Download The Ancient World in Silent Cinema by Pantelis Michelakis, Maria Wyke PDF

By Pantelis Michelakis, Maria Wyke

Within the first 4 many years of cinema, 1000's of flicks have been made that drew their notion from historical Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Bible. Few of those motion pictures were studied, or even fewer have obtained the serious realization they deserve. the flicks in query, starting from old and mythological epics to variations of old drama, burlesques, cartoons and documentaries, recommend a fascination with the traditional global that competes in depth and breadth with that of Hollywood's classical period. What contribution did antiquity make to the improvement of early cinema" How did early cinema's representations have an effect on smooth knowing of antiquity" current prints in addition to ephemera scattered in movie records and libraries around the globe represent a massive box of study. This generally illustrated edited assortment is a primary systematic try and specialize in the instrumental position of silent cinema in twentieth-century conceptions of the traditional Mediterranean and heart East.

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The significant commercial success of this sex comedy (at the very close of the silent era) can be put down to the irresistible invitation it offered to its American spectators. By now predominantly female, they were seemingly eager to participate – however vicariously – in the joys of a consumer age. The final chapter, like many chapters in this volume, also draws attention to the difficulties that attend research on silent cinema (only a third of Korda’s film remains for viewing). Antiquity films, many of which were first exhibited more than one hundred years ago, often survive only in part or in poor condition.

Captions were sung or lyrics visualised to give greater emotional intensity to the epic film’s recreation of an intense struggle between paganism and Christianity, Church and State. David Shepherd’s chapter returns us to the more familiar territory of lavish, big-budget Hollywood epics and to Cecil B. DeMille’s silent version of The Ten Commandments (1923) as obvious precursor to the sound version the director released during the Cold War. Yet, Shepherd argues, the earlier film’s opening prologue based on Exodus, and its Golden Calf sequence in particular, demonstrates a nostalgic return to the dominance of spectacle over story that had been favoured earlier in the century.

In casting, costume and action, no clear cultural, racial or religious distinctions are made between first-century Jews and other peoples oppressed by the cruel Romans. In clear contrast to the strategies of the novel, all are equally exotic and equally available to spectators for identification. Scodel imputes these changes to a deliberate policy on the part of the film’s Jewish producers wishing to maximise profit from ticket sales and to protect the reputation of present-day Jews (who were now experiencing greater visibility in American culture than in the late nineteenth century but also greater vulnerability).

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