Andrew Graham-Dixon explores how a group of 19th-century architects and artists spurned the modern age and turned to Britain's medieval past to create iconic works and buildings.

The Art of Gothic: Britain's Midnight Hour - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2014-10-20

The Art of Gothic: Britain's Midnight Hour - Silent film - Netflix

A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound (and in particular, no spoken dialogue). In silent films for entertainment, dialogue is conveyed by the use of muted gestures and mime in conjunction with title cards, written indications of the plot and key dialogue lines. The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as film itself, but because of the technical challenges involved, the introduction of synchronized dialogue became practical only in the late 1920s with the perfection of the Audion amplifier tube and the advent of the Vitaphone system. During the silent-film era that existed from the mid-1890s to the late 1920s, a pianist, theater organist—or even, in large cities, a small orchestra—would often play music to accompany the films. Pianists and organists would play either from sheet music, or improvisation. The term silent film is a retronym—a term created to retroactively distinguish something. Early sound films, starting with The Jazz Singer in 1927, were variously referred to as the “talkies”, “sound films”, or “talking pictures”. Within a decade, the widespread production of silent films for popular entertainment had ceased, and the industry had moved fully into the sound era, in which movies were accompanied by synchronized sound recordings of spoken dialogue, music and sound effects. The vast majority of the silent films produced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are considered lost. According to a September 2013 report published by the United States Library of Congress, some 70 per cent of American silent feature films fall into this category. There are numerous reasons for this number being so high; most were destroyed on purpose, but many others have been lost unintentionally. Out of a desire to free up storage space, film studios would often destroy silent films decades after their theatrical runs, perceiving them to have lost their cultural relevance and economic value. Due to the fragile nature of the nitrate film stock on which many silent films were recorded, many have deteriorated or have been lost in accidents such as fires (because nitrate is highly flammable and can spontaneously combust when stored improperly). Many such films not completely destroyed survive only partially, or in badly damaged prints. Some lost films, such as London After Midnight (1927), have been the subject of considerable interest by film collectors and historians.

The Art of Gothic: Britain's Midnight Hour - Early studios - Netflix

The early studios were located in the New York City area. Edison Studios were first in West Orange, New Jersey (1892), they were moved to the Bronx, New York (1907). Fox (1909) and Biograph (1906) started in Manhattan, with studios in St George, Staten Island. Others films were shot in Fort Lee, New Jersey. In December 1908, Edison led the formation of the Motion Picture Patents Company in an attempt to control the industry and shut out smaller producers. The “Edison Trust”, as it was nicknamed, was made up of Edison, Biograph, Essanay Studios, Kalem Company, George Kleine Productions, Lubin Studios, Georges Méliès, Pathé, Selig Studios, and Vitagraph Studios, and dominated distribution through the General Film Company. This company dominated the industry as both a vertical and horizontal monopoly and is a contributing factor in studios' migration to the West Coast. The Motion Picture Patents Co. and the General Film Co. were found guilty of antitrust violation in October 1915, and were dissolved. The Thanhouser film studio was founded in New Rochelle, New York, in 1909 by American theatrical impresario Edwin Thanhouser. The company produced and released 1,086 films between 1910 and 1917, including the first film serial ever, The Million Dollar Mystery, released in 1914. The first westerns were filmed at Fred Scott's Movie Ranch in South Beach, Staten Island. Actors costumed as cowboys and Native Americans galloped across Scott's movie ranch set, which had a frontier main street, a wide selection of stagecoaches and a 56-foot stockade. The island provided a serviceable stand-in for locations as varied as the Sahara desert and a British cricket pitch. War scenes were shot on the plains of Grasmere, Staten Island. The Perils of Pauline and its even more popular sequel The Exploits of Elaine were filmed largely on the island. So was the 1906 blockbuster Life of a Cowboy, by Edwin S. Porter. Company and filming moved to the West Coast around 1911.

The Art of Gothic: Britain's Midnight Hour - References - Netflix