The Cinematic Importance of Birth of a Nation, King Kong, and Bonnie and Clyde

         I have strong opinions about all of the films viewed in class regarding their importance to the history of the cinema. While I was unsure of the relevance of some of the films, three in particular stuck in my mind as being fairly important to cinematic history.

         First, the relevance and importance of Birth of a Nation to the development of the cinema is obvious. I feel any war movie has an automatic importance, since its content deals with history in general. However, Birth of a Nation displays its importance simply by paying attention to the cinematography while taking into consideration the time period.

         There are many clues that give away the time period of the film. First is its content alone. The main theme of the film is the Civil War, which should be a hint to its age. Second, the actors in the film who are portrayed as African American are actually Caucasians with face paint. These and other clues show the age of the film, which is important to the history of the cinema because it can almost be considered as the starting block. It is an early film to say the least, and it is important to be able to compare early movies to those at present time.

         King Kong was also a film whose relevance to the evolution of the cinema should not be questioned. We viewed in class one of the early versions of the movie because most, people had seen the new version and it would be easier to compare. For this reason Birth of a Nation is important to cinematic history.

         When a popular film is redone decades after its original release, it is always interesting to see both versions and compare them. Whether the earlier version or the later version if favored depends on many things. Just because the newer version usually contains more technology that does not always make it better. I have known mixed reviews of King Kong.

         Seeing two versions of the same movie allows you to make more in depth observations about how the cinema has changed between the dates. King Kong was the perfect film to demonstrate this.

         Finally, Bonnie and Clyde was important for the exact opposite of Bonnie and Clyde. While it is important to know how the cinema started, it is equally important to evaluate the change between the beginning and present. (Even though Bonnie and Clyde was not presently made, it was the most up to date movie viewed in class). Bonnie and Clyde not only demonstrated technological changes in cinematic history but thematic changes as well. The theme of cops and robbers was a newer theme for movies, especially when the robbers were the likened characters.

         Bonnie and Clyde was important in showing the main advances made in cinematic history since Birth of a Nation and King Kong.

Jamie Lemonds

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