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The American Film Industry Essay

3489 words - 14 pages

The American Film Industry

Why is the Film Industry one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world? Simple. People like entertainment. Movies are entertainment. Movies are like books, only they're visual. People like seeing other people cast in roles, and playing out a story. Why not turn to plays instead, you ask? Movies give people the actors and the stories, along with background music, special effects, and overall satisfaction within a 2 hour period of time. Movies can also take you to a physical state that theatre can not. They take you to real physical locations instead of just a cardboard stages. It's the same reason people like television so much.

The birth of cinema came in the late 1800s. One of the major reasons for the emergence of motion pictures in the 1890s was the late 1880s development of a camera that could capture movement, and a sprocket system that could move the film through the camera. William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, a young assistant in Thomas Edison's laboratories, designed an early version of a movie-picture camera - called a Kinetograph - that was first patented by Edison in 1893. Early in 1893, the world's first film studio, the "Black Maria", was built on the grounds of Edison's laboratories at West Orange, New Jersey and the first successful motion picture was made - a re-creation of a sneeze. Most of the earliest moving images were non-fictional, unedited, crude documentary views of simple, ordinary slices of life - street scenes, the activities of police or firemen, or shots of a passing train.

Then, in 1894, along came another marvelous Edison Company invention in the mid 1890s - the Kinetoscope. It was basically a bulky, coin-operated movie peep show viewer for a single customer, in which the images on a continuous film loop-belt were viewed in motion as they were rotated in front of a shutter and a light. On Saturday, April 14th, 1894, the Holland Brothers opened their original Kinetoscope Parlor at 1155 Broadway in New York City and for the first time, commercially exhibited movies as we know them today. Early spectators in Kinetoscope parlors were amazed by even the most strange moving images in very short films (between 30 and 60 seconds) - an approaching train, a parade, women dancing, dogs terrorizing rats, and other such things. In 1895, Edison exhibited hand-colored movies, including Annabelle The Dancer, in Atlanta, Georgia at the Cotton States Exhibition. In one of Edison's 1896 films, entitled The Widow Jones, often called "The Kiss", May Irwin and John Rice re-enacted a scene from a Broadway play - it was a close-up of a cinematic kiss. In 1909 the first movie studio was started - Universal Studios.

The ten year peiod of 1920-1930 was the period between the end of the Great War and the Stock Market Crash. Film theaters and studios were not initially affected in this decade by the crash. Films really blossomed in the 1920s, expanding upon the...

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