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Classical Hollywood Narrative

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Classical Hollywood Narrative

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  • November 27, 2006
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The Classical Hollywood Narrative Style is the most commonly used technique in film creation. The term was coined by David Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kristin Thompson in their study of Hollywood films between the years of 1917 to 1960. A film in this style would follow a set of rules which are unwritten but commonly accepted amongst film makers. This type of film is structured narratively with a clearly defined conflict which is introduced early in the movie, a problem arises and the characters are forced to work through it, and in the end the problem is resolved. In terms of realism and formalism the Classical Hollywood Narrative Style falls somewhere directly in the middle. Although the film is filmed in a controlled environment where the director is in control of what happens, the object of the film is to create an environment that resembles the real world and is believable by the viewer. Both Mise-en-scene and editing have their place and are crucial to the Classical Hollywood Narrative Style of filmmaking. Editing is important to keep the movie flowing by making the edit invisible, and make sure the viewer understands what the director is trying to portray. The editing takes place either on a glance or to follow the action. The Mise-en-scene of a scene in this style includes everything that is in the scene and is vital in keeping the movie believable. Part of this is that fact that character rarely look directly into the camera or address the audience. Also the set or background of the film must hold up the believability of the film. The narrative of the film is illustrated by the actor's reactions which are caught on screen. A great example of this format of filmmaking is "Casablanca", which is also known as the most famous movie of all time and is never far from the top of the list when talking about the best movie of all time. Casablanca follows the Classical Hollywood Narrative Style by following the loosely accepted rules of the style. The movie...