By Sheldon Hall

The pantheon of big-budget, commercially profitable motion pictures includes a diversity of genres, together with biblical movies, struggle movies, romances, comic-book diversifications, lively gains, and old epics. In Epics, Spectacles, and Blockbusters: A Hollywood historical past authors Sheldon corridor and Steve Neale talk about the features, historical past, and modes of distribution and exhibition that unite big-budget images, from their beginnings within the overdue 19th century to the current. relocating chronologically, the authors learn the roots of ultra-modern blockbuster within the "feature," "special," "superspecial," "roadshow," "epic," and "spectacle" of previous eras, with certain realization to the features of every form of photograph.

within the first part, corridor and Neale contemplate the beginnings of gains, specials, and superspecials in American cinema, because the phrases got here to outline no longer the size of a movie yet its marketable stars or better price range. the second one part investigates roadshowing as a way of allotting specials and the adjustments to the roadshow that resulted from the creation of synchronized sound within the Nineteen Twenties. within the 3rd part, the authors research the phenomenon of epics and spectacles that arose from movies like long past with the Wind, Samson and Deliliah, and Spartacus and keeps to conform at the present time in motion pictures like Spider-Man and Pearl Harbor. during this part, corridor and Neale examine advances in visible and sound expertise and the consequences and prices they brought to the industry.

students of movie and tv reports in addition to readers drawn to the historical past of yank moviemaking will get pleasure from Epics, Spectacles, and Blockbusters.

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Extra resources for Epics, Spectacles, and Blockbusters: A Hollywood History

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In the last act the mammoth arena is unrolled, crowded with people, with Nero in the royal box. The Christians are driven . . into the arena. The lions come out by a trap door. 66 As this description implies, a feature of nearly all these scenes is their use of editing and special effects as well as their use of large sets: miniatures and double exposures are used in the scenes of the burning of Rome; inserts and cutaways are used to show Vinitius (Amleto Novelli) searching for Lygia (Lea Giunchi) and to show Nero (Carlo Cattaneo) playing his lyre.

In whose initial promotion and distribution he had invested over $200,000,60 he set up the Photodrama Producing Company of Italy and commissioned Cines to produce Antony and Cleopatra, Ambrosio to produce The Last Days of Pompeii and a six-reel version of Othello (1914), and Pasquali to produce a six-reel version of Spartacus; or the Revolt of the Gladiators (1914). He also set up a company called George Kleine Attractions to distribute the films, and was in the process of building his own production studios at Grugliasco near Turin when the outbreak of World War I put an end to his plans.

Most were distributed instead on a states rights basis. As we have seen, the states rights system had been used by Edison to distribute its peepshow machines. It had been used for the distribution of boxing films as well. It continued to be used for this purpose, not just because boxing films were often unusually long, but also because a number of states had declared the staging of boxing matches and the exhibition of boxing films illegal. The inherently selective states rights system was thus tailor-made for their distribution.

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