2. Griffith Turns a Page
Nineteen fifteen was a momentous year for motion
pictures, for it witnessed the production of a film
that was, and still remains, a masterpiece of cinematographic art. David Wark Griffith, like Chaplin,
is certainly one of filmdom's true geniuses. His very
first picture, The Adventures of Dolly, a one-reeler
he directed for Biograph in 1908, revealed a sense of
situation and dramatic logic rare in those days. An
unerring casting director, he introduced many a
future star--including Mary Pickford--during his Biograph days. Griffith is the greatest innovator the
screen has ever known. Such devices as the close-up,
the fade-out, the iris dissolve, back lighting, the soft-
focus close-up, the cut-back, and the last-minute
rescue are accepted so completely as a matter of
course by present-day audiences that it is hard to
imagine a time when they did not exist. Yet every
one of them results from Griffith's experiments and
discoveries from 1908 to 1914. Moreover, he was the
first director consciously to treat the motion picture
as an art form. His pictures have the indefinable
quality of "atmosphere" and are distinguished by
masterful lighting and composition. Had he been a
painter instead of a motion-picture director, he would
have been equally great.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: A Pictorial History of the Movies.
Contributors: Deems Taylor - Author, Marcelene Peterson - Author, Bryant Hale - Author.
Publisher: Simom and Schuster.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1943.
Page number: 45.
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