King Kong and Greed: Two Valuable Insights into Cinematic History

        Many of the films that we were able to watch in class this semester were very valuable in learning and understanding the history of cinema. Two of these were King Kong and Greed.

        One movie in particular that I found to be very helpful and entertaining as well was the 1933 version of King Kong, directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. What actually made this film so interesting and helpful was the ability to compare it to its remake, which conveniently was re-released in 2006. By watching the 1933 version, I was able to get a better understanding and appreciation of the creative force behind the special effects of movies. Back then, there was not enough money in a budget or the technology to make what we see in movies today. Thanks to the creative minds and excellent plots, the special effects used by the film makers sufficed to make the movie memorable to the audience. I actually enjoyed the older version with the lack of special effects over the new one, with outlandish graphics and new age technology.

        Another film that we viewed in class that I feel aided me in appreciating the history of cinema was the 1924 film Greed by Erich von Stroheim. I am not a huge fan of silent films, or so I thought before I saw the movie. I felt that I was not going to be able to follow the movie and that I would not enjoy it because there was no sound; however, after watching it, I saw how uncultured I was to assume so. The directing in the film was amazing with the close ups on the faces and the long pauses to ensure the audience knew when the scene was serious and the fast movement when it was upbeat and happy. It really gave me a better appreciation for the work and effort that goes into the silent movie, since obviously the actors cannot use words to express themselves.

Melissa Englert

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