Beginning the mid 1920s, Hollywood’s ostensibly all-powerful film studios controlled the American film industry, creating a period of film history now recognized as “Classical Hollywood”. Distinguished by a practical, workmanlike, “invisible” method of filmmaking- whose purpose was to demand as little attention to the camera as possible, Classical Hollywood cinema supported undeviating storylines (with the occasional flashback being an exception), an observance of a the three act structure, frontality, and visibly identified goals for the “hero” to work toward and well-defined conflict/story resolution, most commonly illustrated with the employment of the “happy ending”. Studios understood precisely what an audience desired, and accommodated their wants and needs, resulting in films that were generally all the same, starring similar (sometimes the same) actors, crafted in a similar manner. It became the principal style throughout the western world against which all other styles were judged. While there have been some deviations and experiments with the format in the past 50 plus ye...
Grainge, P., Jancovich, M., & Monteith, S. (2012). Film Histories; An introduction and reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
In this paper I will offer a structural analysis of the films of Simpson and Bruckheimer. In addition to their spectacle and typically well-crafted action sequences, Simpson/Bruckheimer pictures seem to possess an unconscious understanding of the zeitgeist and other cultural trends. It is this almost innate ability to select scripts that tap into some traditional American values (patriotism, individualism, and the obsession with the “new”) that helps to make their movies blockbusters.
 Hollywood is no longer just a name, it is a business, a living entity holding America’s people in its grasp, and it is not about to let them go. Gradually taking on more responsibility and trying to build up its reputation over the years, Hollywood has progressively assumed the position of history-teller for the American public. This role, whether or not an appropriate one for an industry such as Hollywood to tackle, has catapulted actors and actresses into high paying, high visibility positions. History has and will continue to be one of the main subjects that the movie industry has been fascinated with. It is an alive and very fragile subject that, through its multi-dimensional character, requires careful attention by everyone involved in the project. Whenever Hollywood tackles an historical topic, whether portraying a non-disputable factual event or only a vaguely one, the industry is bound to encounter dispute and criticism.
Classic film noir originated after World War II. This is the time where post World War II pessimism, anxiety, and suspicion was taking the world by storm. Many films that were released in the U.S. Between 1939s and 1940s were considered propaganda films that were designed for entertainment during the Depression and World War II. During the 1930s many German and Europeans immigrated to the U.S. and helped the American film industry with powerf...
The Classical Hollywood style, according to David Bordwell remains “bound by rules that set stringent limits on individual innovation; that telling a story is the basic formal concern.” Every element of the film works in the service of the narrative, which should be ideally comprehensible and unambiguous to the audience. The typical Hollywood film revolves around a protagonist, whose struggle to achieve a specific goal or resolve a conflict becomes the foundation for the story. André Bazin, in his “On the politique des auteurs,” argues that this particular system of filmmaking, despite all its limitations and constrictions, represented a productive force creating commercial art. From the Hollywood film derived transnational and transcultural works of art that evoked spectatorial identification with its characters and emotional investment into its narrative. The Philadelphia Story, directed by George Cukor in 1940, is one of the many works of mass-produced art evolving out of the studio system. The film revolves around Tracy Lord who, on the eve of her second wedding, must confront the return of her ex-husband, two newspaper reporters entering into her home, and her own hubris. The opening sequence of The Philadelphia Story represents a microcosm of the dynamic between the two protagonists Tracy Lord and C.K. Dexter Haven, played by Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Through the use of costume and music, the opening sequence operates as a means to aesthetically reveal narrative themes and character traits, while simultaneously setting up the disturbance that must be resolved.
Eisenstein, S. M. 1949, “Film Form: A Dialectic Approach to Film Form, Harcourt Brace and Company, U.S. The Battleship Potemkin 1925, motion picture, Goskino, Soviet Union. Kehr, D. 2011, “The condemned art of Soviet filmmakers”, New York Times, 13 October 2011, p.6) Kuleshov, L.V. 1922, “Americanism”, Kino-Fot, No.1, p.14-15 Taylor, R. & Christie, I. 1988, Factory: Soviet Cinema In Documents 1896 – 1939, Routledge, Oxon. Van Sijl, J 2005, Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions, Michael Wiese Productions, California.
Hollywood in the 30’s and 40’s was the golden-age of a new era of filmmaking. The films of that period went beyond the silent films being produced in the past. Diagetic sounds like dialogue and more advanced filmic techniques would push cinema to a new mode of filmmaking, that being classicism. The classical Hollywood structure was being developed in the past with silent films but it came to full fruition in the 30’s, where many filmmakers would produce feature-length films with fully developed storylines and the use of glamorous lighting and larger-than life characterizations to give audiences a more cinematic experience. Genre films like: the gangster, comedy, western, horror, and other various genres of the era, provided large revenue for studios and the creative means for filmmakers to manipulate the mise-en-scene to make each genre films slightly different from the rest. Classicism would provide audiences with clear-cut characterizations, simple storylines, non-intrusive directing, and simple but entertaining conclusions that neatly wrap up the story.
Classic narrative cinema is what Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson (The classic Hollywood Cinema, Columbia University press 1985) 1, calls “an excessively obvious cinema”1 in which cinematic style serves to explain and not to obscure the narrative. In this way it is made up of motivated events that lead the spectator to its inevitable conclusion. It causes the spectator to have an emotional investment in this conclusion coming to pass which in turn makes the predictable the most desirable outcome. The films are structured to create an atmosphere of verisimilitude, which is to give a perception of reality. On closer inspection it they are often far from realistic in a social sense but possibly portray a realism desired by the patriarchal and family value orientated society of the time. I feel that it is often the black and white representation of good and evil that creates such an atmosphere of predic...
In most literary genres, many techniques are utilized to enhance the way the author addresses his message. In Pulp Fiction and Among the Red Guns, they share the same color and parts of the structure but have opposing fundamental meaning. With similar storylines, Pulp Fiction and Among the Red Guns showcase the rationalizations for taking life, rationalizations that have contrasting views: one acknowledging the value of life and the other refusing to accept any life value at all.
In “The Thematic Paradigm,” University of Florida professor of film studies, Robert Ray, defines two types of heroes pervading American films, the outlaw hero and the official hero. Often the two types are merged in a reconciliatory pattern, he argues. In fact, this
Sunset Boulevard directed by Billy Wilder in 1950 is based on how Norma Desmond, a huge Hollywood star, deals with her fall from fame. The film explores the fantasy world in which Norma is living in and the complex relationship between her and small time writer Joe Gillis, which leads to his death. Sunset Boulevard is seen as lifting the ‘face’ of the Hollywood Studio System to reveal the truth behind the organisation. During the time the film was released in the 1950s and 60s, audiences started to see the demise of Hollywood as cinema going began to decline and the fierce competition of television almost proved too much for the well established system. Throughout this essay I will discuss how Sunset Boulevard represents the Hollywood Studio System, as well as exploring post war literature giving reasons as to why the system began to crumble.
In Relation to “Classical Hollywood Cinema: Narrational Principles and procedures”, David Bordwell presents the analysis of the how the cultural text can be of significance for formalism in controlling the film. He states, “the classical film respects the canonic pattern of establishing an initial state of affairs which gets violated and which must then be set right.” (Bordwell. 1986, p. 19.) Using Bordwell’s approach, for this paper I will be focusing on a clip from “Back to the Future” to determine the implications presented in creating that scene in relation to the American culture context. The topics that will be discussed throughout the essay are the studies of the narrative, Apparatus, and ideology as depicted in the context of American culture portrayed through the film use.