Download PDF by Wheeler Winston Dixon: Cinema at the Margins

By Wheeler Winston Dixon

A growing number of, quite a few canonical classics, resembling Michael Curtiz's Casablanca (1942) or Victor Fleming's long gone With The Wind (1939), are representing the full movie output of an period, to a brand new iteration that is familiar with little of the previous, and is inspired through well known media to reside in basic terms within the everlasting current. what's going to occur to the remainder of the flicks that enchanted, expert and transported audiences within the Nineteen Thirties, Forties, or even as lately because the Sixties? This selection of essays goals to spotlight a few of the lesser-known treasures of the previous – these titles which have been brushed aside via today's wave of cinema amnesia

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Note that, in almost all of these cases, two directors were assigned to a serial. This was because of the sheer bulk of material involved. Sometimes, directors worked on alternate days to keep from becoming burnt out; in other instances, one director would handle all the action scenes while another would shoot all the narrative exposition sequences. Serial 57 scripts were immense, often running to 400 pages or more (or four times the length of an average feature), yet shooting schedules and budgets were often minuscule and directors were expected to shoot as many as 70 “setups” (complete changes of camera angle and lighting) a day to stay on schedule.

It saved a lot of production time, but I thought it was a poor product that was nothing more than a doctored-up script from earlier days.

Subsequent episodes clocked in at roughly 20 minutes. Each episode ended with what the industry termed a “take-out” – a scene of violent peril from which the hero or heroine could not possibly escape. The next chapter would pick up the action at the same point, but offer a “way out” for the lead character: a trap door offering a convenient escape, jumping from a moving car, or breaking free from some sort of fiendish device created by the serial’s chief villain. The central characters in serials were more often types, rather than fully fleshed-out characters.

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