A Pictorial History Of The Movies

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9781258476618: A Pictorial History Of The Movies

Excerpt from A Pictorial History of the Movies

Twenty years ago, people used to excuse a bad movie by remarking that the motion pic~ ture is in its infancy. Today, whenever a par ticularly bad picture swims into our ken, we say the same thing sarcastically; confident that we have thereby delivered a stinging rebuke to the unfortunate movies for not developing faster. Yet consider the motion picture's immediate an cestor, the drama. Twenty-four hundred years ago, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, and Sophocles were writing dramatic masterpieces that must have been the culmination of centuries of patient trial and error by long-forgotten journeymen play wrights. Fifty-four years ago (1943 speaking) the very first motion picture was put upon film. Forty years ago the first motion picture to tell a story, The Great Train Robbery, was re leased. Its producer, Edwin S. Porter, died on April 30, 1941, at the age Of seventy-one. David Wark Griffith, the great pioneer of the pictures, was sixty-three years of age in 1943. Now go back twenty-four centuries. Compare the prog ress of the drama since the days of Sophocles with the progress of the motion picture in the half century of its existence. Do you feel a little more charitably inclined toward the shortcom ings of the younger art?

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