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When did sound films become dominant?

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115 Terms

1

When did sound films become dominant?

The late 1920s

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2

For how long did inventors and filmmakers around the world work to develop cinematic sound technology?

Several decades because there were many practical problems to overcome before

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3

What were the two biggest problem facing sound cinema?

Synchronization and amplification

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4

What was the biggest problem with playing a recorded sound alongside a film?

The two machines had to play in sync. If the needle skipped it'd play a different part of the film. What if the track played to slow?

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5

What technology did Edison invent that already existed to record sound?

The phonograph

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6

Who solved the problem of playback of sound recordings not being loud enough for large audiences?

American inventor Lee de Forest

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7

What invention solved the amplification problem for cinema and what did it do?

The audion tube, which amplified electronic inflation (including sound being sent to a speaker)

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8

What was the first financially successful system that played 33 1/3 RPM records in sync with the film?

Vitaphone

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9

Why was the vitaphone mildly successful?

Because it was used for the first major "talkie," The Jazz Singer in 1927.

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10

What was unique about The Jazz Singer's use of sound?

The Jazz Singer is actually silent during most dialog scenes, but showcased recorded sound during musical sequences.

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11

How did studios first see "talkies" and what changed their mind?

Most studios thought of "talkies" as an expensive novelty, but the success of The Jazz Singer quickly changed their minds

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12

What process required sound information to be converted into light waves, which are then recorded in narrow strips along the side of a film?

The optical sound process

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13

What did optical sound ensure and allow?

This process ensures that the picture and sound remain in-sync, and allows one machine to project both at the same time

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14

Where was the first patented optical sound system invented?

Germany

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15

What studio was the first patented optical sound system sold to and what did they rename it to?

Fox Film in 1927, "Movietone" system

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16

What were camera initially placed in to reduce their noise and what did it take away?

They were initially placed in small soundproof rooms, taking away the expressive compositions and movements of the camera

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17

Why was the introduction of sound expensive?

Because they needed to build new soundproof sets (sound stages) and new equipment needed to be purchased by both the studios and theaters

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18

What was the solution to camera noise?

The "camera blimp", a soundproof camera housing that muffled noise but made it heavier and bulkier

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19

What did many silent film stars face as a result of sound being introduced to film?

Because many silent starts were foreign and barely spoke English, while other had voices which failed to math their public persona

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20

What was one area of film production that embraced sound without the drawbacks of sound equipment?

Animations

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21

Could animated films be just as expensive as silent films?

Yes

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22

What was the first sound cartoon?

Walt Disney's Steamboat Willie (1928)

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23

Who was one of Disney's greatest admirers?

Sergei Eisenstein

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24

What did Sergei Eisenstein think about Disney's use of sound and image?

He thought that Disney juxtaposed sound image in ways that other American filmmakers could not.

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25

What event led to an economic depression that impacted every aspect of American life over a decade?

The stock market crash of 1929.

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26

Which period saw Americans going to the movies more often than any other period in American history including today?

The 1930s

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27

What was the reason for Hollywood becoming streamlined during the 1930s?

To keep up with the high demand of 1930s audiences and to keep production costs low

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28

What is the name given to the period during which Hollywood became streamlined?

The "Studio Era"

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29

What was the average number of featured films produced by Hollywood per year during the 1930s and how does it compare to today's average?

Hollywood produced around 500 featured films per year in the 1930s, which is significantly higher than the current average of 100-150 per year.

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30

What were the specialized departments that each studio had during the "Studio Era"?

Screenwriters, production department, set design department, and others.

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31

What did Hollywood studios do to ensure that the talent needed to produce films in the 1930s were continuously employed?

Hollywood studios hired them under long-term contracts.

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32

What was the public's perception of Hollywood during the 1920s?

Throughout the 1920s (the "Jazz Age"), the public increasingly thought of Hollywood as morally bankrupt. The depression further fueled a cultural and religious backlash against Hollywood

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33

What is the name of the censorship guidelines adopted by the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association in 1930?

The Production Code or the Hayes Code.

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34

Who wrote the production code?

William Hayes

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35

What group did William Hayes enlist to support the Production Code, which put political pressure on Hollywood?

The Catholic Legion of Decency

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36

What is the name of the period during which filmmakers resisted the Production Code?

The "Pre-Code Era"

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37

What happened in 1934 regarding Hollywood studios and the Production Code?

By 1934, every Hollywood studio agreed to respect the demands of the Production Code,

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38

Who was responsible for enforcing the Production Code in Hollywood?

Joseph Breen and the "Breen Office".

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39

How long was the Production Code enforced in Hollywood?

For over thirty years.

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40

What was the requirement for all featured films during the Production Code era to be approved?

All featured films during the Production Code era had to be approved by Breen and his office, both in script form and final cut.

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41

What was the main assertion of the Production Code regarding the impact of motion pictures on their audience?

The Code asserted that no motion picture couldn't "lower the moral standards" of its audience.

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42

What were some of the things that the Production Code censored in American movies?

The Production Code censored portrayals of sexuality, drug use, crime, offensive language, and anti-American ideology.

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43

What did the Production Code force filmmakers to do?

The Production Code forced filmmakers to creatively "suggest" that which they could not show.

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44

Who produced the most stunning examples of Hollywood style musicals in the 1930s?

Busby Berkeley

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45

What films did Berkeley produce that focused on the style over narrative, with lavish spectacles taking center stage?

42nd Street (1933), Footlight Parade (1933), and the Gold Diggers series

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46

Which director is known for sentimental films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Wonderful Life?

Frank Capra

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47

Who was the first director to demand that his name be placed above the film's title, thereby shifting power away from producers and into the hands of directors?

Frank Capra

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48

Who was the most popular director of westerns and helped to shape the form and style of the American western genre?

John Ford

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49

Which famous director's career spanned several decades and included westerns like "Stagecoach" and "The Searchers," as well as dramas like "Grapes of Wrath"?

John Ford

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50

Who were some famous artists in Paris during the 1920s?

Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Igor Stravinsky, Marcel Proust, and Jean Cocteau.

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51

What was Paris known as during the 1920s?

The art capital of the world

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52

What inspired French filmmakers in the 1920s?

Experimental techniques prevalent in other art forms of the period.

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53

What were Dadaism and Surrealism?

They were art movements embraced by French artists. Dadaism rejected all sense of reason and logic, while Surrealism featured free association and dream-like images.

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54

What kind of films did artists like Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray make during the Dadaist movement?

They made films that utilized abstract shapes and patterns with no meaning other than chaos of form.

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55

What is the most famous surrealist film?

The most famous surrealist film is Un Chien Andalou (1929).

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56

Who made Un Chien Andalou?

It was a collaboration between Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali that purposefully rejects conscious interpretation

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57

How did the introduction of sound films affect French filmmaking?

It shifted the focus away from experimental forms towards a new sense of realism.

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58

What is Poetic Realism?

It is a dominant mode of filmmaking in France in the 1930s, which used the invisible style of Hollywood to create realistic narratives, yet those narratives were presented in a lyrical style that strongly commented on French culture of the 1930s.

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59

Was poetic realism considered a true film movement?

No

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60

What did Poetic Realism filmmakers have a strong sense of?

The camera and how it could present humanistic characters

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61

What tradition did Poetic Realists follow?

The traditions of French Impressionism, where small, individual pieces could form a cohesive whole.

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62

Who was the most prolific director of Poetic Realism?

Jean Renoir

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63

What did Jean Renoir's father do?

He was a impressionism painter

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64

What was Jean Renoir's approach to directing films during the Poetic Realism era in France?

Jean Renoir used satire to comment upon French society, and although his films were often funny, they were tightly structured and often bitter towards social customs.

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65

What are two of Jean Renoir's masterpieces from the 1930s?

Grand Illusion (1937) and The Rules of the Game (1939)

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66

What happened during the Parisian premiere of Jean Renoir's film "The Rules of the Game" and why?

The Parisian premiere of The Rules of the Game ended in a a small riot due to Renoir's frank criticism of French culture and sexual customs

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67

What is Jean Vigo known for

He is widely considered to be among the most important figures of Poetic Realism, and his film L'Atalante (1934) greatly influenced other Poetic Realists and major figures of the French New Wave.

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68

Who were Marcel Carne and Jacques Prevert?

They were filmmakers who applied the light, lyrical visual style of Renoir and Vigo to epic and dramatic narratives that emphasized the social and political problems of French life.

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69

What are some of Marcel Carne and Jacques Prevert's best works?

Port of Shadows (1938), Le Jour se leve (Daybreak ,1939) and The Children of Paradis (1945)

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70

What did the US government take notice of in Hollywood during the 1930s?

Hollywood's vertical integration structure but particularly the practice of block booking

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71

What was block booking and why was it troubling to the US government?

Block booking was the practice of selling major features in bundles with less popular films to non-studio owned theaters. It was seen as contributing to the quickly growing oligopoly in Hollywood.

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72

When was the Paramount Decree issued and what did it order the major studios to do?

The Paramount Decree was issued in 1940, and it ordered the major studios to discontinue block booking within three years.

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73

Why was the trial for the Paramount Decree put on hold?

The trial was put on hold as a result of the US involvement in WWII.

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74

What did Hollywood do during WWII to participate in American war efforts?

Hollywood participated heavily in American war efforts. Major directors like Frank Capra and John Ford made documentaries about wartime fissures, and popular films were shown to troops overseas in an effort to boost morale.

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75

What was the "Good Neighbor" policy and how did Hollywood contribute to it during WWII?

Foreign policy initiative that aimed to improve relations with Latin American countries and prevent Axis influence in the region. Hollywood studios played a part in this effort by featuring Latin themes, musical numbers, and stars like Carmen Miranda in their films.

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76

What was the Nazi-controlled German cinema used for during the 30s and 40s?

The Nazi-controlled German cinema was used as a tool for propaganda.

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77

What film did Lena Feifenstahl produce that's most notably a nazi propaganda film?

Triumph of the Will

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78

What type of cinema did American filmmakers create during World War II?

American filmmakers created their own brand of propaganda cinema to warn the American public of the dangers of Nazi ideology and promote patriotism.

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79

What did the Supreme Court ruling in 1948 declare, and what did it signal the beginning of?

The Supreme Court ruling declared that the studios had to sell off their theaters, and it signaled the beginning of the end for both Hollywood's vertical integration structure and the "Studio Era" itself.

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80

What was the Blacklist, and what was its impact on Hollywood?

The Blacklist was the blacklisting of Hollywood liberals and intellectuals due to association with communism. This resulted in the blacklisting of the "Hollywood Ten" and many more filmmakers in subsequent years

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81

What happened to Hollywood studios in 1950, and why did it happen?

Hollywood studios hit an all-time economic low in 1950 due to financial pressure, and many studio contracts expired around this time, resulting in a free exchange of talent.

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82

What new technology emerged in the early 1950s, and how did Hollywood respond?

Televisions. Hollywood resisted in the beginning but was forced to find more creative means to maintain their audience

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83

What studio created their own television production units?

Columbia

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84

What new formats and features did Hollywood unveil to differentiate the theater experience from television?

Hollywood unveiled new widescreen picture formats like widescreen, 3-D features, and switched to color filmmaking.

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85

What was the most popular widescreen format?

CinemaScope

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86

What was the most prominent new "genre" after WWII?

Film noir

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87

What was film noir and why was it significant?

Film noir was a group of films tied together by a dark aesthetics and darker narratives, featuring troubled and conflicted main characters who were often talked into serious crimes by femme fatales. It tapped into America's unconscious post-war fears about foreign influence.

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88

Who was Orson Wells?

A young maverick of the radio, was given unprecedented artistic control by RKO to make his first feature in 1941. His resulting film, Citizen Kane, is widely considered to be the greatest film of all time

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89

What other films was Orson Welles known for?

The Magnificent Ambersons and Touch of Evil.

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90

Who was Alfred Hitchcock?

Director known as "the master of suspense" for his thrillers and was the most successful director of the 1950s.

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91

What are some of Hitchcock's notable films?

Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960).

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92

Who is Douglas Sirk?

German-born director known for female-centric melodramas.

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93

What are some of Sirk's classic "weepies"?

All that Heaven Allows (1955), Written on the Wind (1956), and Imitation of Life (1959).

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94

How did the aesthetics of Japanese cinema evolve?

The aesthetics of Japanese cinema evolved slowly due in part to Japan's reliance on the older traditional form of Kabuki theater, which used benchi and female impersonators.

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95

What resulted because Japanese cinema developed slowly?

Developed its own aesthetics, themes, and genres independent of the west, like many Eastern national cinemas.

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96

How did sound affect Japanese cinema?

Sound freed Japanese cinema from the benshi tradition, allowing for more complex aesthetics and camera work. This process was slow and silent films were common until the late 30s.

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97

What were the two major traditions of Japanese cinema in the early 20th century?

Jidai-geki (period films about feudal Japan) and Gendai-geki, (films about contemporary life)

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98

What did Japan's Ministry of Propaganda do in regards to film production?

Enacted strict guidelines and quotas for film production.

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99

What kind of films did the Ministry of Propaganda suppress?

Suppressed left-wing, oppositional "tendency films."

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100

What kind of films did the strict guidelines and quotas lead to?

To narrative films and documentaries which preached national policy and ideology.

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