Classical Hollywood Style

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The classical Hollywood style, its central format and narrative will be the focus of this essay. Hollywood has fascinated people for decades. It can be described as a place that makes magical things happen right before one’s eyes. It is a place where a viewer can be transported to another place and time, and become introduced into the life of characters in order to see their story. The classical Hollywood style can best be described as, “A wide ranging system of formal conventions, narrative devices, and industrial production techniques employed with extraordinary regularity in feature films made in the United States.” (Sikov, 2009) When the classical Hollywood style is used to make a movie, the viewer is seamlessly transported to where the story takes place. He or she is instantly aware of the surroundings by the use of mise-en-scene. The viewer is also introduced to characters and instantly knows certain things about this character because of mise-en-scene.

The concept of mise-en-scene, simply put, is the staging of action for the camera. It encompasses many areas of filmmaking such as set and costume design, blocking of the actors, performance, and lighting. It also includes technical formats such as camera movement, angle, distance, and composition. Mise-en-scene includes everything in the scene and its relationship to everything else within the scene. It reflects the time period with great attention to detail. Traditionally the actors do no look directly into the camera unless it adds a dramatic element to a scene. Also, great attention to detail is given in order for the film to appear realistic.

The camera also is an integral part of the classic Hollywood style. Many different shots, angles, and distances are used depending upon what the director is trying to convey about the character or setting. Low shots may be used to show the power one character has over another. High angle shots position the viewer over the action. (Belton, 2009) Many...
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