COMM 546 Lecture 4 - The Jazz Age Finds Its Voice

COMM 546 Lecture 4 - The Jazz Age Finds Its Voice - Dana...

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Dana Coen COMM 546 (History of American Screenwriting) Spring, 2010 Lecture #4 THE JAZZ AGE FINDS ITS VOICE Recap …. The second decade of 20 th century screenwriting sets trends in a number of areas. 1) The Law : Copyright legislation is changed to protect the owners of original material. But this raises the question as to who that actually is. ..the writer or the studio who paid the writer to write it? Anti-trust legislation, meanwhile, opens up the business of making films. 2) Studio Location : Thomas Edison’s efforts to control the movie industry encourages film companies to move to Los Angeles. 3) Story Development : The emergence of story departments employs writers on a regular basis…. Their words begin to appear on title cards.
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2 And reel changes create the notion of writing as a series of sequences. 4) Gender : Women scenario writers such as Gene Gauntier, Anita Loos, and Francis Marion become celebrities. These women and others steer feature-length film stories towards pulp-adventure, romance and moral tales. 4) Comedy : Mack Sennett creates and exploits a low-brow form of film comedy. It ushers in the creation of the first writer’s staff…. And it creates an early notion of writers as functionaries. 5) Film Language : D.W. Griffith emerges as the film genius of the decade as he expands one-reelers into exciting feature-length films. Thomas Ince takes the outline of the director’s back pocket and systemizes the process of scenario-writing. Present …. And as we move into the 1920s, we also leave behind a devastating World War. Show photo of WWI battle scene.
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3 Before, during and just after WWI, both American and European opinion are divided over the conflict…. Films both here and abroad express a range of sentiments. D.W. Griffith, Thomas Ince, J. Stuart Blackton and France’s Able Gance develop material that is clearly pacifist . Cecil B. DeMille, Frances Marion and D.W. Griffith, direct scripts that record war’s effect on the average citizen . While King Vidor and Charlie Chaplin pick subjects that feature the soldier himself . Later in the decade E.LLOYD SHELDON writes…. …“Wings,” a love triangle between a Red Cross nurse and two pilots. The film wins the first best picture Oscar and will go on to influence later films like “Top Gun” and “Pearl Harbor.” But as the new decade dawns, Metro’s JUNE MATHIS. ... …adapts the anti-German war novel “The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse”… And casts heartthrob Rudoph Valentino into the role that will make him a huge star. Her role as both scenario writer and producer, although unique….
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4 ….lays the groundwork for some screenwriters to move into producing roles…. In Europe, which has been devastated by the conflict, comes a film
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COMM 546 Lecture 4 - The Jazz Age Finds Its Voice - Dana...

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