Cinematography Everything You Need To Know

Cinematography: Everything You Need To Know
(sin-uh-muh-tahg’-ruh-fee)
Cinematography is the technique and art of making motion pictures, which
are a sequence of photographs of a single subject that are taken over time
and 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.


Projector
A motion-picture projector projects the sequence of picture frames,
contained on a ribbon of film, in their proper order. A claw engages
perforations 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 by
illuminating it with a beam of light. The period of time between the
projection of each still image when no image is projected is normally not
noticed by the viewer.


Two perceptual phenomena–persistence of vision and the critical flicker
frequency–cause a continuous image. Persistence of a vision is the
ability of the viewer to retain or in some way remember the impression of
an image after it has been withdrawn from view. The critical flicker
frequency is the minimum rate of interruption of the projected light beam
that will not cause the motion picture to appear to flicker. A frequency
above about 48 interruptions a second will eliminate flicker.


Camera
Like a still camera (see CAMERA), a movie camera shoots each picture
individually. The movie camera, however, must also move the film precisely
and control the shutter, keeping the amount of light reaching the film
nearly constant from frame to frame. The shutter of a movie camera is
essentially a circular plate rotated by an electric motor. An opening in
the plate exposes the film frame only after the film has been positioned
and has come to rest. The plate itself continues to rotate smoothly.


Photographic materials must be manufactured with great precision. The
perforations, or holes in the film, must be precisely positioned. The
pitch–the distance from one hole to another–must be maintained by correct
film storage. By the late 1920s, a sound-on-film system of synchronous
SOUND RECORDING was developed and gained widespread popularity. In this
process, the sound is recorded separately on a machine synchronized with
the picture camera. Unlike the picture portion of the film, the sound
portion is recorded and played back continuously rather than in
intermittent motion. Although editing still makes use of perforated film
for flexibility, a more modern technique uses conventional magnetic tape
for original recording and synchronizes the recording to the picture
electronically (see TAPE RECORDER).


If the number of photographs projected per unit time (frame rate) differs
from the number produced per unit time by the camera, an apparent speeding
up or slowing down of the normal rate is created. Changes in the frame
rates are used occasionally for comic effect or motion analysis.


Cinematography becomes an art when the filmmaker attempts to make moving
images that relate directly to human perception, provide visual
significance and information, and provoke emotional response.


History of Film Technology
Several parlor toys of the early 1800s used visual illusions similar to
those of the motion picture. These include the thaumatrope (1825); the
phenakistiscope (1832); the stroboscope (1832); and the zoetrope (1834).


The photographic movie, however, was first used as a means of investigation
rather than of theatrical illusion. Leland Stanford, then governor of
California, hired photographer Eadweard MUYBRIDGE to prove that at some
time in a horse’s gallop all four legs are simultaneously off the ground.

Muybridge did so by using several cameras to produce a series of
photographs with very short time intervals between them. Such a multiple
photographic record was used in the kinetoscope, which displayed a
photographic moving image and was commercially successful for a time.


The kinetoscope was invented either by Thomas Alva EDISON or by his
assistant William K. L. Dickson, both of whom had experimented originally
with moving pictures as a supplement to the phonograph record. They later
turned to George EASTMAN, who provided a flexible celluloid film base to
store the large number of images necessary to create motion pictures.


The mechanical means of cinematography were gradually perfected. It was
discovered that it was better to display the sequence of images
intermittently rather than continuously. This technique allowed a greater
presentation time and more light for the projection of each frame. Another
improvement was the loop above and below the film gate in both the camera
and 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 the
microphones from picking up camera noise, a portable housing was designed
that muffled noises and allowed the camera to be moved about. In recent
years, equipment, lighting, and film have all been improved, but the
processes involved remain essentially the same. RICHARD FLOBERG
Bibliography
Bibliography: Fielding, Raymond, ed., A Technological History of Motion
Pictures and Television (1967); Happe, I. Bernard, Basic Motion Picture
Technology, 2d ed. (1975); Malkiewicz, J. Kris, and Rogers, Robert E.,
Cinematography (1973); Wheeler, Leslie J., Principles of Cinematography,
4th ed. (1973).


film:
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film, history of
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The history of film has been dominated by the discovery and testing of the
paradoxes inherent in the medium itself. Film uses machines to record
images of life; it combines still photographs to give the illusion of
continuous motion; it seems to present life itself, but it also offers
impossible unrealities approached only in dreams.^The motion picture was
developed in the 1890s from the union of still PHOTOGRAPHY, which records
physical reality, with the persistence-of-vision toy, which made drawn
figures appear to move. Four major film traditions have developed since
then: fictional narrative film, which tells stories about people with whom
an audience can identify because their world looks familiar; nonfictional
documentary film, which focuses on the real world either to instruct or to
reveal some sort of truth about it; animated film, which makes drawn or
sculpted figures look as if they are moving and speaking; and experimental
film, which exploits film’s ability to create a purely abstract,
nonrealistic world unlike any previously seen.^Film is considered the
youngest art form and has inherited much from the older and more
traditional arts. Like the novel, it can tell stories; like the drama, it
can portray conflict between live characters; like painting, it composes in
space with light, color, shade, shape, and texture; like music, it moves in
time according to principles of rhythm and tone; like dance, it presents
the movement of figures in space and is often underscored by music; and
like photography, it presents a two-dimensional rendering of what appears
to be three-dimensional reality, using perspective, depth, and
shading.^Film, however, is one of the few arts that is both spatial and
temporal, intentionally manipulating both space and time. This synthesis
has given rise to two conflicting theories about film and its historical
development. Some theorists, such as S. M. EISENSTEIN and Rudolf
Arnheim, have argued that film must take the path of the other modern arts
and concentrate not on telling stories or representing reality but on
investigating time and space in a pure and consciously abstract way.

Others, such as Andre Bazin and Siegfried KRACAUER, maintain that film must
fully and carefully develop its connection with nature so that it can
portray human events as excitingly and revealingly as possible.^Because of
his fame, his success at publicizing his activities, and his habit of
patenting machines before actually inventing them, Thomas EDISON received
most of the credit for having invented the motion picture; as early as
1887, he patented a motion picture camera, but this could not produce
images. In reality, many inventors contributed to the development of
moving pictures. Perhaps the first important contribution was the series
of motion photographs made by Eadweard MUYBRIDGE between 1872 and 1877.

Hired by the governor of California, Leland Stanford, to capture on film
the movement of a racehorse, Muybridge tied a series of wires across the
track and connected each one to the shutter of a still camera. The running
horse tripped the wires and exposed a series of still photographs, which
Muybridge then mounted on a stroboscopic disk and projected with a magic
lantern to reproduce an image of the horse in motion. Muybridge shot
hundreds of such studies and went on to lecture in Europe, where his work
intrigued the French scientist E. J. MAREY. Marey devised a means of
shooting motion photographs with what he called a photographic gun.^Edison
became interested in the possibilities of motion photography after hearing
Muybridge lecture in West Orange, N.J. Edison’s motion picture
experiments, under the direction of William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, began
in 1888 with an attempt to record the photographs on wax cylinders similar
to those used to make the original phonograph recordings. Dickson made a
major breakthrough when he decided to use George EASTMAN’s celluloid film
instead. Celluloid was tough but supple and could be manufactured in long
rolls, making it an excellent medium for motion photography, which required
great lengths of film. Between 1891 and 1895, Dickson shot many 15-second
films using the Edison camera, or Kinetograph, but Edison decided against
projecting the films for audiences–in part because the visual results were
inadequate and in part because he felt that motion pictures would have
little public appeal. Instead, Edison marketed an electrically driven
peep-hole viewing machine (the Kinetoscope) that displayed the marvels
recorded to one viewer at a time.^Edison thought so little of the
Kinetoscope that he failed to extend his patent rights to England and
Europe, an oversight that allowed two Frenchmen, Louis and Auguste LUMIERE,
to manufacture a more portable camera and a functional projector, the
Cinematographe, based on Edison’s machine. The movie era might be said to
have begun officially on Dec. 28, 1895, when the Lumieres presented a
program of brief motion pictures to a paying audience in the basement of a
Paris cafe. English and German inventors also copied and improved upon the
Edison machines, as did many other experimenters in the United States. By
the end of the 19th century vast numbers of people in both Europe and
America had been exposed to some form of motion pictures.^The earliest
films presented 15- to 60-second glimpses of real scenes recorded outdoors
(workmen, trains, fire engines, boats, parades, soldiers) or of staged
theatrical performances shot indoors. These two early tendencies–to
record life as it is and to dramatize life for artistic effect–can be
viewed as the two dominant paths of film history.^Georges MELIES was the
most important of the early theatrical filmmakers. A magician by trade,
Melies, in such films as A Trip to the Moon (1902), showed how the cinema
could perform the most amazing magic tricks of all: simply by stopping the
camera, adding something to the scene or removing something from it, and
then starting the camera again, he made things seem to appear and
disappear. 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 and
space 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 early
western used much freer editing and camera work than usual to tell its
story, which included bandits, a holdup, a chase by a posse, and a final
shoot-out. When other companies (Vitagraph, the American Mutoscope and
Biograph Company, Lubin, and Kalem among them) began producing films that
rivaled those of the Edison Company, Edison sued them for infringement of
his patent rights. This so-called patents war lasted 10 years (1898-1908),
ending only when nine leading film companies merged to form the Motion
Picture Patents Company.^One reason for the settlement was the enormous
profits to be derived from what had begun merely as a cheap novelty.

Before 1905 motion pictures were usually shown in vaudeville houses as one
act on the bill. After 1905 a growing number of small, storefront theaters
called nickelodeons, accommodating less than 200 patrons, began to show
motion pictures exclusively. By 1908 an estimated 10 million Americans
were paying their nickels and dimes to see such films. Young speculators
such as William Fox and Marcus Loew saw their theaters, which initially
cost but $1,600 each, grow into enterprises worth $150,000 each within 5
years. Called the drama of the people, the early motion pictures attracted
primarily working-class and immigrant audiences who found the nickelodeon a
pleasant family diversion; they might not have been able to read the words
in novels and newspapers, but they understood the silent language of
pictures.^The popularity of the moving pictures led to the first attacks
against it by crusading moralists, police, and politicians. Local
censorship boards were established to eliminate objectionable material from
films. In 1909 the infant U.S. film industry waged a counterattack by
creating the first of many self-censorship boards, the National Board of
Censorship (after 1916 called the National Board of Review), whose purpose
was to set moral standards for films and thereby save them from costly
mutilation.^A nickelodeon program consisted of about six 10-minute films,
usually including an adventure, a comedy, an informational film, a chase
film, and a melodrama. The most accomplished maker of these films was
Biograph’s D. W. GRIFFITH, who almost singlehandedly transformed both the
art and the business of the motion picture. Griffith made over 400 short
films between 1908 and 1913, in this period discovering or developing
almost every major technique by which film manipulates time and space: the
use of alternating close-ups, medium shots, and distant panoramas; the
subtle control of rhythmic editing; the effective use of traveling shots,
atmospheric lighting, narrative commentary, poetic detail, and visual
symbolism; and the advantages of understated acting, at which his acting
company excelled. The culmination of Griffith’s work was The Birth of a
Nation (1915), a mammoth, 3-hour epic of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Its historical detail, suspense, and passionate conviction were to outdate
the 10-minute film altogether.^The decade between 1908 and 1918 was one of
the most important in the history of American film. The full-length
feature film replaced the program of short films; World War I destroyed or
restricted the film industries of Europe, promoting greater technical
innovation, growth, and commercial stability in America; the FILM INDUSTRY
was consolidated with the founding of the first major studios in Hollywood,
Calif. (Fox, Paramount, and Universal); and the great American silent
comedies were born. Mack SENNETT became the driving force behind the
Keystone Company soon after joining it in 1912; Hal Roach founded his
comedy company in 1914; and Charlie CHAPLIN probably had the best-known
face in the world in 1916.^During this period the first movie stars rose to
fame, replacing the anonymous players of the short films. In 1918,
America’s two favorite stars, Charlie Chaplin and Mary PICKFORD, both
signed contracts for over $1 million. Other familiar stars of the decade
included comedians Fatty ARBUCKLE and John Bunny, cowboys William S. HART
and Bronco Billy Anderson, matinee idols Rudolph VALENTINO and John
Gilbert, and the alluring females Theda BARA and Clara BOW. Along with the
stars came the first movie fan magazines; Photoplay published its inaugural
issue in 1912. That same year also saw the first of the FILM SERIALS, The
Perils of Pauline, starring Pearl White.^The next decade in American film
history, 1918 to 1928, was a period of stabilization rather than expansion.

Films were made within studio complexes, which were, in essence, factories
designed to produce films in the same way that Henry Ford’s factories
produced automobiles. Film companies became monopolies in that they not
only made films but distributed them to theaters and owned the theaters in
which they were shown as well. This vertical integration formed the
commercial foundation of the film industry for the next 30 years. Two new
producing companies founded during the decade were Warner Brothers (1923),
which would become powerful with its early conversion to synchronized
sound, and Metro-Goldwyn (1924; later Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), the producing
arm of Loew’s, under the direction of Louis B. MAYER and Irving
THALBERG.^Attacks against immorality in films intensified during this
decade, spurred by the sensual implications and sexual practices of the
movie stars both on and off the screen. In 1921, after several nationally
publicized sex and drug scandals, the industry headed off the threat of
federal CENSORSHIP by creating the office of the Motion Picture Producers
and Distributors of America (now the Motion Picture Association of
America), under the direction of Will HAYS. Hays, who had been postmaster
general of the United States and Warren G. Harding’s campaign manager,
began a series of public relations campaigns to underscore the importance
of motion pictures to American life. He also circulated several lists of
practices that were henceforth forbidden on and off the screen.^Hollywood
films of the 1920s became more polished, subtle, and skillful, and
especially imaginative in handling the absence of sound. It was the great
age of comedy. Chaplin retained a hold on his world-following with
full-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 how
great the obstacles as Grandma’s Boy (1922) or The Freshman (1925); Buster
KEATON remained deadpan through a succession of wildly bizarre sight gags
in Sherlock Jr. and The Navigator (both 1924); Harry Langdon was ever the
innocent elf cast adrift in a mean, tough world; and director Ernst
LUBITSCH, fresh from Germany, brought his “touch” to understated comedies
of manners, sex, and marriage. The decade saw the United States’s first
great war film (The Big Parade, 1925), its first great westerns (The
Covered Wagon, 1923; The Iron Horse, 1924), and its first great biblical
epics (The Ten Commandments, 1923, and King of Kings, 1927, both made by
Cecil B. DE MILLE). Other films of this era included Erich Von STROHEIM’s
sexual studies, Lon CHANEY’s grotesque costume melodramas, and the first
great documentary feature, Robert J. FLAHERTY’s Nanook of the North
(1922).


European Film in the 1920s
In the same decade, the European film industries recovered from the war to
produce one of the richest artistic periods in film history. The German
cinema, stimulated by EXPRESSIONISM in painting and the theater and by the
design theories of the BAUHAUS, created bizarrely expressionistic settings
for such fantasies as Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1919),
F. W. MURNAU’s Nosferatu (1922), and Fritz LANG’s Metropolis (1927). The
Germans also brought their sense of decor, atmospheric lighting, and
penchant for a frequently moving camera to such realistic political and
psychological studies as Murnau’s The Last Laugh (1924), G. W. PABST’s
The Joyless Street (1925), and E. A. Dupont’s Variety (1925).^Innovation
also came from the completely different approach taken by filmmakers in the
USSR, where movies were intended not only to entertain but also to instruct
the masses in the social and political goals of their new government. The
Soviet cinema used MONTAGE, or complicated editing techniques that relied
on visual metaphor, to create excitement and richness of texture and,
ultimately, to affect ideological attitudes. The most influential Soviet
theorist and filmmaker was Sergei M. Eisenstein, whose Potemkin (1925) had
a worldwide impact; other innovative Soviet filmmakers of the 1920s
included V. I. PUDOVKIN, Lev Kuleshov, Abram Room, and Alexander
DOVZHENKO.^The Swedish cinema of the 1920s relied heavily on the striking
visual qualities of the northern landscape. Mauritz Stiller and Victor
Sjostrom mixed this natural imagery of mountains, sea, and ice with
psychological drama and tales of supernatural quests. French cinema, by
contrast, brought the methods and assumptions of modern painting to film.

Under the influence of SURREALISM and dadaism, filmmakers working in France
began to experiment with the possibility of rendering abstract perceptions
or 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 helped
establish the avant-garde tradition in filmmaking. Several of these
filmmakers would later make significant contributions to the narrative
tradition in the sound era.


The Arrival of Sound
The era of the talking film began in late 1927 with the enormous success of
Warner Brothers’ The Jazz Singer. The first totally sound film, Lights of
New York, followed in 1928. Although experimentation with synchronizing
sound and picture was as old as the cinema itself (Dickson, for example,
made a rough synchronization of the two for Edison in 1894), the
feasibility of sound film was widely publicized only after Warner Brothers
purchased the Vitaphone from Western Electric in 1926. The original
Vitaphone system synchronized the picture with a separate phonographic
disk, rather than using the more accurate method of recording (based on the
principle of the OSCILLOSCOPE) a sound track on the film itself. Warners
originally used the Vitaphone to make short musical films featuring both
classical and popular performers and to record musical sound tracks for
otherwise silent films (Don Juan, 1926). For The Jazz Singer, Warners
added four synchronized musical sequences to the silent film. When Al
JOLSON sang and then delivered several lines of dialogue, audiences were
electrified. The silent film was dead within a year.^The conversion to
synchronized sound caused serious problems for the film industry. Sound
recording was difficult; cameras had to shoot from inside glass booths;
studios had to build special soundproof stages; theaters required expensive
new equipment; writers had to be hired who had an ear for dialogue; and
actors had to be found whose voices could deliver it. Many of the earliest
talkies were ugly and static, the visual images serving merely as an
accompaniment to endless dialogue, sound effects, and musical numbers.

Serious film critics mourned the passing of the motion picture, which no
longer seemed to contain either motion or picture.^The most effective early
sound films were those that played most adventurously with the union of
picture and sound track. Walt DISNEY in his cartoons combined surprising
sights with inventive sounds, carefully orchestrating the animated motion
and musical rhythm. Ernst Lubitsch also played very cleverly with sound,
contrasting the action depicted visually with the information on the sound
track in dazzlingly funny or revealing ways. By 1930 the U.S. film
industry had conquered both the technical and the artistic problems
involved in using sight and sound harmoniously, and the European industry
was quick to follow.


Hollywood’s Golden Era
The 1930s was the golden era of the Hollywood studio film. It was the
decade of the great movie stars–Greta GARBO, Marlene DIETRICH, Jean
HARLOW, Mae WEST, Katharine HEPBURN, Bette DAVIS, Cary GRANT, Gary COOPER,
Clark GABLE, James STEWART–and some of America’s greatest directors
thrived on the pressures and excitement of studio production. Josef von
STERNBERG became legendary for his use of exotic decor and sexual
symbolism; Howard HAWKS made driving adventures and fast-paced comedies;
Frank CAPRA blended politics and morality in a series of comedy-dramas; and
John FORD mythified the American West.^American studio pictures seemed to
come in cycles, many of the liveliest being those that could not have been
made before synchronized sound. The gangster film introduced Americans to
the tough doings and tougher talk of big-city thugs, as played by James
CAGNEY, Paul MUNI, and Edward G. ROBINSON. Musicals included the witty
operettas of Ernst Lubitsch, with Maurice CHEVALIER and Jeanette MACDONALD;
the backstage musicals, with their kaleidoscopically dazzling dance
numbers, of Busby BERKELEY; and the smooth, more natural song-and-dance
comedies starring Fred ASTAIRE and Ginger ROGERS. Synchronized sound also
produced SCREWBALL COMEDY, which explored the dizzy doings of fast-moving,
fast-thinking, and, above all, fast-talking men and women.^The issue of
artistic freedom versus censorship raised by the movies came to the fore
again with the advent of talking pictures. Spurred by the depression that
hit the industry in 1933 and by the threat of an economic boycott by the
newly formed Catholic Legion of Decency, the motion picture industry
adopted an official Production Code in 1934. Written in 1930 by Daniel
Lord, S.J., and Martin Quigley, a Catholic layman who was publisher of The
Motion Picture Herald, the code explicitly prohibited certain acts, themes,
words, and implications. Will Hays appointed Joseph I. Breen, the
Catholic layman most instrumental in founding the Legion of Decency, head
of the Production Code Administration, and this awarded the industry’s seal
of approval to films that met the code’s moral standards. The result was
the curtailment of explicit violence and sexual innuendo, and also of much
of the flavor that had characterized films earlier in the decade.


Europe During the 1930s
The 1930s abroad did not produce films as consistently rich as those of the
previous decade. With the coming of sound, the British film industry was
reduced to satellite status. The most stylish British productions were the
historical dramas of Sir Alexander KORDA and the mystery-adventures of
Alfred HITCHCOCK. The major Korda stars, as well as Hitchcock himself,
left Britain for Hollywood before the decade ended. More innovative were
the government-funded documentaries and experimental films made by the
General Post Office Film Unit under the direction of John Grierson.^Soviet
filmmakers had problems with the early sound-film machines and with the
application of montage theory (a totally visual conception) to sound
filming. They were further plagued by restrictive Stalinist policies,
policies that sometimes kept such ambitious film artists as Pudovkin and
Eisenstein from making films altogether. The style of the German cinema was
perfectly suited to sound filming, and German films of the period 1928-32
show some of the most creative uses of the medium in the early years of
sound. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, however, almost all the
creative film talent left Germany. An exception was Leni RIEFENSTAHL,
whose theatrical documentary Triumph of the Will (1934) represents a highly
effective example of the German propaganda films made during the
decade.^French cinema, the most exciting alternative to Hollywood in the
1930s, produced many of France’s most classic films. The decade found
director Jean Renoir–in Grand Illusion (1937) and Rules of the Game
(1939)–at the height of his powers; Rene Clair mastered both the musical
fantasy and the sociopolitical satire (A Nous la liberte, 1931); Marcel
PAGNOL brought to the screen his trilogy of Marseilles life, Fanny; the
young Jean VIGO, in only two films, brilliantly expressed youthful
rebellion and mature love; and director Marcel CARNE teamed with poet
Jacques Prevert to produce haunting existential romances of lost love and
inevitable death in Quai des brumes (1938) and Le Jour se leve (1939).


Hollywood: World War II, Postwar Decline
During World War II, films were required to lift the spirits of Americans
both at home and overseas. Many of the most accomplished Hollywood
directors and producers went to work for the War Department. Frank Capra
produced the “Why We Fight” series (1942-45); Walt Disney, fresh from his
Snow White (1937) and Fantasia (1940) successes, made animated
informational films; and Garson KANIN, John HUSTON, and William WYLER all
made documentaries about important battles. Among the new American
directors to make remarkable narrative films at home were three former
screenwriters, Preston STURGES, Billy WILDER, and John Huston. Orson
WELLES, the boy genius of theater and radio fame, also came to Hollywood to
shoot Citizen Kane (1941), the strange story of a newspaper magnate whose
American dream turns into a loveless nightmare.^Between 1946 and 1953 the
movie industry was attacked from many sides. As a result, the Hollywood
studio system totally collapsed. First, the U.S. House of
Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities investigated alleged
Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry in two separate sets
of hearings. In 1948, The HOLLYWOOD TEN, 10 screenwriters and directors
who refused to answer the questions of the committee, went to jail for
contempt of Congress. Then, from 1951 to 1954, in mass hearings, Hollywood
celebrities were forced either to name their associates as fellow
Communists or to refuse to answer all questions on the grounds of the 5th
Amendment, protecting themselves against self-incrimination. These
hearings led the industry to blacklist many of its most talented workers
and also weakened its image in the eyes of America and the world.^In 1948
the United States Supreme Court, ruling in United States v. Paramount that
the vertical integration of the movie industry was monopolistic, required
the movie studios to divest themselves of the theaters that showed their
pictures and thereafter to cease all unfair or discriminatory distribution
practices. At the same time, movie attendance started a steady decline;
the film industry’s gross revenues fell every year from 1947 to 1963. The
most obvious cause was the rise of TELEVISION, as more and more Americans
each year stayed home to watch the entertainment they could get most
comfortably and inexpensively. In addition, European quotas against
American films bit into Hollywood’s foreign revenues.^While major American
movies lost money, foreign art films were attracting an enthusiastic and
increasingly large audience, and these foreign films created social as well
as commercial difficulties for the industry. In 1951, The Miracle, a
40-minute film by Roberto ROSSELLINI, was attacked by the New York Catholic
Diocese as sacrilegious and was banned by New York City’s commissioner of
licenses. The 1952 Supreme Court ruling in the Miracle case officially
granted motion pictures the right to free speech as guaranteed in the
Constitution, reversing a 1915 ruling by the Court that movies were not
equivalent to speech. Although the ruling permitted more freedom of
expression in films, it also provoked public boycotts and repeated legal
tests of the definition of obscenity.^Hollywood attempted to counter the
effects of television with a series of technological gimmicks in the early
1950s: 3-D, Cinerama, and Cinemascope. The industry converted almost
exclusively to color filming during the decade, aided by the cheapness and
flexibility of the new Eastman color monopack, which came to challenge the
monopoly of Technicolor. The content of postwar films also began to change
as Hollywood searched for a new audience and a new style. There were more
socially conscious films–such as Fred ZINNEMANN’s The Men (1950) and Elia
KAZAN’s On The Waterfront (1954); more adaptations of popular novels and
plays; more independent (as opposed to studio) production; and a greater
concentration on FILM NOIR–grim detective stories in brutal urban
settings. Older genres such as the Western still flourished, and MGM
brought the musical to what many consider its pinnacle in a series of films
produced by Arthur Freed and directed by Vincente MINNELLI, Gene KELLY, and
Stanley Donen.


The Film in Europe and Australia From 1950
The stimulus for defining a new film content and style came to the United
States from abroad, where many previously dormant film industries sprang to
life in the postwar years to produce an impressive array of films for the
international market. The European film renaissance can be said to have
started in Italy with such masters of NEOREALISM as Roberto Rossellini, in
Open City (1945), Vittorio DE SICA, in The Bicycle Thief (1948) and Umberto
D (1952), and Luchino VISCONTI, in La Terra Trema (1948). Federico FELLINI
broke with the tradition to make films of a more poetic and personal nature
such as I Vitelloni (1953) and La Strada (1954) and then shifted to a more
sensational style in the 1960s with La Dolce Vita (1960) and the
intellectual 8 1/2 (1963). Visconti in the 1960s and ’70s would also adopt
a more flamboyant approach and subject matter in lush treatments of
corruption and decadence such as The Damned (1970). A new departure–both
artistic and thematic–was evidenced by Michelangelo ANTONIONI in his
subtle psychosocial trilogy of films that began with L’Aventura (1960).

The vitality of a second generation of Italian filmmakers was impressively
demonstrated by Lina WERTMULLER in The Seduction of Mimi (1974) and Seven
Beauties (1976) and by Bernardo BERTOLUCCI, who in films like Before the
Revolution (1964), The Conformist (1970), Last Tango in Paris (1972), and
1900 (1977) fused radical social and political ideology with a stunning
aestheticism.^With the coming of NEW WAVE films in the late 1950s, the
French cinema reasserted the artistic primacy it had enjoyed in the prewar
period. Applying a personal style to radically different forms of film
narrative, 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 the
success of his offbeat Breathless (1960), became progressively more
committed to a Marxist interpretation of society, as seen in Two or Three
Things I Know About Her (1966), Weekend (1967), and La Chinoise (1967).

Eric ROHMER, mining a more traditional vein, produced sophisticated “moral
tales” in My Night at Maud’s (1968) and Claire’s Knee (1970); while Louis
MALLE audaciously explored such charged subjects as incest and
collaborationism in Murmur of the Heart (1971) and Lacombe Lucien (1974).

The Spaniard Luis Bunuel, working in Mexico, Spain, and France–and defying
all categorization–continued to break new ground with ironic examinations
of the role of religion (Nazarin, 1958; Viridiana, 1961; The Milky Way,
1969) and absurdist satires on middle-class foibles (The Discreet Charm of
the Bourgeoisie, 1972).^From Sweden Ingmar BERGMAN emerged in the 1950s as
the master of introspective, often death-obsessed studies of complex human
relationships. 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 these
aided by a first-rate acting ensemble and brilliant cinematography.^British
film, largely reduced to a spate of Alec GUINNESS comedies by the early
1950s, was revitalized over the next decade by the ability of directors
working in England to produce compelling cinematic translations of the
“angry young man” novelists and playwrights, of Harold PINTER’s
existentialist dramas, and of the traditional great British novels.

Britain regained a healthy share of the market with films such as Jack
Clayton’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 The
Servant (1963) and Accident (1967); Ken RUSSELL’s Women in Love (1969); and
John Schlesinger’S Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971). The popularity of the
James Bond spy series, which began in 1962, gave the industry an added
boost.^The internationalism both of the film market and of film
distribution after 1960 was underscored by the emergence even in smaller
countries of successful film industries and widely recognized directorial
talent: Andrzej WAJDA and Roman POLANSKI in Poland; Jan KADAR, Milos
FORMAN, 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 first
time.^Australia is a relatively new entrant into the contemporary world
film market. Buoyed by government subsidies, Australian directors have
produced a group of major films within the past decade: Peter WEIR’s
Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave (1977), Gillian Armstrong’s My
Brilliant Career (1979) and Star Struck (1982), Fred Schepisi’s The Devil’s
Playground and The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (1978), and Bruce Beresford’s
Breaker Morant (1980). Beresford, Weir, and Schepisi have since directed
films with U.S. backing; Beresford’s Tender Mercies (1983) is about that
most American phenomenon, the country-western singer.


Postwar Film in Asia
Thriving film industries have existed in both Japan and India since the
silent era. It was only after World War II, however, that non-Western
cinematic traditions became visible and influential internationally. The
Japanese director Akira KUROSAWA opened a door to the West with his widely
acclaimed Rashomon (1950), an investigation into the elusive nature of
truth. His samurai dramas, such as The Seven Samurai (1954), Throne of
Blood (1957), an adaptation of Macbeth, Yojimbo (1961), and Kagemusha
(1980), were ironic adventure tales that far transcended the usual Japanese
sword movies, a genre akin to U.S. westerns. Kenzi MIZOGUCHI is known for
his 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 a
personal sensitivity that was both intensely national and universal.

Younger directors, whose careers date from the postwar burgeoning of the
Japanese film, include Teinosuke Kinugasa (Gate of Hell, 1953), Hiroshi
Teshigahara (Woman of the Dunes, 1964, from a script by the novelist ABE
KOBO), Masahiro Shinoda (Under the Cherry Blossoms, 1975), Nagisa Oshima
(The Ceremony, 1971) and Musaki Kobayashi, best known for his nine-hour
trilogy on the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, The Human Condition
(1959-61), and Harakiri (1962), a deglamorization of the samurai
tradition.^The film industry in India, which ranks among the largest in the
world, has produced very little for international consumption. Its most
famous director, Satyajit RAY, vividly brings to life the problems of an
India in transition, in particular in the trilogy comprising Pather
Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), and The World of Apu (1958). Bengali is
the language used in almost all Ray’s films. In 1977, however, he produced
The Chess Players, with sound tracks in both Hindi and English.


American Film Today
Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, the American film industry accommodated
itself to the competition of this world market; to a film audience that had
shrunk from 80 million to 20 million weekly; to the tastes of a primarily
young and educated audience; and to the new social and sexual values
sweeping the United States and much of the rest of the industrialized
world. The Hollywood studios that have survived in name (Paramount,
Warners, Universal, MGM, Fox) are today primarily offices for film
distribution. Many are subsidiaries of such huge conglomerates as the Coca
Cola Company or Gulf and Western. Increasingly, major films are being shot
in places other than Hollywood (New York City, for example, is recovering
its early status as a filmmaking center), and Hollywood now produces far
more television movies, series, and commercials than it does motion
pictures.^American movies of the past 20 years have moved more strongly
into social criticism (Doctor Strangelove, 1963; The Graduate, 1967; The
Godfather, 1971; One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975; The Deer Hunter,
1978; Norma Rae, 1979; Apocalypse Now, 1979; Missing, 1982); or they have
offered an escape from social reality into the realm of fantasy, aided by
the often beautiful, sometimes awesome effects produced by new film
technologies (2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968; Jaws, 1975; Star Wars and Close
Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977; Altered States, 1979; E. T., 1982); or
they have returned to earnest or comic investigations of the dilemmas of
everyday life (a troubled family, in Ordinary People, 1980; divorce life
and male parenting, in Kramer v. Kramer, 1979; women in a male world, in
Nine to Five, 1979, and Tootsie, 1982). The most successful directors of
the past 15 years–Stanley KUBRICK, Robert ALTMAN, Francis Ford COPPOLA,
Woody ALLEN, George LUCAS, and Steven SPIELBERG–are those who have played
most imaginatively with the tools of film communication itself. The stars
of recent years (with the exceptions of Paul NEWMAN and Robert REDFORD)
have, for their part, been more offbeat and less glamorous than their
predecessors of the studio era–Robert DE NIRO, Jane Fonda (see FONDA
FAMILY), Dustin HOFFMAN, Jack NICHOLSON, Al PACINO, and Meryl STREEP.^The
last two decades have seen the virtual extinction of animated film, which
is too expensive to make well, and the rebirth of U.S. documentary film in
the insightful work of Fred WISEMAN, the Maysles brothers, Richard Leacock
and Donn Pennebaker, and, in Europe, of Marcel OPHULS. Even richer is the
experimental, or underground, movement of the 1960s and 1970s, in which
filmmakers such as Stan BRAKHAGE, Kenneth Anger, Bruce Baillie, Hollis
Frampton, Michael Snow, and Robert Breer have worked as personally and
abstractly with issues of visual and psychological perception as have
modern painters and poets. The new vitality of these two opposite
traditions–the one devoted to revealing external reality, the other to
revealing the life of the mind–underscores the persistence of the
dichotomy inherent in the film medium. In the future, film will probably
continue to explore these opposing potentialities. Narrative films in
particular will probably continue trends that began with the French New
Wave, experimenting with more elliptical ways of telling film stories and
either borrowing or rediscovering many of the images, themes, and devices
of the experimental film itself. GERALD MAST
Bibliography
Bibliography:GENERAL HISTORIES AND CRITICISM: Arnheim, Rudolf, Film as Art
(1957; repr. 1971); Bazin, Andre, What is Cinema?, 2 vols., trans. by
Hugh 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: The
Democratic Art (1976); Kael, Pauline, Reeling (1976), and 5,000 Nights at
the Movies: A Guide from A to Z (1982); Kracauer, Siegfried, Theory of
Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality (1960); Mast, Gerald, A Short
History of the Movies, 2d ed. (1976); Mast, Gerald, and Cohen, Marshall,
Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings (1974); Monaco, James, How
to 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, The
Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival (1981).^BRITISH: Armes, Roy, A
History of British Cinema (1978); Low, Rachael, The History of British
Film, 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 the
Third Reich: A Study of the German Cinema, 1933-1945 (1969); Manvell,
Roger, and Fraenkel, Heinrich, The German Cinema (1971); Sandford, John The
New 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, Italian
Cinema Today (1965); Witcombe, Roger, The New Italian Cinema
(1982).^JAPANESE: Mellen, Joan, The Waves at Genji’s Door: Japan Through
Its Cinema (1976); Richie, Donald, The Films of Akira Kurosawa (1965), and
The Japanese Movie: An Illustrated History (1966); Sato, Tadao, Currents
in Japanese Cinema (1982).^RUSSIAN: Cohen, Louis H., The
Cultural-Political Traditions and Development of the Soviet Cinema,
1917-1972 (1974); Dickenson, Thorold, and De La Roche, Catherine, Soviet
Cinema (1948; repr. 1972); Leyda, Jay, Kino: A History of the Russian and
Soviet Film (1960; repr. 1973); Taylor, Richard, Film Propaganda: Soviet
Russia 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 an
American lyricist and composer of popular songs for stage and screen. A
graduate of Yale College, he attended Harvard School of Arts and Sciences
for 2 years and later studied under the French composer Vincent d’Indy.

Both his lyrics and music have a witty sophistication, technical
virtuosity, and exquisite sense of style that have rarely been paralleled
in popular music. He contributed brilliant scores to numerous Broadway
musicals, such as Anything Goes (1934) and Kiss Me, Kate (1948), and to
motion pictures. His best songs have become classics; these include “Begin
the Beguine,” “Night and Day,” and “I Love Paris.” DAVID EWEN
Bibliography: Eells, George, The Life that Late He Led: A Biography of Cole
Porter (1967); Kimball, Robert, ed., Cole (1971); Schwartz, Charles, Cole
Porter (1977).


Griffith, D. W.

——————————–
David Lewelyn Wark Griffith, b. La Grange, Ky., Jan. 23, 1875, d. July
23, 1948, is recognized as the greatest single film director and most
consistently innovative artist of the early American film industry. His
influence on the development of cinema was worldwide.


After gaining experience with a Louisville stock company, he was employed
as 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 the
next five years, oversaw the production of more than 400 one- and two-reel
films. As his ideas grew bolder, however, he felt increasingly frustrated
by the limitations imposed by his employers. Griffith left Biograph in
1913 to join Reliance-Majestic as head of production, and in 1914, he began
his 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 and
for its unprecedented use of such innovative techniques as flashbacks,
fade-outs, and close-ups. The film was harshly condemned, however, for its
racial bias and glorification of the Ku Klux Klan; several subsequent
lynchings were blamed on the film. In response to this criticism, Griffith
made what many consider his finest film, Intolerance (1916), in which the
evils of intolerance were depicted in four parallel stories–a framework
that required a scope of vision and production never before approached.

Although Griffith made numerous other films up to 1931, none ranked with
his first two classics. Among the best of these later efforts were Hearts
of the World (1918); Broken Blossoms (1919), released by his own newly
formed corporation, United Artists; Way Down East (1920); Orphans of the
Storm (1922); America (1924); Isn’t Life Wonderful? (1924); and Abraham
Lincoln (1930). Of the many actors trained by Griffith and associated with
his name, Mary PICKFORD, Dorothy and Lillian GISH, and Lionel Barrymore
(see BARRYMORE family) are the most famous. In 1935, Griffith was honored
by 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: The
Movies, 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 increasing
concentration of control in the hands of a few giant Hollywood concerns.

Since the late 1940s, however, that trend has been reversed; the monolithic
studio system has given way to independent production and diversification
at all levels of the industry.^Although in the silent era small,
independent producers were common, by the 1930s, in the so-called golden
age of Hollywood, the overwhelming majority of films were produced,
distributed, and exhibited by one of the large California studios. Led by
M-G-M, Paramount, RKO, 20th-Century-Fox, Warner Brothers, Columbia, and
Universal, the industry enjoyed the benefits of total vertical integration:
because the studios owned their own theater chains, they could require
theater managers to charge fixed minimum admission rates, to purchase
groups of pictures rather than single releases (“block booking”), and to
accept films without first previewing them (“blind buying”). For more than
two decades the major studios completely controlled their contracted stars,
managed vast indoor and outdoor studio sets, and in general profited from
what amounted to a virtual monopoly of the industry.^Shortly after World
War II, three factors contributed to the loss of the majors’ hegemony.

First, a number of federal court decisions forced the studios to end
discriminatory distribution practices, including block booking, blind
selling, and the setting of fixed admission prices; in 1948 the Supreme
Court ordered divestiture of their theater chains. Second, the House
Committee on Un-American Activities investigated the industry, which
responded by blacklisting several prominent screenwriters and directors–an
action that called into question the industry’s reliability as a promoter
of unfettered creative talent. Third, television began to deprive
Hollywood of large segments of its audience, and the industry reacted
timidly and late to the possibilities for diversification presented by the
new medium.^The effects of these developments were immediate and long
lasting. Weekly attendance figures fell from 80 million in 1946 to just
over 12 million by 1972. Box-ofice revenues in the same period dropped
from $1.75 billion to $1.4 billion–and this despite constant inflation and
admission prices that were often 10 times the prewar average. The movie
colony experienced unprecedented unemployment. The number of films made
yearly declined from an average of 445 in the 1940s to under 150 in the
1970s, as the industry sought solvency in “blockbusters” rather than in the
solid but unspectacular products that had brought it a mass audience before
the age of television. Between 1948 and 1956 the number of U.S. theaters
fell from 20,000 to 10,000, and although 4,000 new drive-in theaters
somewhat offset this attrition, by the mid-1970s less than half of the
American spectator’s amusement dollar was being spent on movies; in the
1940s the yearly average had been over 80 cents.^By the late 1960s the
major studios had entered a grave economic slump, for many of their “big
picture” gambles fell through. In 1970, 20th-Century-Fox lost $36 million,
and United Artists, which as the industry leader had more to lose, ended up
more than $50 million in the red. In response to this devastation of its
profits, the industry underwent a profound reorganization. Following the
1951 lead of United Artists, the majors backed away from production (since
its cost had contributed heavily to their decline) and restructured
themselves as loan guarantors and distributors. At the same time, most of
them became subsidiaries of conglomerates such as Gulf and Western, Kinney
National Service, and Transamerica and began to look to television sales
and recording contracts for the revenues that previously had come from the
theater audience alone.^In setting up these new contractual relationships
the independent producer played a central role. Such a figure, who by now
has replaced the old studio mogul as the industry’s driving force, brings
together the various properties associated with a film (including actors, a
director, and book rights) to create a “package” often financed
independently but distributed by a film company in exchange for a share of
the rental receipts. Working with the conglomerates and accepting the
reality of a permanently reduced market, these private promoters have
partially succeeded in revitalizing the industry.^The rise of independent
production has been accompanied by diversification of subject matter, with
close attention to the interests of specialized audiences. This trend,
which began in the 1950s as an attempt to capture the “art house” audience
and 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 and
toward location filming. For many producers, New York City has become the
New filmmakers’ mecca, while shooting in foreign countries, where cheap
labor is often plentiful, has given the modern film a new international
texture; foreign markets have also become increasingly important. Both
geographically and financially, therefore, the film industry has begun to
recapture some of the variety and independence that were common in the days
before studio control. THADDEUS F. TULEJA
Bibliography: Balio, Tino, ed., The American Film Industry (1976); Brownlow,
Kevin, Hollywood: The Pioneers (1980); David, Saul, The Industry: Life in the
Hollywood Fast Lane (1981); Phillips, Gene D., The Movie Makers: Artists in an
Industry (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 $209,567,000
2. Star Wars 1977193,500,000
3. Return of the Jedi1983165,500,000
4. The Empire Strikes Back1980141,600,000
5. Jaws 1975133,435,000
6. Raiders of the Lost Ark1981115,598,000
7. Grease197896,300,000
8. Tootsie198294,571,613
9. The Exorcist197389,000,000
10. 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 uneducated
Irish-Canadian who drifted into films as D. W. Griffith’s apprentice. In
1912 he started his own comedy studio, called Keystone, where he developed
the Keystone Kops and discovered such major talents as Charlie Chaplin and
Frank Capra. With the advent of sound films, comedy shorts became less
popular, and in the 1930s Sennett, who failed to change with the times,
lost his entire fortune. Sennett is, however, still remembered as
Hollywood’s “King of Comedy” and received a special Academy Award in 1937
for his contribution to cinema comedy. LEONARD MALTIN
Bibliography: Fowler, Gene, Father Goose (1934; repr. 1974); Lahue, Kalton
C., 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’s
most celebrated comedian-director, achieved international fame with his
portrayals of the mustachioed Little Tramp. As the director, producer,
writer, and interpreter of his many movies, he made a major contribution to