How to Appreciate Motion Pictures: A Manual of Motion-Picture Criticism Prepared for High-School Students

By Edgar Dale | Go to book overview
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WHAT MOTION-PICTURE CRITICS SAY ABOUT THE STORIES
When the motion-picture critics of the country were asked the question, "In what respect could producers make the most improvement in pictures?" the following information was obtained:

Stories are most in need of improvement, in the overwhelming opinion of the nation's critics. Fully 98 per cent of the several hundred film scribes participating in this questionnaire voluntarily mention story material, and a majority of them are quite hot about the matter.

As a suggestion for putting the needed improvement into effect, more than a hundred critics urged the writing of more original stories conceived directly with a view to the requirements and possibilities of the screen.

Too much use of dialogue instead of action is one of the chief criticisms of present stories. Illogical situations, fantastic plots and forced endings also brought numerous complaints, and writers are advised to stop trying to shock audiences and devote more effort to sincere human problems and natural emotions that all can understand. More wholesome stories about normal people are advocated.1


SUMMARY OF STANDARDS
Here are the standards which the writer sets up in this chapter for the story. If you do not agree with this set of standards, revise them to fit your own standards for a photoplay.
1. A good motion-picture story must really do what it sets out to do.
2. The story should be so built that there is a consistent rise in interest from the beginning of the picture until the climax.
3. A well-constructed motion picture should not be hard to follow or understand.
____________________
1
1932 Film Daily Directors' Annual and Production Guide, p. 20.

-95-

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