Intro to Film

Academia is the death of cinema. - Werner Herzog

film-dot-com:

CHARLIE CHAPLIN DIRECTING “CITY LIGHTS”

Via YouTube: “A look behind the scenes as Chaplin directs one of the most memorable scenes in the 1931 film, “City Lights.” This particular scene was key in order for the blind girl to think that the Tramp was actually a wealthy man. Chaplin spent a year trying to figure out how to accomplish this, and ended up with 342 takes of the scene when all was said and done. He also did not get along well with Virginia Cherrill who played the blind girl and was easily frustrated with her on set - some of which is apparent in this video.”

(h/t The Film Stage)

FILM.COM

thespacegoat:

introtofilm:

A wonderful (and quite surprising) gag in Buster Keaton’s One Week (1920): the Bride is taking a bath and drops the soap on the rug. She leans over to pick it up, then stops short and looks directly at the camera. A hand appears from outside the frame to block the lens and is removed a moment later to reveal the grinning Bride, happily soaping up once more.

Cursory research suggests this might be the first instance of breaking the fourth wall in narrative film, which makes me a little giddy.

(You can watch One Week here or here.)

This was the second time this happened in film. The first was in 1917 for the Fatty Arbuckle/Buster Keaton film Coney Island

When Arbuckle changes he makes sure the camera doesn’t look at him take his pants off and motions for it to move upwards

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This was common in a lot of silent comedies at the time and often after doing a gag the actor would look at the camera and laugh as if they were interacting with the viewer.

Coney Island is available to be viewed here

Now we know. Thank you!

(via thespacegoat)

A wonderful (and quite surprising) gag in Buster Keaton’s One Week (1920): the Bride is taking a bath and drops the soap on the rug. She leans over to pick it up, then stops short and looks directly at the camera. A hand appears from outside the frame to block the lens and is removed a moment later to reveal the grinning Bride, happily soaping up once more.

Cursory research suggests this might be the first instance of breaking the fourth wall in narrative film, which makes me a little giddy.

(You can watch One Week here or here.)

  • Me: Damn it, I can't seem to keep up with the reading for this class.
  • My brain: How come?
  • Me: You know, with work and everything else...
  • My brain: So, uh, what're you doing now?
  • Me: Looking at Ryan Gosling gifs on Tumblr.
  • My brain: ...
  • Me: Shut up.
When we watch a film in the theater, we actually spend as much as 50 percent of the time in darkness, with the projector’s shutter closed and nothing before us on the screen. Thus the continuity of movement and light that seems to be the most palpable quality of the cinema exists only in our brains.

David Cook, A History of Narrative Film

Learning this fascinating fact just in time for it to be made history by digital projection.

So that’s why my back hurts.

murmurandshout:

Paper copy of The Great Train Robbery (1903) at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center

Excellent article/photo gallery: Digitizing the past and present at the Library of Congress

The Lonedale Operator (D.W. Griffith, 1911, 16:49)

Featuring the relatively new technique known as “the close-up.” 

Live-blogging The Great Train Robbery (Edwin S. Porter, 1903, 12 minutes)

0:05 - Hey, I’m finally watching a real western!

0:49 - Oh man, what a beautiful fall. None of this ‘softening the landing with your hands’ amateur nonsense.

2:58 - Gotta love that death. ACTING!*

3:56 - Stop! Stop, he’s already de-e-ead.

5:24 - How many people are on this train, jeez.

5:46 - Another great death. Subtlety is for jerks.

6:28 - Something you don’t often see in modern westerns: everyone rushing to help the wounded.

7:47 - I love how each character crosses the little stream in a different way. Nice way to cram in some characterization with such limited opportunities.

8:05 - And then the one guy who can’t get on his horse! I bet that’s the same one who fell in the stream. He’s my favorite now. I’m already imagining him being played by Sam Rockwell.

8:26 - Again! Flat on his face! Wonderful.

8:41 - Is that Suzy Bishop in her raven costume? What’s happening right now?

9:20 - The music is suddenly very inappropriate.

11:11 - William Blake enters stage left.

11:27 - This guy!*

*Thorburn used the film to illustrate two points: first, the way in which early film acting imitated theater acting because the possibilities provided by a camera instead of a stage were still being discovered (hence, the overacting so the folks in the back can see you). And second, to showcase that fellow at the end, who has no place in the narrative. He exists solely to dramatically illustrate, to an audience who still didn’t fully comprehend what moving pictures were, the divide between film and reality. This concept is especially fascinating if you try, really try, to imagine what it would have been like to experience this phenomenon for the first time. It must have seemed to be nothing short of magic.

This is the professor, David Thorburn. I like him. He’s very energetic! Look at him waving his fists in the air while he talks about film as a social form.