The Classical Hollywood Cinema Twenty-Five Years Along

When I came onto the project in the late 1970s, also influentialfor me were Marxism and the ideological critique of romantic authorship sincethese theories assumed a historical materialist base. This philosophicalposition was much more credible to explain history and historical change. Italso fit with my biography as a working-class daughter who was a first-generationcollege student. Itmatched my political progressivism. Turning to an eclectic group of Marxisttheorists—Harry Braverman, Raymond Williams, Jean-Louis Comolli, John Ellis,Louis Althusser, and other analyses of modes of production—I looked for(and found) valuable explanations about how and why labor divided and constructedsystems of bureaucracy and work patterns to insure both the standardization anddifferentiation of an entertainment product. One of the points that I stressedwas that “what was occurring was not a result of a Zeitgeist orimmaterial forces. The sites of the distribution of these practices werematerial: labor, professional, and trade associations, advertising materials,handbooks, film reviews” (CHC, 89). Although I had not beenreading contemporaneous structural-functionalist production of culture literatureby Howard Becker, Paul DiMaggio, Paul Hirsch, Richard A. Peterson, and others,similar general issues permeated both sets of literature even if the theoreticalexplanations differed.

David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, and Kristin Thompson

Some basic questionsHere is the opening of our book proposal.

Black Gate 15 - The last print issue

This is basically the argument made in Chapter 16of CHC: that continuityediting gradually replaced single-shot scenes because the filmmakers could providebetter clarity for the viewer. Individual character expressions and details couldbe emphasized via closer views exactly at the moments when they were most significantto our understanding of the plot.

Monday, August 22nd, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Indeed, Sargent emphasizes that the sequence needsto be broken down into a series of closer shots for precisely this reason: weneed to see the expressions and “thedetails of the action.”

Black Gate 15 - The last print issue

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 | Posted by Steven H Silver

:David and Kristin do discuss generic motivation as one of the four motivationsfor any film practice but a full-fledged analysis in relation to the normal articulationof the term might have made the point clearer as well as how to apply Neoformalismto smaller groups of films.

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

:For example, Murray Smith, Engaging Characters: Fiction, Emotion and theCinema (NY:Oxford University Press, 1995); Carl Plantinga and Greg M. Smith, eds., PassionateViews: Film, Cognition, and Emotion (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UniversityPress).

And we did it all on note cards and typewriters.

Comment by Zeta Moore - August 22, 2016

19—Cliff—Bill at bottomhurt—Lottie looking overthe top—calls to him to be patient—gets lariat from Bill’ssaddle—lowers down—Bill puts under arms—she pulls him partway up—tired—stops to spit on her hands—Bill drops to bottomagain—dies.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 | Posted by Fletcher Vredenburgh

Why did we not spend more time on individualfilmmakers? Fromone angle, this objection entails a different set of questions than we choseto focus on. For some decades before CHC, most serious works of filmstudies cinema concentrated on auteurs or genres. In contrast, we aimed to bringout the norms or implicit standards that Hollywood filmmakers as a communitypracticed. We did try to suggest that these norms formed a set of options, aparadigm from which a filmmaker might pick. One implication of our project wasthat we might be able to characterize a filmmaker’s originality more exactlyby noting what choices were favored in the body of work. It’s nonethelessfair to say that we emphasized the menu over the meal. Accordingly, readers moreinterested in emphasizing the originality of films or directors would find ourwork at best preliminary.

Why didn’t we discuss reception? We anticipatedthis query and in our preface we wrote:

Thursday, August 31st, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

:Roger Holman, ed., Cinema 1900/1906: An Analytical Study by the NationalFilm Archive (London)and the International Federation of Film Archives (Bussels: FIAF, 1982).The filmography in the second volume was supervised by André Gaudrault.