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A Glimpse of World Movie History

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Topical Vocabulary

1. Cinema: cinema (house), open-air theatre, film, movie, (motion) picture, to go to the cinema (a movie, movies, pictures), normal screen, wide (large, broad) screen, the first (second) showing, entrance (exit), showing (performance, programme) begins at … (ends at…), colour poster, the box office, to book tickets.

2. Films: documentary, educational, popular scientific (or science) film, feature film, science fiction film, animated cartoon, adventure film, musical, puppet film, thriller, comedy, horror film, crime film, action film, Western, children’s film, theatrical film, wide-screen, colour (black-and-white, mute, sound, dubbed, full-length, short-length) film, short, two (three) part film, wartime epic, newsreel, serial, “X” film, star-studded film, the screen version (adaptation) of the novel.

3. Parts of films: scene, outdoor (indoor) scene, the opening scene, the final scene, crowd scene, an episode, still, shot, long shot, close-up, caption, subtitle, flash-back(s).

4. Cinema work: to shoot (produce, make) a film, to make a screen version (adaptation) of a novel, to screen a novel (play, story), to adapt a novel for the screen, to film a novel, to play (act) on the screen, to release a picture, to come out (about a film), to go into production, to remake a film, to reissue a film, to be dubbed in Ukrainian, to present a film in Ukrainian, co-production (joint production), directed by…, scenery and costumes by…, the songs set to music by….

5. Cinema workers: producer, film director, art director, camera-man, script-writer, animator, costume designer.

6. Cinema-goers: film goers, audience, film fans, to watch the film (screen), to watch smb acting on the screen, to see a film.

7. Actors and acting: the cast, comedian, an actor of great promise, leading actor, star, to play the main (leading, title, key) or small (supporting, minor) role, to co-star, to portray a character, to give a convincing (memorable, captivating, warm, brilliant, superb) portrayal of…, to give a magnificent performance as… (in), to take (gain) the best actress (actor) award (title), to create a true-to-life image, to make the most of the role, to bring to life on the screen, to come alive on the screen, a typical N role, to outshine everybody else, a new N film, to star in a role, to be miscast (ill-chosen), to be cast to advantage.

8. Effect. Impression: the film deals with (depicts, presents, tells of), the message of the film, to win universal acclaim, to praise unreservedly, to leave a deep and lasting impression on, to appeal so much to the audience, to be (make) a hit with the public, a delightful (amusing) comedy, entertaining (powerful, gripping, absorbing, vividly dramatic, technically brilliant, sad, depressing, slow-moving, dragged-out) film, to mar a film, to leave smb cold, empty of serious content, a flop, a good film, not without flaws, a run-of-the-mill film, not a film to everyone’s taste, not an easy film to watch, obscure and complex ideas.

Task 1. Read the text about the history of world film production, find additional information about it and be ready to present it in class.

A Glimpse of World Movie History

Phonographic motion pictures projected on to a screen became available for the general public from about 1895, and by the end of the century they were well established in many countries, notably in France, Britain and America.

The earliest pictures, often of astonishing good quality and steadiness, were intended as popular entertainment in music-hall programmes. They showed comic turns, magic trick pictures, slapsticks, little romances and even short five-minute dramas. More important were the films recording actual happenings.

In the earliest years of the cinema its power to show contemporary events vividly was recognized and appreciated. More than anything else this unique quality secured popularity for the film as a new form of instruction and entertainment.

The history of the film from 1900 to 1911 is the development of it as an international industry. During this period, films grew gradually from ten minute’s length to two hours.

Makers of films began to learn how to tell a story effectively in motion pictures, the pictures taking the place of words. At this period films were making so much money that film-making attracted a different type of people – people who lacked the enthusiasm of the pioneers, whose aim was to coin money rather than to develop this new art.

During the First World War the demand for films continued to grow at a time when European producers were least able to meet it. In consequence America became the foremost film-making country of the world and Hollywood in California, with the advantage of its strong clear light, the chief centre of production.

The USA developed the “star” system and film publicity simultaneously, so that the names of artists such as Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Picford and Charlie Chaplin were well known to the public wherever there were cinemas to show their films. The cinema became the people’s entertainment, lavish, luxurious, often lurid, available almost to everyone at the price of a few pence.

After the war some of the European film industries revived during the short period left to the silent film (1919-1928 approximately).

Germany developed the artificial studio film with remarkable photography, sets, lighting and acting. The German school specialized in fantasy, spectacle and melodrama.

Soviet Russia, nationalizing her film industry in 1919 after the Revolution, made the most remarkable contribution of the period to film art in the work of such directors as Eisenstein and Pudovkin. They used the film to interpret history and the problems of contemporary Russian life and their films are among the most important in the history of cinema.

France was the home of experience, especially in the film movement called the avant-garde, run by a group of young directors who attempted to devise films, to reflect ideas of psychology and art.

The British screen, however, remained almost entirely dominated by the American film which developed its tradition of star display in thousands of shallow but commercially successful films.

The first complete talkie was “Lights of New York” released in 1929. Sound greatly increased the artistic possibilities of the film.

Since 1932 films in colour have become more general, and techni-colour has been adapted for use in all types of film and in later years has rapidly improved to its present excellent standard.

The cinema has become part of the modern way of life. And all over the world artists have emerged to make the films which confirm the existence of a new art – films such as “Intolerance”, “The Battleship Potemkin”, “Ten Days That Shook the World” and others.


(from “Encyclopaedia Britannica”)

Exercises to the text.

I. Answer the following questions:

1. What did the earliest pictures show?

1. What are the main features of the film development between 1900 and 1911?

2. Why did America leave European countries behind at the beginning of the 20th century?

3. What was Germany’s contribution to the film development?

4. What objectives did Eisenstein and Pudovkin pursue in their work?

5. What kind of films did French producers attempt to devise?

6. What aspects did the film acquire in the early thirties?


II. Comment on the following:

1. In the earliest years of the cinema its power to show contemporary events vividly was recognized and appreciated.

2. The “star” system developed with the appearance of famous actors and actresses.

3. During the First World War the demand for films continued to grow at a time when European producers were least able to meet it.

4. The cinema became the people’s entertainment, lavish, luxurious, often lurid, available almost to everyone at the price of a few pence.

5. Soviet Russia, nationalizing her film industry in 1919 after the Revolution, made the most remarkable contribution of the period to film art.

6. Sound greatly increased the artistic possibilities of the film.

7. Techni-colour has been adapted for use in all types of film and in later years has rapidly improved to its present excellent standard.


III. Pick out all the words and word-combinations dealing with the cinema. Use them while discussing the history of world cinema.


Task 2.Put the words into the correct column in the table.

Stage, performance, show, box-office, animated cartoon film, act, to star, cast, producer, director, matinee, stalls, balcony, news-reel, actor, dramatize a novel, to make, a book into a film, opera-glasses, foyer, feature film, travelogue, leading role, to be on, to dub a film, scenery, screened version, scene, to make up, camera-man, subtitles.


Cinema Theatre Both
Animated cartoon film Performance Stage

Task 3.Consult a dictionary and explain in English the following words.

Animated cartoons, to dub a film, screened version of a book, travelogue, film-star, camera-man, director.


Task 4. Match the English cinema words with their Ukrainian equivalents.

1) animation a) мультиплікаційний фільм

2) feature film b) вестерн

3) documentary c) дубльований фільм

4) cartoon d) рецензія на фільм

5) adventure film e) мультиплікація

6) musical film f) сюжет

7) western g) художній фільм

8) horror film h) документальний фільм

9) dubbed film i) пригодницький фільм

10) film review j) музичний фільм

11) plot k) фільм жахів


Task 5.Give English equivalents for the Ukrainian words.

1. Екранізація of the novel War and Peace was a great success with the public.

2. It takes a lot of time дублювати a film.

3. The work of the оператора was excellent.

4. Many зірки were in the cast.

5. The film йде at the “Zhovten”.

6. Very much depends on the постановник of the film.

7. It’s a very old film, it’s not dubbed, it’s з титрами.

8. Where can I check up the time of the сеансу?

9. Науково-популярні films can be very cognitive.


Task 6. Read the text for obtaining information and do the exercises following it.

No other art form has had quite the impact on our lives that the motion pictures have. Indeed, the movies are truly an art of our time – they were born and have come of age in the twentieth century, and they now demand the serious consideration given to the other arts.

Everybody loves a story. Children mesmerized for hours before a television set watching cartoons they are seeing for the fifth or sixth time, or long lines of shivering movie-goers outside a theatre on a winter night, convincingly demonstrate that truth.

There can be no question about the supremacy of the visual image in the realm of story. The fact that images and movies have many uses besides story-telling simply adds another evidence in support of the observation that the life of the mind receives its nourishment primarily from visual rather than verbal sources.

Clearly, in terms of sheer quantity, visual narrative is the greatest aesthetic and educational force in the world today, and the movies, the visual narrative media – qualify unchallenged as the art of our time.

No one has ever seriously doubted that the movies are a powerful force in contemporary life. Quite the contrary. Their potential for propaganda purposes was immediately recognized and in some cases exploited. What has been questioned is the capacity of the movies for doing good. They have been vulnerable to the charge that they are unable to awaken and refresh the mind, that they cannot tap the deepest reaches of man’s spiritual life and so are at best a rudimentary art.

Yet the movies are not now as disturbing for intellectuals as they once were. One reason is that they are no longer the popular art; television has stolen the limelight.

Much remains to be accomplished, however. Since we have to live with the movies, we would prefer not to be embarrassed by them; we want the chance to exercise our humanity in and through the movies, and so we persist in demanding that the movies make more room for man within their aesthetic boundaries.

We would not, by any means take the fun off movies in order to fit them into the traditional earnestness associated with education, but the aim is, and should be, a higher hedonism which more profoundly entertains the heart and mind. With the existing film classics and the fifteen to twenty a year from around the world capable of captivating attention – there are enough good and great movies for us to grow by. The movies arouse the mind and soul when given undivided attention.


Exercises to the text.

1. Answer the following questions:

1) Why do you think movies are regarded as “truly an art of our time”?

2) What facts given in the extract prove the idea that nowadays people prefer a narrative told in visual images? Do you agree with this opinion? Support whatever you say.

3) How can movies be helpful for people besides relating stories? Which of the spheres do you consider most significant? Give your reasons.

4) Why do you think movies possess the greatest aesthetic and educational force?

5) How can you account for the fact that the capacity of the movies for doing good has been questioned?

6) Why in your opinion do some people regard movies as a rudimentary art?

7) Would you agree that cinema can be regarded as the popular art, that it belongs to mass culture? What do you know about this art?

8) What kind of entertainment is nowadays rivalling cinema? Why?

9) What is the place of cinema, as the author sees it, among the other arts? Do you agree with him?

10) Do you think movies should be all fun or rather a thought-provoking and earnest art?

11) What is the main aim of the movies as the author sees it?


II. Find in the text the arguments the author gives to illustrate the following:

1. Cinema – a wide-spread art and entertainment of the 20th century.

2. Its impact on people’s lives.

3. Cinema and story-telling.

4. Cinema and education.

5. Cinema – an earnest, thought-provoking or rudimentary art.

6. The place of cinema among the other arts, its main aim.


Task 7.Use the following phrases in a natural context of your own.

1. When does the last show begin?

2. I’m sure the film will have a long run.

3. Is the film “…” still on?

4. They say the film “…” is worth seeing.

5. I should have enjoyed the film much more if it were black and white.

6. The camera-man’s work contributed very much to the success of the film.

7. I can’t understand why many people are fond of murder films.

8. Have you ever seen any Chaplin films?

9. Do you prefer TV films to those shown at the cinema?

10. Do you read reviews before going to see a film?

11. What film to your mind is one of best releases of late?

12. My favourite film-star is ….


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