This edition: Film History
The invention of motion picture technology marked the advent of not only a new mass medium, art form, and industry but also a new vocabulary and grammar of human communication. A search for the right place to make movies put Hollywood at the center of the film industry. War in Europe, the establishment of major studios, and the star system enabled the U.S. film business to dominate the industry internationally. Sound and color both contributed important chapters to the story of the movies, and an ongoing procession of new effects technologies continues to fuel profitable escapist entertainment. The film industry has had to reinvent itself in the wake of television and videocassette recorders (VCRs). Meanwhile, the content of motion pictures has been at the heart of an ongoing public debate. It has resulted in government-funded studies of the effects films have on children, a censorship office, a rating system, and a permanent place for motion pictures in political discourse. This lesson showcases the technologies, creative imaginations, audience cultures, and controversies of film history.