History of Motion Pictures – sample of college essay

  • Main Strategy of the films industry from a historical perspective

The film industry developed almost at the same period in history after a long period of informal and non-commercial entertainment. In the 1920’s, the major trend in most western countries was the strategy to create “Film Europe” which was a movement to create a cooperative market, large enough to harness film making as a strategy against the American hegemony (Thompson, 10). However, this was altered by the World War 1 that interfered with cooperation among States thus weakening their positions in the industry. These mainly affected countries such as Italy and France, while others such as USA became opportunistic, took advantage of the situation to access markets, and gained control in regions such as the Middle East, Central Europe, and USSR.

By 1924, America already had control of the main world film markets, in fact, American theatres operated more frequently and their theatres were larger and numerous than those of other countries such as England and Germany. American producers developed a strategy to deal with post war competition from other film producers. This resulted in a situation where American exporters enjoyed the market monopoly while others had a limited local market and few opportunities to export films thus forcing them to maintain low budgets and high rentals to ensure that they earned some profit however small it was (Thompson, 26).

  • The history and development of motion pictures technology

Motion pictures and movies originated in the late 1800’s and the first film invention for motion photography was by William Walker and George Eastman in 1885 (Thompson, 30). However, Edward Muybridge had also invented the first genuine motion picture in 1872. The basis behind the technology of motion pictures was the optical phenomena referred to as phi phenomenon and persistence of vision. Phi phenomenon creates movement between images, which succeed each other quickly while persistence of vision causes image retention by the brain once images are cast in the retina within a second beyond disappearance from sight. Subsequently, Louis Lumiere and Auguste invented the cinematographe that had the ability of capturing project still frames and pictures in rapid succession (Thompson, 35).

  • Technological advancements and changes in the film industry

From the 1900, there was great advancement in the motion picture and film technology especially with regards to backdrops, editing, the architecture of theatres and the push for a generally new and creative territory (Thompson, 70). Nickelodeons for instance, began offering inexpensive and easy ways that enhanced the public appeal to watching films and movies in 1905 thus generating money for the filmmakers. In 1920’s, Hollywood was considered the birthplace of America’s movie studios, which was of great importance to the public (Thompson, 75). A new era began in 1930’s with the introduction of new genres and sound into different films. This was considered and termed as Hollywood’s Golden Age. Genres such as comedies, horror, westerns, and documentaries among others were created and the utilization of audio tracks in films and motion pictures created dynamism and Hollywood’s leverage during the second World War. Advancement in technology led to the introduction and the use of color film and better sound recording machines that made films more appealing and modern.

  • Creation and implementation of the Hay’s Code

The Hay’s code also known as the Motion Picture Production Code was created and implemented as a set of industrial moral guidelines for motion pictures released from 1930 to 1968 by major studios in the US (Thompson, 110). The Motion Picture Association of America under the leadership pf Will Hays strictly enforced the code in 1934 as it spelt out both the acceptable and unacceptable content of films produced for the public under the motion picture technology. The code wakened in the 1950’s because of the influence from other foreign films produces, the television impact, the push for the envelope by directors such as Otto Preminger and more so the intervention of the Supreme Court. Eventually, the code was outdated after minimal enforcement and replaced by the Motion Picture Association of America film rating system in 1968.  

Works Cited

Thompson, Kristin, and David Bordwell.Film History: An Introduction. 2nd ed., MacGraw Hill, 2002, pp. 2-150.

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