Citizen Kane Essay

745 words - 3 pages

Today movies and television consist of a huge part of the entertainment system in American culture, something we usually take for granted, as it has become a normalcy in our everyday lives. If we were to go back just over 100 years ago to the early 1900s, the American film industry was just getting started. The great American Inventor Thomas Edison was a big contributor to the start of cinema. Edison’s development of the kinetoscope in 1885, a device that allowed people to see short sequences of moving images, was revolutionary. Kinetoscope (peep-show) parlors opened all across America, and people were willing to pay about twenty-five cents, to see these new and fascinating moving pictures. Means for another new way to view moving pictures, the projector, followed soon after, to the dismay of Edison. Edison wanted to keep kinetoscope parlors going because of the enormous amount of profit he was making off them; but the projector was introduced in 1895, by the Lumière brothers, and now viewers were able to see life like images, six to nine feet tall, right before their eyes. This new way of viewing movies prompted the introduction of the first movie theaters, called nickelodeons. Going to nickelodeons became an extremely popular leisure activity among Americans. People were fascinated with the idea of the moving picture, even if it was just an actuality, such as people exiting a factory or getting on a train, as seen in Exiting the Factory or Arrival of a Train at LaCiotat, short, silent films made in 1895 by the Lumière brothers on only one reel of film. Moving away from the actuality film, which showed non-fiction events that had been captured on camera, people wanted more, and the idea of the narrative film was born. As opposed to actualities which had no explanation for the images, and the events taking place on the screen spoke for themselves, narratives allowed for a fictional story to play out on the screen for the viewer to interpret. In 1902, French former magician and now filmmaker, Georges Méliès, changed cinema by bringing elements of magic and theatre into the narrative film. In his studio, he prepared his own fantasy world using elaborate sets and costumes as well as trickery and special effects. His legendary film, A...

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