In this essay I will present a comparison of films, and Television, from over the years, which follow similar principles, to show the presentation of how it has changed with the changes of the eras.
Entertainment has always been part of human’s day-to-day life.
Whether it is Music, TV, Film, or Theatre, everyone has a specific unique taste that only brings us together as a type of community, where together we can enjoy similar things with out being ridiculed. This action is not something new; in fact it has been going on since the begging of time.
However there is one thing that is fairly new in the time line of history, from now to out ancestors, and that is ‘on screen’ entertainment. On screen entertainment known as Film and Television.
‘On screen’ entertainment really began in the late nineteen century where the films of that era were under a minute, and not much sound.
However as time began to move, around the same time film companies began to expand, and seeing how the films were becoming popular – directors began to make longer films. In the begging directors wondered how make these longer films more interesting, and the solution came from the entertainment known as Theatre.
And so with an understanding of how to present their films – literally putting the theatre to screen – a great many of films were made. Though the films didn’t have any dialogue – except for titles – the films did use music and movement to explain the story. In these earlier films movements by the actors were told to over act based on the internal emotions of the characters. A prime example of early first feature length films is ‘Norseferatu’ made in 1922 by F.W. Marnau.
By using only movement along what made these films effective is that the audience could easily understand what was going on. Since that is known that human will react physically to certain situations, it didn’t take the audience much thinking to know how a character felt – or even what part the characters had to play in the story (e.g. who was the hero, who was the villain, who was the love interest, etc.)
Though in today’s day and age the film may be considered old fashioned – it is considered one of the best examples of Expressionist artwork. It was directors like Marnau, who fled Nazi Germany in the 1920/30s, and heading to America, who helped to build the world known as Hollywood. “The German Expressionist movement was more than just a style of creating works of art or of telling a story, rather it was more of a mindset that had social, cultural, and political aspects”(1). Though Marnau was one of the many who helped film to gain popularity,it wasn’t long until films began to become dull once again.
Since directors were still only able to use basic filming equipment directors needed to use what they had. And from this came more daring films. Once such director was Akira Kurosawa, whom was “regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema” and with a career spanning fifty seven years – and 30 films to his name – it was no suprise. One of his most notable films is the ‘Seven Samurai’.
Like Norseferatu the film was done in black and white, and the character’s actions were over acted. However Kurosawa went one step further. His films were effective because of his usage of movement. Like with actor’s over acting to explain the over all plot, Kurosawa over used Movement, notably four sets of movement: The movement of Nature (Snow, Rain, Fire, Smoke, etc), the movement of Groups, movement of Individuals and movement of Camera. By choosing which of these would happen within a shot, Kurosawa was able to create atmosphere – and story telling. And by keeping the movement simple Kurosawa didn’t need to use dialogue to explain every little detail to the audience – as if the director was holding the Audience’s hand, or spoon feeding them.
However such major movement is not always needed in order to make such an impression. And during the 1960s a director known by the name Alfred Hitchcock, and ‘The Master of Suspense’, proved just that. Dialogue was now in use, though at first it didn’t do very well – yet by the time of ‘Psycho'(one of Hitchcock’s most well known masterpieces) dialogue was every day thing in films.
As we can see from the trailer Hitchcock’s main use for creating suspense was the movement of the camera, and the cut of the edit. Hitchcock used a cut if it was needed. But mainly he used long continuous shots – only cutting when changing location, or entering another room, or to emphasis the expression on a character’s face. Since dialogue was used there was no need for the actors to over act, yet they still showed their internal feelings through movement of face, and body language. While dialogue was simply used to move the story foward.
When it comes to creating a film there is more to it than just writing up an idea.
For a start there is a range of genres to choose from. “The word ‘genre’ comes from the French word meaning ‘type’ or ‘class'”(2.). These genres are more commonly known as ‘Romance’, ‘Action’, Sci-fi’, ‘Drama’, ‘Psychological Thriller’ – and each genre has specific characteristics to their plots. And every plot presents similar “characteristics” to the genre in different ways to create an original plot. For example – “A young orphan who is being raised by his aunt and uncle receives a mysterious message from a stranger, which leads him on a series of great adventures. Early on, he must receive training to learn skills that are seemingly superhuman. Along the way he befriends loyal helpers, specifically a guy and a gal who end up falling for each other. Our young hero is also helped by a number of non-human creatures. His adventures lead him to a dark and evil villain who is terrorizing everyone and everything that our hero knows and loves — the same villain who killed his parents.”(3).
This blurb tells the novel of Harry Potter, and Star Wars IV, in a nut shell. These action/adventure films have the same type of characters, that the audience knows and loves, yet it is in a different setting. All genres are widely accepted by a great deal number of people – yet each person has a specific taste, there is no “set” definition as to who likes what. However directors need a “general” idea so that they know what is popular, and therefore be able to create a film that will give the studio back it’s budget – for making the film – as well as some profit. Most choices of what films will be made is mainly decided on what is popular at the time.
For example in the 1960s Spy films were popular due to society learning the existence of Spies. Characters such as James Bond made the audience believe that these spies were heroes, and that they always defeated the enemy. This not only gave people a chance to escape from everyday life by witnessing something interesting, though some parts are unrealistic, they also gave people hope that they were safe.
Inconclusion the change of film has been a drastic if one is who look back on the timeline, of which is over a century long, that is the history of film. With the world becoming more advanced, and with society allowing its people to become more free to express their views, films will continue to grow – just like man kind – never will films stop with their styles, nor shall the auidnece be left in a state of dissatisfaction.
Websites used in essay
Clips from Youtube (All clips belong to their respected owners – both you tubers and the studios):
1. DREAM – Benjamin Klum
2. TRAILER SEVEN SAMURAI VAN AKIRA KUROSAWA – japannieuws
3. PSYCHO (1960) – THEATRICAL TRAILER – ClassicTrailerGuy’s channel