“The history of film cannot be credited to an individual. Each inventor added to the progress of other inventors, ending in progress for the entire art and industry. These achievements began with the creation of a machine that captured moving images that led to one of the most celebrated and unique art forms at the start of the 20th century.”- Brian Manley
PRECONDTIONS FOR MOTION PICTURES
Magic lantern, an early version of slide projector used to project images that used a lens which allowed the light to pass through the lens and the image was projected in a dark room. The inventor of this magic lantern is considered, a Dutch scientist Charles Huygens. This equipment was purely used to entertain people. The latter, when the Magic lantern, entered united states in mid-19th century it became very famous and popular all over the country.
The concept of motion picture did not start until 1872. First still photograph was on a glass plate by Claude niepce in 1826 but it required an exposure time of eight hours. For years they used metal or a glass plate for capturing the images, but exposure took several minutes. In 1839, Henry Fox Talbot introduced the first negatives that was made out of papers and at the same time it became possible to print the images on the magic lantern and project. For making cinema they were in need of a film that can run through the camera rapidly, which wasn’t possible with the glass films, these glass films can be used only for a very short span. By 1888, George Eastman invented a still camera that took photographs on a roll of sensitized paper. He named the camera as Kodak. The succeeding year, Eastman introduced the transparent celluloid roll film, which was a great revolution in cinema.
MAJOR PRECURSORS OF MOTION PICTURES
Many inventors have made very important contributions to motion picture. In 1878 Ex-governor of California, Leland Stanford requested Eadweard Muybridge to find a way for photographing the running horses. He used twelve camera, each camera was connected with other camera by a string and exposure was set in one-thousandth of a second. Muybridge mounted the photograph on the phenakitoscope and projected them with the help of a magic lantern.
Inspired by Muybridge, studies a French physiologist Étienne Jules Marey in 1882, studied the flight of birds and other rapid movements of the animals by the means of photographic guns, she used the round glass plates for capturing the images that made a rotation in one second. In the same year Marey built a box type camera that used a film strip that captured the images at the speed of 120 frames per second.
AN INTERNATIONAL PROCESS OF INVENTION
The contribution of motion pictures was primarily from the United States, Germany, England and France. Thomas Alva Edison, who invented electric light bulb decided to work on the motion picture. He and his assistant W.K.L Dickson worked on the project called phonography which worked by recording sound in the cylinder. He later decided to work on the motion picture. He was inspired by the work of Marey, so he and his assistant went to Paris saw the instrument and they started designing the equipment.
Dickson got Eastman’s Kodak film. By 1891 Kinetograph camera and kinetograph viewing machine was ready and went for patenting. Dickson roughly cut the strip in the size of 35milimeter and punched four holes in both the sides of the frame so that toothed gears could pull them though the camera and kinetoscope viewing machine. It was the first time they used a 35mm film four perforations in each frame. The film was exposed for about forty-six frames per second which was much faster than an average camera. Edision and Dickson were in need of films before they can exploit them commercially. They constructed a small studio called Black Maria in Edison’s ground at New Jersey and they were ready for production by January 1893. The movie lasted for twenty seconds and that was the longest second, which the kientoscope can maximum hold of. Edison exploited his phonography by opening a parlor were people came in to listen songs by paying money. Same way he did it for the kinetoscope by starting parlors in New York on April 14 1894. Soon he opened parlors in United States also.
Europeans were also into the process of inventing cameras and projectors. During that period came Germans Max and Emil Skladanowsky. They named it as Bioscope. Bioscope held two strips of films, each of 31/2 inches wide, running side by side; frames of each were projected alternatively. Skladanowsky brothers showed a fifteen minute program at a large vaudeville theater in Berlin on November 1, 1895- which was nearly two months before the screening of the great Lumiere brothers screening at the Grand Café.
The bioscope was too bulky to carry, they used the 35mm single strip film which was used by Edison. Skladanowsky brothers toured Europe and established their company in 1897, but their company wasn’t stable. After seeing the work of many people Lumiere brothers, Louis and Auguste invented a projection system that helped make the cinema commercially profitable. On December 28, 1895 Lumiere brother made a land mark by making the screening of their movie. The movie was screened at Grand Café in Paris. Lumiere brothers made a moderate success in their first screening. Soon after the success they went for a world tour and started screening their short film worldwide. Soon after the success of Lumiere brothers French industry started to grow very rapidly and it became one of the successful industry.
INDIAN FILM HISTORY
India is one of largest country with large number of varied culture and population. Indian films are not only popular in India but also in many parts of Asia and Africa. The roots of Indian cinema stretches back to variety of Indian culture. Earlier to film making there was many theaters in India. Latter when Lumiere brother came to India for screening their movies on July 07, 1896. They screened the movie at Elite Watson hotel. The viewers of the films were the British, Portuguese, French people who were in India. As the audience for movies started to grow very rapidly they moved to the Novelty Theater. There was a regular costumer for movies, so they imported movies from Germany, France, and Italy. Hiralal Sen (1866-1917), first film director, started the Royal Bioscope Company and filmed several plays. Star theaters did the movie Alibaba and forty thieves in 1903, starting kusum kumarai, Thus he became India’s first movie star. Dadasaheb Phalke (30april 1870-16 February 1944) known as the father of Indian cinema. He worked as a painter, a theater set designer and a photographer. The movie Life of Christ (1910) brought change in his carrier. He was deeply moved by the film, Phalke moved to London and got the equipment’s and released the movie Raja Harish Chandra in the year 1913. The movie was a grand success.
In recognition of Phalke’s contribution to Indian cinema started the Phalke award in 1969. Shahu Maharaja of Kolhapur, Maharashtra financed the first movie studio of that area, the Maharashtra Film company (1917-1954), started by a low cast painter of stage props, Baburao painter (1890-1954). He was considered as master of his time. One of which being photography. He had talent to write poems, amazing control of lighting and camera angle. Worked on the genres like patriotism, historical and mythology. In the year 1923 he made a movie Sinha gad. This movie was on a 17th century king, Shivaji Rao. The most prominent studios of 1930’s were New Theater, Prabath studio, Bombay talkies. These studios gave the most precious directors to Indian cinema who brought in a change in Indian cinema. The directors who brought in change in the Indian film industry are Raj Kapoor, Sathyajith Ray. The trend of motion picture slowly moved to south India.
HISTORY OF TAMIL FILMS
The history of film in south India started when M.Edwards screened the first ever movie show at Victoria Memorial Hall, Madras in 1897. In 1905, Swamikannu Vincent formed Edison’s cinematography, the first touring cinema in south India. In 1914 R.venkiah built the first Indian owned cinema-house in South India. In 1916, S.M Dharma lingam Mudaliyar and Nataraja Mudaliyar started producing films in Madras. They made the movie keechavathanam (1917) the first feature film of south India. Kalidas, the first south Indian talkie screened in 1931. Tamil cinema got its first foreign film maker when Eillis R.Duncan released his film Sankunthala with two great Carnatic music mastros G.N.Balasubramaniam and M.S. subbulakshmi as a lead pair.
The beginning of 1940s also saw the emergence of Gemini studios which gave great hits like Nandhanaar and Chandralekha. Modern theater produced the first full length color film in Tamil. Film makers of high-repute of early Tamil industry were S.S.Vasan, M.K.Thyagaraja Bhavathar a popular singer-actor of early forties. In Andhra Pradesh it was the Surabhi Theater which featured in the first full length movies in Telugu.
Genre began as a total classification system for ancient Greek literature. Genre became a powerful tool to help the public make sense out of random art. Genre is a category of literature or the other form of art or entertainment. By the end of silent era, many genre were established: the melodrama, the western, the horror film, comedies, and action-adventure films. Science fiction movies wasn’t popularized until 1950’s.
Genre had its origins in the eighteenth century, when the English novel gave a voice to romantic fantasies aimed at a female audience. Musical genre was introduced only when the talkies was inaugurated. Film genre helped to bring in the mood, plot, central narrative events, motives, styles, structures. Genres began to form as soon as film developed a narrative sense, as they moved quickly from simply showing things. When they began to tell stories the immediate types they thought of was: romances, melodramas, comedies. Film makers frequently played with conventions and iconography that remained unchanged for a very long period of time. The genres like thriller, comedy and romance stayed popular for a longer period of time.
But comedies kept changing from time to time. The basic genre of film can be regarded as drama. Each film genre will have a sub-genres. Some of the common main film genres are Action, adventure, comedy, crime, fiction, fantasy, historical, horror, mystery, philosophical, political, romance, science fiction, and thriller. Political fiction is a sub-genre of fiction that deals with political affairs. Political fiction has often used narrative to provide commentary on political events, system and theories. Plot-driven Socio-political economic issues, portraying realistic characters, settings, life situations? Usually, they are not focused on special-effects. Dramatic films are probably the largest film genre, with many subsets.
Film history, 3rd edition, Kristin Thompson& David Bordwell, McGraw-Hill USA, 2009
History of film, Virginia wright wexman, ELSEVIER INDIA india, 2009
Film –An introduction, 8th edition, Kristin Thompson& David Bordwell, Mcgraw-Hill College, December 2006
Oxford history of world cinema edited by Geoffrey Nowell- Smith, Oxford University press Inc., New York 1997
www.csa.com/discoveryguides/film/review.pdf – by Brian Manley, July 2011