ESSAY 5 - ESSAY #5: Case Study: Charlie Chaplin,...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
ESSAY #5: Case Study: Charlie Chaplin, “Auteur” and “Mise-en- Scene Criticism”, and The Gold Rush Copyright Frank Scheide, 2003 ESSAY OBJECTIVES: Consider how Charles Spencer Chaplin and his film The Gold Rush can help us understand and apply “auteur” and “mise-en-scene criticism”. I. The Emergence of the Film “Auteur” As we noted in Essay #1, “auteur criticism” was developed by a group of French film critics following World War II. These critics believed that the films of certain Hollywood directors of the 1930s and 1940s were so distinctive that their entire output should be studied in order to best understand what made their work unique. Though produced in a system where a Hollywood studio like MGM, Warner Brothers and Paramount determined the form and style of that company’s films, the motion pictures of certain directors like John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock still bore the distinctive style of their particular “auteur” – the French word for “author”. Originally the term of “auteur” was applied to Hollywood directors of a relatively limited time period. Today “auteur criticism” is used to assess the work of important filmmakers from other times as well. Auteur criticism allows the critic to take a group of films and study them as a collective body. In Essay #3 we compared and contrasted the content and style of motion pictures made by pioneer filmmakers Georges Méliès, Louis and Auguste Lumière, and Thomas Edison. We considered how the background and interests of these early filmmakers influenced the content and quality of their work. The bourgeois lifestyle of Louis and Auguste Lumiere is reflected in the subject matter of some of their “home movies”. Georges Méliès 's background as a magician influenced his cinematic narrative fantasies. Thomas Edison's dismissal of the motion picture as little more than a novelty prevented his company from taking a commanding lead in meeting the demands of the early film market. Given the unique blend of fantasy and narrative style in his movies, a case can be made that Georges Méliès was one of the first important film auteurs. The work of Edison and the Lumière brothers also have a singular appearance, but the distinctions between their films and that of their competitors are somewhat less clear. As a group these filmmakers are considered to be pioneers whose “primitive” pictures do not generally hold up well as timeless works of arts. With the possible exception of Méliès, these primitive filmmakers did not recognize the potential of the motion picture medium well enough to push their cinematic expression to its maximum potential. If film historians today were asked to make a list of the most successful early auteurs whose motion pictures clearly withstand the test of time as true classic works of art, Charles Spencer Chaplin (1889-1977) would probably be ranked among the top. As with Méliès, the Lumières, and Edison, Chaplin’s background would have a major impact on
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course FILM LECTU 1103 taught by Professor Student during the Spring '08 term at Arkansas.

Page1 / 23

ESSAY 5 - ESSAY #5: Case Study: Charlie Chaplin,...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online