film 2

1. In a certain sense, cinema began as an optical “trick.” The initial appeal of the Zoetrope, for example, was that it made flat, static images appear to move. Film, therefore, has always owed a debt to the public’s fascination with special effects. As we move through the 1930s, King Kong, the Wizard of Oz, even Dracula, all rely on the appeal of making the impossible seem real. Nevertheless, there are drawbacks to special effects. Think about it; have you ever seen a film or part of a film that was heavy with miraculous special effects that you found “silly,” or actually bored you? Name that film, the special effects presented, and try to explain why it bored you. Why do special effects sometimes spoil a film?

Directions: Using word processing software to save and submit your work, please answer the following short answer questions.  All responses to questions should be one to two paragraphs, composed of five to seven sentences, in length.  Your responses should include examples from the reading assignments.


1.      Identify the Big Five Hollywood studios (or “Majors”) of the 1930s and summarize their strategies for weathering the effects of the Great Depression.


2.      What types of film content caused problems for the major Hollywood production companies during the late 1920s and early 1930s?  How did the Hays Office operate to protect, rather than hinder, the interests of the American film industry?  Explain how Production Code regulations helped modify the content of Hollywood movies.


3.      Pick two of the following stylistic categories: sound recording, camera movement, color, special effects, cinematography styles.  Analyze how innovations within these categories influenced the development of the Hollywood style.  In what ways did these innovations complement the aims of classical continuity filmmaking?


4.      Pick two of the following genres: the war film, the gangster film, the screwball comedy, the musical.  Describe the evolution of these genres between 1930 and 1945, and provide examples of representative films.


5.      Compare and contrast the production practices of the top three animation studios of the studio era: Disney, Fleischer, and Warner Bros.  What sorts of animation techniques did each specialize in?  How did their individual expertise influence the style and makeup of the studios’ signature characters?


6.      Describe the immediate causes and effects of both of Britain’s Quota Acts.  In each case, how did these effects contribute to or hinder the consolidation of the British studio system?  What kinds of films resulted from these acts?


7.      Compare and contrast popular cinema in Japan during the early and middle 1930s to Japanese cinema during the years of World War II.

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