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COM 320 History of the Moving Image Some Pre-WWII Points.

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Presentation on theme: "COM 320 History of the Moving Image Some Pre-WWII Points."— Presentation transcript:

1 COM 320 History of the Moving Image Some Pre-WWII Points

2 Pre-WWII Points: The WWI Experience as a Precedent e.g., D. W. Griffith-- Intolerance (1916) as pre-war “propaganda for peace”; Hearts of the World (1918) as propaganda for U.S. to enter war e.g., D. W. Griffith-- Intolerance (1916) as pre-war “propaganda for peace”; Hearts of the World (1918) as propaganda for U.S. to enter war

3 Pre-WWII Points: The WWI Experience as a Precedent e.g., The Big Parade (1925, D: King Vidor) and All Quiet on the Western Front (1930, D: Lewis Milestone) as post-war realism e.g., The Big Parade (1925, D: King Vidor) and All Quiet on the Western Front (1930, D: Lewis Milestone) as post-war realism

4 Pre-WWII Points: Throughout the 1930s, two Throughout the 1930s, two major things colored major things colored Americans’ outlook: Americans’ outlook: (1) The Great Depression (1) The Great Depression (2) The War in Europe (2) The War in Europe 1933: Adolph Hitler named chancellor; Nazi party rules Germany 1933: Adolph Hitler named chancellor; Nazi party rules Germany 1935: Leni Riefenstahl completes Triumph of the Will for Hitler, a film documenting the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg 1935: Leni Riefenstahl completes Triumph of the Will for Hitler, a film documenting the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg 1937: Leni Riefenstahl completes Olympia for Hitler, a film documenting the 1936 Berlin Olympics 1937: Leni Riefenstahl completes Olympia for Hitler, a film documenting the 1936 Berlin Olympics

5 Pre-WWII Points: Leni Riefenstahl & Triumph of the Will Leni Riefenstahl ( ) Leni Riefenstahl ( ) Actress, dancer, director... Notably in “mountain films” (e.g., The Blue Light, 1932) Actress, dancer, director... Notably in “mountain films” (e.g., The Blue Light, 1932) Hitler’s designated filmmaker beginning 1933 Hitler’s designated filmmaker beginning 1933 Also directed Olympia (1937), covering the 1936 Berlin Olympics Also directed Olympia (1937), covering the 1936 Berlin Olympics Triumph of the Will (1935) Triumph of the Will (1935) Lyrical propaganda! Lyrical propaganda! Coverage of the 1934 Nuremberg Nazi rally, where 30,000 Germans gathered for four days Coverage of the 1934 Nuremberg Nazi rally, where 30,000 Germans gathered for four days Crew of 172 people, including 36 cameramen and assistants (operating in 16 teams with 30 cameras) Crew of 172 people, including 36 cameramen and assistants (operating in 16 teams with 30 cameras) Groundbreaking use of camera angles/locations/movement, as well as stellar editing, use of both diegetic and non-diegetic music Groundbreaking use of camera angles/locations/movement, as well as stellar editing, use of both diegetic and non-diegetic music

6 Pre-WWII Points: Before Pearl Harbor, WWII was “not our problem”-- indeed, most Americans opposed the U.S. entry into the war Before Pearl Harbor, WWII was “not our problem”-- indeed, most Americans opposed the U.S. entry into the war e.g., Caught in the Draft (1941)--Bob Hope as a comic draft-dodger e.g., Caught in the Draft (1941)--Bob Hope as a comic draft-dodger e.g., Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940) was viewed as tasteless, overstated e.g., Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940) was viewed as tasteless, overstated e.g., To Be or Not to Be (1942) was criticized for portraying Nazis so negatively--as buffoons (composer Miklos Rozsa backed out because of this) e.g., To Be or Not to Be (1942) was criticized for portraying Nazis so negatively--as buffoons (composer Miklos Rozsa backed out because of this)

7 Pre-WWII Points: Charlie Chaplin & The Great Dictator Charlie Chaplin ( ) Charlie Chaplin ( ) Great silent film comic (as you know)—his “Little Tramp” character was the most recognizable persona in the world Great silent film comic (as you know)—his “Little Tramp” character was the most recognizable persona in the world Emigrated from Britain in 1912 Emigrated from Britain in 1912 Slow to move to sound (his Modern Times (1936) was still silent); The Great Dictator, his first sound film, proved his mastery Slow to move to sound (his Modern Times (1936) was still silent); The Great Dictator, his first sound film, proved his mastery The Great Dictator (1940) The Great Dictator (1940) Satire of Nazi Germany; Chaplin criticized for his targeting of Hitler Satire of Nazi Germany; Chaplin criticized for his targeting of Hitler Beautiful use of pseudo-German language in Hynkel’s speech Beautiful use of pseudo-German language in Hynkel’s speech After the scope of Nazi atrocities became known, it was decades before Nazis were satirized again (Hogan’s Heroes, The Producers and “Springtime for Hitler”) After the scope of Nazi atrocities became known, it was decades before Nazis were satirized again (Hogan’s Heroes, The Producers and “Springtime for Hitler”)

8 Pre-WWII Points: Ernst Lubitsch & To Be or Not To Be Ernst Lubitsch ( ) Ernst Lubitsch ( ) A German Jew, he first made films in Weimar Germany A German Jew, he first made films in Weimar Germany Emigrated to Hollywood in 1922 Emigrated to Hollywood in 1922 Warner Bros.  Paramount in 1935 (head of production)  MGM 1939  20 th Century Fox 1943 Warner Bros.  Paramount in 1935 (head of production)  MGM 1939  20 th Century Fox 1943 Known for the “Lubitsch Touch” Known for the “Lubitsch Touch” an unparalleled comic sophistication with guaranteed audience response! an unparalleled comic sophistication with guaranteed audience response! Films with “The Touch” include: Films with “The Touch” include: Design for Living (1933) Design for Living (1933) Ninotchka (1939) Ninotchka (1939) The Shop Around the Corner (1940) The Shop Around the Corner (1940) To Be or Not To Be (1942) To Be or Not To Be (1942)

9 Pre-WWII Points: Ernst Lubitsch & To Be or Not To Be To Be or Not To Be (1942) To Be or Not To Be (1942) Produced independently by Lubitsch For United Artists Produced independently by Lubitsch For United Artists Starring Carole Lombard (her last film before dying in a plane crash during a war bond tour), Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart, Lionel Atwill, Sig Ruman Starring Carole Lombard (her last film before dying in a plane crash during a war bond tour), Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart, Lionel Atwill, Sig Ruman Lubitsch was criticized for his treatment of Nazis... Film shot before U.S. entered WWII Lubitsch was criticized for his treatment of Nazis... Film shot before U.S. entered WWII Influences include Mel Brooks (“Heil Myself”) Influences include Mel Brooks (“Heil Myself”) Many elements of early dark comedy Many elements of early dark comedy Characteristics of dark comedy? (See genre handout) Characteristics of dark comedy? (See genre handout)

10 Pre-WWII Points: December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy (i.e., Pearl Harbor) December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy (i.e., Pearl Harbor) A recognition that film is central to people’s lives, led to... A recognition that film is central to people’s lives, led to... U.S. Office of War Information (OWI) requested that Hollywood concentrate on 6 subjects: the enemy, the Allies, the Armed Forces, the front, the home front, the issues. U.S. Office of War Information (OWI) requested that Hollywood concentrate on 6 subjects: the enemy, the Allies, the Armed Forces, the front, the home front, the issues. No more war comedies; the Nazis aren’t funny anymore (until Mel Brooks, of course, and his “let’s make fun of Nazis” motif across many films) No more war comedies; the Nazis aren’t funny anymore (until Mel Brooks, of course, and his “let’s make fun of Nazis” motif across many films)

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