Talking pictures : how they are made, how to appreciate them (c. 1937)

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History of Motion Pictures It has not supplanted the stage nor can it ever, for the stage has a place distinctly its own. And the stage, instead of being harmed by the photoplay, has grown in stature. Stage technique, spurred by motion picture accomplishments, has made great strides. The finest plays of the modern theatre have had a new vitality and originality, since the advent of the motion picture. In the '8o's and 'oo's, and even into the present cen- tury, stage plays followed a tradition that a play must be presented in three or four acts. Shakespeare, of course, had many scenes in his acts but as the theatre became a more massive structure of wood and stone, the changing of numerous sets became too costly, and stage producers sought economy by urging playwrights to tell their story with fewer acts and scenes. Compare the plays of forty years ago with those of today. Plays still stay within three or four acts, but, because of revolving stages and more portable settings, six to ten or twelve scenes to a play are common, and plays have been presented with as many as twenty scenes. Of course this.number of scenes, if they can be changed quickly, is an admission of the stage pro- ducer that the shift of locale germane to the motion picture provides a special advantage over the stage form of presentation. For years, only the stage play was studied in schools. Today the screen drama is being included in high school and college curricula. Young people of the new genera- tion are seeing and hearing motion pictures. It is their right to have answered the questions which arise in their minds about this art. [21]