To start, I would just like to say that many things caught my eye in Chapter Two. It’s just interesting to see how detailed it is and how many things about the present that I know are being connected and told in their origins from the past. I even saw mention of Metro Goldwyn Mayer, which I saw as a kid with that Lion in front every time before a new episode of “Tom and Jerry” started. That show was amazing, highly recommend it.
But let’s get into what D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin contributed to the Film Industry. Now, as mentioned at the beginning of chapter two, Griffith made his first appearance in Rescued From an Eagle’s Nest (1908). And just as others did too, Griffith saw the potential of film in a narrative form, and he started using techniques from others such as Porter, Blache, Melies, and many others. He then directed his first film, The Adventures of Dollie.
As a director, Griffith how much liked the speed and immediacy of the film (chapter 2). From then on, 1908 to 1913, he filmed somewhere around 450 films. There was a point when he experimented with longer films, which were coming to be a success for European Filmmakers. As his films progressed, Griffith gradually started creating and bringing his unique sense of style to his films. This style brought back so much from his literary predecessors, yet it was still established in a way that the public could like and appreciate (bottom of page 22).
With that came the many techniques Griffith put into use such as the sense of speed, pacing, and the combination of existing techniques to create a more profound use of the close-ups, cross-cutting for suspense, and the many other refinements put into the film to give it its style (bottom of page 22, chapter 2). This is what D.W. Griffith brought to the film industry, the establishment of classical editing. That set a path for the future of films. That technique was used in Hollywood and can very possibly still be used to this day. Now we have Charlie Chaplin, or Charles Chaplin (Whichever you choose to call him), who was found by director/producer Mack Sennett from the Keystone Film Company, which focused on comedy over narratives, my favorite. He started as a star for Keystone, and obviously, he was a success. He was their biggest star. As I read this chapter I see what Chaplin brought to the film industry. He established the sense of comedy in silent films. It was very noticeable. He always did his best in the films he was put on, no matter what the set was. Sennett was known to save money on sets and use real-life events as the “set”, yet that never made the films bad. His work brought him to an eventual $1 million deal with First National Studios. He moved on through different film companies fast, just as Chaplin’s career progressed, eventually getting to a point where he took more control of his work as a producer, director, writer, and star in his short films (first chapter of page 33). Charlie Chaplin also founded United Artists Studios with D.W. Griffith (he contributed too), action star Douglas Fairbanks, and silent ingénue Mary Pickford (page 33, middle paragraph). Chaplin here went on to make his masterful comedy The Gold Rush (1925) which was considered to be his finest film. His first feature, The Kid (1921), was an international success. He had it set. In the end, he never moved on from the silent films, simply because he thought that the sound took away from the humor, universal humanity, and pathos of the Little Tramp. He did what he thought was best.