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Individual: Influences of Visual Media Paper

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SOUNDS AND IMAGES

Movies and the Impact of Images
187 Early Technology and the Evolution of Movies 192 The Rise of the Hollywood Studio System 195 The Studio System’s Golden Age 205 The Transformation of the Studio System 209 The Economics of the Movie Business 215 Popular Movies and Democracy

In every generation, a film is made that changes the movie industry. In 1941, that film was Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane. Welles produced, directed, wrote, and starred in the movie at age twenty-five, playing a newspaper magnate from a young man to old age. While the movie was not a commercial success initially (powerful newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, whose life was the inspiration for the movie, tried to suppress it), it was critically praised for its acting, story, and directing. Citizen Kane’s dramatic camera angles, striking film noir–style lighting, nonlinear storytelling, montages, and long deep-focus shots were considered technically innovative for the era. Over time, Citizen Kane became revered as a masterpiece, and in 1997 the American Film Institute named it the Greatest American Movie of All Time. “Citizen Kane is more than a great movie; it is a gathering of all the lessons of the emerging era of sound,” film critic Roger Ebert wrote.1

CHAPTER 6 ○ MOVIES

185

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MOVIES

A generation later, the space epic Star Wars (1977) changed the culture of the movie industry. Star Wars, produced, written, and directed by George Lucas, departed from the personal filmmaking of the early 1970s and spawned a blockbuster mentality that formed a new primary audience for Hollywood— teenagers. It had all of the now–typical blockbuster characteristics like massive promotion and lucrative merchandising...

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