Film Contributions of the Sixties

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Film Contributions of the Sixties

Beginning roughly with the release of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Stopped Worrying and Loved the Bomb in 1964, and continuing for about the next decade, the “Sixties” era of filmmaking made many lasting impressions on the motion picture industry. Although editing and pacing styles varied greatly from Martin Scorcesse’s hyperactive pace, to Kubrick’s slow methodical pace, there were many uniform contributions made by some of the era’s seminal directors. In particular, the “Sixties” saw the return of the auteur, as people like Francis Ford Coppola and Stanley Kubrick wrote and directed their own screenplays, while Woody Allen wrote, directed and starred in his own films. Kubrick, Coppola and Allen each experimented with characterization, narrative and editing techniques. By examining the major works of these important directors, their contributions become more apparent.

Dr. Strangelove (1964), an adaptation of Peter Bryant’s novel Red Alert, although still bearing the usual traits of a Kubrick film, is something of a departure for him in terms of editing and spatial strategies. The film’s run-time more or less corresponds with the fictional or represented time in the story. This direct correspondence between fictional and real time adds to the sense of temporal compression induced by the film’s insistent editing patterns. Although Dr. Strangelove employs many long takes, it contains the shortest average-shot-length of any Kubrick film. The film consists of roughly 700 shots and has a run time of 94 minutes for an average-shot-length of 8 seconds. Despite the rather short average-shot-length, Dr. Strangelove still resorts to crucial long takes to slow down the rapid momentum of the story (Falsetto, 35).

Several spatial and temporal procedures are at work in Dr. Strangelove, such as the use of the long take. Conversely, the B-52 sequences, often accompanied by various versions of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” employ different editing patterns than the rest of the film. These edits reinforce the film’s theme of inevitability. Through editing, the B-52 sequences display a strong cinematic rhythm. The shots are generally shorter than the other sections of the film, and they significantly contribute to the film’s shorter average-shot-length, despite Kubrick’s deliberate use of long takes (Falset...

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...ng shots, all three experimented with elements of characterization. Kubrick used both subjective and objective points of view quite deliberately in his films. Coppola took the Mafia, and humanized them more so than previous gangster movies, in addition to redefining what a sequel should be. Woody Allen took comedy back to its roots, and in the process, was able to created some of the most groundbreaking comedy since Charlie Chaplin. In addition, this return of the auteurs paved the way for many of today’s prominent filmmakers. Without Kubrick or Coppola, there would be no Quentin Tarantino, and without Woody Allen, there would be no Kevin Smith. Coppola, Kubrick and Allen have each made enduring films, and continued to do so well after the “Sixties” had ended.

Bibliography:

Falsetto, Mario. Stanley Kubrick: A Narrative and Stylistic Analysis. Greenwood Press, Westport, CT. 1994.

Girgus, Sam B. The Films of Woody Allen. Cambridge University Press,

New York, 1993.

Johnson, Robert K. Francis Ford Coppola. Twayne Publishers, Boston, 1977.

Mast, Gerald and Bruce F. Kwan. A Short History of the Movies. Allen & Bacon,

Boston, 2000.
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