Photo Play

18 Apr





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In a Psychological study, by Hugo Munsterberg, he writes, “We have reality with all its true dimensions; and yet it keeps the fleeting, passing surface suggestions without true depth and fullness, as different from a mere picture as from a mere stage performance.” “It brings our mind in to a peculiar complex state; and we shall see that this plays a not unimportant part of the mental make-up of the whole photo play.” This is truly an art form, that keeps the mind connected with the storyline, not just focusing on the people, as if they were on stage.  This article definitely explains the evolution of what we now call modern day cinema.  It is also amazing to see how the art of storytelling is still being used in modern day times.  This method definitely enhanced and further increased the need for storytelling, through pictures, and later sound.  By utilizing the photo play, it would be left up to the viewer to create their own version of the story, and then to process the info and to later tell others about the story and to go see the movie.  Then in turn, the person would be intrigued enough to go to see the picture for themselves.  The utilization of the camera, was very instrumental in the art of storytelling in the photo play.  Cameras could be used to enhance the story being told by fading in and out of scenes, and the camera could focus on certain parts of the story.  The camera was a better tool to use more so than the theater to tell a story because the camera could do certain tricks that a person could not do.  By using the camera and its tricks, the viewer could feel more the emotions associated with and enhance the story that was being told.

     In the kleptomaniac, the camera and its tricks were definitely utilized.  The camera was focused on the workers and their daily routines.  A lady leaves her home and goes to a department store.  The camera used for the this particular story is solely focused on the workers, not the crowd in the department store.  It was not until we see the woman being apprehended by management that the viewer becomes aware that a crime has been committed.  Once she is questioned by the manager we see that the middle class lady, has stolen various items that were on sale, such as jewelry.  In the court scene the middle class lady is confronted by the judge.  It is in this scene that we so a poor woman that stole bread to feed her family for their survival.  This was such a powerful tool used to tell the story that showed the disparities of the poor and the rich.  The viewer emotional feels more for the poor woman, than the rich lady, which is now seen as the villain.  In Sherlock Jr , we see the story of a young man who wants to impress a girl and aspires to be a detective.  Due to his loss of money, the main character changes the price on a gift that he is wanting to buy.  It is ironic that a thief uses his debauchery to his advantage, and thus steals the watch.  Unfortunately the father thinks that Sherlock Jr stole his watch, and refuses to let his daughter date the young detective.  This utilizes the technique of the dream sequence which is very mind boggling. I will think about photo play,the next time I walk down 42nd street and look at all the different billboards and displays.


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