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The Use Of Classical Hollywood Theory In Die Hard

630 words - 3 pages

Beginning the mid 1920s, Hollywood’s ostensibly all-powerful film studios controlled the American film industry, creating a period of film history now recognized as “Classical Hollywood”. Distinguished by a practical, workmanlike, “invisible” method of filmmaking- whose purpose was to demand as little attention to the camera as possible, Classical Hollywood cinema supported undeviating storylines (with the occasional flashback being an exception), an observance of a the three act structure, frontality, and visibly identified goals for the “hero” to work toward and well-defined conflict/story resolution, most commonly illustrated with the employment of the “happy ending”. Studios understood precisely what an audience desired, and accommodated their wants and needs, resulting in films that were generally all the same, starring similar (sometimes the same) actors, crafted in a similar manner. It became the principal style throughout the western world against which all other styles were judged. While there have been some deviations and experiments with the format in the past 50 plus years, the Classical Hollywood narrative continues to be the recognized style for the majority of Hollywood films still today. “The stylistic conventions of Hollywood narration are intuitively recognizable to most viewers” (Bordwell 163). Still adhering to the standard traits of this style, modern day filmmakers attempt to breath new life into each scene, subtly fueling the driving force of the film’s storyline by drawing the audience in moment by moment. David Bordwell speaks to this notion by saying, “By framing the shot, a certain way, and by concentrating on the most significant details of the action, the director compels the audience” (163). This theory is found in the leading example of a classical Hollywood narrative in contemporary cinema; the high-powered action film Die Hard.

Die Hard, written by Jeb Stuart and Steven DeSouza and directed by John McTiernan, can be reflected upon as one...

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