American Cinema of the 1910s : Themes and Variations - download pdf or read online

By Charlie Keil, Ben Singer

It was once in the course of the youth that filmmaking really got here into its personal. significantly, the migration of studios to the West Coast verified a connection among moviemaking and the exoticism of Hollywood.

The essays in American Cinema of the 1910s discover the swift advancements of the last decade that begun with D. W. Griffith's unmatched one-reelers. through mid-decade, multi-reel characteristic movies have been profoundly reshaping the and deluxe theaters have been equipped to draw the broadest attainable viewers. Stars like Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks turned very important and corporations started writing high-profile contracts to safe them. With the outbreak of worldwide struggle I, the political, monetary, and commercial basis used to be laid for American cinema's worldwide dominance. through the tip of the last decade, filmmaking had develop into a real undefined, whole with vertical integration, effective specialization and standardization of practices, and self-regulatory agencies.

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Walthall) and Ramona (Mary Pickford) at the Rancho Camulos, California, location for Ramona. wall. Westerns were also not nearly so centered on male heroics as they would come to be, and the popularity of plucky cowgirls grew over the next two years. What were revelatory to audiences this year were westerns that began to exploit the actual landscape of the far West. Among films available today, most spectacular in its use of this landscape is Biograph’s Ramona: A Story of the White Man’s Injustice to the Indian, again directed by D.

S. titles currently viewable outside of archives. A full history would want to correct this imbalance, but one-reel films from the pre-feature era remain difficult enough to see under any circumstances, and so I have chosen titles to discuss below mainly from among those available on video. It is compensation that, this year at least, Griffith’s films are unrivaled in stylistic sophistication, if not in their range of subjects. Some of the year’s most fascinating films are in a genre that doesn’t have a precise name: docudramas of social reform, melodramatic reflections of the concerns of the Progressive Era, such as Griffith’s Simple Charity, which contrasts “the red tape” of reform societies with an impoverished 34 SCOTT SIMMON Dorothy West (in shawl, foreground) on Rivington Street, Manhattan, in A Child of the Ghetto.

But others saw the movies growing into the new century’s defining mode of entertainment, and perhaps destined for something more. Typical, in both its awe over the phenomenon and its worry over unruly audiences and under-regulated films, was a magazine piece titled “A Theatre with a 5,000,000 Audience”: Squads of police are necessary in many places to keep in line the expectant throngs awaiting their turn to enter the inner glories. . Five million people are thought to be in daily attendance at the picture shows.

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American Cinema of the 1910s : Themes and Variations by Charlie Keil, Ben Singer


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