American Cinema

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The major film genres.

The major film genres developed in the United States are the following:

Comedy. Charles Spencer Chaplin became the most widely recognized comedy figure in the world. He emphasized the development of character and plot structure, in contrast to the simple reliance on gags and gimmicks that characterized the work of other comedy producers of the day.

Westerns. The Western (a film about life in the American West in the past) was the first American genre to be developed and has remained a staple of the American motion-picture art and industry. It has been estimated that one quarter of US films have been Westerns. However, today most American Westerns are made in Italy and are called '"spaghetti Westerns".

Musicals. The musicals of the late 1920s and the early 1930s consisted of a series of "numbers" by established stars of Broad-way, vaudeville and radio. Later manifestations of the form were the biographical musicals, often highly fictionalized, about great composers, musicians, singers, providing an opportunity to string together some of their most popular hits. The transferring of musicals intact from the Broad-way stage became almost automatic beginning in the 1950s.

Gangster films. While the Western deals with a mythical American past and the musical with a fantasy land, the gangster film is closely tied to a real facet of American life. In earlier films, the gangster had risen to the top to enjoy wealth, power, beautiful women, expensive homes and large cars, but before the end of the film he was bound to be caught by law-enforcement officers, overthrown by fellow gang members or killed. Such punishment was considered obligatory. By 1971, however, "The Godfather" showed how far the genre has evolved: Marion Brando, in the title role, dies of old age. The gangster was another businessman.

War films. They have evolved into a major American genre, since wars have occupied so much of contemporary American history. The Second World War has been the subject of the greatest number of American films in this genre.

Horror films (thrillers). In the 1920s the creation of a monster who gets out of control or is coming to life from non-human beings who survive by killing the living provided the basic story lines of countless horror films. These films also have dealt with supernatural forces that manifest themselves as an unseen power rather than in individual form. A third major kind of horror films deals with people who are insane or in the grip of psychological powers beyond their control.

Horror films as a genre is associated with the name of Alfred Hitchcock. Like Walt Disney with animated cartoons, Alfred Hitchcock was thought not just to have invented a film genre but to have patented it (hence "Hitch", another name for a horror film).

Detective and spy films. These include first of all the James Bond series. Hitchcock's films of this genre feature ordinary people who accidentally become involved with spies or other evil doers.

Science fiction. After the Second World War science-fiction films increasingly suggested that the dangers of the future stemmed from what human beings were doing in the present.

Film Companies

Columbia Pictures (also Columbia)-American film company, which produces films for cinema and television.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) a film company based in Hollywood, which has made many famous films and animated cartoons.

Paramount- a film company in Hollywood.

20th Century-Fox an American film company.

United Artists a film company (studio) in Hollywood.

Universal n film company (studio) in Hollywood.

: 15/02/2010