Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley
Cinema is a hugely popular modern art form that uses moving pictures to tell a story. Early films were in black and white, and silent. The Jazz Singer (1927) was the first “talkie,” and color films appeared in the 1930s. Today many movies use SPECIAL EFFECTS.
Movies are made in studios using sets—life-size models of buildings or places. Underwater scenes are sometimes filmed in huge tanks. Movies are also shot on location (outdoors or in a real building). Location filming in towns or cities is often done early in the morning when the streets are empty.
Directors decide which script the movie will be based on and use their personal vision to create the overall style. They advise the actors on how to play the characters and tell the camera crew when and how to film. They also choose the music for the movie.
Motion pictures were invented in 1889 in the US by Thomas Edison. In 1895 in France, the Lumière brothers projected films for the first time to a paying audience. Within 20 years HOLLYWOOD dominated the film industry around the world.
Bollywood is the nickname of the Indian film industry, centered in Mumbai (Bombay). The films are often romantic, with singing and dancing.
Most stunts, such as fast car chases, are done by doubles of the lead actors. However, in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Zhang Ziyi, playing the Jade Fox, did all her own martial-arts fights.
Many movies are based on books. An Ideal Husband (1999) was taken from the 1895 play by Oscar Wilde. Films that recreate a historical period are called costume dramas.
Genre is a category of movies, such as Westerns. The Hollywood Western The Magnificent Seven (1960) was based on Japan’s The Seven Samurai (1954).
Hollywood—a suburb of Los Angeles—is the center of the world film industry. The Californian sunshine attracted early movie-makers, because the film they used at the time worked best in strong light. The varied landscape also provided good locations.
The big Hollywood studios controlled the industry for many years, because they not only made movies but also owned most of the theaters. They used their power to turn their actors into worldwide stars. Today, Hollywood studios fund and distribute movies made by smaller companies, too. While Hollywood remains dominant, other cinematic cultures, such as the Indian film industry, have a big following.
These are techniques used to create illusions (images that are not real). Hidden wires make it look like an actor is flying. A train crash can be filmed with tiny models. Most effects today are computer-generated.
Moving scenery was projected on a screen behind the actors. This made it look like a car was driving along a road when, in fact, it was stationary in a studio. Another effect was to mask part of the camera, so that the same piece of film could be used twice. In this way, actors could be superimposed on backgrounds.