Ground Breakers

        Throughout the history of film, there have been few movies that have redefined the cinema. In my opinion three of the most influential films of all time are the original King Kong, The Wizard of Oz, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. All of these films were ground breakers when they came out because they all started something new for the film industry. Even though these movies came out during different times, it is easy to see why all three of them are instant classics and will forever be remembered and praised.

        The original King Kong came out in 1933. This film is very influential because it was the first movie to ever use stop motion animation. True, when one watches this film today, Kong does not look real at times, but it is important to realize how real and scary he looked when this film first came out. Then one has to think about all of the monster movies that resembled Kong in later generations. There have been several remakes of Kong, and then one has the Godzilla films, and even such movies like Jaws, or Jurassic Park, which are all in a similar way clones of Kong. Another very important element in Kong is the setting. The movie would not have been the same if it had not taken place on an unnamed faraway island with Skull Mountain. The most amazing element of this movie to me is the fact that Ernest Schoedsack and Merian Cooper shot the entire film in the studio and entrusted the film's success on its use of technical innovations.

        The second film I listed was The Wizard of Oz, which came out in 1939. This film is very special and will always be remembered because it was the first film that used Technicolor in such a sophisticated and imaginative way. The director of this movie was Victor Fleming, who will always be praised because he directed Gone With The Wind in the same year as Oz. Even though there had already been several movies out before Oz that can be classified as musicals, it is arguable that no other movie in the history of film is remembered more for its music than Oz. Like Kong, this movie would not have been as wonderful if Oz would have looked any different. Other amazing elements in this movie are that it was one of the first to be filmed through a dream sequence and that it also was one of the first films that to be was based on a natural disaster, which is a subject that we see many films based on in today's cinema.

        The third film I chose was 2001: A Space Odyssey, which, unlike Kong and Oz, was released three decades later in 1968. This movie will always be remembered because it was the first film to have realistic shots of space. In my opinion this film is very influential because I think it was the first film to really show the results of the unlimited privileges of a director. I believe that Stanley Kubrick had enough freedom to do this project so that it changed director's privileges forever. Take the opening scene, which does not have any dialogue until nearly twenty-five minutes into the movie. This had not been done since silent film, and yet the viewer never loses interest because his shots are so good. I believe this film changed directors' perspectives forever because it influenced all directors to have more control of their project instead of relying so much on their films' producers. Stanley Kubrick even had so much authority on this film that he has an intermission session, which sets the film up as if it were almost a play.

        All though I do believe these three films are the most influential films in the history of the cinema, I would never rank them in order. After watching these movies, one can easily tell that they all introduced new groundbreaking effects into the film industry. These films arguably even drastically altered three different genres of film, which are horror, musicals, and sci-fi. Even though there had been movies made in all three of these genres of film before them, these three movies definitely redefined these genres of film for their time.

Chad Cooper

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