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

By Edgar Dale | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
ACTING

COMMENTS about the acting of motion-picture characters are common, since most persons prefer certain actors and actresses whose work they feel is usually of superior merit. One person's acting is liked because it is so real and human; another's is disliked because it is shallow--lacking in understanding. The suavity and smoothness of a particular actor may appeal to some; to others it seems artificial. We realize, therefore, that tastes in acting differ, and frequently that standards for judging the acting are also different. We come then to the question, "By what standards should we judge the acting which we see on the screen?"

Standards for acting are hard to set up, for they vary greatly from country to country. It is difficult, for example, for most Americans to appreciate the acting of Mei Lan-fang, the famous Chinese actor who recently toured this country, because in his acting certain gestures or movements have special meanings. Chinese drama is a kind of shorthand which you must know in order to understand what is happening. It is not natural, or what we call "realistic." Instead, it is symbolic. Which is the better standard? Today most of us prefer the naturalistic method, but that does not necessarily prove that it is better.


STANDARDS FOR GOOD ACTING

We can get good acting in a motion picture if we have the following conditions:

-98-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Table of Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Chapter I What is Motion-Picture Appreciation? 3
  • Chapter II Shopping for Your Movies 16
  • Conclusion 24
  • Chapter III The History of the Movies 26
  • Chapter IV A Visit to a Studio 37
  • Chapter V Motion-Picture Reviewing 59
  • Chapter VI The Story 74
  • Summary of Standards 95
  • Chapter VII Acting 98
  • Chapter VIII Photography 121
  • Summary of Standards 149
  • Chapter IX Settings 151
  • Summary of Standards 169
  • Chapter X Sound and Music 171
  • Summary of Standards 177
  • Chapter XI Direction 179
  • Conclusion 204
  • Chapter XII What Are Motion Pictures For? 205
  • Chapter XIII What Next? 220
  • Appendix Suggested Readings 233
  • A Glossary of Motion-Picture Vocabulary 235
  • Index 241
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