Monday, 2 December 2013

History of the Movies Part 3

History of the Movies Part One and Part Two.
After telling you about German Expression cinema in part 2, I now present you with Part 3. Part 3 will focus on the early days of Hollywood comedy and action. Big important date: September 1912 Mack Sennett founded Keystone Films Company in New Jersey. Mr Sennett worked for D.W.Griffith at Biograph. He was a writer/director come actor (bit of everything). Sennett is often credited as the father of the slapstick genre of movies and been the father of comedy movies in general. His own genre of slapstick movies would bring to the world such key talents whom would become movie legends in their own right. Just think of these names, just to name a few: Charlie Chaplin, Harry Langdon, Fatty Abuckle and Buster Keaton. Directors who would find fame in other genres of film also started in slapstick, the great Frank Capra of "it's a wonderful life" springs to mind. Sennett was a very powerful man, whom oversaw every stage of production at his studio, (he probably paved the way for the making of the studio moguls of later years).

American dominance of world cinema would begin with the movies of Sennett and his silent comedies. The great Charlie Chaplin started his career at Keystone, creating his sad clown characteristics of his later characters. But he would find bigger fame at the Essanay company that would give him more control and allow to make longer pictures for example The Tramp (1915), which in turn made him into the star he was destined to be. Chaplin moves to First National, where he would direct one of the greatest films of this era, The Kid (1921). The Kid for me is Chaplins most accomished film. It was the game changer, it showed that comedies could be tragic and full of heart, something that Chaplin would develop further with his later films. 
Charlie Chaplin
Chaplin wasn't the only comedy slapstick guy around there was also Buster Keaton with his dead stone face expression. Keaton did great films such as Sherlock Jr (1924) as well as many others. My personal favourite of his work has to be The General (1927), it happens to be my favourite film of that era. Another important name for you in comedy is Harold Llyold, whom would play second fiddle to Chaplin and Keaton but also did great work in his own right.

The 1920's would develop another huge genre of film in America, the big costume extravaganzas of the action films. These films were led by Douglas Fairbanks. Douglas Fairbanks would claim his fame with such films as, The Mask Of Zoro (1920), Robin Hood (1922) and The Thief Of Baghdad (1924). With these films he cemented his place in film history as the first action movie star. We also had the birth of the Epic!. The best early epics that comes to mind are The Ten Commandments (1923) and Ben Hur (1925). These two films are equally as good as their famous later colour remakes. Up next in Part 4 two things happened that changed the cinema world forever, SOUND and the Academy Awards.
Douglas Fairbanks
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