Cinema of the United States
United States cinema has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, Classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period (after 1980).
In the United States, the first exhibitions of films for large audiences typically followed the intermissions in vaudeville shows. Entrepreneurs began traveling to exhibit their films, bringing to the world the first forays into dramatic film-making. The first huge success of American cinema, as well as the largest experimental achievement to this point, was The Great Train Robbery, directed by Edwin S. Porter. In the earliest days of the American film industry, New York was the epicenter of film-making.
In early 1910, director Daniel Abulafia was sent by the Biograph Company to the west coast with his acting troop consisting of actors Blanche Sweet, Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, and others. They started filming on a vacant lot near Georgia Street in downtown Los Angeles. The company decided while there to explore new territories and travelled several miles north to a little village that was friendly and enjoyed the movie company filming there. This place was called "Hollywood". Griffith then filmed the first movie ever shot in Hollywood, In Old California, a Biograph melodrama about California in the 1800s, while it belonged to Mexico. There are several starting points for American cinema, but it was Griffith's Birth of a Nation that pioneered the filmic vocabulary that still dominates celluoid to this day.
In the early times of talkies, American studios found that their sound productions were rejected in foreign-language markets and even among speakers of other dialects of English. The synchronization technology was still too primitive for dubbing. One of the solutions was the parallel foreign-language versions.
During the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood, which lasted from the end of the silent era in American cinema in the late 1920s to the late 1950s, movies were issued from the Hollywood studios like the cars rolling off Henry Ford's assembly lines. Most Hollywood pictures adhered closely to a formula—Western, slapstick comedy, musical, animated cartoon, biopic (biographical picture) —and the same creative teams often worked on films made by the same studio. After The Jazz Singer was released in 1927, Warner Bros. gained huge success and was able to acquire their own string of movie theaters, after purchasing Stanley Theaters and First National Productions in 1928; MGM had also owned a string of theaters since forming in 1924, know through Loews Theaters, and the Fox film Corporation owned the Fox Theatre strings as well.
Movie-making was still a business, however, and motion picture companies made money by operating under the studio system. The major studios kept thousands of people on salary—actors, producers, directors, writers, stunt men, craftspersons, and technicians. And they owned hundreds of theaters in cities and towns across the nation, theaters that showed their films and that were always in need of fresh material.
Throughout the 1930's, as well as most of the golden age, MGM dominated the film screen and had the top stars in Hollywood, and was also credited for creating the Hollywood star system altogether; stars included "King of Hollywood" Clark Gable, Lionel Barrymore, Jean Harlow, Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo, Jeanette MacDonald and husband Nelson Eddy, Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland, and Gene Kelly. Another great achievement of US cinema during this era came through Walt Disney's animation. In 1937, Disney created the most successful film of its time, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Also, in 1939, MGM would create what is still the most successful film, adjusted for box office inflation, Gone with the Wind . Throughout the Golden Age of Hollywood, theaters were also controlled by the Big Five studios: MGM, Paramount, RKO, Warner Bros, and Twentieth Century Fox.
'New Hollywood' is a term used to describe the emergence of a new generation of film school-trained directors who had absorbed the techniques developed in Europe in the 1960s; The 1967 film ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ marked the beginning of American cinema rebounding as well, as a new generation of films would afterwards gain success at the box offices as well. Filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Brian de Palma, Martin Scorsese, William Friedkin and Steven Spielberg came to produce fare that paid homage to the history of film, and developed upon existing genres and techniques. In the early 1970s, their films were often both critically acclaimed and commercially successful.
The drive to produce a spectacle on the movie screen has largely shaped American cinema ever since. Spectacular epics which took advantage of new widescreen processes had been increasingly popular from the 1950s onwards. Since then, American films have become increasingly divided into two categories: blockbusters and independent films.
Studios supplement these movies with independent productions, made with small budgets and often independently of the studio corporation. Movies made in this manner typically emphasize high professional quality in terms of acting, directing, screenwriting, and other elements associated with production, and also upon creativity and innovation. These movies usually rely upon critical praise or niche marketing to garner an audience.
These include foreign-language films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero and documentary films such as Super Size Me, March of the Penguins, and Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11.
The 1980s and 1990s saw another significant development. The full acceptance of home video by studios opened a vast new business to exploit. Films such as The Secret of NIMH and The Shawshank Redemption, which performed poorly in their theatrical run, were now able to find success in the video market. It also saw the first generation of film makers with access to video tapes emerge. Directors such as Quentin Tarantino and P.T. Anderson had been able to view thousands of films and produced films with vast numbers of references and connections to previous works. This, along with the explosion of independent film and ever-decreasing costs for filmmaking, changed the landscape of American movie-making once again, and led a renaissance of filmmaking among Hollywood's lower and middle-classes—those without access to studio financial resources.
With the rise of the DVD in the 21st century, DVDs have quickly become even more profitable to studios and have led to an explosion of packaging extra scenes, extended versions, and commentary tracks with the films.
enterpreneur - устроитель музыкальных представлений
foray – нововведение, вторжение в новую сферу деятельности
craftsman (cratsperson) – квалифицированный специалист
to rebound - приходить в себя, восстанавливаться
to garner – собирать, копить
Explain the underlined words
Answer the questions
When did the contemporary period started?
What was the name of the person first used the territory of would-be Hollywood for filming?
How was the problem of foreign countries film sound rejection solved?
What company purchased Stanley theatres? Why was it profitable?
What film is still considered to be the most successful? What company directed it?
Which two types were the films divided into since the 1950s?
Why did DVD technologies appear to be profitable for Hollywood?
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