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The History of Film


thegreatman
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Isn't that the title of the new TCM program? Its such a long history and not that easy to figure out. Is the TCM guy telling the truth? I saw a little and it was kinda like Tarantino. The thing is movies might look like its complicated but once you see alot of movies they catagorize themselves.

Kevin Brownlow made a nice series about the silent era. The sound era

may not even be worth doing a show on. The silent era was 100x better and more interesting than the sound era. And they only have 25% of all silent movies! TCM could get the Brownlow history. & Brownlow could be a guest on TCM - that it hasn't happened tells you something.

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Actually, both Brownlow's HOLLYWOOD and CINEMA EUROPE have been shown on TCM several times. Just not since about 2004. I'm enjoying the HISTORY OF FILM series. I think that it is well done. Especially, given the limited budget Cousins had to work with.

 

No it's not nearly as extensive as I would like., covering the Silent Era in just 3 chapters. So many names were not even mentioned. But it is still well done for what it does include.

 

I agree that the Silent Era was far more innovative then any other period in film history, an to many people remain ignorant of this.

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I think 3 chapters were enough to spend on silents. The history of film includes many OTHER periods as well, and to present it in a limited number of installments leaves room for covering just those "names" that made major contributions to the medium.

 

Sepiatone

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Unfortunately, when Kevin Brownlow obtained rights to show the film clips included in the HOLLYWOOD series, that did not include future media, which is why there is no DVD of the series.

 

I would love to see his series on TCM, but do not know if there are legal impediments to prevent that. Kevin Brownlow is a great friend of the network and has appeared at the festival more than once. He's an excellent speaker if you get the chance to hear him.

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Yes I have heard various reasons but The Brownlow Hollywood is too important to ignore. The clips are not all that precious except to illustrate a point that is being made. If anything the clips make the movies that contain them worth more. In the Silent era any country could make a movie and it could easily be translated to be a work of art all countries could enjoy. It was a universal art. So not to be cliched countries began to innovate and in doing so created basically all the so called techniques that came later. What happened in 1930 was a hostile takeover and if you look at 1930s movies they are all the same. Same music. same credits. same rehashed stories. it looks like communism.

each studio used the same credits on every movie! It wasn't til Citizen Kane that the conformity was broken and welles paid a dear price for that.

Brownlow shattered the Hollywood idea that Silent movies were obsolete. & because he stood out & did so successfully, the Hollywood series should be easily available. They could make money off it. and teach people. TCM are running silents too fast. The Wind and The Crowd are too fast. If the acting looks exaggerated its too fast.

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The passion and knowledge of the documentary's maker show through, but he is definitely not a fan of linear story telling, and it is very distracting. It's something like...

 

Two little girls set out to go to school...

 

Meanwhile in Chicago, Joe is fighting his desire to smoke...

 

The two little girls come across a field of flowers....

 

Meanwhile in New York, Bob puts the moves on Ann and strikes out...

 

The two little girls find a dog sleeping in the field of flowers...

 

Meanwhile in L.A., Jim and Laurie fight over the cost of Jim's mobile phone plan...

 

and so on.

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Wonder are there any past films that were used for inspiration to explain the plot in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008)??

 

World's ugliest baby movie I don't know about?

 

Watching this at the moment instead of "The Minority Report". Don't know what's weirder.

 

Edited by: hamradio on Sep 14, 2013 2:15 AM

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I looked for TCM to show some of the work of William Friese-Greene who was a British film experimenter on color processes and was the subject of a film called "The Magic Box" in 1951. But TCM had nothing to say about him. not one word. not one mention or example.

here is a mini bio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Friese-Greene

 

Friese-Greene is considered to be the father of motion pictures and his

movies were real color. not hand painted. Not only were Britain right there at the moment the movie was created but they also advanced the use of the English language in films. In Hollywood, the opinions of the viewing public by the studios & banking backers was low. Look at all the fast talking 30's movies.

In England, they knew the language better than Hollywood but also knew their citizens had a higher education and ability to understand English.

England had a higher regard for audience intelligence. And their movies often place a greater demand on an audience. TCM has let the viewers down by offering a deliberately biased "history" of movies in its infancy.

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TCM showed Edison & Lumiere films outside of the Cousins video. I recorded the Edison & Lumiere movies. According to TCM the story of the beginnings of film are what they say it is and no other people are worth mentioning. No Friese-Greene examples of early color were allowed to confuse viewers. If TCM didn't show it, there is nothing to see.

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TCM is showing some films mentioned in the documentary so if Cousins didn't put it in the documentary, then what is your beef. Maybe none of his work survives. I think your complaints have no merit. Unless you have proof that Cousins (not TCM) purposely ignored Friese-Greene's contribution for some reason.

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The History of film must be true. That was the great thing about Brownlow's pictures. He gets the best prints and uses people with artistry to show the films in the best way possible. So if you see a Brownlow version of "Intolerence" you'll notice right away how difficult a job it is to put music on it because it jumps around from culture to culture. So on that movie the Carl Davis music was great.

 

About the evolution of the film processes with so much conflicting technology, its important to give credit to all the people involved and to show samples. That was not done and now you have to guess: "Did they deliberately omit stuff or just not bother?" I don't see alot of motivation to tell the true history. You need to teach yourself alot of stuff. The color film invention and the sound technology had many competing systems. Its a tough job to teach that on tv. Might be better in a classroom.

Just because you have a computer, you still must trust yourself and your common sense. I was taught in school to hold reverence for the english language and its proper usage. For example: years ago when subtitles were burnt onto a film, if you compare say that era to todays subtitles... you'll notice the translations were done badly and deliberately leave amounts of dialog with no translation. It was the primitive technology that forced those doing the job to cut corners. They had to measure the amount of stuff that could be read vs. the abilities of the average movie goer. And once the subtitles were burnt on they were there for the life of the print.... So dubbing was favored over subtitles most of the time. - Just to save themselves having to translate & burn on subtitles. Its alot of work maybe for not much money.

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Filmographies ( not exact )

 

Thomas Edison -

 

The Patchwork Girl of Oz (producer)

1913 Julius Caesar (Short) (producer)

1913 A Minstrel Show (Short) (producer)

1913 Her Redemption (Short) (producer)

1913 Nursery Favorites (Short) (producer)

1913 The Irish Policeman (Short) (producer)

1911 Lucia di Lammermoor (Short) (producer)

1904 Parsifal (Short) (producer)

1903 Electrocuting an Elephant (Documentary short) (producer)

1898 The Passion Play of Oberammergau (Short) (producer - uncredited)

1896 Blackton Sketches, No. 2 (Short) (producer - uncredited)

1896 Blackton Sketches, No. 3 (Documentary short) (producer - uncredited)

1896 Fatima's Coochee-Coochee Dance (Short) (producer)

1895 The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (Short) (producer - uncredited)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

William Friese-Greene

 

 

Director (4 credits)

1890 Traffic in King's Road, Chelsea (Short)

1889 Hyde Park Corner (Short)

1889 Leisurely Pedestrians, Open Topped Buses and Hansom Cabs with Trotting Horses (Documentary short)

1888 Brighton Street Scene (Documentary short)

Hide Hide Cinematographer (3 credits)

1890 Traffic in King's Road, Chelsea (Short)

1889 Hyde Park Corner (Short)

1888 Brighton Street Scene (Documentary short)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Louis Lumiere -

 

Blacksmith Scene (Documentary short)

1895 Cordeliers' Square in Lyon (Documentary short)

1895 Fishing for Goldfish (Documentary short)

1895 Jumping the Blanket (Documentary short)

1895 Tables Turned on the Gardener (Short)

1895 The Sea (Documentary short)

1895 Trick Riding (Documentary short)

1895 The Photographical Congress Arrives in Lyon (Documentary short)

1895 Employees Leaving the Lumi?re Factory (Documentary short)

1895 Barque sortant du port (Documentary short)

1895 Bocal aux poissons-rouges (Short documentary)

1895 D?part en voiture (Short)

1895 Discussion de Monsieur Janssen et de Monsieur Lagrange (Short documentary)

1895 Le d?jeuner du chat (Short)

1895 Le mar?chal-ferrant (Documentary short)

1895 Photographe (Documentary short)

1895 Pompiers: Attaque du feu (Documentary short)

1895 R?cr?ation ? la Martini?re (Short)

1895 The Mechanical Butcher (Short)

1895 Transformation by Hats (Short)

1892 Le prince de Galles (Documentary short)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

It looks like a photo finish!

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I'm not being defensive. You are looking for scholarly work on a tv show, and you are blaming TCM when they just bought the series and had nothing to do with the production of the series. Therefore your continued attack against TCM is un warranted. Your beef is with Cousins, but you don't seem to understand that.

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His attack on TCM is warranted on one level, helen;

 

TCM had time to review this documentary, thought it was worth broadcasting and agreed to show it. Cousins likely didn't point a gun at TCM execs heads.

 

Griping about the content, and seemingly blaming IT on TCM however, is not only unwarranted, It's just plain dumb.

 

Sepiatone

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TCM showed the Edison & Lumiere films themselves. Most likely because the Cousins thing was lacking in that area. TCM opened the can of worms & by showing Edison & Lumiere only they are basically saying these men were the first. If you look at the stuff I got off IMDB, Friese-Greene made films in 1888. Edison 1895 Lumiere 1892. If there is any doubt who was first TCM needed to clear it up & instead chose to

present their "version" when the Friese-Greene stuff can be bought in England. Another example of TCM showing what they have and not buying what they need. If you present a history you want to get your facts straight.

Many of the competing patents were similar in result and courts had to decide if an idea was stolen. Friese-Greene created a color system and was accused of stealing a patent. A court found him innocent. It involved taking b/w film and printing the negative thru colored slides. TCM needed to show both of the competing color systems. TCM has nothing but time to kill. They could have used the time of the 100th showing of North by Northwest - that is 2 hours to tell the history of film properly & maybe hire a person who is knowledgable. Maybe even show examples of cameras, projectors & sound systems. Does anybody care about this? TCM does not need to tell a half story.

 

I want to repeat. The Edison films were not on the Cousins program.

The Lumiere films were not on Cousins program.

TCM showed them separately. It has nothing to do with Cousins. So please do not confuse things by mentioning him.

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I suppose I need to rethink all my opinions because I'm afraid of the dreaded ignore function. All I can do is give you the info. I cannot make an unreasonable mind understand it. The computer is a great thing. But it cannot replace the human mind that created it. For those of us in the real world who had to be proved to for acceptance: Don't believe me. Find the truth yourself.

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I've been enjoying the wide ranging style of the Oddysey, but I would indeed like to see the HOLLYWOOD series presented again. If it is not available on dvd then TCM would do us all a service in seeing it get seen again. In the current Odyssey I'm particularly enjoying learning about people and events with which I was more or less unfamiliar and especially in seeing the cinemas and venues where showings were first presented.

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