As I reflected on all the film technology we have learned about throughout the course, I realized how extensively my knowledge about the film has increased. I can now explain and identify film technologies such as continuity cutting, parallel editing, reverse angle editing, intertitles, and many more we have seen in our class viewings. Being able to see the development of these technologies has allowed me to really understand the massive impact film technology continues to have on the viewer’s understanding and interpretation of the film. We were able to view films before the discovery of many of the technologies we studied. This allowed us to notice the importance of editing for establishing the plot of a film. We started our viewings by some of the very first films to have been produced. These films usually did not have sound and were composed of many pictures played after another to form motion. In the first film we watched, The Cabbage Fairy, it was nearly impossible to understand the plot, if there was one. However, as we progressed in our viewings in chronological order, the new developments in film technology made the films much more understandable and entertaining. We eventually made it to films like Bring Up Baby i that made us wonder how certain scenes were made possible without the use of animations. This buildup of viewings allowed us, the students, to see the significance of every film technology.
This photo shows a scene from Bring Up Baby in which it seems as if the two main actors are riding in a car with leopard. However, they shot two different scenes and put them over each other to make it seem as if the leopard and actors were there at the same time.
The star system
Of the many film technologies we discussed, I was most intrigued by the star system. The star system was creating, promoting, and exploiting of stars in Hollywood films. The reason why I picked this film technology over the others is because of the involvement of human emotions needed for the star system to be effective. The star system started with an actress called Florence Lawrence and continues on in almost every mainly streamed Hollywood films today. Florence Lawrence had parts in about 60 films directed by D.W. Griffith in 1908. She eventually gained so much popularity that her fans started writing to the studio asking for her name since the studio had never publicized her. The studio refused to publicize her and she became known as the “Biograph Girl.” As her fame grew she demanded much higher pay and started looking for work elsewhere. Carl Laemmle who was looking for a star tried to take in Lawrence. To officially make her a star, he spread a rumor that Lawrence had died by a streetcar. After he gained the attention of the media, he released in the newspapers that she is alive and well. The fans were then so excited to see Lawrence alive that popped the buttons off her coat. Laemmle falsely claimed that Lawrence’s fans rushed her and tore her clothes off to generate further attention! It was at this moment that the star system was born.
Wikipedia contributors. “Florence Lawrence.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 Nov. 2019. Web. 9 Nov. 2019.