Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Silent Film Meets the Talkies: A Brief History Essay example -- Film M

Silent Film Meets the Talkies: A Brief History A gambling man, Governor Leland Stanford of California needed visual proof to win a bet he had eagerly placed. Governor Stanford firmly believed that at some point in their stride, horses had all four hooves off the ground at the same time. After hiring a photographer who was to no avail, the Governor brought in John D. Isaacs, the chief engineer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, to have a look at the situation. Isaacs decided to rig up a system of magnetic releases to trigger a series of cameras, twelve total, as the horse ran down the track (Everson, 17). Mounting these images on a rotating disk and projecting them on a screen through a special lantern, they produced a moving picture of the horse at full gallop as it had occurred in real life (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1211). American cinema's next big break came with beginning of World War I. Until this period, the industry had been dominated by France, Italy, and Germany, particularly in the area of feature length presentations and the construction of permanent theaters. However, when the war broke out in Europe, film production abroad nearly ceased due to the overlap of chemicals used in film and the manufacturing of gunpowder (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1213). Simultaneously, American Cinema experienced a period on unprecedented prosperity and growth. By the end of the war, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, 90 percent of all films screened in Europe, Africa, and Asia were American (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1213). Germany however, was the exception, because it had been cut off from America since 1914. When the Germans did finally reconnect with the world, the United States benefited greatly from their techn... box office hits, regardless of the acting or recording quality. As talkies became more refined and commonplace, silent films started to dwindle. A backlash occurred and these pantomimed movies were labeled as the true art (Geduld, 253). Yet, nothing could be done to slow down the continual development of cinema as sound poured out of studios on a daily basis. In fact, this new cinematic style was so popular, the film industry turned out to be one of the few prosperous enterprises during the Depression (Geduld, 253). Works Cited Ellis, Jack C. A History of Film. eedham Heights, Mass: Allyn and Bacon, 1995. Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britanica Inc.; vol. 24, 15th ed. Chicago, IL: 1995. Everson, William K. American Silent Film. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1978. Geduld, Harry M. The Birth of the Talkies. London: Indiana Univ. Press, 1975.

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