong’s MyBrilliant Career (1979) and Star Struck (1982), Fred Schepisi’s The Devil’sPlayground and The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (1978), and Bruce Beresford’sBreaker Morant (1980). Beresford, Weir, and Schepisi have since directedfilms with U.
S. backing; Beresford’s Tender Mercies (1983) is about thatmost American phenomenon, the country-western singer. Postwar Film in AsiaThriving film industries have existed in both Japan and India since thesilent era. It was only after World War II, however, that non-Westerncinematic traditions became visible and influential internationally.
TheJapanese director Akira KUROSAWA opened a door to the West with his widelyacclaimed Rashomon (1950), an investigation into the elusive nature oftruth. His samurai dramas, such as The Seven Samurai (1954), Throne ofBlood (1957), an adaptation of Macbeth, Yojimbo (1961), and Kagemusha(1980), were ironic adventure tales that far transcended the usual Japanesesword movies, a genre akin to U. S. westerns. Kenzi MIZOGUCHI is known forhis stately period films Ugetsu (1953) and Sansho the Bailiff (1955). Yoshiro Ozu’s poetic studies of modern domestic relations (Tokyo Story,1953; An Autumn Afternoon, (1962) introduced Western audiences to apersonal sensitivity that was both intensely national and universal.
Younger directors, whose careers date from the postwar burgeoning of theJapanese film, include Teinosuke Kinugasa (Gate of Hell, 1953), HiroshiTeshigahara (Woman of the Dunes, 1964, from a script by the novelist ABEKOBO), Masahiro Shinoda (Under the Cherry Blossoms, 1975), Nagisa Oshima(The Ceremony, 1971) and Musaki Kobayashi, best known for his nine-hourtrilogy on the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, The Human Condition(1959-61), and Harakiri (1962), a deglamorization of the samuraitradition. ^The film industry in India, which ranks among the largest in theworld, has produced very little for international consumption. Its mostfamous director, Satyajit RAY, vividly brings to life the problems of anIndia in transition, in particular in the trilogy comprising PatherPanchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), and The World of Apu (1958). Bengali isthe language used in almost all Ray’s films. In 1977, however, he producedThe Chess Players, with sound tracks in both Hindi and English. American Film TodayThroughout the 1960s and ’70s, the American film industry accommodateditself to the competition of this world market; to a film audience that hadshrunk from 80 million to 20 million weekly; to the tastes of a primarilyyoung and educated audience; and to the new social and sexual valuessweeping the United States and much of the rest of the industrializedworld.
The Hollywood studios that have survived in name (Paramount,Warners, Universal, MGM, Fox) are today primarily offices for filmdistribution. Many are subsidiaries of such huge conglomerates as the CocaCola Company or Gulf and Western. Increasingly, major films are being shotin places other than Hollywood (New York City, for example, is recoveringits early status as a filmmaking center), and Hollywood now produces farmore television movies, series, and commercials than it does motionpictures. ^American movies of the past 20 years have moved more stronglyinto social criticism (Doctor Strangelove, 1963; The Graduate, 1967; TheGodfather, 1971; One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975; The Deer Hunter,1978; Norma Rae, 1979; Apocalypse Now, 1979; Missing, 1982); or they haveoffered an escape from social reality into the realm of fantasy, aided bythe often beautiful, sometimes awesome effects produced by new filmtechnologies (2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968; Jaws, 1975; Star Wars and CloseEncounters of the Third Kind, 1977; Altered States, 1979; E. T. , 1982); orthey have returned to earnest or comic investigations of the dilemmas ofeveryday life (a troubled family, in Ordinary People, 1980; divorce lifeand male parenting, in Kramer v.
Kramer, 1979; women in a male world, inNine to Five, 1979, and Tootsie, 1982). The most successful directors ofthe past 15 years–Stanley KUBRICK, Robert ALTMAN, Francis Ford COPPOLA,Woody ALLEN, George LUCAS, and Steven SPIELBERG–are those who have playedmost imaginatively with the tools of film communication itself. The starsof recent years (with the exceptions of Paul NEWMAN and Robert REDFORD)have, for their part, been more offbeat and less glamorous than theirpredecessors of the studio era–Robert DE NIRO, Jane Fonda (see FONDAFAMILY), Dustin HOFFMAN, Jack NICHOLSON, Al PACINO, and Meryl STREEP. ^Thelast two decades have seen the virtual extinction of animated film, whichis too expensive to make well, and the rebirth of U. S.
documentary film inthe insightful work of Fred WISEMAN, the Maysles brothers, Richard Leacockand Donn Pennebaker, and, in Europe, of Marcel OPHULS. Even richer is theexperimental, or underground, movement of the 1960s and 1970s, in whichfilmmakers such as Stan BRAKHAGE, Kenneth Anger, Bruce Baillie, HollisFrampton, Michael Snow, and Robert Breer have worked as personally andabstractly with issues of visual and psychological perception as havemodern painters and poets. The new vitality of these two oppositetraditions–the one devoted to revealing external reality, the other torevealing the life of the mind–underscores the persistence of thedichotomy inherent in the film medium. In the future, film will probablycontinue to explore these opposing potentialities. Narrative films inparticular will probably continue trends that began with the French NewWave, experimenting with more elliptical ways of telling film stories andeither borrowing or rediscovering many of the images, themes, and devicesof the experimental film itself.
GERALD MASTBibliographyBibliography:GENERAL HISTORIES AND CRITICISM: Arnheim, Rudolf, Film as Art(1957; repr. 1971); Bazin, Andre, What is Cinema?, 2 vols. , trans. byHugh Gray (1967, 1971); Cook, David A. , A History of Narrative Film,1889-1979 (1981); Cowie, Peter, ed. , Concise History of the Cinema, 2 vols.
(1970); Eisenstein, Sergei M. , Film Form (1949; repr. 1969); Halliwell,Leslie, Filmgoer’s Companion, 6th ed. (1977); Jowett, Garth, Film: TheDemocratic Art (1976); Kael, Pauline, Reeling (1976), and 5,000 Nights atthe Movies: A Guide from A to Z (1982); Kracauer, Siegfried, Theory ofFilm: The Redemption of Physical Reality (1960); Mast, Gerald, A ShortHistory of the Movies, 2d ed. (1976); Mast, Gerald, and Cohen, Marshall,Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings (1974); Monaco, James, Howto Read a Film (1977); Peary, Danny, Cult Movies (1981); Robinson, David,The History of World Cinema (1973).
^ NATIONAL FILM HISTORIES: AMERICAN:Higham, Charles, The Art of American Film, 1900-1971 (1973); Monaco, James,American Film Now: The People, the Power, the Movies (1979); Sarris,Andrew, The American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1929-1968 (1968);Sklar, Robert, Movie-Made America (1975). ^AUSTRALIAN: Stratton, David, TheLast New Wave: The Australian Film Revival (1981). ^BRITISH: Armes, Roy, AHistory of British Cinema (1978); Low, Rachael, The History of BritishFilm, 4 vols. (1973); Manvell, Roger, New Cinema in Britain(1969).
^FRENCH: Armes, Roy, The French Cinema Since 1946, 2 vols. , rev. ed. (1970); Harvey, Sylvia, May ’68 and Film Culture (rev. ed.
, 1980);Monaco, James, The New Wave: Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette(1976); Sadoul, Georges, French Film (1953; repr. 1972). ^GERMAN: Barlow,John D. , German Expressionist Film (1982); Hull, David S.
, Film of theThird Reich: A Study of the German Cinema, 1933-1945 (1969); Manvell,Roger, and Fraenkel, Heinrich, The German Cinema (1971); Sandford, John TheNew German Cinema (1980); Wollenberg, H. H. , Fifty Years of German Film(1948; repr. 1972). ^ITALIAN: Jarratt, Vernon, Italian Cinema (1951; repr.
1972); Leprohon, Pierre, The Italian Cinema (1972); Rondi, Gian, ItalianCinema Today (1965); Witcombe, Roger, The New Italian Cinema(1982). ^JAPANESE: Mellen, Joan, The Waves at Genji’s Door: Japan ThroughIts Cinema (1976); Richie, Donald, The Films of Akira Kurosawa (1965), andThe Japanese Movie: An Illustrated History (1966); Sato, Tadao, Currentsin Japanese Cinema (1982). ^RUSSIAN: Cohen, Louis H. , TheCultural-Political Traditions and Development of the Soviet Cinema,1917-1972 (1974); Dickenson, Thorold, and De La Roche, Catherine, SovietCinema (1948; repr. 1972); Leyda, Jay, Kino: A History of the Russian andSoviet Film (1960; repr.
1973); Taylor, Richard, Film Propaganda: SovietRussia and Nazi Germany (1979). ^SWEDISH: Cowie, Peter, Swedish Cinema(1966); Donner, Jorn, The Personal Vision of Ingmar Bergman (1964); Hardy,Forsyth, The Scandinavian Film (1952; repr. 1972). Porter, Cole——————————–Cole Porter, b. Peru, Ind. , June 9, 1892, d.
Oct. 15, 1964, was anAmerican lyricist and composer of popular songs for stage and screen. Agraduate of Yale College, he attended Harvard School of Arts and Sciencesfor 2 years and later studied under the French composer Vincent d’Indy. Both his lyrics and music have a witty sophistication, technicalvirtuosity, and exquisite sense of style that have rarely been paralleledin popular music. He contributed brilliant scores to numerous Broadwaymusicals, such as Anything Goes (1934) and Kiss Me, Kate (1948), and tomotion pictures. His best songs have become classics; these include “Beginthe Beguine,” “Night and Day,” and “I Love Paris.
” DAVID EWENBibliography: Eells, George, The Life that Late He Led: A Biography of ColePorter (1967); Kimball, Robert, ed. , Cole (1971); Schwartz, Charles, ColePorter (1977). Griffith, D. W. ——————————–David Lewelyn Wark Griffith, b.
La Grange, Ky. , Jan. 23, 1875, d. July23, 1948, is recognized as the greatest single film director and mostconsistently innovative artist of the early American film industry. Hisinfluence on the development of cinema was worldwide.
After gaining experience with a Louisville stock company, he was employedas an actor and writer by the Biograph Film Company of New York in 1907. The following year he was offered a director-producer contract and, for thenext five years, oversaw the production of more than 400 one- and two-reelfilms. As his ideas grew bolder, however, he felt increasingly frustratedby the limitations imposed by his employers. Griffith left Biograph in1913 to join Reliance-Majestic as head of production, and in 1914, he beganhis most famous film, based on the novel The Clansman by Thomas Dixon. This Civil War Reconstruction epic, known as The Birth of a Nation (1915),became a landmark in American filmmaking, both for its artistic merits andfor its unprecedented use of such innovative techniques as flashbacks,fade-outs, and close-ups.
The film was harshly condemned, however, for itsracial bias and glorification of the Ku Klux Klan; several subsequentlynchings were blamed on the film. In response to this criticism, Griffithmade what many consider his finest film, Intolerance (1916), in which theevils of intolerance were depicted in four parallel stories–a frameworkthat required a scope of vision and production never before approached. Although Griffith made numerous other films up to 1931, none ranked withhis first two classics. Among the best of these later efforts were Heartsof the World (1918); Broken Blossoms (1919), released by his own newlyformed corporation, United Artists; Way Down East (1920); Orphans of theStorm (1922); America (1924); Isn’t Life Wonderful? (1924); and AbrahamLincoln (1930). Of the many actors trained by Griffith and associated withhis name, Mary PICKFORD, Dorothy and Lillian GISH, and Lionel Barrymore(see BARRYMORE family) are the most famous. In 1935, Griffith was honoredby the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a special award.
Bibliography: Barry, Iris, D. W. Griffith, American Film Master (1940);Brown, Karl, Adventures with D. W. Griffith (1976); Geduld, Harry M. ,ed.
, Focus on D. W. Griffith (1971); Gish, Lillian, Lillian Gish: TheMovies, Mr. Griffith and Me (1969); Henderson, Robert M. , D. W.
Griffith:His Life and Work (1972) and D. W. Griffith: The Years at Biograph(1970); O’Dell, Paul, Griffith and the Rise of Hollywood (1970);Wagenknecht, Edward C. , The Films of D. W. Griffith (1975).
film industry——————————–The first four decades of the film age (roughly 1908-48) saw the increasingconcentration of control in the hands of a few giant Hollywood concerns. Since the late 1940s, however, that trend has been reversed; the monolithicstudio system has given way to independent production and diversificationat all levels of the industry. ^Although in the silent era small,independent producers were common, by the 1930s, in the so-called goldenage of Hollywood, the overwhelming majority of films were produced,distributed, and exhibited by one of the large California studios. Led byM-G-M, Paramount, RKO, 20th-Century-Fox, Warner Brothers, Columbia, andUniversal, the industry enjoyed the benefits of total vertical integration:because the studios owned their own theater chains, they could requiretheater managers to charge fixed minimum admission rates, to purchasegroups of pictures rather than single releases (“block booking”), and toaccept films without first previewing them (“blind buying”). For more thantwo decades the major studios completely controlled their contracted stars,managed vast indoor and outdoor studio sets, and in general profited fromwhat amounted to a virtual monopoly of the industry. ^Shortly after WorldWar II, three factors contributed to the loss of the majors’ hegemony.
First, a number of federal court decisions forced the studios to enddiscriminatory distribution practices, including block booking, blindselling, and the setting of fixed admission prices; in 1948 the SupremeCourt ordered divestiture of their theater chains. Second, the HouseCommittee on Un-American Activities investigated the industry, whichresponded by blacklisting several prominent screenwriters and directors–anaction that called into question the industry’s reliability as a promoterof unfettered creative talent. Third, television began to depriveHollywood of large segments of its audience, and the industry reactedtimidly and late to the possibilities for diversification presented by thenew medium. ^The effects of these developments were immediate and longlasting.
Weekly attendance figures fell from 80 million in 1946 to justover 12 million by 1972. Box-ofice revenues in the same period droppedfrom $1. 75 billion to $1. 4 billion–and this despite constant inflation andadmission prices that were often 10 times the prewar average. The moviecolony experienced unprecedented unemployment. The number of films madeyearly declined from an average of 445 in the 1940s to under 150 in the1970s, as the industry sought solvency in “blockbusters” rather than in thesolid but unspectacular products that had brought it a mass audience beforethe age of television.
Between 1948 and 1956 the number of U. S. theatersfell from 20,000 to 10,000, and although 4,000 new drive-in theaterssomewhat offset this attrition, by the mid-1970s less than half of theAmerican spectator’s amusement dollar was being spent on movies; in the1940s the yearly average had been over 80 cents. ^By the late 1960s themajor studios had entered a grave economic slump, for many of their “bigpicture” gambles fell through. In 1970, 20th-Century-Fox lost $36 million,and United Artists, which as the industry leader had more to lose, ended upmore than $50 million in the red. In response to this devastation of itsprofits, the industry underwent a profound reorganization.
Following the1951 lead of United Artists, the majors backed away from production (sinceits cost had contributed heavily to their decline) and restructuredthemselves as loan guarantors and distributors. At the same time, most ofthem became subsidiaries of conglomerates such as Gulf and Western, KinneyNational Service, and Transamerica and began to look to television salesand recording contracts for the revenues that previously had come from thetheater audience alone. ^In setting up these new contractual relationshipsthe independent producer played a central role. Such a figure, who by nowhas replaced the old studio mogul as the industry’s driving force, bringstogether the various properties associated with a film (including actors, adirector, and book rights) to create a “package” often financedindependently but distributed by a film company in exchange for a share ofthe rental receipts. Working with the conglomerates and accepting thereality of a permanently reduced market, these private promoters havepartially succeeded in revitalizing the industry. ^The rise of independentproduction has been accompanied by diversification of subject matter, withclose attention to the interests of specialized audiences.
This trend,which began in the 1950s as an attempt to capture the “art house” audienceand the youth market, is evident today in the success of martial-arts,rock-music, pornographic, documentary, and black-culture films. Simultaneously, production has moved away from the Hollywood sets andtoward location filming. For many producers, New York City has become theNew filmmakers’ mecca, while shooting in foreign countries, where cheaplabor is often plentiful, has given the modern film a new internationaltexture; foreign markets have also become increasingly important. Bothgeographically and financially, therefore, the film industry has begun torecapture some of the variety and independence that were common in the daysbefore studio control. THADDEUS F. TULEJABibliography: Balio, Tino, ed.
, The American Film Industry (1976); Brownlow,Kevin, Hollywood: The Pioneers (1980); David, Saul, The Industry: Life in theHollywood Fast Lane (1981); Phillips, Gene D. , The Movie Makers: Artists in anIndustry (1973); Stanley, Robert H. , The Celluloid Empire (1978). Table: TEN TOP-GROSSING FILMS——————————–TEN TOP-GROSSING FILMS (as of Jan. 1, 1984)———————————————————FilmYear Gross Earnings*———————————————————1. E.
T. The ExtraTerrestrial1982 $209,567,0002. Star Wars 1977193,500,0003. Return of the Jedi1983165,500,0004.
The Empire Strikes Back1980141,600,0005. Jaws 1975133,435,0006. Raiders of the Lost Ark1981115,598,0007. Grease197896,300,0008. Tootsie198294,571,6139.
The Exorcist197389,000,00010. The Godfather197286,275,000———————————————————SOURCE: Variety (1984). *Distributors’ percentage has been subtracted. Sennett, Mack——————————–(sen’-et)A pioneer of slapstick film comedy, Mack Sennett, b. Michael Sinnott,Richmond, Quebec, Jan.
17, 1880, d. Nov. 5, 1960, was an uneducatedIrish-Canadian who drifted into films as D. W. Griffith’s apprentice.
In1912 he started his own comedy studio, called Keystone, where he developedthe Keystone Kops and discovered such major talents as Charlie Chaplin andFrank Capra. With the advent of sound films, comedy shorts became lesspopular, and in the 1930s Sennett, who failed to change with the times,lost his entire fortune. Sennett is, however, still remembered asHollywood’s “King of Comedy” and received a special Academy Award in 1937for his contribution to cinema comedy. LEONARD MALTINBibliography: Fowler, Gene, Father Goose (1934; repr. 1974); Lahue, KaltonC. , and Brewer, Terry, Kops and Custards: The Legend of Keystone Films(1968); Sennett, Mack, King of Comedy (1954; repr.
1975). Chaplin, Charlie——————————–Charles Spencer Chaplin, b. Apr. 16, 1889, d. Dec. 25, 1977, cinema’smost celebrated comedian-director, achieved international fame with hisportrayals of the mustachioed Little Tramp.
As the director, producer,writer, and interpreter of his many movies, he made a major contribution to