That, in one cold precise paragraph, sums up the career of D. W. Griffith, the man who not only invented screen syntax, but also--and more importantly--gave the cinema the most precious gift of all, beauty. That beauty he presented to film audiences to a large extent through the actresses whom he used in his productions, actresses who studied individually might appear to have little in common but who together had one major common denominator: they were all Griffith Girls.
What made a Griffith girl? Physically, they were all small, slim, and young, the last attribute perhaps being the most important. "We pick the little women because the world loves youth, and all its wistful sweetness. . . . Youth with its dreams and sweetness, youth with its romance and adventure! For in the theater, as in our families, we look to youth for beauty and often for example. We sit in the twilight of the theater and in terms of youth, upon faces enlarged, we see thoughts that are personal to us, with the privilege of supplying our own words and messages as they may fit our individual experiences in life."
All the Griffith girls (excluding, of course, the character actresses) were less than twenty years of age when they came under his direction; Blanche Sweet was not yet fourteen when she joined Biograph, and Carol Dempster was eighteen when she made True Heart Susie, as was Miriam Cooper when she made Intolerance.
It is often said, foolishly, that the Griffith heroine was always ethereal. Which other Griffith actress, aside from Lillian Gish, can be described as ethereal? Certainly not Blanche Sweet or Mae Marsh or Clarine Seymour. As "The Little Disturber" in Hearts of the World, Dorothy Gish was anything but ethereal, and Carol Dempster was only ethereal in as much as she was trying to emulate Lillian Gish. If anything a Griffith heroine had many masculine traits, in that she would fight for what she desired, and if she did not get it, it was not through want of trying.
The quality which made these actresses so special, the quality which Griffith saw in each of them--perhaps not instantly, but very soon after the first meeting--was, I believe, "soul." By "soul" I mean emotion, an inner quality that could be brought to the surface and exposed before the camera: an inner quality that might remain dormant until its possessor came into contact with a mesmerist, a Svengali, a D. W. Griffith.
"Soul" was an expression Griffith often referred to when discussing film acting: "The actor with the Soul enters into the work with all the ardor there is in him. He feels his part, he is living his part, and the result is a good picture. . . . For principals I must have people with souls, people who know and feel their parts, and who express every single feeling in the entire gamut of emotions with their muscles. . . . It isn't what you do with your face or your hands, it's the light within. If you have that light, it doesn't matter just what you do before the camera."
Griffith's choice of actresses seldom faltered. He always seemed to know who had that "light within," although it wasn't always apparent the first time he worked with a particular actress. Linda Arvidson comments, regarding Blanche Sweet, that when she first applied for work at American Biograph, he was "as yet unwilling to grant that she had any soul or feeling in her work." Occasionally he failed to spot that light at all, as with Florence Lawrence, whom he allowed without demur to leave American Biograph and join Carl Laemmle.
All these players remained loyal to Griffith; their devotion was absolute. Lillian Gish has shown her devotion not only in the title of her autobiography, but in one of her acknowledgements therein: "To D. W. Griffith who taught me it was more fun to work than to play." Lionel Barrymore wrote, "Bless him, he always tried to make one feel his contribution was great even though it might have been piffle." All of his players have protected his good name throughout the years. It is almost impossible to find anyone who has ever worked for Griffith who has one word of criticism of him. (One almost feels obligated to use a capital "H" for his or him.) The general feeling about the man by all who knew him was summed up by Blanche Sweet, when we discussed his funeral.
"I did go to his funeral, although I don't believe in funerals. But I did go there, and felt very badly about it, because there were quite a lot of people there, but on the other hand, all of Hollywood should have been there--standing. All of Hollywood, because without him, maybe someone else would have come along and done it, maybe, but maybe not. Anyway, he did it. And he contributed more, actually, to making motion pictures than anybody else. There have been a lot of people, men and women, who had done a great deal for films, contributed a lot, but nobody did quite as much as he did. And I really felt that everybody who ever worked in the films should have been there. Well, that's one reason why I don't believe in funerals."
This volume chronicles lives and careers of several of the Griffith girls. Without him most, maybe all, would be unknown today, but I also like to think that his success owed much to their presence in his films. He brought out the best in them, and they responded by assuring his films--through their acting--a place in the history of the cinema.
In 1928, D. W. Griffith addressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with the following words: "When motion pictures have created something to compare with the plays of Euripides, that have lasted two thousand years, or the works of Homer, or the plays of Shakespeare, or Ibsen, or Keats 'Ode to a Nightingale,' the music of Handel, Bach, and Wagner, then let us call our form of entertainment an art, but not before." Griffith was not a modest man; I believe he knew when he made that speech that his films had equalled the works of Homer, Shakespeare, or Handel, that Broken Blossoms was comparable in beauty to "Ode to a Nightingale." But, as in any great man's work, it was the collaborators, the interpreters, who played their part as well. The Griffith girls were the Sarah Bernhardt and the Julia Marlowe to his Shakespeare, the Kirsten Flagsted to his Wagner. To them also should be given the praise and the glory. We shall not see David Wark Griffith's like again; nor, I fear, shall we see theirs--the Griffith Girls'.
Italian features in which the city has played an important part include Roma, città aperta/Rome Open City ( 1945), Sciuscià/Shoeshine ( 1946), Paisà/Paisan ( 1946), Ladri di biciclette/The Bicycle Thief ( 1948), Umberto D ( 1952), Lo sceicco bianco/The White Sheik ( 1952), La notti di Cabiria/The Nights of Cabiria ( 1957), La ciociara/Two Women ( 1960), Il gobbo/The Hunchback of Rome ( 1960), La dolce vita ( 1960), Il conformista/The Conformist ( 1970), Roma ( 1972), and Scherzo del destino agguato dietro l'angelo come un brigante di strada/A Joke of Destiny ( 1983).
Among the American features that have utilized Rome are The Eternal City ( 1915), The Eternal City ( 1923), One Night in Rome ( 1924), Never Take No for an Answer ( 1952), Roman Holiday ( 1953), Three Coins in the Fountain ( 1954), Seven Hills of Rome ( 1958), The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone ( 1961), Two Weeks in Another Town ( 1962), The Pigeon That Took Rome ( 1962), Light in the Piazza ( 1962), and Gidget Goes to Rome ( 1963).
The 1922 British feature, Squibs Wins the Calcutta Sweep, reaches its climax in Paris. Also set in Paris are the three British silent features-- The Rat ( 1925), The Triumph of the Rat ( 1926), and The Return of the Rat ( 1929)--featuring Ivor Novello as the apache of the title--and the one British sound film-- The Rat ( 1937)--with Anton Walbrook as the same character. Other British films that utilize a Paris background include Paris Plane ( 1934), It Happened in Paris ( 1935), Old Mother Riley in Paris ( 1938), This Was Paris ( 1942), Idol of Paris ( 1948), Innocents in Paris ( 1953), The Lyons in Paris ( 1955), and To Paris with Love ( 1955).
The British film industry has generally taken a jaundiced look at Paris and the French. The French themselves adopted a similar approach in the 1955 feature Les carnets du Major Thompson/The French They Are a Funny Race. American filmmakers have viewed Paris more as a city of romance, and among the dozens of American features with a Parisian backdrop are A Woman of Paris ( 1923), Young April ( 1923), While Paris Sleeps ( 1923), Open All Night ( 1924), The King of Main Street ( 1925), Kiki, ( 1926), Paris ( 1926), Paris at Midnight ( 1926), A Gentleman of Paris ( 1927), 7th Heaven ( 1927), The Cohens and Kellys in Paris ( 1928), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ( 1928), The Battle of Paris ( 1929), Lady of the Pavements ( 1929), The Love Parade ( 1929), Paris ( 1929), Remember the Night ( 1932), Love Me Tonight ( 1932), Paris Interlude ( 1934), Paris in Spring ( 1935), History Is Made at Night ( 1937), Ninotchka ( 1939), Paris Underground ( 1945), Arch of Triumph ( 1948), An American in Paris ( 1951), April in Paris ( 1952), The Last Time I Saw Paris ( 1954), Funny Face ( 1957), Paris Does Strange Things ( 1957), Love in the Afternoon ( 1957), A Certain Smile ( 1958), Can-Can ( 1960), Paris Blues ( 1961), Gigot ( 1962), Gay Pur-ree ( 1962), What a Way to Go! ( 1962), Irma La Douce ( 1963), Charade( 1963), Paris When It Sizzles ( 1964), What's New Pussycat? ( 1965), Boeing Boeing ( 1965), How to Steal a Million ( 1966), Two for the Road ( 1967), Topaz ( 1969), and "The Aristocats" ( 1970).
As far as French filmmakers are concerned, no one has shown Paris more perfectly on screen than René Clair in such films as Paris qui dort/The Crazy Ray ( 1924), Sous les toits de Paris/Under the Bridges of Paris ( 1930), Le Million/ The Million ( 1931), À Nous la liberté" ( 1931), Quatorze Juillet/July 14th ( 1933), and Porte des lilas/Gates of Paris ( 1957). Other memorable French films set in Paris include Boudu sauvé des eaux/Boudu Saved from Drowning ( 1932), L'Atalante ( 1934), Rififi ( 1955), Le ballon rouge/The Red Balloon ( 1956), Mon Oncle/My Uncle ( 1958), Les quatre cents coups/The Four Hundred Blows ( 1959), Zazie dans le mêtro ( 1960), Cleo de 5 à 7/Cleo from 5 to 7 ( 1961), Belle de Jour ( 1967), Playtime ( 1968), La vie devant soi/Madame Rosa ( 1977), and Diva ( 1981).
The Italian film industry's best-known contribution to Parisian films is, of course, Ultimo tango a Parigi/Last Tango in Paris ( 1972).
Two early adventurers-cum-cinematographers Martin E. and Osa Johnson made a number of features set in Africa, including Trailing African Wild Animals ( 1923), Congorilla ( 1932), and Baboona ( 1935). After the death of her husband in 1937, Osa Johnson worked solo, with later films including I Married Adventure ( 1940) and African Paradise ( 1942). Osa Johnson published a volume on the careers of herself and her husband, I Married Adventure ( Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott), in 1940.
Through the minds of two burglars that have died on the job, the play presents an ironic and whimsical satire on hope. In "the lonely place" before the Gate of Heaven, Jim -- who was hanged -- tilts empty whiskey bottles, only to be mocked by far-away laugher, while the more recently dead Bill takes out his jimmy and works. The glittering gate swings open, to reveal only the blooming great stars. Bill is aghast, as the mocking laughter rises, and Jim exclaims: "That's like them. That's very like them. Yes, they'd do that!"
The Glittering Gate opened at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse on March 6, 1915, and became popular all over the United States. The Milwaukee Leader, after a 1917 production, called Dunsany"the most imaginative dramatist now using the English language." The Glittering Gate, as well as Dunsany's later plays, allows for imaginative staging and lighting. The language is simple, yet fraught with tense anticipation and muted suggestion along the brink of terror.
The emptiness of the hereafter envisioned in The Glittering Gate has caused critics to seek to reassure their readers. It has been suggested that Dunsany meant to show merely that there is no heaven for such as Jim and Bill, but the London Referee ( March 25, 1920) was more consoling: "The stars are not, after all, a negation. Their only fault is that they are as far away as before. And we have to remember the possibility of more 'gates' than one to the Heavenly estate." The play remains quietly ironic.
The later dramas of Lord Dunsany were less universal in their evocation.
Philip Dunning, who wrote the play with George Abbott, and who peddled it for three years before Jed Harris produced it, said that he was "casting a challenge to the so-called silver screen. . . I set out then to write a play of continuous action occurring in a background that adhered to its prototype in real life with utter fidelity. As an indication of the pace at which the action moves, there is the fact that in the three acts of Broadway there are more than three hundred entrances and exits."
In its summer tryout at Atlantic City, the play was called The Roaring Forties (the New York night-club and theatre district stretches from Fortieth to Fifty-Second Street). It opened in New York at the Broadhurst Theatre on September 16, 1926, as Broadway, and caught on like wildfire. Never before did a drama gross a million dollars in thirty-seven weeks. (It cost but $9,000 to produce.) Broadway ran in New York for three years, while it was being played elsewhere by ten other companies, four of them abroad.
St. John Ervine called the English production "very crude, very direct, and very real." The London Mail said, "Much of it seems exceedingly vulgar; and no revue producer has dared undress his chorus to the extent of the girls supposed to represent the cabaret troupe." The English Lord Chamberlain, in truth, ordered some changes. He deleted about 30% of the profanity, changed "God!" to "Gee!", and subdued "Make your hands behave!" to "Stop!"
Two movements are intertwined in Broadway. There is the melodramatic rivalry of the gangsters, with Steve Crandall as big boss of the bootlegging racket; and there is the sentimental story of sweet Billie Moore, of the chorus at the Paradise Night Club, and her sweetheart, the hoofer Roy Lane. Steve, however, also has designs on Billie, and when the gangster shoots an uptown rival, somehow the police find Roy holding the murder gun. Things look bad for Billie and Roy; but when the uptown gangster's girl friend shoots Steve, the lovers are free to hope for happier days on Broadway.
Some critics were not sure of the play's appeal. Brooks Atkinson observed that it often has "the illusion of motion even when it is not progressing at all," but he felt that it was on the whole a "firmly packed melodrama." Alan Dale insisted that "this ingenious chatter of Broadway has nothing at all to interest anybody but the residents of near-FortySecond street." The New York Telegram concurred with Dale. However, the play's stage history, including wide production among college groups, and "little" and summer theatres, shows that the rest of the country thrilled to the picture of life on the Gay White Way.
The play was twice converted into a motion picture: in 1929, with Lee Tracy and Sylvia Field; in 1942, with Pat O'Brien, Janet Blair, and George Raft (who played the part of "George Raft, the hoofer").
In 1907, a would-be playwright came to Edison with a filmscript for sale. Edison did not like the script, but he hired its author, David Wark Griffith, as an actor. Griffith refused to use his real name, which he wanted to save for his true profession of the stage, but he needed money and accepted the job. Thus began the career of the man who would turn this entertainment into an art. He began making films himself shortly. His tastes in plots were melodramatic, but his interests in technique were both innovative and scientific. Guided by his cameraman, Billy Bitzer, he began to experiment with editing and shots, finding many ideas for cinematic technique in the sentimental novels and poems of nineteenth-century literature. Gradually he persuaded both audiences and company bosses to accept the idea of a more complicated plot told in a lengthy movie. The result was the first major, long film. In 1915, after unheard-of amounts of time in production, Griffith released The Birth of a Nation, a story of the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The racial overtones of the film caused considerable controversy, but the power of the images and the timing of the editing created a work of art whose aesthetic excellence is not questioned. In response to the criticism of his racial views, the next year Griffith directed Intolerance, which interwove four stories of intolerance into a single film. Griffith was to continue as one of America's leading directors until audiences began to lose their taste for melodrama, and other directors had learned his methods. He had been responsible for launching the careers of several directors, such as Raoul Walsh, and numerous actors, such as Lillian and Dorothy Gish, Mary Pickford, and H. B. Walthall.
While Griffith was learning how to get the most from screen actors, Thomas Ince was polishing the art of telling a story efficiently. In the early 1900s, he directed a few films ( Civilization, 1916, is the best known), but he quickly turned his attention to production, leaving the details of directing to others under his close supervision. His talent was for organization, and today he is credited with perfecting the studio system. Film is actually a collaborative art, and Ince learned how to bring the talents of many different people into a system that produced polished films, without the individualizing touches found in those films of Griffith or others who work outside the strict studio system.
One man who learned his trade from Griffith was Mack Sennett. Sennett worked for Griffith for a few years as a director and writer, but his interests were more in comedy than in melodrama. In 1912 he broke away and began to work for an independent company, Keystone. Here he learned to merge the methods of stage slapstick comedy with the techniques of film; the results were the Keystone Cops, Ben Turpin, and Charlie Chaplin. Sennett's films used only the barest plot outline as a frame for comic gags that were improvised and shot quickly. From the Sennett method, Charlie Chaplin developed his own technique and character. He began making shorts under the direction of Sennett, but in 1915 he left and joined with Essenay which agreed to let him write and direct his own films at an unprecedented salary. Here he fleshed out his tramp character; one of his first films for Essenay was The Tramp ( 1915). He continued making films that combined his own comic sense and acrobatic movements with social commentary and along with Mary Pickford became one of the first "stars." Later he made features, such as The Gold Rush ( 1925) and Modern Times ( 1936). Sennett and Chaplin began a period of great film comedy. Buster Keaton combined a deadpan look with remarkable physical ability and timing. He too began making shorts, but soon was directing and starring in features, such as The General ( 1926). Harold Lloyd ( The Freshman, 1925) and Harry Langdon ( The Strong Man, 1926) also created comic characters that demonstrated their individuality and imagination.
From these ingredients came the studio system and the star system. The demands of the moviegoing audiences created a need for a great number of films, and small companies were unable to meet the demands. Adolph Zukor at Paramount and Marcus Loew, Louis B. Mayer, and Irvin Thalberg at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer quickly learned the means of applying American business methods to this new industry. They bought out their competition and eventually controlled film production, distribution, and exhibition. Even the actors and directors got into the act as Chaplin, Griffith, Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks joined together to create United Artists, intended at first to distribute the various productions of its founders. Later it too became a studio force, along with Columbia, Fox, Warners, and others.
With the studios came the stars. The public hungered for new heroes and new sex objects, and the studios were quick to give the public what it wanted. Along with the stars who had been established in the early 1900s came the new generation of the 1920s: Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, Clara Bow. The stars soon became the nucleus of American myth, and the public followed the stars' affairs, marriages, and extravagant lives with keen interest. This was the stuff Hollywood was made of. Fortunately there were behind these stars creative directors, such as Cecil B. DeMille, Eric Von Stroheim, and Henry King, who were able to mold the talents of the stars into movies.
Eadweard Muybridge in 1877 had discovered that sequential still photographs of a horse running could be placed in a series and "projected" in such a manner as to make the photographic image of the horse appear to be running. In New Jersey in the late 1880s Thomas Edison and his crew led by William Dickson developed the idea of putting photographs on a single piece of continuous film, and George Eastman supplied the film. For projection Edison decided on the Kinetoscope, a peephole machine through which the film could be shown to one person at a time. Several creative inventors worked on the idea of a projector, but it was finally the Lumière brothers who were able to adapt Edison's ideas and develop the first practical means of allowing many people to view a movie simultaneously. The history of this new art form was then to be written in light.
Once the photographic technology had been developed, the next stage was to decide what to do with it. Obviously audiences could not long be enthralled by shots of a baby eating and would demand more. Both the Lumières and Edison attempted to expand the cinematic subject matter; but it was another Frenchman, George Melies, who first achieved any success at telling a story with film. He was a magician who used the medium as part of his act, but in the process he began to depict plot as well as action. His most famous film was A Trip to the Moon ( 1902) which described a fanciful space voyage.
In order to develop a narrative process for film, the filmmaker had to learn to manipulate both space and time, to change them, and to move characters and action within them much as a novelist does. What Melies had begun, Edison and his new director of production continued. Edwin S. Porter learned how to use dissolves and cuts between shots to indicate changes in time or space, or both; the result was The Great Train Robbery ( 1903). This Western, shot in the wilds of New Jersey, told the complete story of a train robbery, the chase of the bandits, and their eventual defeat in a gunfight with the posse. Cross-cutting allowed Porter to show in sequence activities of both the posse and the bandits that were supposed to take place at the same time.
However, in responding to competition from television, the use and type of subject matter has taken precedence over the development of technology. The movie makers have thought it necessary to give the public something that cannot be beamed into private living rooms. The results have been increased depiction of explicitness in sex and violence. Both sex and violence have been staples of the movies since the beginning, but the contemporary cinema has found new methods of enticing the public with them.
As the major Hollywood studios began to lose their domination of the American movie industry and turn their attention to television production, the leadership was taken up by independent producers and directors, making their own films and then distributing them through the networks originally established by the Hollywood companies. Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman, Arthur Penn, Peter Bogdanovich, and Francis Ford Coppola have provided America with a new group of filmmakers, men who have demonstrated a certain independence of subject and method. Part of the void left by the diminishing importance of Hollywood has been filled by foreign filmmakers whose films have been greeted with enthusiasm by American audiences. Ingmar Bergman, François Truffaut, and Federico Fellini have dominated, but for the first time countries outside of Europe have begun to leave their mark. Japan has been especially productive.
Perhaps, however, the most important change in movies in recent years has been in the audience. By no means the number of people who went to the movies in the late 1930s still do, but those who do go are younger and more knowledgeable about film. They read the books, subscribe to film journals, watch filmed interviews with movie people on television, and read daily reviews. Many in today's audience are college-educated and have taken film courses while in school; they can talk intelligently about montage, jump cuts, and fade outs. It is for this audience that Scenes from a Marriage is imported from Europe and Star Wars is made.
One factor directly affecting the films of the 1930s was censorship. Hollywood movies in the late 1920s and early 1930s had become rather open in their use of sex, and the scandals in the private lives of the stars shocked the public even as it hungered for vicarious living. Fear of government intervention and of the Depression forced the studios to censor themselves. They established the Hays Office under the directorship of Will Hays, former postmaster-general, and this office published a strict moral code for on-screen activities and language. The results stifled creativity, but the new moral tastes of the public were satisfied.
The stars captured the public's imagination as in no other time in American popular culture: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh, Edward G. Robinson, and Marlene Dietrich. The comics maintained the traditions of the silent comedians: Charlie Chaplin continued to make movies and was joined by the Marx brothers, Mae West, and W. C. Fields.
At the same time, the directors had to find a path through the maze created by the studios, the Hays Office, and the stars. They had to bring all these divergent elements together and make movies. Men such as John Ford and Howard Hawks created their own visions of America and discovered methods of capturing the American myth on film. Many of the directors of the period were immigrants: Josef von Sternberg, Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Otto Preminger, and Frank Capra. Each discovered for himself the essence of this country and its people. Perhaps that essence was most fittingly expressed in a film that came at the end of the prewar period, Citizen Kane ( 1941), the first film Orson Welles directed.
The war changed the industry. Many residents of Hollywood took time off to participate in the war effort. Some like John Ford and Frank Capra made films for the government. Others like Fritz Lang continued to make commercial films, but they were propaganda-oriented and helped build morale. The stars went to the battle areas to entertain the troops. Even studio space was commandeered to produce war documentaries, and war films became a dominant fictional genre.
Some Europeans came to America to make films: Ernst Lubitsch, Victor Seastrom, and F. W. Murnau, for examples. The influence on American film of these films and filmmakers was profound; they left their strong impression on what came to be known as the Hollywood movie.
The story surrounding the coming of sound to movies is a complex and complicated one. The idea of connecting sound to the visuals was an old one; Edison had in fact entered the movie business because he was searching for visuals to go with the phonograph he was already marketing. To convert the movie technology to sound was expensive. Despite development of the necessary technology (most notably in this country by Lee de Forest), the industry was reluctant to invest in the change. In the mid-1920s Western Electric developed a method for putting the sound on a disk that could be roughly synchronized with the film. None of the big studios could be convinced to try it, but Warners Brothers was about to be forced out of business by the other, larger companies. It had little to lose and decided to take the risk. For a year Warners distributed a program with short sound films of slight interest, but on October 6, 1927, it premiered The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson. Sound was used to help tell the story, and the public loved it. Quickly, Warners established its financial base, and other studios rushed to emulate them; but problems developed. Studios had to reequip themselves. The camera, which had been struggling to free itself and discover new methods of expression, found itself confined to a large box and immobile. Actors had to learn to speak to their audiences, and exhibitors had to invest in sound projectors and speakers. Once the problems were overcome, however, the marriage of sound to the visuals became a natural extension of the art.
JIM STEPHAN, RICHARD L. BLACKWELL, HUGH AODH O’BRIEN, WEBSTER WHINERY, J. MARK DONALDSON, JACK WEST, MARC SHAFFER, TRAMPAS THOMPSON, TOM MORGA, JEFF WOLFE, THEO KYPRI, CRAIG SILVA, KOFI ELAM, PAUL ELIOPOULOS, KURT LOTT, JAY CAPUTO, MARK NORBY, ROB MARS, JAYSON DUMENIGO, YOSHIO IIZUKA, DAVID WALD, CLAY FONTENOT, NORBERT PHILLIPS, ANTHONY KRAMME, THOMAS ROSALES, JR., DEREK MEARS, MARK DEALESSANDRO, MICKEY GIACOMAZZI, PHILIP TAN, JIM PALMER, BRIAN J. WILLIAMS, VICTOR QUINTERO, KIANTE ELAM, PHIL CULOTTA, RUSSELL TOWERY, GENE HARTLINE, JP ROMANO, GREG ELAM, JOEY ANAYA, KEITH CAMPBELL, JON VALERA, JOHN ROBOTHAM, KOFI YIADOM, SONJA JO McDANCER, STACY HOWELL, KORI MURRAY, CARYN MOWER, NOBY ARDEN, ANDREW STEHLIN, AUGIE DAVIS, SALA BAKER, ROBERT ALONZO, ROEL FAILMA, AARON TONEY, XUYEN VALDIVIA, JOHN DONOHUE, JOSEPH SOSTHAND, DEAN GRIMES, GARY STEARNS, ANDY DYLAN, DENNEY PIERCE, ALEX CHANSKY, BRIAN BENNETT, STEPHEN POPE, HENRY KINGI, JR., JEREMY FRY, DON LEE, CHRISTOPHER LEPS, CASEY O’NEILL, BRYCEN COUNTS, SAM HARGRAVE, LINCOLN SIMONDS, DANE FARWELL, BRIAN DUFFY
Stunt Coordinator: GEORGE MARSHALL RUGE
Assistant Stunt Coordinator: DANIEL W. BARRINGER
“Jack Sparrow” Stunt Double: TONY ANGELOTTI
“Will Turner” Stunt Doubles: ZACH HUDSON, MARK AARON WAGNER
“Elizabeth Swann” Stunt Double: LISA HOYLE
“Norrington” Stunt Double/Sword Master: THOMAS DUPONT
Lead Utility Stunt Double: KIRK MAXWELL
Pirates of The Caribbean Dead Man's Chest Cast
Jack Sparrow: JOHNNY DEPP, Will Turner: ORLANDO BLOOM, Elizabeth Swann: KEIRA KNIGHTLEY, Norrington: JACK DAVENPORT, Davy Jones: BILL NIGHY, Governor Weatherby Swann: JONATHAN PRYCE, Pintel: LEE ARENBERG, Ragetti : MACKENZIE CROOK, Gibbs: KEVIN R. McNALLY, Cotton: DAVID BAILIE, Bootstrap Bill: STELLAN SKARSGÅRD, Cutler Beckett: TOM HOLLANDER, Tia Dalma: NAOMIE HARRIS, Marty: MARTIN KLEBBA, Mercer: DAVID SCHOFIELD, Captain Bellamy: ALEX NORTON, Scarlett: LAUREN MAHER, Short Sailor: NEJ ADAMSON, Large Sailor: JIMMY ROUSSOUNIS, Sunburned Sailor: MORAY TREADWELL, Leech: SAN SHELLA, Fisherman (Montage): JIM CODY WILLIAMS, Cannibal Warrior: MICHAEL MIRANDA, Frightened Sailor: LUKE DE WOOLFSON, Very Old Man: DERRICK O’CONNOR, Skinny Man: GEORGES TRILLAT, Crippled Man: ISRAEL ADURAMO, Irish Man: GERRY O’BRIEN, Maccus/Dutchman: DERMOT KEANEY, Koleniko/Dutchman: CLIVE ASHBORN, Shrimper (Montage): ROBBIE GEE, Cannibal Boy: NEIL PANLASIGUI, Sailor/Edinburgh: MATTHEW BOWYER, Burser/Edinburgh: MAX BAKER, Quartermaster/Edinburgh: STEVE SPEIRS, Wyvern: JOHN BOSWALL, Palafico/Dutchman: WINSTON ELLIS, Jimmy Legs/Dutchman: CHRISTOPHER ADAMSON, Clacker/Dutchman: ANDY BECKWITH, Ogilvey/Dutchman: JONATHAN LINSLEY, Shrimper’s Brother: SYLVER, Chaplain: SIMON MEACOCK, Cannibal Women: NATSUKO OHAMA JOSIE DAPAR, Giselle: VANESSA BRANCH, Edinburgh Cook: DAVID STERNE, Scuttled Ship Helmsman: DAVID KEYES, Cannibal: ANTHONY PATRICIO, Carruthers Guard: BARRY McEVOY, Deckhand/Edinburgh: MICHAEL ENRIGHT, Sweepy: HERNANDO “SWEEPY” MOLINA, Turkish Prisoners: JOHN MACKEY, SPIDER MADISON, BUD MATHIS, Turkish Guards: MARCO KHAN, DAVID ZAHEDIAN, FAOUZI BRAHIMI, Torch Native: JONATHAN LIMBO, Native Bridge Guard: ALEX CONG, Ho-Kwan: HO-KWAN TSE, Headless : REGGIE LEE, Lejon: LEJON O. STEWART, Parrot Voice: CHRISTOPHER S. CAPP
Of all the symbols, sex and wealth are the most important. Every Hollywood male is supposed to be a "wolf" and every Hollywood female a tempting object easily seduced. The movie fans, worshiping their heroes, believe this. For the conservative or radical, sex over and beyond the traditional mores and codes is part of their idea of Hollywood. The other characteristic -- easy Hollywood money, an enormous fortune quickly made -- is the contemporary Cinderella theme for the naive youngster in Alabama who has just won a beauty contest, as well as for the sophisticated New York writer who has been asked to come for six months to a Hollywood studio. No matter what the other symbols, or for whom they have meaning, the accent is on sex and money, for the Hollywood inhabitants as well as for the world outside.
Many other communities have a symbolic character. Paris, New York, a farming community in the Midwest, a town in the Deep South, an island in the South Seas, all mean many things to many people. For some, a South Seas island is thought of as an escape from a troubled world, for others as a place where money can be made by exploiting natural resources; for some it is a place where natives live a peaceful life, for others one where savages roam about in head-hunting expeditions. The anthropologist tries to find out what the place and people are really like. In studying Hollywood, he asks: Which of the myths and symbols have a basis in reality, which are fantasy, and which are a combination? What is their effect on the people who work and live there? What are significant elements about which the world outside does not even know enough to develop a folklore or mythology?
The geographical location of any community always has important social implications, and Hollywood is no exception. The semitropical climate gives a certain soft ease to living. Beaches, desert and mountains are all within easy reach, and the almost continuous sunshine is an ever-present invitation to the outdoors. Although Los Angeles stretches in distance for eighty-five miles and has a population of approximately four million, the whole of it is dominated by Hollywood. If the center of movie production had been in New York, the metropolis would probably have influenced the making of movies, rather than being dominated by it. Its location on the West Coast successfully isolated the movie colony in the past. Today, however, this insularity no longer exists, since many movies are being made on location in different parts of the country and abroad. There is also among the upperbracket people considerable trekking -- more literally, flying -- back and forth between Los Angeles and New York. But these actors as well as the many others who do not travel have their roots in Hollywood, and the new trend has not materially changed the colony's essential character.
Hollywood's domination of Los Angeles comes out in many ways. The most trivial news about personalities in the movie world are front-page headlines in the city newspapers. Many of the local mores have been strongly influenced by the movie industry. The standard technique for a "pick-up" in Los Angeles is for the man to suggest to the desired female that he knows someone who will give her a screen test. Pretty girls, working in the popular drive-ins, live in hopes that a producer or director will notice them. Schoolteachers, doctors, white-collar workers and many others who have never shown any talent for writing, and who in another community would have quite different goals, spend their spare time writing movie scripts. Earnest little groups meet an evening a week to criticize each other's work, expecting soon to reach the pot of gold at the end of the Hollywood rainbow. The people who work at the making of movies refer to those unconnected with the industry as "private people," the implication being that such individuals are unimportant.
Peter Weir's film, Witness, was the outstanding success among the American movies made by Australian directors. It won eight Academy Award nominations, and received an award for best screenplay, written by Earl Wallace and William Kelley. Although working with an all-American crew except for his Australian cameraman, John Seale, Weir retained an Australian sense of detachment from American culture, strong enough to realistically show the Amish people, yet sympathetic enough to develop a plausible, tough cop role for Harrison Ford as Philadelphia detective John Book. Witness is a crossover, mixing the elements of a western, a crooked cop story, and a romance, that raises important questions about the role of violence in modern American life.
King David, Iceman, and Plenty
In comparison with the success of Witness, Beresford's American-made King David, with Richard Gere, was a dismal flop. The film's trailer shows Gere's David as the lover of Bathsheba, the slayer of Goliath, a rebel, a fighter, and a king. Beresford brought some of the legendary battle scenes off well, and the romance more awkwardly, but other sequences in the movie, like Gere's semi-nude dancing entry to Jerusalem, verged on the ridiculous.
Schepisi's American film, Iceman( 1984) and, more notably, his 1985 feature, Plenty, with Meryl Streep, were more critically successful, with Plenty doing satisfactory box-office business.
Plenty, in comparison, had many strong features, notably the presence of Meryl Streep as Susan Traherne, an ex-World War II Resistance fighter, and later an English diplomat's wife in the 1950s. Streep had emerged by this time as one of the major postfeminist female stars. Her performances in Julia( 1978), Silkivood( 1983), and Out of Aftica( 1985) made her a 1980s update of the Jane Fonda-feminist image of the 1970s.
The other Australian-directed American movie that did very well critically, if not so well commercially, was Gillian Armstrong's feature Mrs.Soffell Soffell, featuring Diane Keaton and Mel Gibson. An unlikely love story, Mrs. Soffell ( Diane Keaton) is the wife of Warden Soffell ( Edward Hermann) in Philadelphia in 1901.
Some Other Movies:
The Adventures of Barry Mackenzie
Buffalo Bill and the Indians
Burke and Wills
Careful, He Might Hear You
The Cars That Ate People/Paris
The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith
The Coca-Cola Kid
The Color Purple
Conan the Barbarian
The Coolangatta Gold
A Country Practice (TV)
Cyclone Tracy (TV)
Death of a Soldier
The Deer Hunter
Desperately Seeking Susan
The Devil's Playground
The Don Lane Show (TV)
Down and Out in Beverly Hills
The Empire Strikes Back
For the Term of His Natural Life
Friday the 13th
The Fringe Dwellers
The Getting of Wisdom
Happy Days (TV)
It's a Wonderful Life
The Killing Fields
Kramer vs. Kramer
The Last Frontier (TV)
The Last Wave
Laugh In (TV)
Little Big Man
Mad Dog Morgan
Mad Max II/The Road Warrior
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
The Man From Snowy River
Man of Flowers
The Mosquito Coast
My Brilliant Career
My Survival as an Aboriginal
The Night, the Prowler
The Odd Angry Shot
On Our Selection
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
One Night Stand
Picnic at Hanging Rock
The Pirate Movie
Pretty in Pink
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Return of Captain Invincible
The Right Stuff
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Sentimental Bloke
Sons of Matthew
Sunday Too Far Away
Sword of Honor (TV)
The Thief of Sydney
The Thorn Birds (TV)
They're a Weird Mob
A Town Like Alice (TV)
The Twilight Zone
Wake in Fright
We of the Never Never
Wrong Side of the Road
The Year of Living Dangerously
This more complex analysis points up the simplifications inherent in taking the straight Garden-Desert contrast, or, for that matter, the familiar moral-heroic image of the westerner so well expressed by Robert Warshow. The western deals in more complex distinctions than this, though its very familarity may delude us into underestimation. The Wilderness may be a context for an agrarian dream (as in Wagon Master or Drums Along the Mohawk the Mohawk), or an intrinsically antagonistic desert (as in Fort Apache). Civilisation may be both the community spirit of the pioneering township (the 'Sunday morning' sequence of My Darling Clementine), or unwanted 'control' from back East (the military high-ups unseen but felt in Rio Grande or Fort Apache). The simple distinction between Wilderness and Civilisation is a key; it is not also the whole melody. The western is richer than that.
One thing, though, is immediately notable: all the examples just quoted are films made by John Ford. It is a remarkable characteristic of the western that one director has figured so prominently in it. From his first feature, Straight Shooting, in 1917, through to Cheyenne Autumn in 1964, he has charted most reaches of the genre. And where he has led the rest have followed, many of the characteristic images and interests of the western deriving from Ford's particular articulation of American history. To trace the changing shape of his westerns is to follow the contours of the genre from its beginnings in romantic dream to the progressive souring of the sixties and seventies. So, inevitably, Ford provides the standard example for the Garden-Desert conception. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance straddles the two images; its twin heroes encompass the contrast. Doniphon ( John Wayne), the pragmatic, individual, man of the west, loses the girl and his dream of a ranch, finally dying a pauper. His fate is sealed by his unselfish actions: he shoots Liberty Valance in such a situation that Stoddart ( James Stewart) is credited with the success. On this basis Stoddart wins both girl and a successful political career; he is the eastern-trained lawyer and through him Civilization is brought west, but only at the expense of Doniphon and the individualistic integrity for which he stands. One recurrent image binds the elements together, uniting in itself components of both Garden and Desert: the cactus-rose, its final sad resting place on Doniphon's coffin.
They grew liberally around his projected ranch, and this was his dream, to keep the best of Garden and Desert, Wilderness and Civilisation. The film's poignancy lies in the demonstrable impossibility of preserving the western spirit in the face of Civilisation. In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and The Searchers Wayne finally sees out the earlier aspirations of Ford's Henry Fonda in Drums Along the Mohawk and My Darling Clementine.
In this context it is easy to see why Nash Smith's conception has proved so attractive. It is a general formulation which makes sense out of a number of facets of the western. In one straightforward conception it is possible to capture the typical environments, social structures, and themes which inform the genre. The frontier spirit, the creation of 'civilisation', law enforcement, subjugation of the 'natural savage', and the wagon train, are all quite sensibly linked within the master conception.
Even so, to start by abstracting Garden and Desert invites a highly selective view. And although selectivity is unavoidable it must be possible to start with more open parameters than this. The risk in reducing the genre to this 'master theme' is that we by-pass inflections which are thereby rendered insignificant. Revenge, for example, is one of the most common narrative patterns of the western. As such it has no particular affinity with the Garden-Desert conception. Yet it has been central to many westerns; the code of honour that it represents is an integral part of the western landscape. It would be a very limited account which failed to include such an important element. So, although the Nash Smith imagery has surely been established as an important part of any analysis of the western, it is not all. It is a useful backdrop against which we can consider the history and content of the genre.
There was a good deal already to hand when the movies latched onto the western. Some of the popular conventions had already found expression in the dime novel and other fiction of the period. The familiar image of the cowboy was already established. Besides, action was predictably proving a great attraction in the new medium; what else in moving pictures? And what better context than the largely imaginary world of the silent movie frontier? The very first influential story film, Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery, was a primitive combination of a roughly western setting with a good deal of action interest. That was in 1903. But what Jacobs refers to as 'a flood of western pictures' came round 1907 when some film companies moved west. As in the other movies of the time the primitive story line was all-important. It was sufficient to make exciting narrative sense. But year by year the movies became more sophisticated. By the time the westerns shift out of the tworeelers and into features we are in the era of Bronco Billy, William S. Hart, Tom Mix and Hoot Gibson. It was in this situation that the historic cowboys overlapped with those in the movies -- Ford talks of meeting Wyatt Earp and a number of friends from Tombstone. And it is in this formative period that the pattern of the genre was first outlined. Here the morally scrupulous cowboy hero comes to the fore. The western is born.
So far the success of the western seems largely immanent to the genre. The proven capacity of the medium for exploiting action, plus this idealised historic and geographic context, seem just as important as any thesis invoking 'national identity'. Following Alan Lovell's excellent discussion we can see that it is later, in the early twenties, that more generally significant developments come. In Cruze's The Covered Wagon and Ford's The Iron Horse begins the shift from a handily located action picture to a celebration of the historic move west. The crudely developed cowboy hero now had the beginning of a fitting context. With these films the genre was opened to '. . . the full force of Western history; inside it played all the themes, legends, and heroes associated with that history'. A romanticised history could now go hand in hand with a romanticised hero. The classical period had begun; its climacteric, Lovell argues, lay in My Darling Clementine, a western integrating all the basic elements. Which is not to say that the two intervening decades showed no changes in the genre. One thing evident as early as The Covered Wagon was a certain 'documentary' inclination, a detailed and realistic surface to the film. This injection of realism -- 'naturalism' is a better word for it -- has stayed with the western for most of its development.
The 'French thesis' on the western tends to see increasing realism in the thirties as a response to the concerns of the depression, and it is obviously true that some films of the period, not just westerns, betray a concern with 'realistic social issues'. But a large part of the naturalism of the western must surely have derived from a combination of growing technical accomplishment applied to the historical and physical context of the movies. The events and settings of the western demanded naturalistic treatment; for years they were almost the only films shot anywhere but on tawdry sets. Western naturalism must owe its development as much as to the internal requirements of the genre as to outside social and political factors.
Let's go back to the shimmer of the myth, the fur-haloed head. What is the myth? The general myth of stardom, as I've said, of a perfection so stylized and mystified that it scarcely seems human. But there is also a particular Dietrich myth. She is not just a star, but this star; the star she is, as Bishop Butler nearly said, and not another one. This myth has to do with the lure and the durability of an impossible innocence, an innocence, what's more, which finally turns into something else, an odd mixture of endurance and independence.
Much of what Dietrich "means" in films is caught between her two most frequent looks: her eyes are wide open, trusting, she is a woman who dares to be a child; her eyes are hooded by the heavy lids, she is smoking, shut away in her worldliness and scorn. Does she endure by becoming hard and cynical? No, because then she wouldn't be able to go back to her vulnerable look. She endures by being able to travel between the two looks, or to hint at the one hiding in the other. The heart of the myth, it seems to me, is this. Dietrich's beauty is so refined and geometrical, so abstract, so much a matter of smooth skin, carved cheekbones, and eyebrows that owe everything to draughtsmanship and nothing to hair, that she seems untouchable and therefore untouched—whatever the implications of the plots of her movies, or of the fact that she had a daughter in 1925. It is worth comparing this face with those of the pudgy vamps of an earlier generation, or indeed with that of the much pudgier Dietrich herself in The Blue Angel (1930). Sternberg, seeing Dietrich in Berlin, was first attracted, he said, by her air of "cold disdain," and he helped turn her face into a mask with this meaning: Andrew Sarris, writing about The Scarlet Empress, identifies a "glacial guile" in Dietrich. She herself told Maximilian Schell in Marlene (1983) that she was sure Sternberg was interested in her apparent lack of interest: since she was sure she wouldn't get the part he was recruiting for, she decided not to care.
All this finds its way into her screen presence. Of course "disdain" and "guile" are ways of moralizing the curious distance that every viewer perceives in Dietrich's performances. We see her absence, so to speak. Her heart is not in the movie, and the lurid narrative form of this perception is to say that the character she plays has no heart. I don't doubt that Dietrich's rumored sexual preferences have a role here, although I would also guess that even a heteromaniac could be less than wild about Clive Brook; and some of her aloofness is plainly just metallic bad acting. She is not in Garbo's class as a stylist. But I am interested here in the icon and its compulsions. Marilyn Monroe projected an alarming, almost hysterical innocence. Dietrich projects nothing of the kind, but we lend her innocence, because we can't bear to suspect such beauty—or at least the beauty presented to us in certain romantic shots. And yet of course—here is the contradiction that gives the myth its life and trouble—this kind of beauty is a treasure and a temptation, a goldmine, both in countless movie plots and in an actress's life, and it is impossible to believe that the world's collectors and prospectors have not had their hands on it. "It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily." I suppose this famous sentence, as written, was meant to conjure up the sad, soupy story of the fallen woman, unhappy victim of poverty and rampaging male desire. As Dietrich says it, it suggests a fine, barely damaged superiority, as if anything men could do to her could only be done by sheer force of numbers. The same crushing quality, the note of insolence verging on indifference, appears later in the same film, when Werner Oland, as a prosperous revolutionary leader, invites Dietrich to come and live at his nearby palace. "In time you will weary of men," he says, playing the man who knows the human condition and the mutability of the passions. Dietrich, with a mildness that is itself an insult, says, "I'm weary of you now."
She is not innocent after all, and she is not invulnerable. She has been hurt, and her very kindnesses show traces of pain. But her story is not that of the brave defeat Garbo so wonderfully portrayed, and it is not that of the warm-hearted whore Dietrich was so often, especially in her later films, asked to embody. It is the story of weathering out storms that destroy nearly everyone else, preserving a purity where most people are smudged, and her continuing stage appearances confirmed this piece of the myth. The slurred, drooping voice did the old songs well, but the main feature of the spectacle was the visible conquest of time: a taut, trim woman of sixty putting flabby forty-year olds to shame. Dietrich disappeared into her own shape the way Garbo disappeared into her New York City hiding.
Within the films, though, this extraordinary endurance of the chosen self is expressed as a change of face, a replacement of the romantic, "feminine" aura by a jaunty, mocking "male" gaze. As I shall suggest a little later, this change of face is the whole subject of The Scarlet Empress. In Shanghai Express the soft-focus furs give way to Clive Brook's peaked cap, which Dietrich lifts off his head and places on her own, flicking it back to settle at a raffish angle. She looks at such moments, if I may step carefully into a thicket of un‐ deconstructed assumptions, not like a woman dressed as a man, but like a boy trying to ape the heavy gestures of manhood—or better, like a brilliant parodist of a boy's attempts at such apery. She doesn't impersonate males, she turns them into language, assemblages of signs of malehood. The trick is so complicated that I don't entirely trust my account of it, but I think Dietrich's persistent femininity— small bones, smooth skin, faint eyebrows—makes it clear that the parody is a parody; while her aloofness, her obvious distance from all the easy conventions of womanliness, makes the trick really eerie, since it seems simultaneously to underscore sexual difference and to cause it to wobble. A test of this reading is to ask whether Dietrich ever really looks like a man, whether we are ever in any doubt about her sex (or even her gender). If she doesn't (if we aren't), then several recent interpretations of the icon need to be revised.
With the perfection of a moving picture camera in 1892, and the subsequent invention of the peep hole kinetoscope in 1893, the stage was set for the modern film industry. Previewed at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago during the summer of 1893, the kinetoscope could handle only one customer at a time. For a penny or a nickel in the slot, one could watch brief, unenlarged 35-mm black-and-white motion pictures. The kinetoscope provided a source of inspiration to other inventors; and, more importantly, its successful commercial exploitation convinced investors that motion pictures had a solid financial future. Kinetoscope parlors had opened in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and scores of other cities all over the country by the end of 1894. The kinetoscope spread quickly to Europe as well, where Edison, revealing his minimal commitment to motion pictures, never even bothered to take out patents.
At this time the Dickson-Edison kinetograph was the sole source of film subjects for the kinetoscopes. These early films were only fifty feet long, lasting only fifteen seconds or so. Beginning in 1893 dozens of dancers, acrobats, animal acts, lasso throwers, prize fighters, and assorted vaudevillians traveled to the Edison compound in West Orange, New Jersey. There they posed for the kinetograph, an immobile camera housed in a tarpaper shack dubbed the "Black Maria," the world's first studio built specifically for making movies.
With the technology for the projection of motion pictures a reality, where were they to be shown? Between 1895 and 1905, prior to the nickelodeon boom, films were presented mainly in vaudeville performances, traveling shows, and penny arcades. Movies fit naturally into vaudeville; at first they were merely another novelty act. Audiences literally cheered the first exhibitions of the vitascope, biograph, and cinematograph in the years 1895 to 1897. But the triteness and poor quality of these early films soon dimmed the novelty and by 1900 or so vaudeville shows used films mainly as chasers that were calculated to clear the house for the next performance. Itinerant film exhibitors also became active in these years, as different inventors leased the territorial rights to projectors or sold them outright to enterprising showmen.
By 1909 motion pictures had clearly become a large industry, with three distinct phases of production, exhibition, and distribution; in addition, directing, acting, photography, writing, and lab work emerged as separate crafts. The agreement of 1909, however, rather than establishing peace, touched off another round of intense speculative development, because numerous independent producers and exhibitors openly and vigorously challenged the licensing of the Patent Company. In 1914, after five years of guerrilla warfare with the independents, the trust lay dormant; the courts declared it legally dead in 1917. Several momentous results accrued from the intense battle won by the innovative and adventurous independents. They produced a higher quality of pictures and pioneered the multireel feature film. Under their leadership Hollywood replaced New York as the center of production, and the star system was born. At the close of the world war, they controlled the movie industry not only in America, but all over the globe.
Of all the facets of motion picture history, none is so stunning as the extraordinarily rapid growth in the audience during the brief period between 1905 and 1918. Two key factors, closely connected, made this boom possible. First, the introduction and refinement of the story film liberated the moving picture from its previous length of a minute or two, allowing exhibitors to present a longer program of films. One-reel westerns, comedies, melodramas, and travelogues, lasting ten to fifteen minutes each, became the staple of film programs until they were replaced by feature pictures around World War I. George Melies, Edwin S. Porter ( The Great Train Robbery, 1903), and D. W. Griffith, in his early work with Biograph ( 1908 to 1913), all set the pace for transforming the motion picture from a novelty into an art.
Our examination of exposition has shown that the narrational aspect of plot manipulates story time in specific ways. More generally, classical narration employs characteristic strategies for manipulating story order and story duration. These strategies activate the spectator in ways congruent with the overall aims of the classical cinema. We shall also have to pay some attention to how narration uses one device that is commonly associated with the Hollywood style's handling of time: crosscutting.
After dramas supposedly without endings, here is a drama which would be without exposition or opening, and which would end clearly. Events would not follow one another and especially would not correspond exactly. The fragments of many pasts come to bury themselves in a single now. The future mixed among memories. This chronology is that of the human mind.
Jean Epstein, writing in 1927, thus describes his film La Glace à trois faces. Hollywood cinema, however, refuses the radical play with chronology that Epstein proposes; the classical film normally shows story events in a 1-2-3 order. Unlike Epstein, the classical filmmaker needs an opening, a threshold-that concentrated, preliminary exposition that plunges us in medias res. Events unfold successively from that. Advance notice of the future is especially forbidden, since a ftashforward would make the narration's omniscience and suppressiveness overt (see Chapter 30 on alternative cinemas' use of the flashforward). The only permissible manipulation of story order is the flashback.
Flashbacks are rarer in the classical Hollywood film than we normally think. Throughout the period 1917-60, screenwriters' manuals usually recommended not using them; as one manual put it, 'Protracted or frequent flashbacks tend to slow the dramatic progression'-a remark that reflects Hollywood's general reluctance to exploit curiosity about past story events. Of the one hundred UnS films, only twenty use any flashbacks at all, and fifteen of those occur in silent films. Most of these are brief, expository flashbacks filling in information about a character's background; this device was obviously replaced by expository dialogue in the sound cinema. In the early years of .sound, when plays about trials were common film sources, flashbacks offered a way to 'open up' stagy trial scenes (e.g., The Bellamy Trial, Through Different Eyes, The Trial of Mary Dugan, Madame X, all 1929). Another vogue for flashbacks ran from the late 1930s into the 1950s. Between 1939 and 1953, four UnS films begin with a frame story and flash back to recount the bulk of the main action before returning to the frame. Yet those four flashback films still comprise less than 10 per cent of the UnS films of the period. What probably makes the period seem dominated by flashbacks is not the numerical frequency of the device but the intricate ways it was used: contradictory flashbacks in Crossfire (1947), parallel flashbacks in Letter to Three Wives (1948), open-ended flashbacks in How Green Was My Valley (1941) and I Walked With a Zombie (1943), flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks in Passage to Marseille (1944) and The Locket (1946), and a flashback narrated by a dead man in Sunset Boulevard (1950).
It is possible, of course, to present a shift in story order simply as such, with the film's narration overtly intervening to reveal the past.
In The Ghost of Rosie Taylor (1918), an expository inter-title announces that it will explain how the situation became what it is; the title motivates the flashback. The Killing (1956) uses voice-over, documentary-sty le narration to motivate 'realistically' its jumps back in time. The rarity of these overt intrusions shows that classical narration almost always motivates flashbacks by means of character memory. Several cues cooperate here: images of the character thinking, the character's voice heard 'over' the images, optical effects (dissolve, blurring focus), music, and specific references to the time period we are about to enter. If we see flashbacks as motivated by subjectivity, then the extraordinary fashion for temporal manipulations in the 1940s can be explained by the changing conception of psychological causality in the period.
Classical flashbacks are motivated by character memory, but they do not function primarily to reveal character traits. Nor were Hollywood practitioners particularly interested in using the flashback to restrict point-of-view; one screenwriters' manual suggests that 'unmotivated jumping of time is likely to rattle the audience, thereby breaking their illusion that they participate in the lives of the characters.' Even the contradictory flashbacks in Through Different Eyes or Crossfire serve not to reveal the teller's personality so much as they operate, within the conventions of the mystery film, as visual representations of lies. Jean Epstein's aim in La Glace à trois faces-to reflect the mixed temporality of consciousness, fragments of the past in a single now-is far removed from Hollywood's use of flashbacks as rhetorical 'dispositions' of the narrative for the sake of suspense or surprise. Nor need the classical flashback respect the literary conventions of firstperson narration. Extended flashback sequences usually include material that the remembering character could not have witnessed or known. Character memory is simply a convenient immediate motivation for a shift in chronology; once the shift is accomplished, there are no constant cues to remind us that we are supposedly in someone's mind. In flashbacks, then, the narrating character executes the same fading movement that the narrator of the entire film does: overt and self-conscious at first, then covert and intermittently apparent. Beginning with one narrator and ending with another (e.g., I Walked With a Zombie), or compelling a character to 'remember' things she never knew or will know (e.g., Ten North Frederick ), or creating a deceased narrator (e.g., Sunset Boulevard)-all these tactics show that subjectivity is an arbitrary pretext for flashbacks.
Classical manipulations of story order imply specific activities for the spectator. These involve what psychologists call 'temporal integration, ' the process of fusing the perception of the present, the memory of the past, and expectations about the future. E.H. Gombrich points out that temporal integration depends upon the search for meaning, the drive to make coherent sense of the material represented. The film which challenges this coherence, a film like Not Reconciled (1964), Last Year at Marienbad (1961), or India Song (1975), must make temporal integration difficult to achieve. In the classical film, however, character causality provides the basis for temporal coherence. The manipulations of story order in Not Reconciled or Marienbad are puzzling partly because we cannot determine any relevant character identities, traits, or actions which could motivate the breaks in chronology. On the other hand, one reason that classical flashbacks do not adhere to a character's viewpoint is that they must never distract from the ongoing causal chain. The causes and effects may be presented out of story order, but our search for their connections must be rewarded.
Our best movies have always made entertainment out of the anti-heroism of American life; they bring to the surface what, in its newest forms and fashions, is always just below the surface. The romanticism in American movies lies in the cynical tough guy's independence; the sentimentality lies, traditionally, in the falsified finish when the anti-hero turns hero. In 1967, this kind of sentimentality wouldn't work with the audience, and Bonnie and Clyde substitutes sexual fulfillment for a change of heart. (This doesn't quite work, either; audiences sophisticated enough to enjoy a movie like this one are too sophisticated for the dramatic uplift of the triumph over impotence.)
Structurally, Bonnie and Clyde is a story of love on the run, like the old Clark Gable-Claudette Colbert It Happened One Night but turned inside out; the walls of Jericho are psychological this time, but they fall anyway. If the story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow seemed almost from the start, and even to them while they were living it, to be the material of legend, it's because robbers who are loyal to each other--like the James brothers--are a grade up from garden-variety robbers, and if they're male and female partners in crime and young and attractive they're a rare breed. The Barrow gang had both family loyalty and sex appeal working for their legend. David Newman and Robert Benton, who wrote the script for Bonnie and Clyde, were able to use the knowledge that, like many of our other famous outlaws and gangsters, the real Bonnie and Clyde seemed to others to be acting out forbidden roles and to relish their roles. In contrast with secret criminals--the furtive embezzlers and other crooks who lead seemingly honest lives--the known outlaws capture the public imagination, because they take chances, and because, often, they enjoy dramatizing their lives. They know that newspaper readers want all the details they can get about the criminals who do the terrible things they themselves don't dare to do, and also want the satisfaction of reading about the punishment after feasting on the crimes. Outlaws play to this public; they show off their big guns and fancy clothes and their defiance of the law. Bonnie and Clyde established the images for their own legend in the photographs they posed for: the gunman and the gun moll. The naïve, touching doggerel ballad that Bonnie Parker wrote and had published in newspapers is about the roles they play for other people contrasted with the coming end for them. It concludes:
Someday they'll go down together; They'll bury them side by side; To few it'll be grief-To the law a relief-But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde.
That they did capture the public imagination is evidenced by the many movies based on their lives. In the late forties, there were They Live by Night, with Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell, and Gun Crazy, with John Dall and Peggy Cummins. ( Alfred Hitchcock, in the same period, cast these two Clyde Barrows, Dall and Granger, as Loeb and Leopold, in Rope.) And there was a cheap--in every sense-- 1958 exploitation film, The Bonnie Parker Story, starring Dorothy Provine. But the most important earlier version was Fritz Lang You Only Live Once, starring Sylvia Sidney as "Joan" and Henry Fonda as "Eddie." which was made in 1937; this version, which was one of the best American films of the thirties, as Bonnie and Clyde is of the sixties, expressed certain feelings of its time, as this film expresses certain feelings of ours. ( They Live by Night, produced by John Houseman under the aegis of Dore Schary, and directed by Nicholas Ray, was a very serious and socially significant tragic melodrama, but its attitudes were already dated thirties attitudes: the lovers were very young and pure and frightened and underprivileged; the hardened criminals were sordid; the settings were committedly grim. It made no impact on the postwar audience, though it was a great success in England, where our moldy socially significant movies could pass for courageous.)
Just how contemporary in feeling Bonnie and Clyde is may be indicated by contrasting it with You Only Live Once which, though almost totally false to the historical facts, was told straight. It is a peculiarity of our times--perhaps it's one of the few specifically modern characteristics--that we don't take our stories straight any more. This isn't necessarily bad. Bonnie and Clyde is the first film demonstration that the put-on can be used for the purposes of art. The Manchurian Candidate almost succeeded in that, but what was implicitly wild and far-out in the material was nevertheless presented on screen as a straight thriller. Bonnie and Clyde keeps the audience in a kind of eager, nervous imbalance-holds our attention by throwing our disbelief back in our faces. To be put on is to be put on the spot, put on the stage, made the stooge in a comedy act. People in the audience at Bonnie and Clyde are laughing, demonstrating that they're not stooges--that they appreciate the joke--when they catch the first bullet right in the face. The movie keeps them off balance to the end. During the first part of the picture, a woman in my row was gleefully assuring her companions, "It's a comedy. It's a comedy." After a while, she didn't say anything. Instead of the movie spoof, which tells the audience that it doesn't need to feel or care, that it's all just in fun, that "we were only kidding," Bonnie and Clyde disrupts us with "And you thought we were only kidding."
The fantasy power of movies operated at full throttle. Precisely when the Depression created mass insecurity, vivacious women in film were surviving and taking control of difficult situations. As independent Eves, they used their physical attractiveness to carve out decent lives for themselves; as careerists, they became pilots, illustrators, reporters, doctors, lawyers, and businesswomen. And as aristocratic women whose family fortunes gave them unprecedented freedom, they often demonstrated, comically or melodramatically, some of the dilemmas of wealth; after all, women were not expected to function alone as adults. Hollywood also reveled in the opportunity to satirize the rich while clearly showing them in enviable positions. Aristocratic women paraded around in sumptuous surroundings while the masses were unemployed. In My Man Godfrey ( 1936), a classic screwball comedy, Carole Lombard and her socialite friends went to a charity treasure hunt. Lombard won the prize by bringing back a real life bum. In The Women ( 1939) rich New York City women were ridiculed for their useless lives, while a lengthy fashion show punctuated the middle section of the movie.
It is an interesting cultural statement that in the classless United States, during the bleak days of the Great Depression, moviegoers were treated to films about rich women. Many movies showed country homes, servants galore, and gorgeously dressed hostesses presiding over classy cocktail parties. The conspicuous signs of wealth in a country that preached egalitarianism appeared ironic indeed. Yet these films produced no revolutions; audiences enjoyed them and kept coming back for more. Their dreamlike qualities seemed to provide the needed escape. The U.S. public accepted the myth of everyone being equal while knowing full well that it was a myth. Blacks were not equal to whites, and rich people were different from everyone else. But Hollywood's movies about wealthy people in the United States were very popular in the 1930s.
The major studios of Hollywood each produced about 200 movies a year during that period. They satisfied an audience of all ages and races. There were family movies as well as special interest movies for every taste. Actresses found roles, as stars and in supporting roles, in most of Hollywood's offerings, though they were featured in romance-melodramas and independent women films. A generation of female movie stars arose to meet this seemingly insatiable appetite for movies. The list of women who became stars in the 1930s and 1940s cannot be rivalled by any subsequent generation of movie stars, primarily because there are no longer such large numbers of movies made each year. While Bette Davis, under long-term contract to Warner Brothers, often made three or four movies a year during the 1930s, a movie star in the post-1950 generation would be lucky to make one movie every two or three years. Joan Crawford, another star of the era, worked for MGM during the 1930s and made 29 movies during the decade.
While the 1930s generation of women actresses played in all of the standard fare--westerns, gangster movies, melodramas, and comedies--they also starred in the variations of independent women films. This role featured a heroine who was often restless and spent a lot of time discovering herself, though she usually ended up defining herself in terms of romance and marriage. The independent woman was also the working girl who found life bleak during the depression; her only path to future security and happiness was in the arms of a rich man. This film genre, in its variety, distinguished itself from the other types by featuring women, especially strong women, whose personal quest seemed to personify everyone's search for answers in very trying times. Indeed, this may have been part of its appeal; audiences were treated to unsettled times with a woman, usually the traditional anchor of the home, thrust into a new life situation. The resolution, with her returning to the home, offered assurances to both sexes that the difficult, and unusual, times would eventually be righted. The status quo ante depression would be restored.
Though many movie actresses played in this genre, Katharine Hepburn and Rosalind Russell are probably the most clearly identified as exemplars of independent women. In the period under discussion, 1930-50, Hepburn played in five career woman films and four aristocratic women films, while Russell was a career woman seven times and an aristocratic lady three times (see table). Other popular stars of the period, Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, and Joan Crawford, though often known for their work in romance and melodrama, also played many roles where their strength, independence, and grit were critical factors. They demonstrated some of the varieties of independent women. Careerists were portrayed along with aristocratic ladies and independent Eves. Hepburn was never an Eve. Her screen roles were the most consistent as she never entered into a long-term contract with any studio, in contrast to most other actresses. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, as already suggested, did not have the luxury of choosing roles, but their personalities and talents lent themselves to roles about unusual women.
The only drawbacks, of course, were that these feature pictures were still over four years old on the average; and more critically, Hollywood's supply was quickly being depleted by prime-time TV. Consequently, ABC's video stage was appropriately set for the successful nurturing of the American made-for-TV movie.
The precise birth date of the telefilm is arguable, although only a handful of contenders exist prior to 1961. Claims range from Ron Amateau's 60-minute Western, "The Bushwackers, " which appeared on CBS in 1951, to Disney's "Davey Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier," which was broadcast as three separate segments during the 1954-55 debut season of "The Wonderful World of Disney." Also, it was not uncommon during the late 1950s for TV's dramatic anthologies to present some of their teleplays on either film or videotape. Three shows especially, "Desilu Playhouse," "Kraft Theatre," and "The Bob Hope Show," filmed a number of their one-hour offerings, while a few of these presentations were even expanded into a second hour airing the following week as a finale of a two-parter. Still, these haphazard examples have really more to do with trivia than historical precedent, as the man primarily responsible for pioneering the formal properties of the telefeature is Jennings Lang, a New York lawyer who became programming chief for MCA's Revue in the late 1950s.
Lang had been promoting a longer form beyond the television series as early as 1957. "He began his experiments with anthology shows like 'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour' and 'The Chrysler Theater,' in the one-hour format, and he had a big hand in the first 90-minute regularly scheduled series, 'The Virginian,' which premiered on NBC in 1962. Nineteen sixty-two was also the year that the powerful talent agency, the Music Corporation of America (MCA), purchased Universal Pictures. As a result, this operation absorbed and merged with Revue, which, in turn, considerably extended the operational purview of Jennings Lang and his subsequent television ventures. Lang, now of Universal Television, foresaw "the era of the TV epic, when an entire evening [would] be given over to a single spectacular, made for the occasion." In fact, the term "event programming" had not even been coined yet, although each network would be exploring this strategic avenue in their own separate ways by 1966.
As mentioned earlier, the fall of 1966 was when ABC first decided to begin telecasting a number of Hollywood "blockbuster" films, including "The Bridgeon the River Kwai" on the River Kwai" and later "The Robe." CBS, on the other hand, strove for prestige programming to counterbalance its lineup of popular, though pedestrian situation comedies, such as "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Green Acres," "Petticoat Junction," the "Andy Griffith Show," and "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." These specials were composed mostly of important American plays, like "Death of a Salesman" and "The Glass Menagerie," which actually pulled moderate, though respectable ratings for a time. Most important, however, Lang was first able to interest NBC in financially promoting the made-for-TV form in the spring of 1964. By 1966, it was apparent to both Universal TV and NBC that they had gambled themselves into developing a television genre of enormous potential, as economic dividends were realized almost immediately from this feature-length hybrid. In contrast, however, much of the aesthetic and socio-cultural possibilities inherent in the telefilm would lie dormant for another five years.
NBC and MCA, Inc., inaugurated 1964 by creating "Project 120," a never fully actualized weekly film anthology whose very name echoed the live dramatic series of the 1950s. NBC allotted $250,000 for the first telefeature, as MCAUniversal hired Hollywood journeyman Don Siegel to direct "'Johnny North,' an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's short story, 'The Killers,' starring John Cassavetes, Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, and Ronald Reagan in his last role. The movie that resulted eventually cost over $900,000 and was deemed by the network "too spicy, expensive, and violent for TV screens." Clearly, it was evident to both NBC and MCA from the outset that the budgetary constraints and the dictates of content would be different for the telefilm from what was previously expected for the usual theatrical picture. As a result, "Johnny North" was retitled "The Killers," and the film was subsequently released to movie theaters nationwide. Mort Werner, NBC-TV vice president in charge of programming at the time, reflected upon this experience: "We've learned to control the budget. Two new 'movies' will get started soon, and the series probably will show up on television in 1965."
Actually, the very first made-for-TV movie, "See How They Run," premiered on October 17, 1964, a few months sooner than expected. This Universal production is a mediocre crime melodrama that was quickly followed six weeks later by the broadcast of Don Siegel's next excursion into the telefilm genre, "The Hanged Man." Like "The Killers" before it, Siegel's second assignment for NBC-MCA is another remake of a classic film noir, "Ride the Pink Horse." Without a doubt, this movie along with the only telefeature to appear during the 1965-66 season, a Western pilot for Dale Robertson entitled, "Scalplock," both point to the fact that the early TV movie was more derivative of Hollywood for source material than any other dramatic avenue. In fact, the telefilm had not yet produced its own crop of production talent. In the late 1960s, this genre harkened most to Hollywood's least "respectable" genres for story ideas and themes: the Western, the melodrama, the spy thriller, and the horror/supernatural tale. Therefore, in retrospect, it is obviously no surprise that the trade publications and movie critics alike were immediately inclined to christen this new form--the rebirth of Hollywood's B-movie; indeed, it would take the made-for-TV film genre a dozen more years to outgrow this benign, though ultimately disparaging label.
Telefilms now cost millions of dollars to make and are channeled throughout the world by a number of old and new distribution technologies. Very few TV movies garner the astronomical income of a Hollywood blockbuster; still, the substantial majority of "vidpics" return a profit in contrast to only 20 to 25 percent of their more prestigious counterparts. In addition, a successful madefor-TV movie can attract approximately 40 to over 70 million viewers at any one time, while only 20 million people attend all the theatrical movies in America in any given week. Obviously, the commercial influence of the telefilm is immense, as this type of picture has been a consistently productive programming source for over twenty years at the three networks. Paradoxically, however, the aesthetic and socio-cultural significance of this genre is usually dismissed. The American telefeature is underrrated; and for the most part, it still labors under a critical reputation as Hollywood's "stepchild" or second-class citizen. Nevertheless, the made-for TV movie, albeit young, is a rich and varied genre, encompassing its own unique formal, stylistic, and topical strategies on which the process of definition and evaluation can continue to develop.
As with any genre, determining the parameters of the telefilm remains its foremost challenge. Since 1964, well over 1,500 examples have appeared on network television in the United States, varying in length from 74-minute offerings fitting into 90-minute time slots to a 26.5-hour mini-series. Overall, this aggregation can be divided into three manageable categories: the telefeature, the docudrama, and the mini-series. In addition, all three of these subgenres can be either original creations or story adaptations from a previous source. First, the telefeature refers to a fictional narrative produced for TV that is a discrete entity occupying at least 90 "commercial" minutes but not exceeding one evening of programming. Next, the docudrama is a story film designed to recreate actual persons, places, and events. Moreover, this form is purported to blend essential aspects of both the fictional and the documentary film modes, although the narrative form has usually dominated in its subsequent execution on American television to date. Thirdly, the mini-series is an extended telefeature or docudrama that is broadcast in multiple segments over two or more nights. As a final note, these three short explanations are meant to be working definitions, and each will be elaborated on in more detail.
From a critical standpoint, movies made-for-television have historically struggled to adapt and eventually merge their roots in the classical cinematic style of Hollywood with the inherent contingencies of the television medium. In the beginning, the grammar and story types of the theatrical feature took precedence, while the basic method of storytelling and characterization indigenous to TV drama eventually surfaced as well to better balance the aesthetic form that is today characteristic of the television movie. What resulted is a media hybrid with a variation of its own rules governing technique and plot structure, an audiovisual dialect, a star system, and particular thematic emphases and concerns. In other words, the usual telefilm is a "high-concept" picture, that borrows from the intrinsic topicality of the TV medium itself. Likewise, this concept can be a controversial theme, a historical recreation, or a spin-off from an already popular book, play, theatrical feature, or cultural trend. The important point here is that there is a previously established familiarity between the American viewing public and the subject matter at hand. Additionally, the TV movie's inherent aesthetic strategy is to provide a personal dramatization of this theme or topical issue, while always remaining within the bounds of "good taste" and network proprieties. In this way, the feature-length film form is filtered through the domesticity, "living-room" intimacy, and social relevancy of the television environment. In turn, this union suggests a new and evolving generic type, mixed in origin, but essentially unique as the ultimate offspring arising out of the respective traditions of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s and the golden age of TV drama during the 1950s.