For well over a hundred years film and movies have been a staple of the modern world. It is difficult to think of a time before we all flocked to cinemas to see the latest releases every month. But it was only in 1900 that film moved from being a quirky novelty item to a source of viable entertainment. So, what happened? What turned film into one of the highest grossing industries in the world?
The term ‘silver screen’ refers to a time in the 1900’s when screens were painted in a silver reflective paint that was better for seeing the images projected onto them. Films began in France, starting with a single moving shot, normally taken by one person and some assistants, and quickly moving on to smalls scenes with some form of storytelling that were produced by film studios and multiple assistants that worked largely like factories. The first ever multi reel, feature length film was made by an Australian feature film production, and released in 1906. The first movies were in black and white and were considered silent films.
The Golden Age
The golden age of Hollywood was a period that lasted from the end of the silent era until around the 1960’s. In this period, filmed production became much more technologically advanced, and became a viable business for the first time. Plots and stories were laid out on the screen, comedies and love stories. The first movies to have sound were called ‘talkies’ and the first of its kind is considered to be ‘The Jazz Singer’ and was released in 1927. It was a major success and soon after this, movies with sound became the norm. While there were hand colored segments used in movies as far back as 1902, colored films did not become popular until ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was released in 1939 which was half black and white, half colored.
Today, the film industry is a lucrative business. There are myriad production companies to choose from, and every year billions of dollars are made. With the popularization of 3D movies in the eighties and the resurgence in the past decade, movies have again brought back some level of novelty to them. However, as a respectable source of entertainment, they have soared to greater heights than could have ever been imagined. CGI and special effects have brought the age-old art of storytelling into a new era, and there is virtually nothing that cannot be recreated on the big screen today. Movies captivate audiences with their visceral imaginings, guiding the audience through exactly what the director wants them to see. From the modest beginnings of a handful of moving frames, to the blockbuster masterpieces we know today, it is no wonder that film is such an important part of our history.
The movie industry has thrived for over a hundred years and it looks in no way like it is about to slow down. What does the future hold for cinema?