ORSON WELLES AND THE HOLLYWOOD STUDIO SYSTEM ORSON WELLES Background American actor, director, writer and producer Directed an acclaimed all-black production of Macbeth in Harlem for the Federal Theatre Project . Directed and acted in radio versions of classic literature for the Mercury Theatre and broadcasted The War of the Worlds . Became famous with this. Starred in his two-part play Five Kings in New York. Hired by RKO made “Citizen Kane” in 1941 with free creative control . Due to the controversy of the first film, he was never allowed full creative control of a film ever again and his later films were heavily edited or left unreleased The Mercury Theater Independent repertory theatre company founded in New York City in 1937 by Orson Welles and producer John Houseman . Progressed into The Mercury Theatre on the Air . Produced live radio dramas in 1938-1940 and again briefly in 1946 . The radio series included “ War of the Worlds ” “War Of The Worlds” Broadcast Radio broadcast which took place on October 30, 1938 that ran during Edgar Burgen’s time slot 60 minute broadcast that took the news format . About aliens invading earth First 2/3rds presented as a series of simulated “news bulletins” , which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion was happening So the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) told Welles that the show could not be told like a news broadcast. VM100 study sheet 3, p. 1
CITIZEN KANE Modernist tendencies Modernism challenges the ability of conventional artistic forms that is hard to represent in film. Long takes , deep focus , in-depth mise-en-scene , non-linear narrative , ironic resolution and two different main subjects to switch up the Hollywood styles. Utilized the mirror effect . Challenged the singular judgment of accepted customs and properties . Deep focus Some shots in the film had some objects near the lens and other objects far away while staying in focus, creating deep space. Welles used optical printing to combine sharply focused plane that had been filmed separately. This was criticized by trade papers and brought attention to the film’s style Greg Tolland’s cinematography had everything in focus , with no single perspective everything was stylized . I nnovative use of sound Sound Bridge: when two edits are bridged with sound . o Sound is used to create a sense of space and time o Overlapping dialogue for naturalistic effect . The Hollywood Studio System The Hollywood studio system was the practice of large motion picture studios : 1. Producing movies primarily on their own filmmaking lots with creative personnel under often long term contracts 2. Pursuing vertical integration through ownership or effective control of distributors and movie theatres .
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