Read the following paying attention to the phrases
in black type:
At the theatre you can see plays, e.g. Hamlet by Shakespeare, or musicals,e.g. Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. In a play the cast(= the total number of actors) is usually quite small, but musicals often have a very large cast.
One difference between the theatre and cinema is that you usually book(= reserve) tickets in advance (= some time before the actual performance) if you are going to the theatre. Another difference is that the audience(= the people watching the play / musical) clapat the end of the performance. This does not usually happen (in Britain) at the end of a film.
Plays are performed on stage, films are shownon screen. Films are either shown with subtitles(= there is a translation across the bottom of the screen), or they are dubbed (= English is removed and replaced by actors speaking in your own language).
Films are set(= take place) in many different periods and places, e.g. Room with a View is set in the early part of the 20th century; Blade Runner is set in the future. And when people talk about films, they often talk about the director, e.g. Spielberg, Bertolucci; and the stars-the most important actors and actresses.
Types of films:
western:a film about America in the 19th century; often with cowboys and Indians;
war film:e.g. Born on the 4th of June;
horror film:Dracula, Frankenstein;
science fiction films:about the future;
action film:e.g. Indiana Jones;
comedy:a funny film that makes you laugh;
thriller:an exciting story often about a crime.
Describing plays and films:
Journalists write articles in which they give their opinion of new films and plays. They are called critics, and their articles are calledreviews. These are some words they may use:
moving violent powerful gripping good fun slow
boring exciting fascinating glamorous spectacular
likeable ordinary humiliating first-rate worth seeing well-produced realistic true to reality brilliant depressing entertaining dull outstanding thrilling technically well-made sentimental
Look at the film titles below and match them with
the correct film type from the box:
horror thriller action romance
cartoon science fiction comedy
costume drama musical
3. Interview with the Vampire
4. Four Weddings and a Funeral
5. Star Wars
7. Funny Bones
8. A Perfect Murder
3. Giving your opinion about films:
I really liked this film. It had everything.
I didn’t like it at all.
The costumes were amazing / dull.
The special effects were fantastic / terrible.
The acting was brilliant / awful.
It was really funny / exciting / boring.
I thought there was too much romance.
It is a huge hit.
The film was awarded the festival’s first prize.
It’s the film from the series of “Forgotten films”.
The photography is excellent but the film itself is dull in
Many of the shots in this documentary are unique
The film is boring, the script is overloaded with details.
The film is a great favourite with the cinema audience.
The film will have a long run.
4. Read the text. Answer the following questions:
1. What sort of films were popular at the dawn of film
2. What were the most favourite names among actors
3. When did the first serial appear?
Although the first films were silent, during the years after 1910, going to the cinema was becoming more and more popular. The audiences loved the beautiful Clara Bow and laughed at Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Rudolph Valentino, an Italian actor, became the ‘great lover’ of the silent screen, and millions of women sent him love letters after his films. One very famous silent film was The Birth of a Nation. It was first shown in 1915 and was almost three hours long. The first ‘serial’ arrived in 1912. Audiences rushed back each week to see the next episode. A favourite serial was The Perils of Pauline (1914) starring Pearl White. Pearl had to fight Indians in one episode, was pushed off the Rocky Mountains in another, and was blown up at sea in another. But she always seemed to escape for another exciting day. By 1916, Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin were each earning $10,000 a year.
5.*** The Cinema Comes to Hollywood
A. Read the text:
How did Hollywood begin? A Kansas couple, Harvey and Daidia Wilcox, came to Los Angeles in 1883, when there were just orange and lemon farms in the area. Three years later, they owned fifty hectares of land which they called Hollywood.
The Wilcoxes sold the land, bit by bit, and the first Hollywood studio was built in 1911 by the Nestor Company. The American film-makers came to California because the weather was good, and because the Californian workers were cheap to employ.
In 1913, Cecil DeMille came to Hollywood and started what became known as Paramount Studios. Universal Studios started about the same time, the Fox Company two years later (joining with 20th Century Pictures in 1935), United Artists in 1919 and Warner Brothers, MGM, and Columbia in the early 1920s. If you wanted to ‘get into the movies’, Hollywood was the place to go!
The first films were silent. The words of the actors appeared on the cards which were shown every twenty seconds or so. Suitable music was played during the film by an orchestra, or by one person on a piano.
Edwin S. Porter was the film-maker who introduced film ‘editing’ - cutting the film and putting it back again with the shorts in a different order. This made the films more exciting to watch. His film, The Great Train Robbery (1903), is a good example of this.
Until 1910, audiences did not know the names of their favourite actors and actresses. Actresses were given names like ‘The Biograph Girl’ or ‘The Vitagraph Girl’ or were not named at all. Carl Laemmle, chief of Universal Studios, was the first to name a star, when he employed Florence Lawrence.
B. Answer the questions:
1. Why did American film-makers come to California?
2. What studios appeared in the USA in the 20s-40s
3. What studio was the first to name a star?
6. Discuss the following points in pairs:
1. Have you ever seen a film of a book after you have
read the book itself? What did you think of it?
2. Have you ever read a book after you have seen the
film of it? If so, what did you think of it?
3. What is special about a novel that you do not find in a
film? What is special about a book that you do not
find in a novel?
7.*** Read one of the given texts. Where do you think