A Broad Spectrum of History

         The history of cinema is a broad spectrum of technology and production that is used to put together a movie. However, from the study and viewings of this class, I believe that the films The Birth of a Nation and King Kong are two of the most valuable in the history of cinema.

         The Birth of a Nation was directed by D. W. Griffith in 1915. This film was set up like no other film in its time era. The shooting of this film took nine weeks. Most films only took up to a month. With each setup, much detail was brought to attention and numerous camera setups were brought to each single scene. Also the original was composed of 1,544 separate shots (of which normal films of that time were less than 100). Griffith also used approximately three months to edit and score The Birth of a Nation. Not only did this film have extraordinary success with its audience, but also it narrates the story of American historical events. These scenes of historical events were portrayed with widescreen color cameras and stereophonic sound. This film was probably one of the first films that had been claimed as a “great work of art.” Even though this was filmed in secrecy, this film influenced future films.

         Another incredibly valuable film of the history of cinema is King Kong. King Kong was directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack in 1933. This 100 minute film was spectacular for its animation of Kong and its variety of sound effects. Even though this film was probably influenced from WWI propaganda posters, is still held a great plotline of romance, action, and comical acts.

         It also used music to present background emotions rather than presenting the entire storyline. This film was one of the first to use the character’s actual voices as they talk throughout the entire movie. This was new for the time era. Also, stop motion photography was presented. This technique was the basis of making Kong and the T-Rex creature look realistic. Rear projection shots were also used to show additional action like footage of Kong and Ann on the Empire State building.

         I feel that these two movies were the most valuable because they withheld new technology and cinematic details to Hollywood society and to future films. These were also two very popular films.

Gina Fielder

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