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Download American Cinema of the 1920s: Themes and Variations (Screen PDF

In the course of the Nineteen Twenties, sound revolutionized the movie and cinema endured as some of the most major and well known types of mass leisure on the planet. movie studios have been reworked into significant businesses, hiring a bunch of craftsmen and technicians together with cinematographers, editors, screenwriters, and set designers. The beginning of the megastar process supported the meteoric upward push and big name prestige of actors together with Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, and Rudolph Valentino whereas black performers (relegated to "race films") seemed every so often in mainstream video clips. The vintage Hollywood movie variety used to be perfected and important movie genres have been verified: the melodrama, western, ancient epic, and romantic comedy, in addition to slapstick, technological know-how fiction, and fantasy.In ten unique essays, American Cinema of the Twenties examines the movie industry's endured progress and prosperity whereas concentrating on very important subject matters of the period.

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Extra info for American Cinema of the 1920s: Themes and Variations (Screen Decades: American Culture/American Cinema)

Sample text

In Chaplin’s A Woman of Paris, dramatic conventions of the “fallen woman” story are confounded, as the central character 18 LUCY FISCHER “flouts expectations of long suffering and . . ” Similarly, in the highly experimental Salome (based on Oscar Wilde’s play), Natacha Rambova plays the infamous biblical character, a femme fatale, who punishes men who resist her desires. ” Another European émigré actress, the Polish-born Pola Negri, appears in The Spanish Dancer—where she plays an exotic Gypsy.

Significantly, his paramour is played by popular star and “It” girl Clara Bow. Also invoked in the film is a theme that would characterize the decade: the clash between generations. Cultural shifts in romance and the working woman are at play in Smouldering Fires, featuring established actress Pauline Frederick and rising star Laura La Plante. It takes on (in an ambivalent fashion) a controversial subject: a businesswoman’s infatuation with a younger man who is also her employee. Similarly, The Home Maker considers a more traditional subject, that of woman as keeper of the domestic flames, but treats it in a novel fashion.

Also critical of American society is director Lois Weber (one of a few established female filmmakers of the era), who questions the growing materialist culture by taking on the subject of genteel poverty in The Blot— inquiring why the American intelligentsia are so poorly paid (in comparison to the country’s “cruder” merchants). The issue of star personality comes crashing to the surface in The Sheik, featuring Rudolph Valentino, one of the major heartthrobs of the period who frequently (as in this film) embodied exotic roles (often of a non-Caucasian cast).

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