Presentation on theme: "Film History ENGL 3870: Film History Week 3 | Date: 2/1/12 | The Silent Era | Reading: Short History of Film 3 D. W. Griffith The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari."— Presentation transcript:
Film History ENGL 3870: Film History Week 3 | Date: 2/1/12 | The Silent Era | Reading: Short History of Film 3 D. W. Griffith The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari F. W. Murnau René Clair Lev Kuleshov Sergei Eisenstein Abel Gance Carl Theodor Dreyer Un Chien Andalou
Film History D. W. Griffith (American, ) Born in Kentucky, son of a Confederate soldier. Started acting at Biograph (hired by Porter) and then turned to directing. Directed hundreds of one and two reelers—at one point averaging 21 productions a week. The great cinematographer Billy Bitzer was his constant collaborator. By 1913, Griffith ruled Hollywood and had a powerful international reputation. His performance as a director defined the role.
Film History D. W. Griffith Claimed he did not understand the charges of racism leveled against Birth. Intolerance was made in response to Birth’s critics. One of the founders of United Artists—the culmination of Griffith’s ambition to escape studio control. Often worked with Lillian Gish. Declined during the Sound Era, his last 20 years unproductive. Responsible for approximately 550 films. Hypothesized that the movies would evolve into a “esperanto of the eye.” An artificial language, invented in 1887, intended for universal use. Based on word roots common to the major European languages.
Film History United Artists (Fairbanks, Pickford, Chaplin, Griffith)
Film History D. W. Griffith (American, ) Key Works Birth of a Nation (1915) Intolerance (1916) Broken Blossoms (1919) Way Down East (1920) Orphans of the Storm (1921)
Film History Griffith directs Intolerance (1916).
Red Grooms, Way Down East Grooms and Northern Kentucky University (where I was professor of English ) Film History
Birth of a Nation/MTSU: Six Degrees of Separation 1.Griff i th’s Birth of a Nation depicts the role of the KKK after the Civil War. 2.Nathan Bedford Forrest was a leader of the Klan and at one time the KKK Grand Dragon. 3.“The ROTC building at Middle Tennessee State University was named Forrest Hall in [Nathan Bedford Forrest’s] honor. In 2006, the frieze depicting General Forrest on horseback that had adorned the side of this building was removed amid protests, but a major push to change its name failed. Also, the university's Blue Raiders' athletic mascot was changed to a pegasus from a cavalier, in order to avoid its mistaken association with General Forrest.”--Wikipedia Film History
Birth of a Nation (D. W. Griffith, 1915) Production Cost: $125,000 Box Office: In the millions Watch the entire film
Film History The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Germany, Robert Weine, 1920) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Expressionism
Film History F. W. Murnau (German, ) Made the first Dracula film. The Last Laugh, like Caligari, was under the influence of expressionism. Came to Hollywood to direct Sunrise, “a simple story of a farmer who tries to kill his devoted wife because of another woman” (Eyewitness Guide to Film 339). Upset at the imposition of happy endings by Hollywood. Began working with Robert Flaherty in the South Seas (resulting in Tabu). Killed in a car crash on the way to Paramount Studios.
Film History F. W. Murnau (German, ) Key Works Nosferatu (1922) The Last Laugh (1924) Faust (1926) Sunrise (1927) Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)— with Robert Flaherty
Film History F. W. Murnau Shadow of the Vampire (E. Elias Merhige, 2000) Shadow of the Vampire
Film History Nosferatu (F. W. Murnau, 1922) Nosferatu Nosferatu (entire film)
Film History René Clair (French, ) Entr’acte branded Clair as an avant-garde filmmaker. Under the Roofs of Paris was one of the first sound films. Worked in both the UK and USA. Le Silence est d’Or (Silence is Golden), made back in France, was a tribute to the Silent Era. Did not make a color film until 1955 (Les Grandes Manoeuvres).
Film History René Clair Key Works Entr'acte (1924) The Italian Straw Hat (1927) Under the Roofs of Paris (1930) The Million (1931) Freedom for Us (1931) It Happened Tomorrow (1943) Le Silence est d’Or (1947) Les Belles de Nuit (1952) Les Grandes Manoeuvres (1955)
Film History René Clair, Entr'acte (1924) Entr'acteEntr'acte (entire film)
Film History Lev Kuleshov (Russian, ): discoverer of the “Kuleshov Effect”Kuleshov Effect
Film History Abel Gance (French, ) Always an experimenter. One of the first to use subjective camera, split screen, mirrors. montage (before Eisenstein), hand- held cameras (one mounted on a horse), wide-angle lenses, superimposition... Napoleon was first screened in a five hour cut.
Film History Abel Gance Did not fare well in the Sound Era: Poignant and paradoxical is the sequence in The Life and Loves of Beethoven  when the great composer loses his hearing, portrayed by silent shots of violins, birds, and bells. The loss of sound for Beethoven and the coming of sound for Gance were equally agonizing. (Eyewitness Companion to Film 299)
Film History Abel Gance (French, ) Key Works The Tenth Symphony (1918) J’Accuse (1919) The Wheel (1922) Napoleon (1927) The Life and Loves of Beethoven (1936)
Film History Napoleon (Abel Gance, 1927) Kevin Brownlow Discusses Abel Gance's Napoleon
Film History Carl Theodor Dreyer (Danish, ) Key Works Master of the House (1925) The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) Vampyr (1932) Day of Wrath (1943) The Word (1955) Gertrud (1964)
Film History Carl Theodor Dreyer The Ingmar Bergman/Terence Malick of his day: spiritual themes; made very few films (10 year break from filmmaking before Gertrude). Day of Wrath follows a 17 th Century witch hunt and may be read as a commentary on German occupation of Denmark.--he sought refuge in Sweden after its release. Gertrud about an opera singer and her many lovers. Brilliantly used shadow, light, camera movement, settings. Signature: deceptively simple means creating a restrained emotional intensity.
Film History The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928) The Passion of Joan of ArcThe Passion of Joan of Arc (entire film in eight parts)
Film History Sergei Eisenstein Key Works Strike (1924) Battleship Potemkin (1925) October (1927) Alexander Nevsky (1938) Ivan the Terrible, Part 1 (1944) Ivan the Terrible, Part II (1946—released 1958)
Film History Sergei Eisenstein (Russian, ) One of the few great filmmakers who was also a great theorist. Inventor/namer of “dynamic montage.” Envisioned a “cinematic calculus” inspired in part by his colleague Pavlov. October used over 3,200 (more than twice that of Potemkin). Major influences: Charles Dickens, D. W. Griffith, Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Kabuki Theatre.
Film History Sergei Eisenstein (Russian, ) Collaborated with American novelist Upton Sinclair to make a documentary (unfinished) about the Mexican revolution. Made Alexander Nevsky to reestablish his position with the Communist party. Collaborated (on Nevsky) with famed composer Sergei Prokofiev. Only completed two parts of Ivan the Terrible, which Stalin eventually disapproved of (seeing Part II as a personal reflection?). Released only after both Eisenstein and Stalin were dead. Envisioned the cinema as an art that would synthesize all the other arts.
Film History Luis Buñuel (Spanish, ) (left) and Salvador Dali (Spanish, ) (right)
Surrealism The name is intended to mean above/beyond realism Film History
Dada and Surrealism Surrealism Greatly influenced by Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams Film History
Surrealism “As beautiful as the chance encounter of an umbrella and a sewing machine on a dissecting table.”— Comte de Lautréamont (born in Montevideo Uruguay, 1846)— from Les Chants de Maldoror Surrealism Film History
Surrealism Andre Breton (right): Surrealism’s “pope” Film History
Surrealism An exemplary Surrealist activity: the exquisite corpse Wikipedia article on the exquisite corpse Surrealism Film History
Salvador Dali ( ), Spanish Painter The only difference between myself and a madman is that I am not mad. Salvador Dali Surrealism Film History
I believe that the moment is near when, by a procedure of active paranoiac thought, it will be possible to systematize confusion and contribute to the total discrediting of the world of reality. --Salvador Dali Surrealism Film History
Asked why he had a pet lobster (which the motorcycle-goggle- wearing Dali sometimes walked— with a leash—on the streets of Paris), he replied: “It doesn’t bark, and it knows the secrets of the deep.” Surrealism Film History
Surrealism Film History
Surrealism 1929 Film History
Venus de Milo of the Drawers Surrealism Film History
Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by Her Own Chastity Surrealism Film History
Cannibalism in Autumn Surrealism Film History
Persistence of Memory Asked why he was so fond of limp watches in his work, Dali replied: “Because they keep such good time.” Surrealism Film History
Soft Construction with Boiled Beans, Premonition of Civil War Surrealism Film History
The Weaning of Furniture Nutrition Surrealism Film History
Rene Magritte ( ). Belgian Painter To be a surrealist means barring from your mind all remembrance of what you have seen, and being always on the lookout for what has never been. Rene Magritte Surrealism Film History
Personal Values Surrealism Film History
ENGL 2020 Themes in Literature and Culture: The Grotesque The Treachery of Images Surrealism Film History
The Lovers Surrealism Film History
The Rape Surrealism Film History
Luis Buñuel Key Works Un Chien Andalou (1928) L’Age d’Or (1930) Los Olvidados (1950) Viridiana (1961) The Exterminating Angel (1962) Diary of a Chambermaid (1964) Belle de Jour (1967) Tristana (1970) The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
Film History Un Chien Andalou (Buñuel and Dali, 1929) Un Chien Andalou