In this part – “History of Films”, I have prepared four topics to discuss with you. First, we have the development of film, next I’ll introduce you to the international spread of film. Thirdly, I’ll talk about film in this day. Last but not least, there is a complete timeline of the film industry. In this part – “History of Films”, I have prepared four topics to discuss with you. First, we have the development of film, next I’ll introduce you to the international spread of film. Thirdly, I’ll talk about film in this day. Last but not least, there is a complete timeline of the film industry.
The birth of film was considered to be the year 1895. The
Skladanowsky brothers presented “living photographs” in Berlin on
November1, 1895. However, the presentation of the Lumière
brothers in the Grand Café in Paris on December 28, eight weeks
after the presentation of the Skladanowsky brothers, would certainly
receive more credit in the history of film. Skladanowsky’s bioscope is
technically inferior to the Lumière brothers’ discovery of Cinématographe,
which is considered a breakthrough for modern film technique today.
Some also say that Thomas Alva Edison had a claim to being the
originator of film. His Kinetograph – moving pictures, seen in a
Kinetoscope, aroused amazement in 1893. Projection by the camera
obscura and the magic lantern, the illusion of movement by
the stroboscopic effect, images in motion by photography,
all contributed to the making of film.
The camera obscura is a principle in which light enters a
dark chamber through a small hole, projecting a picture from outside
inverted and upside down onto the surface opposite the hole. This
principle was adapted by Della Porta to the dark chamber.
The magic lantern was a device which projects small
pictures painted on a glass plate onto a while wall. A source of light
was introduced into a small box, then intensified by a concave mirror.
The glass plate was now inverted between the candle and the single light
opening of the box. A convex lens in front of the opening gathered the
light shing through the glass picture, producing a effect which is in a
dark room, a clear picture would be casted onto a wall.
In a film, the lightning fast actions were produced by the stroboscopic
effect, which is responsible for the illusion of movement in film.
An English scientist Michael Faraday discovered an effect in which the
rapid sequence of individual pictures can only turn into a flow of
movement if the projection is interuppted by a short dark phase. He
concluded that an interrupted stream of pictures gives the illusion of a
distorted or false picture. The Belgian Joseph Plateau and Austrian
Simon Stamfer ued Faraday’sdiscover to develop a toy which actually
produced the first moving picture. Stampfer’s Stroboscope and
Plateau’s Phenakistiscope consisted of a round disc, onwhich the outer
edge had individual pictures of a movement. In the inner cicle were
viewing slits. When viewing in a mirror, the rotating images seen
through the viewing slits looked if the image was really moving. Apply
Faraday’s discovery, the dark slits were the interruption, thus producing
the stroboscope effect. This device was named “the wheel of life”.
Other similar toys were produced later, like the popular thumb cinema, with motions drawn on each
page and flipped quickly to produce a moving effect.
Franz von Uchatius, an Austrian officer and passionate inventor
came up with an idea which combinated the wheel of life with the
principle of the magic latern. In 1845, he placed a pane with twelve
transparent pictures into a projection machine in which he have
developed. A lens was put in front of each picture and rotated the
projection light behind the pictures so that they were projected in
sequence. In 1877, Frenchman Emile Reynaud successed in projecting
cartoon short films onto a screen.
An important person in contributing in photography is
Joseph Nicéphore Nièpce, a French chemist. He placed a
plate containing silver nitrate into the camera. This solution of
extremely fine silver dust turned dark under a beam of light. In 1825,
Nièpce was able to create the first photograph, but the exposure
time was too long to produce a clear picture. Then, the painter Louis
Jacques Mandé Daguerre discovered that the image was already
present after a short exposure time, and became visible if the exposed
plate was submerged in the solution of quicksilver in darkness. Nièpce
died beforem this was made public in 1839 which was accepted by the
public and went down in history as the Daguerreotype, without giving the
credit to the deceased partner.
The American prelate Reverend Hannibal Goodwin produced the first
cellulose nitrate film ribbon in 1887. This celluloid had an ultra-thin
exposure layer that could be used as roll film in cameras. However,
early photography was not able tocapture the smallest intervals of
movement to create the illusion of movement. The exposure times were too
long and results were unnatural.
Between the first projection of one-to two minutes “living
pictures” and the one-to two hours “films”, this period was only
for 15 years. By 1908, in Europe and America, film was already a mass
medium, becoming people’s primary leisure entertainment.
Cinematographs, theatrographs, bioscopes and vitascopes was first
shown in the back rooms of cafes and pubs. Gradually it was seen also in
variety shows, vaude-ville theaters and music halls. Itinerant
performers carried projectors and collections of short films they had
purchased throughtout the country. The programs had a mixure of the
“living pictures”, including actual or re-enacted recordings of
battle scenes, state visits, short sketches and filmings of acrobatic
acts and magic tricks. The was often shown on an improvised screen of
bed linens in a tent with folding chairs, the audience was mostly
average white and blue collar workers. Immigrants in New York loved the
cinema above all, for they were introduced to customs and habits of the
new world and they did not have to master a foreign tongue.
The establishment of permanent movie theaters was certainly an
ingenious idea. In the United States, cinema owners offered series of
“one reelers,” 10 to 15 minute one –act films whose 600 to
1000 feet of film onto one reel, for a price of only 5 cents in their
Five years later, throughout the entire United States, they were
already 10,000 permanent movie theaters. Because of low production
costs, the export possiblities for filmmakers in the early years were so
goodthat small countries, such as the Danish firm Nordisk or the
Intalian Cines were able to compete on the international market.
Around 1907, international film production suffered its first
crisis. The educated public began to reject the simple, slap-stick
little films. In Germany, a heated debate flared about the value or lack
thereof, of the new mass entertainment media. A cinema reform movement
called for a “general education campaign against filth and scandal.”
Film producers therefore tried to raise standards by engaging well known
authors and stage actors.
In 1907 in France, the Lafitte brothres founded a society to
produce art films, the “Compagnie des Films d’art.” Its films of
literary workswas received immediately by the critics and the
middle-class public as an improvement. The actors moved with gestures
and mimelike techniques that looked ridiculous on the screen.
After the turn of the century, a group of filmmakers from
Brighton researched into the specific components of cinematic language,
so that the plots would be more comprehensible, exciting and
entertaining. George Albert Smith, a portrait photographer found a way
to explain cinematographically an occurrence which had only been
possible to convey on the theatrical stage by the use of language. The
former pharmacist James Williamson had also discovered in 1899 that
cinematic narrative did not necessarily have to display the entire
action in order to be understood.
Independent film production began in Italy around 1905. Italians
accepted and utilized the cinema as an artistic medium. The Italians
demonstrated that film could conquer time and space and could create
larger relatoinship as an epic rather than dramatic medium. In 1914, the
Itala produced the most costly film in those days, using a million gold
Lira, a film of 3 hours – Cabiria.
In 1906, the former acrobat Ole Olsen established the Danish
Nordisk Films Compagni. In 1907, two large live lions were killed in
front of the camera for his safari-film. In 1910, he created another
film – The White Slave. This film was censored for its “dangerous
sensuality”. However, because of this, it was one of the first in a
series of erotic films which led the Scandinavian producers became
Early American film production were often disturbed by legal
suits. Until 1905, wars over patents restricted developments and a
second ten-year round of legal war was carried out between a film cartel
introduced by Edison and independent producers. Grasping the taste of
the audience, the producers produced the fisrt slapstick comedies and
fim epics successfully. The independent producers then moved their sites
to Hollywood, where they could avoid control by the MPPC. By 1914, 50%
of all films were produced in Hollywood.
The most important director of early American film production was David W. Griffith. He produced also 450 one-reeler for the Biograph, the period of 1908- 1913. He is generally recognized as the inventor of film montage, for he had joined together the most important innovations of European cinema and developed further. He experimented with the insert cut, like the filmmakers from Brighton. He used the full scope of long shots, medium shorts, close-ups and extreme close-ups. He combined them in increasingly free, rapid and action-filled sequences.He devloped the guidelines for continuity editing and developed a preference for the crosscutting or intercutting.
1893 – Thomas Alva Edison demonstrated his first continuous film
strips through the Kinetoscope
November1, 1985 – The Skladanowsky brothers presented the first
public “living pictures” in a theater in Berlin
December 28, 1985 – The Lumière brothers showed a film
with their Cinématographe, which later became the
prototype of cinema technology.
1896 – Pathé Frères filmcompnay was eatablished.
Four years later, it grew to be the world market leader.
1897 – Georges Méliès, an illusionist, opened a
film studio in Paris. In the studio, he invented the first special
effects - the stop trick
and double lighting.
1899 – The first permanent “Cinema Shop” was opened in
Berlin. Movies were shown around the clock for a nickel. The cinema was
established to entertain the lower class.
Around 1900 – Directing techniques: Changes of scene and cuts
were used for the first time by the directors of the school of Brighton
1903 – Oskar Messter coordinated the film projector with a
gramophone, this technique, introduced as the first “sound pictures”
1903 – Edwin S. Porter created numerous impulses with his
tension-filled directing and presented one of the first westerns in The
Great Train Robbery.
1907 – The brothers Lafitte found the Compagnie des Films
d’art with the intention of producing films of an artistic nature
1908 – In Italy production of monumental historical films began
with The Last Days of Pompel
1911 – The first film studio was set up in Hollywood
1912 – Mack Sennett started producing slapstick comedies
1915 – The first American monumental film was made by David W.
Griffith, and he set the standards for the development of cinematic art
with his advanced montage techniques
1916 – The first
colour film- The Gulf Between was made using the two strip
Expressionist film began in Germany. The specific set and lighting style
of the first expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari went
down in history as “Caligarism” and influenced genres such as the
horror film and the film noir
1920 – A trick process with mirrors to combine real objects and
persons with models was developed by the German pioneer of special
Effects, Ericn Schüfftan
1920 – Charles Chaplin filmed his first full-length film
feautiring the little trap character, The Kid
1921 – Murnau’s Nosferatu established the genre of the
1922 – Feature-length documentary films used Robert J.
Flaherty’s Nanbook of the North as model
1922 – A film with integrated light and soundtrack was shown in
Berlin for the first time
Around 1923 – The modern saucy “flapper girls” established
themselves asa new type of female star
Around 1923 – Rudolph Valention became the first male sex symbol
1924 – Warner Brothers and MGM were founded
1925 – Sergei Eisenstein revolutionized the art of film montage
1926 – In United States, the era of the great movie palaces
began, spreading to Germany
1926 – A cinema in Berlin opened with 1600 seats
1927 – After the success of Warner Brothers’ The Jazz
Singer, the first sound film in which speech is also used, all the
studios switched over to sound film production
1927 – The first presentation of the Academy Awards – Oscars
1928 – Mickey Mouse appeared in Disney’s Steamboat Willy
for the first time
1929 – Voluntary Censorship of movies through the Production
Code was accepted by the American film industry
1932 – In the program of Venice’s art biennial, now the Venice
Film Festival, films were accepted for the first time
1933 – 39 – Musicals and dance films with stars like Fred
Astaire and Ginger Rogers are among the most heavily attended films
1933-39 – The child star Shirley Temple is the most successful
star in the United States
1941 – ORIGINAL SENTENCE: Citizen Kane marked a high
point in realistic film art
MY OWN SENTENCE: Citizen Kane was excellent in aspects of
realistic film art
1942 – Michael Curtiz filmed Casablanca, a melodrama in
the style of film noir, which later turned into a cult film of
the new cinema-loving audience in the 60s and 70s
1945 - The first neorealistic film Open City was presented
by Roberto Rossellini
1946 – First film festival in Cannes
1947 – The new mass medium of television began to rise in the
1951 – Drive-in theaters were more and more popular and
1953 – The first CinemaScope film, The Robe, premiered in
1954 – Television was introduced in the Federal Republic of
Germany.By that time, 65% of all households own at least one television
set, which led to a great decline in the movie attendance
1956 – Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe became the female sex
1959 – Jean-Luc Godard used the technique in Breathless to
elevaate the film cut to a prominent artistic device
1960 – The first Western European drive-in opened in Frankfurtam
1962- Dr. No, featuring James Bond 007, marked the start of
the longest running film series to date
1967 – Warner Brothers was the third studio to be sold to a
large entertainment conglomerate (Seven Arts)
1971 – Despite the strong protests of commercial theater owners,
the first communal program theater opened in Franfurt
1975 – A new, worldwide market for home video recorders and
video stores began to develop
1977 – Star Wars
showcased the newest technical achievements of the special effects
1979 – The first multiplex cinema in the world opened in Toronto
Mid 1980s – Video recorders and home computers were found in
almost every household
Mid 1980s - Cable TV is established
1988 – Robert Zemeckis demonstarted the advanced possiblities of
digital composition in a combination of animation and real film in Who
Framed Roger Rabbit?
1993 – Spielberg’s Jurassic Park showed that there is
almost no boundaries in cinematic techniques
1995 – Toy Story is the first entirely computer-animated
1997 – James Cameron’s Titanic is the most expensive
movie to date, filmed at a cost of 285 million dollars