American Cinema (Кино и театры Америки)
American Cinema (Кино и театры Америки)
Minicap Educational Establishment
Secondary School N0 1 with
Thorough Learning of Foreign Languages
Central District, Chelyabinsk
Made by Bragina Kate
Foreign Language Department
American Cinema 3
The earliest history of film. 4
The earliest movie theatres. 4
The growth of the film industry. 5
The Oscar. 7
Beverly Hills. 9
The major film genres. 9
Film Companies 10
Film Directors and Producers 10
Actors and Actresses. 12
Marilyn Monroe. 16
Walt Disney 18
I’m a cinema goer. And also I like watching films on TV or video.
But I think, that watching a good film is the best relaxation. It is
thought-provoking and entertaining. Now a growing number of people prefer
watching films on TV to attending cinemas. There are wonderful comedies,
love stories, science fiction, horror films, detective stories, and
historical films on. There’s a variety of films available today. It is
difficult to live without cinema. One fact is clear for everyone: cinema
makes our life better. Cinema helps us to forget different problems. When
people watch films, they have a rest. Some films take people into another
world. I think it is a pure world, where usual problems do not even exist.
Cinema is a great power, it helps us to understand our complex well. Cinema
can leave nobody indifferent. It is so powerful that it provokes complex
feelings. We meet a lot of people. Everyone has his own opinion about
something and like most of us I have my own opinion too, for example, about
cinema. Cinema is a necessary and important part of my life. It is my
essence, my mode of life and my happiness. Cinema helps me to cope with
difficulties and with incorrigible problems. So that’s why I have chosen
the topic ‘Cinema’.
The world of American cinema is so far-reaching a topic that it
deserves, and often receives, volumes of its own. Hollywood (in Los
Angeles, California), of course, immediately comes to mind, as do the many
great directors, actors and actresses it continues to attract and produce.
But then, one also thinks of the many independent studios throughout the
country, the educational and documentary series and films, the socially-
relevant tradition in cinema, and the film departments of universities,
such as the University of Southern California (USC), the University of
California at Los Angeles (UCLA) or New York University.
For over 50 years, American films have continued to grow in popularity
throughout the world. Television has only increased this popularity.
The great blockbusters of film entertainment that stretch from "Gone
with the Wind" to "Star Wars" receive the most attention. A look at the
prizes awarded at the leading international film festivals will also
demonstrate that as an art form, the American film continues to enjoy-
considerable prestige. Even when the theme is serious or, as they say,
"meaningful", American films remain "popular". In the past decade, films
which treated the danger of nuclear power and weapons, alcoholism, divorce,
inner-city blight, .the effects of slavery, the plight of Native Americans,
poverty and immigration have all received awards and international
recognition. And, at the same time, they have done well at the box-office.
Movies (films), including those on video-cassettes, remain the most
popular art form in the USA. A book with 20,000 readers is considered to be
a best-seller. A hit play may be seen by a few thousand theatergoers. By
contrast, about a billion movie tickets are sold at movie houses across the
USA every year.
There are three main varieties of movie theaters in the USA: 1) the
"first-run" movie houses, which show new films; 2) "art theaters", which
specialize in showing foreign films and revivals; 3) "neighborhood
theaters", which run films — sometimes two at a time — after the "first-
New York is a movie theater capital of the country. Many of the city's
famous large movie theaters, once giving Times Square so much of its
glitter, have been torn down or converted (in some cases into smaller
theaters), and a new generation of modem theaters has appeared to the north
and east of the area. Most of them offer continuous performances from
around noon till midnight. Less crowded and less expensive are the so-
called "neighborhood theaters", which show films several weeks or months
after the "first-run" theaters. There are several theaters that specialize
in revivals of famous old films and others that show only modernist, avant-
garde films. Still others, especially those along 42nd Street, between the
Avenue of Americas and Eighth Avenue, run movies about sex and violence.
Foreign films, especially those of British, French, Italian and Swedish
origin, are often seen in New York, and several movie theaters specialize
in the showing of foreign-language films for the various ethnic groups in
The earliest history of film.
The illusion of movement was first noted in the early 19th century. In
1824 the English physician Peter Mark Roget published an article ‘the
persistence of vision with regard to moving objects’. Many inventors put
his theory to the test with pictures posted on coins that were flipped by
the thumb, and with rotating disks of drawings. A particular favorite was
the zoetrope, slotted revolving drum through which could be seen clowns and
animals that seemed to leap. They were hand drawn on strips of paper fitted
inside the drum. Other similar devices were the hemitrope, the phasmatrope,
the phenakistoscope, and the praxinoscope. It is not possible to give any
one person credit for having invented the motion picture. In the 1880s the
Frenchman Etienne Jules Marey developed the rotating shutter with a slot to
admit light, and George Eastman, of New York, developed flexible film. In
1888 Thomas Edison, of New Jersey, his phonograph for recording and playing
sound on wax cylinders. He tried to combine sound with motion pictures.
Edison’s assistant, William Dickson, worked on the idea, and in 1889, he
both appeared and spoke in a film. Edison did not turn his attention to the
projected motion picture at first. The results were still not good enough,
and Edison did not think that films would not have large appeal. Instead he
produced and patented the kinetoscope, which ran a continuous loop of film
about 15 meters (50 feet) long. Only one person could view it at a time. By
1894, hand-cranked kinetoscope appeared all over the United States and
Europe. Edison demonstrated a projecting kinetoscope. The cinematograph
based on Edison’s kinetoscope was invented by two Frenchmen, Louis and
Auguste Lumiere. This machine consisted of a portable camera and a
projector. In December 1895, The Lumiere brothers organized a program of
short motion pictures at a Parisian cafe.
The earliest movie theatres.
Films were first thought of as experiment or toys. They were shown in
scientific laboratories and in the drawing rooms of private home. When
their commercial potential was realized they began to be screened in public
to a paying audience. The first films to be shown publicly were short,
filmed news items and travelogues. These were screened alongside live
variety acts form theatre shows, called vaudeville in United States. Within
a few years fairground tents that slowed nothing but programs of films were
common sights. In United States stores were converted onto movie theatre,
which were known as ‘storefront theatre’. People would pay a nickel to see
about an hour’s worth of film, so the theatre came to be known as
‘nickelodeons’. Early film audiences needed patience. There were many
technical problems. Projectors were likely to breath down and every
projectionist kept slides to reassure the audience: ‘The performance will
resume shortly.’ Many projectors caused flickering on the screen, earning
films the nickname of ‘the flicks’.
The growth of the film industry.
From the start the film industry was eager to make and show films that
people would want to see. The most popular films were those that told
stories- narrative fiction films. Film making began to realize that by
using different camera angels, locations, lighting and special effects,
film could tell a story in the way that live theatre couldn’t.
The great Train Robbery, made in 1903 by Edwin S. Porter, was the first
American narrative fiction film. It included the basic ingredients of the
Western: a hold-up, a chase, and a gunfight. It used a great variety of
shots by showing the action at different distances from the camera- long
shots of action in the distance, but also medium shots of the actors shown
full-length, and chase-ups of the face and shoulders of a gunman shooting
directly at the audience.
Before World War I American film industry had logged behind the film
industries of Europe particularly those of France and Italy. But during the
war, film making almost stopped in Europe, partly because a chemical used
in celluloid was needed for making gunpowder. The American film industry
thrived during the war because there was money for making films; and also
because of popular the genius of D. W. Griffith. In 1915 Griffith made The
Birth Of Nation, a film about the American Civil War and in 1916 he made
Intolerance. These three hour’s films were American’s answer to the
spectacular Italian films such as Quo Vadis that had earlier astonished the
world. For Intolerance Griffith had built a set of an ancient Babylonian
city, which was over a mile long, and he photograph it from a balloon.
Griffith was a genius, not just because he could show huge and thrilling
scenes on the screen, but because he was aware of the artistic
possibilities of film.
The actors in the old-sealers had mostly been unknown and their
performances very poor. Because the films were silent, actors made up for
lack of speech by frantic and unnatural gestures and movements. A new and
better style of acting was adopted by a young American actress called Marry
Pickford who showed that a simple natural style was more effective on the
screen than dramatic arm-waving and chest-thumping. Her fame spread across
the Atlantic. In 1918, she signed a contract for more than a million
dollars. The stars system was born.
About the same time, some of the slapstick comedians developed unique
comedy styles, and also became world-famous stars. Charlie Chaplin, the
little man with the derby hat, cane, and boggy pants, became the most
famous (he, too, sealed a million-dollar contract). But others such as
Buster Heaton, Harold Lloyd, and Harry Langdon were also widely acclaimed.
They were great artists whose work is still popular today. By 1920 the
cinema had became the most popular form of leisure activity outside the
Film studios such as Metro-Goldwin Meyer, Paramount, Warner’s, 20th
Century Fox, and United Artists developed a system for producing films on
the same principle that Henry Ford used for his cars- the assembly like
Hollywood, on the west coast of the United States, became the center of the
film industry. Its climate, light and physical surroundings were suited to
the film industry, which shot much material out of doors. Film making
thrived. In succeeding years, many great films were made in Hollywood,
beginning with the silent films, followed, in the mid-twenties, by the
first sound pictures.
The first animated cartoon drawn in the United States especially for
film was done in 1906 by J. Stuart Blackton. The first full-length animated
feature film was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs made in 1937.
The stars of the films being produced in Hollywood became known
throughout the world. Among them were famous Cagney, Clark Gable, Marlene
Dietrich, who had first appeared in films in Germany, the Swedish Greta
Garbo and the young Shirley Temple. Some of the most famous stars were
Mickey Mouse and characters from Walt Disney’s cartoon. Leading film makers
included John Ford, Howard Hawks, Frank Capra and George Cukor.
During World War II some of the best Americans directors in the US
were recruited by the War Department, because films were needed to help
raise the morale of servicemen. Among the best films of this war period
were Frank Capra’s ''Why We Fight'' series (1942-45). Walt Disney’s
animated films; and documentaries about important battlers directed by
Garson Kanin, John Huston, Billy Wilder. Orson Welles’s masterpiece
''Citizen Kane'' (1940) was the story of a newspaper tycoon. After the war
high-quality films continued to pour out of the United States. They
included Charlie Chaplin’s ''Limelight'' (1952), the fine Western Shane
(1956), a drama of the New York docks called On The Waterfront (1954) and
many high-spirited musicals of which An American In Paris (1951) was
outstanding. Alfred Hitchcock made his best films during this period.
''Psycho'' with its famous murder-in-the-shower scene was probably the most
successful. Despite these successes the great studios began to get into
financial difficulties because of declining audiences.
However, the late 1960s saw a turning point in the American film
industry with the release of a number of films appealing to the youth
market, which drew enormous audiences. The most famous of these were Arthur
Penn’s ''Bonnie and Clyde'' (1967) and Dennis Hopper’s ''Easy Rider''
(1969). Realising that they could no longer rely on their traditional
family audiences, film makers increasingly concentrated on films for the so-
called ‘teenage market’, science fiction and fantasy ‘blockbusters’ with
computer enhanced special effects Dolby sound such as George Lucas’s ''Star
Wars'' (1977) and Steven Spielberg’s ''Raiders Of The Lost Ark'' (1981)
became very popular.
Today Americans still continue the custom of eating popcorn at the
movies. Americans use 500,000 pounds of popcorn every year. All corn does
not pop. A seed or kernel of corn must have 14 percent water in it to pop.
Other kinds of pop have less water and do not pop. When you put a kernel of
corn on a fire, the water inside makes the corn explode. This makes a ‘pop’
noise. That is why we called it popcorn. The American Indians popped corn a
long time ago. The Indians knew there were three kinds of corn. There was
sweet corn for eating, corn for animals, and corn for popping. The Indians
introduced corn to the first settlers, or Pilgrims, when they come to
America in 1620. One year after they came, the Pilgrims had a Thanksgiving
dinner. They invited the Indians. The Indians brought food with them. One
Indian brought popcorn. Since that time Americans continued to pop corn at
home. But in 1945 there was a new machine that changed the history of
popcorn. This electric machine popped corn outside the home. Soon movie
theatres started to sell popcorn to make more money. Popcorn at the movies
became more and more popular. Many people like to put salt and melted
butter on their popcorn. Some people eat it without salt or butter. Either
way - Americans love their popcorn!
The Oscars are awarded every year by the American Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Science. These statuettes are awarded to actors, film
directors, screenwriters and so on for outstanding contributions to the
film industry. The Oscars were first awarded in 1927. The first winners
were chosen by five judges. Nowadays all of the members of the Academy
vote. The ceremony is attended by most Hollywood stars, although some
famous stars, such as Woody Allen, refuse to go, even if they win an award.
The oldest winner of an Oscar was 80-year- old Jessica Tandy for her
performance in the film “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1990. The youngest was
Shirley Temple when she was only five years old. The statuette is of
soldier standing on a reel of film. Nobody is really sure why it is called
an Oscar, although some people say that it is because when the first
statuette was made, a secretary said, “It reminds me of Uncle Oscar!”
When people think about of Hollywood, they probably think of film stars
like Marilyn Monroe, Gary Grant and James Dean. Hollywood is the center of
the international movie industry and American movies are distributed all
over the world. They are made in English but often dubbed into other
languages. In some countries 90 percent of the movies that people see are
US production. Sometimes, a film is not very popular with Americans, but
people in other countries like it. The first films were made in Hollywood
in 1911. Between 1930-1945, the five largest Hollywood’s studios produced
most of the movies and owned most of the movie theatres in the United
States. Making films is expensive. On the average, it costs 36 million
dollars to produce a movie. Some of this goes to pay the salary of well-
known movie stars and large sums can be spent on special effects like
computer-generated imagery (CGI). Marketing the movie to the public may
cost another 17 million dollars or more. To cover these costs film
companies receive money for movie theatre tickets and the sale or rental of
videos. They also sell CDs of the soundtrack and toys, books, or clothes
associated with the movie. Indeed, there was a time when Hollywood was the
most famous place in the USA, if not the world.
The Hollywood story begins at the end of the last century.
1887. A man called Harvey Wilcox bought a large ranch in a district
north-west of Los Angeles in California. His wife called the land
1902-04. The first cinemas (‘nickelodeons’) opened in the USA.
1911. Two brothers from New Jersey built Hollywood’s first film studio.
1912. Film-makers from the east coast of the USA came to California,
first in small number and then in thousands.
1912. The Hollywood industry was born.
There were several reasons why film makers went to Hollywood. Firstly,
there was a lot of space, secondly, California’s warm sunny weather was
ideal for making films outside. Thirdly, there was a variety of locations
for filming: ocean, mountains, deserts, villages, woodland and rivers.
By 1939 the great dream factory studios made nearly 500 movies a year,
drew American audience of 50 million a week and earned over 700 million
dollars at the box office-all with the help of 30,000 employees who dealt
with everything from processing film to fan mail.
In the 1950s and 60s Hollywood became more international. Famous stars
like Maurice Chevalier from France, Marlene Dietrich from Germany and Sofia
Loren from Italy came to Hollywood. Even today many international stars
like Gerard Depardier and Arnold Schwarzeneger make films in Hollywood.
A big film studio, like MGM or Warner Brothers, brought to life a lot
of film stars. They could make or break a star.
The Hollywood film studio produced different types. There were the
silent Charlie Chaplin comedies of the 20s, gangster films, Frankenstein
horror films and Greta Garbo romantic melodramas of the 30s, the musicals
of the 40s and 50s, the westerns (cowboy films) of the 50s, the historical
epics of the 60s, the science fiction films of the 70s and the Steven
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