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The advent of cinema in the lare nineteenth cenhry

was preceded by

u,i,o"g urti"t",


aLnost a .entury of dis.ove.ies, .olabolarions, and riu"t.i""


ed enheplen€urs. The ilventions asso.iaied wirh

pny were devdoped

sirulianeously in differeni counrJies (prima.ily in rhe

dnd Cermanl,. so

A,onvpnieri wd\ ioenler


rhe di".u.,,.n

caodble of

Urited crares. Irdn,e Flgdnd.

rla,ms dboul wl-o in\ented.nemd

i. to beg r q ith thp hve-hon

or two e*pnti"t md.hi;e". a r:ne!"

recoJdins ro

oa dnd d pro.ector ..


or .howing no\ n6 ma8p. to dn

  • - Although there w€re imporrani anteedenrs,

mey hnto.ids agree that the

fr^r dot on-pifim "\stem ha. dpvetoped in $" t;bo?ro,y of l1e nvenror

dnd dtrppeneur Tl'ora,

Al\d tdison.

Ir 1882. Ldi5on had inlorpd the


rhat would

phonggraph md wanled a compoion

re.o'd dnd Tprodu. e doviaS piclres ro dclomprny rc!ordpd du.!c tortlr6

prrpo'e. he hned Willidm K. L DiLk.on. who did au, 1 o. O,e hork

n ,-tenF

ing th€ cam@. Dickson and Edison

a oll mehdism

spent a fruiiless year hying io devetop a

tre basis for

Edison,s phonograph.



ar a high "r,



;aw Etieme-tutes M-"yt

to tate a

s€ries of photographs

recording m.hine modeled on the cylinder,

In 1889,

on a trip to Parb,



u*d paper


,Deed. Upon rd'.on . rcru-. DLlson arquired -ome fle. b e ceuLlo.d

tu.ted by Geo€e Fa.rndn bLL wort on d ncw \ind of rc(onling dfli.e wb

delayed by other prctefs. By 1891, Dickson tEd

comrru.tea a -otion pict oe



camera .aled a K"etq7ap,1, which was a huge, mwietdt

ma.hine that weighed abour 5m


pomds. Dick;d,s co"t iu"tio* L], i,

the Edtnan filtn by dttinS

dd rl-4


ii into oneinch srrips (or approximtety

perfordtug the film wirr rour hote" on

.outU oovM,e fie


or ,p-.t"r.

JIoh p{pte to rc lhp Aorded ind8"s.


called a l:trrroscote, whi.h had a peephole

5 gniri.dl tmirarionor

vieu -he movmg

3clm. rhe:.anddd toddy,

ea,h side or a trdne -o a


brr p*t the ameru reru In ode


developed a viewing bo.,

credted thp

dfli.e ODr

Ll.a (iarc-copp idq

l6ior ot movnS piclr". The

lh". onll ore poo

ar a tine coia

Edison tmed to other

pbjects, ad so it was enirepreneus NoEe Ratr

ing of the camera istig;ted a parrne$hip that

and lranl Gammon who, he

led to ihe m

keting of ihe Kinetoscope.

rcok @ the iob ot

Filns were

needed f;r public


fon. -o D.\on

produLir8 rlr. <h.e ddvugnr wb ofren

cattpd t're Btdct Mda. has builr d

dsJFhriflt, rhe world s fiBl bbr (tud:o,

Edison's laboiatorie in West Ormge, New

structure had a roof rhai

Jersey, in 1893. This shack-tike

cnolar track rtDt allowed ihe

bdtd?dperwa sloa



  • 20 " IonS_


opened to adnit lish! a


ba.LF ourd (or *a"c. flre

e, r e.t mo\ res h p e - ho +{nl)


.ocpondnS ro 50 rer ot rilr. rhe

Scene hohed


al-t\ athl ic dbpla)s b) dcrobars

tength a l\rero.rope.outo

ndSed pFrormde-. acluding vaudAi e rouure-, m,l


rlrongnen, drd drb-ric Gp,d),


Cinena'sTnntaNatnti@ 4 9

Tne Ah.l( Mana, Edison! lilm stldio, oaled ln Wen

Orange Nd J6ey, where 5om ol rhe f6t

Amen@i 6lms rer€ shot with a Kineiosope beginn n! id 1393.

singers dd dance6. Sine the soGp(Md .dera could not b€ moved easily,

each film coNisted of a slngle, medited, staiionary usualy long shot of whai

evd motion was perfotued before ihe cdera lero. Edison

dd his parhers

ofierEd entrepreneus the opportmity to buy ihe Kinetosope md the Black

Malia ffhs for commeaial viewing. On ApdI 14, 1894, a Kinetoscope parlor


in New York City, md its

popula.ity soon led to others being opened

a@ss the United States ed abroad.

During this period, Edison de.ided not to move beyond the Kinetoscope to

a prcje.iion system that wouid

ing. tn 1891,

throw ldge images on a s.reen for group view-

paient to pro€d the Kineto-

wh{ he applied for a United Siates

g.aph dd the Kinetos.ope,

he decided not to take out d intehationat pabent.

Thijr medt ihat jnventors in E@pe .ould study and ma! ue of the Edison/

DicLon mcntrs or JFii ohr de5igrs

A Kinetoscope exhibitor in Fim.e asked Augxsie and Louis Luiore, lrm-


of photographic equipment in LyoN, to male filns that were

Edison's. The brotheis studied Edisont device and by 1894

cheaper thd

invented a system caled the


Its min componet was a hand-

could be nade on lo.a-

danled camera so lEhtweight md poitable that 6lN

tion. More importdt, the.dera lbled to equipmst that proje.ted moving images on a s.ften for group viewinS.

Most film

hjstolids mdk the begiming of modern c'nema on December

28, i89t when the LmiO€ brcthe$ ukd the Cinnaiographe to show a prc

Cinm'sTun toNamti{e . 17

glam of td silent


6l,as at the Grand

Caf6 i! Palis. This was the fist

time in hie

that continuous moving inages were prcjdted on a {l1s for publi.

viewing by a paying audi€n e. Ea.h fiLn .onsjsted of a single mediied shot

lasting only one or two minutes. The Lmiare brothers capt@d s.enes of everyday life: woikers er.iting a fa.tory a train .oming into a stalion, a baby

feedin8, and laboreF

lqocking down a wall. The filns were what the Lmieres

called a.tualitis or dmentary views. The signi{icdt point is that the

Lmiare a.iralil4 were flol ndatives.

Hearing about the LmiCres' succ6s, Edison bdame interested in develoF

ing a p@jectoi tn 1895, Major Woodvile Laiham invmted the Lathm loop.

Previously, filn from 50 ro 100 feei long was likely to bleak be.ause the takeup

@l woutd jerk, splitting or tearinS the film. By placinS a loop in the filmstrip

that would absorb the jerking

action, a much longer piece of filn could be prc-

jected- In that sam€ year, Thomas Armai dd Charles Jenkins devel

oped a projector called the Phantascope that had an intermittent motion devi.e

parallel to a.mera's. In 1896 the Edison Compdy boughfuights to the Phd

tascope and markebed it as the vitdcope uder Edison's nane, even ihough he

had no ptrt in inveniinS it. This protol?e for the nodem prcjector was used in

publi. for the tust time on April 23, 1896, at Koster

and Bial's Music Hall in

New York Ciry Edison's Vitdcope filns looked like the Kinetoscope fillB, but

sm after the Blal exhibitim. Edison becme less dependot on filns shot at the Bta.k Mdia dd sent men with portable .ameras to shoot on location. The

subjets of these films included streei senes, railway irains, a fire sgine, a

watefal, dd other outdoor srges.


ae wsal EasoN why m the mid-1890s the fits

of Ediso& ihe

Lmiare brcihen, and othd filmmakeF w@ primdily nMative in naturE,

consisthg of reproductions of Ealstic smes or of staged iheatlical perfomc€s. The most imdiate is ilbt nineteenth century teclhology limited the length of a film to ihe poht wherc it was difii.dlt to tell a story Edly films were shoitbea@

a filn ldting ldgd thd a minute d

two would bieal in mo6t projectors- Since it

is difficult b tell a complex story h such a shon sb€t h, the evolution of mnative


was tied to tt€ developmmt

of prcjection technology.

Anothq limit on cinemaric stor)4eling in the mid-1890s was that filrmk

e6 had a primitive mdeBtdding of the new medium. It simply did noi @cur

to them to move beyond recording a real or staged event. But evo

iI it had,

they did not yet lnow how to move the .dera

to tell a

stor)a WlFther the 1:a-

era was as hea\y as ihe 500-pomd Kinet6cope or as light 6 the 16-pomd

Cin6matog1aphe, it was *t up as a station ry device. The€ was only one shot,

one point of view, md one sige. It was djfficuli to tell a slory wilh a tregiming,

middle, dd end using ore short scene dd a single, motionless, usually long

shot to fr

e the a.tion.

Iurthemor, audiences ftgdded filns differendy than we do toda)r At this

point in history filn w6 a novelty, a tuiosity, a teclnological miracle. Viewe$

weE excited by the mere ryjstence of moving pi.tures. To ns

a train bareling

into a station was uttedy dtonishing. lt wasn't Etil the novelty wore ofi that

vieweN demded something moE ephisdcated.

Pelhaps a more importmt .Liffeme between eally audiences ed today's

is that the edliest vieweF

saw films as motion-dimted photographs within a

frame. Each soe was viewed 6 a eu-.ontained mit. It was onlv with the

developmst or mulb-cm mo! iec dd contin h edilinS rhal view;r, hanPd

to make comectiotu between one scene ad the next dd to view multiple

in.ompleie scenes d adding up to a sro{4

Th! is not to say that there w@ not edly ermples oI embryonic Mrativ6.

early Lumiere sholt Ie


et le petit *piZgle

Waterer Watered") dti.ipates ffia

Mey filh historim daim d

(1895) (rater entided ,\rrse!r A'ost or "The


cineFa. This one- to lwo-minute, singleshot filfl adapted a well,knoM

with a hos. A boy steps on



nsspaper .aibon. tn il a gardene. waters his IaM

the hose,

af the nozle to ee what is wron& the boy

deliberately shutting off ihe water supply. Whe the Ij6 lools

sbeps off

the ho6e, casing the lrd

squirt hirseu in ihe fae. Realizjng the tick, the mm t1m aJter th€ boy dd

One of the fiImmk€re givd .r€dit for intrcducing

a stor)telting dimedon

to filn in the period beiween 1895 dd 1900 is George Melier a fomer,

who prcduced filns lhat astmished audim@s with then spe.ial efiects- M6[es,

ur ike Ediso4 the Lmiares, and other edly fil'a prduers, c

e fron e

mtertaimeit backgroud, and s adapthg theatrical enventioro to the new medium w6 naiual for him. Whm Mdies tust begd maLing filhs in 1896, he

shot every.Iay s.ener travelogues, ad magic tricks, but son he experimeted with film in wals that look hih outside the d()min of documentary views and

staged perfornances.


One leo\nique was stop-morion photogaphy/ a prc.e-

a shoi, a change is nade in the

in which the tmera is siopped duing

scer€, and thm the camera Esm€ shooting. In this way/ Mdlils was able to

male m objeci or a hlll]m

vdflishi S lidr 0896), fot ex

disapp€r, nove, nultiply, or be replaed. In Tl'.

ple, a eated w()lr@ js €pla.ed by a skelebon.

a se.ies of theaterlike scenes he caled

M6lies soon began nhhg

"tableaux." A scene w6 shot the cdda stoppe4 dd thd d entnely 1@

scme was shot frcm the sde

dgle. He devetoped t.asition doics to con-

nect the scenes: the fade'ilr fad*out, and *veral kinds of dissohe. M6lias' fi6t

mdtiscene film was Tl,e Dlerfus Afoit (189),


based on contempolary events.

Iulesyerc'sE/oft the Eanh

A1llp to the Moon (1902), adaptaiion of

to ttu Moor dd H. G. Wells's Fint Mefl in the Maar,becane his most popula.

and influential film. This 1+minute, 82sj@t-long filn .mtais 30 separate

scoes. The 30 tableau de .omected by a transition device caled the lap dis- solve in which the first scene slowly fades out md the ndt sc€ne slowly fades

in with sohe overlap between the two kdes. The most famous tableau is an

animation scene of a rccket hitthS

the "ma

in rhe moon." Events in ,{ ?i



CiflffisTwn toNtttatire t


Dre:dted n d seque(e

i,,i'lr-"r,,,a *li-


buL a: come rritiLs Porri out a 'totv

't'"t 5etue '4 rnp 6 m;F a theatricr

r' d _eriee


'Peorlle Dtr d

'_"i. "u." *,i.a




l8oc dnd Lam


has nol


a sloa_

Cqt?inlv rherP heP

,r'". *^ i'".


some tirad\e rdN



hoderer' otu









* d subord:na e irsr' the de\eroP'




riie sd

or stdspd

focused on the devproPden t or

b,by la08 dcimmdthatLIe

stories (Gutmlng 6)

Audiences, Produation, and Distribution

of cinemati' nadation in the


we have looked







Lil".#;;;;;;;G "ii,i



brle{1v at how the po$ibilities



rhe srate of blm






rechnorosv film P oduipr

' r'whg habi\ Bu'

u4! w's



lrm or the centun tron rhe



'hort trav.rosues










e\41' Md ear)

r'o a meaium Ltra' wd

el WraL derbr\ ery nppeo re




is Publi

inJeF L

d5 Edm

RobbPtu ( taa3)

rxch Ld'ts dboLL

bald.e in


favor of cinema as storytelinS?

i. ,ni*


"."r* ^ih.r

rtuL one

establisned (mdrrit\ morS'hots 'uch

da t.eo\r and laa cndt t' a


Ih? oat fta;a tou&'ry' s

Ldlv nulh'ce.e

i-"'^.1.-" iii. ] ," i-"' L ^ I;r




hold rhejr guns on lhe .onduclor in on€ of dF {€ns iiom lhe multisGn€

lobbe4l (1903), one of $e liul naFad@ nlms

l6e Gtui Imt

twelve minules, consists of fourteen shots that, although incomplete scenes in

themelves, are Lnl<ed in tine dd sPace and dmged


in ffiative ordei Audi-

liked the dramatic ssPense dd excitemmt of Porter's realistic nara-

rives. And that popular de]ldd for narative was commicated by e\hibitols

Alien also .laims ihat rhe needs of the growmg filh industrv shifted Pro

duction toward nanative. After Edison's Vitascope exhibition in 1896 at Kosler

and Bjalt,

the ViiascoPe wm not available for sale, bui riShis to its use were




oubight from Edbon and

them as traveling exhibitioN Exhibitio$

sold to exljbitois. E;ibitos

orher flm producers

were irregtnarly vaudev l;
were irregtnarly
vaudev l;

dd showed

schedtled md took place at a taiiety of tem?orary sites:

hau;, storefronts, musi. halls, bas, amusemmt Park, and even

churches. But soon fiLd exhibition in this counhf became most commonly

associated with vaudailte where a P.ogram of about ten fiLN was coNideEd

F;r a period. iri@dr e.hioitots not ing Jrcm PLae

pdmanent va{devitle hals. The traveling showmen had





d economic advmtage

Cin asTtmtaNanari@ t


ovq the theaie$. The itiner t exhibito! could show the sane proSran of

about te Iihs to new audiences. Th€ pemdent iheateN, however had fixed

local audiences. To keep viewers comin& the theatef had to pd.hase new

6lms in order io vary iheir prc$ams. To slve this problen, a new middlelrd

slstem evolved wherEby disbibutors bought prints from produ.ds dd rented

thm to c$ibitors, :llowing p(r]lr@dt thale$ io vary then prcgram with

less cost because they no longer had to buy prints outight.

One comequene of the new rental system was the movemeni of film exhj'

bition ftom vaudevile theaters, where th€y costituted oily a p t o{ the per-

formance, to storefroni operahons @lled nickelodeN that were devoted solely

to film s$ibition. Nickelodeons derived thet nme frcm the original 5<et

pnce of adfrission. They sprdg up in large nmbes a.ross ihe .ohtr,

incEasins from a few in 1904 io almost ien thousand over the next four years.

By 1910 the nickelodm drew huge @wds, "atuacting some tw6ty6ix mil-

lion Americms every w€ek, a litde less thd 20 per cent of the tutiotul popula

tion" (Merritt 86). Duing lhe nickelodeon boom, produchon compoies

multiplied then weelly output of fiIm footage but sdl co!]d not keep up with

Undd pres@ for new filmi, prcduceF cde to realize thal mffative

filns had severat advdtages over nonnction fitrs. Iilhmale$ intent on docu-

mmting a topical o! spolting event had to wait uril the eveni happened and

thd bed the cost of trsporting men dd equipmmt to the lGatim, possibly during dcertain weather ldth€moE, events of great popdd inierest-lec-

tioft, baitl6, tormdes ad floods-did not happo on a weekly s.hedule.

With fi.tional frlns, prcdu.tion .ompdies otnd avoid the delay, uceilainty,

ed expre of location shooting.


Stories could be written dd filhed as

didi't have ro wait for an)'thing, dd they could shoor

locale oMed by the studi6- It was simply cheap€r and more convenient to

make turative filns thd do<mmtdy fflms. Ac.ording io copydSht rccords/

by 1908,96 perent of all flLre wee either comic or dEmatic na




212)- Thur in the edly days of .inema, pubIi. ethusidm md the needs of d

enelging colmedal indushy prcvided the impetus for film to b(ome a pe

dominateiy nanaiive medium.

Urhy Adapt a Text?

ff by 1908 c4enu had Nrienied itlelf !o the task of sto.felling,

with ils tuhll€ set

as a ndative art fom, how dcs adaptation relate to this historiGl developmst?

Fist of alt wh{ filn prcduction compai$ neded material to meet the

gowing del]@d fol narativ€ movies/ ore altemtive was to tum to shoit stc


rie, novels, and plays. Here were Eady-made *enes, ploit and characte$.

wd easier to adapt er.isting storiB dd plays

thm io invot new scendios. Iu-

thermore, authoF of literaiy texts did not have to be

paid for filn rights sin.e

LoPyDghl Ldws al the hme 4d nol ro\er notion pictureq.

Another re6on for adapiaiion in ihe early period of cin()m was to bonow

iiterature's prestige for the new art fom. Nickelodeons were

trated in mdufa.tuing

nahly conm-

cities with large populatiotr of blu<old workers

long hours in the factorie foud

of pleasure dd escape, md snent

and imigrdis. Men ad womn worLjng

film viewinS a r€latively iner?dsive fo.m

films were popdar with imigrmts becase they po*d no ldguage prob-

lems. One contempoiary swey Fveals that "in 19U, 78 pe! cent of the New

York tcityl audience .onsisted of membes 'from the worl-jng .la$' " 0',lerritt

84. Early orL nickeloden ownds sought to atiaa.t the middle cla6s to their th*

alers. One way was by e.oraging

produceF to make filN that wodd appeal

to middlklds women and children. Adaptaiion of classic lite.ary works was a turketinS d4ice that exhibito$ used to draw the middle class. Adapting such

pEsiigious wiiters as Shal<espeaF, Zol4 Tolstoy, Hugo, Ddie, Dmas, md

D.ketr becme a way to achieve a kind of legitimacy for flmgoing.

A third Etum for adaptatim.omes

ftom the notion that the purpo* of

motim pi.ttres is to tea.h the nasses about their lilerary heritage. In this view,

film is apedagogical redium usetul for inhodudng literary masterpieces to

contemporary audiences. The view is no1€ comonly held in

Englan4 where genentioG of filn produers have adapted the Great Bools.

There luve ben

e m

y British adaptaiioN of Shal6pee that at times they

aF regarded d a *pdale category in adaptatim studies. Other fEquendy adapted Biitish authors include Charles DickeN, lane Auten, ihe Brcfte sie

crs, Thonas Hardy,

Forster Dtector Im6


Cofta4 Vrginia w@lJ, D. H. tiwren e, dd E. M-

lvory, producd lsmit Mer.hant, dd screenuiler Ruth

Prawer Ihabvala have nade

successtul ca@rs by regularly adapting

works. And both the BBC dd PBS renect ihe p€dagogical view when they

adapt literary classics d then issue ornine study guides.

But the most.omon reason that.o]medal filmmakers adapt a printed

tert is that they believe

the fiin wi1l mke hon€y Today a 6ln fton a najor

Holl)vood strdio costs an averaSe of a hudred miflion dolla$ to produ.e md

mrket. The rising cct of the Hol]vood movie is likely to coniinue. Alist

a.tors su.h as Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts are paid ev+increasing sllm becaue studios know box-offi@ hits m usualy star driven. Likewise, some

director are being rewarded with huge saldies md a percentage of gloss prcf'

its. Pete! lacksor! dire.tor otThe Ind af th! Riflgs tlilogy (2001-2003), received

$20 mil]ion dd

20 percnt of lhe goss receipts for his €nale ol

(irg (or8

(2005). In movies $.h as Thz Motajx RelMded nd

Tet inrtq 3: Rise al the

M@"bas (2003), speial effects e

as expensive s stds, with better effe.ts

needed each yed to atba.t viewers. Marketing spending has also ballooned

because of increaEingly experoive TV advertising. Ii.ket prices have risd as we4 but domestic rcceipts raFly svs movie coste. Today studios krow the bulk of a fiin's snue win come from worldwide

Cinefrd\'Irn to Ndtutibe .


release, DVDS, vide(asettes,

network d cable TV, soudba.k atbus,

video games, dd colmercial tieim.

Despite new rev{ue somes, fildmaking remaiB a

big gahble. Holly-

wood €xedtivs know they cmot pr€t6t the market befo they mke a

movie and they how that they produce far more disasteF ihan hit filhs. How

cd they prdict

which prcjd wi]I male

back its iniii.] investneni md thn

some? $ith budgets damtingly higt! exedtives tend bo green-light prcjers

that minimize risle

slch as prequels, sequels/ remakes/ special-effects exhava,

ganz6, ad adaptatiotu. Filh companjs know that litoary texts, whether dssi.s hom the Westem

c on or popdd literatde likely never to eter the .don, are good .ddidares

for fiihnaLing be.aue thei! storis have alrEady prcv{ b be enjoyable

people. A story's popddity comes in two ways: It

to mdy

cd be popul ovd time to

a conlempc

l]my generations-a lilelary dNiq or, it can be widely poprild to

rary audimc(H best seler the populaiiry of either kind of rexr is L&ety to rrans,

late into a box office sucess, d at Least thais the basic asmltion.

The clasi. story has p.oved it cm hokt audience appeai over time, and the

marketing of the film will benefit from

mme reognition of the author, titte, or

story Thir* of rhe hdy adaptations mde of ShaLspeare's plays or D.kenst

novels. Similarlt the bestseler is

"pft kissed,"

meaning ir has a wide audiene

aL€ady ed one that is likely to follow the story into the theater Reent exam-

pl6 of bestsellers thai have drawn huSe film audiences in lude J. K. Rowling,s

H4lry Poriq sdies md J. R. R. Tolkien's

kilogy I/'e rold

d/ rle Rir8i. One ihinks

also of best-sllng novels like Ioln Grishah's

Tre ltffi, Mi.hael Crichton's

IutBsi. Pa*, Tom LlNy's The Huht fot Bed Octobd, andRobert lanes Walter,s

The Btidgs of Madisak Coutty.

b6t seler, it most likely

Todat whethe. the work is a classi.

stoiy or a

M.hes the screen b<ae studio executives believe it

is a safe bet to male honey.

A less comon redon for adaptatioa but (re worth hentionin& is rhar a

powerfur pe6on (say, a pFducer, std, or dircctor)beom6 comitted to a rext.



Op.ah Wintuy wd the leadilg fore behind the adapration of Tmi

Monison's Bel@d. Som alter the novel was plblished, W!{rey acquired the filn

rights. She hiFd at le6t three

si:llsMite.s over the next ten yes to adapr rhe

in 1998, easelessly prcmoted il.

Staen Spiel-

story ad, a{!e! it wd finally nade

berS opti@d Thotus Kqeal/s novel S.tu dler3 Lirr, developed ttu prDject over a decade, d then diftted L\e fil'n Schndlr's Lirt (1993), which allowed

him to mal€ a persn4 public, d artisti. statddt abolt the Holcast and

Sadde in gderal. Mel


Gibsn spst S10 milion of his oM money and @d his

to nake Ttu PGst r o/ tLE Cfui+ (mW), a

influflce md @.tions

fiLn ihai shows the laEt twelve hos


of lss'


ba*d on incid{ts from the

Go6pels. " "Ih@ was no way this movie wm't going to happd,' " cibson

said. " 'I just lnow that I was

compened to (male it)' " (Cava 1).

Cinema's tum to nadative dd its

sDstained use of literary texts for

more than a hundred yea8 have givs the opporhnity to adapt io .omtless

fte .onb€6ial adapbion rhe Pdd@ ol rle Crtrt e004) mad€ it ro rhe iftn belr of M. Gibson s psonal commitrrenl

directoF, sreenwriters, produ.€N, Md studios. Filmmake6 will continue to

male adaptations fo. various ad overlapping reasos, but never wit\oDt

encomtering difficulty in regotiating ihe

differences betwen the lwo dt

form. Some of th6e differen es wjtl be disd$ed in Chapter 3.













r:r n+::r:




ALL€N, RoBERT C. Y4xd@'lk 4rd l;lm

1895 1915: A Stud! in Medid Intela+

rion. New York Amo Press, 1980.

CAv4 M,\nco R. DELTA. "Gibson Per

sotulias 'Pasion of the Christ.' "

USA Toda! 2VD Feb. 2004: 1+.

GUN\T.rc, ToM. D. w Gnfith

a d


otigift bJ Atftni(n Cinm: TIE Eatty

Yeoa at Biryaph. Chicago: Unive.

sit of llinojs Presr 1991.

MrRxnr. RussEt-L. "Nickelodmn The'

ateF, 190F14: Building m Audid.e

fot tle Mories." The Ahsican Filu

Irdlslry Ed. Tno Balio. Nladim:

Univesity of l\rlscmsin Press, 1985



Lilddtud FilnTm



Literary Telms

Beu* renwrilers often reoider the ev{ts in a story

tul to keep in mind a distinction between

story dd

to be adapte4

it is use

Plol The sfory js a succes

sim of evenls invotving

characters told in ordei But lloi relbrs to

of events so thai they are interdepodent and

tlE chdacteF and initial situatior!

raw mterial Plot sele.ts

the sele.tion dd dmgement

casally elated dd their outcome, Siven

*(m ineviiable. The story's

happenjngs, the4 d

the happenings, puis thm i! sofre sequetial order (not necessdily .hiono-

logical), md eskblishes casaliry

ln Aspects af the NoveI,LM.

Foster gives a now famo8 ermple of this die

tinction between story md plot. According to lo$te, to say that "the !.ing died

and the que{

died" is to tel a story becau* ihe two events


m not logically



relaled. But to say that "the

died dd then the queen died of grief'

esrablish a plot- The added thiee wods explain that an evdt haPPened md

lhat it had a coNquence.

Plot is a structulal

The causal linl .onverts story into plot.

devi.e that embles the author dd s@nwrite! to hain_

tain ca6al linls while preeniinS events outside ihe corotraints of chronoloSi'

cal ordel lor e{mple,

m author or a.IaPter need not siart ai

ftedt i

the begiming of

the story bur @n begin it

/es (in the middle of things) md then fiash

back to show p6t

events that led up to the


or flash foNard to indicate

future coEequen es. A screawriter hay atso decide to reddge evsts so

that the sure's

ending bcomes the filh's begiming lor exa$'ple, Th! Ice

Sioln (1994, direcied by Ang Lee, begiG with the ending

novel of the sde rlm€ md then back up to the Pdiod

of Rick M@dy's

before the deady ie

stom. These chdges in chronoloSical

Eac6ons su.h 6

otder are oftd made io elicit emotioMl

slrprise or suspere or d ihpoding tense of doom.

Plot is Bually dividd into three parts folowing Aristotb's me Poetics:


md m ad. Some ditics se Gustav Frey'tag's exPmded

begimn& a middle,

delinition of Arisiotle's bipartite structure: exPositioi, rising adioa .limd,

Ialling a.tio4 md catastrcphe. (The last event is also caled iBolution or

d€nouemenl). The exposition

the action, inhoducB the

or inhoduction esiablishes the place and time of

character or clEh.tqs, Sives ay dessaiy back-



inlormaiior! and establishes the mood or tone of the story The rising

iniiod .es a conJlict, or complicatiorr that inisifies the origiml situ-

tion dd mov6 iowards a najor tming point or clind. The downw d or

falinS action shows evdts going bad to wose, leading to some 6nal se6a1 of foftme for the prctagonist.

There a.e othei fohs of ploi one can idendfy that are not domiMted by

events in nonlnear

case and effdt. A nonhaditional plot may preenl

sequen.e, ue coincidence rather thm causality io

linl evenis/ dd leaae the

resolution indeteninate or open<nded. Wiliam S. Bu(ou8hs's novel Naied

L!r.}, is m enmple of nonlinear ndation.

M .


Some stories consist of a sdies of episodes that @ loosely

a theme, or a histolical

related by rhe

pBen e of a hero, a specific location,

event. Ar emple

of an episodi( plot is Henry Fieldingt eightemth-.entury rcaelThe History of

Ton lafles, d Fo ndli g.The fisr sction of the novel

is set at the country home of

Tom's Suddid Squire Allworthyj the middle chapters desdibe a complicated set of adventures that tanes place on the roads to London; and the final rhi.d of

tlE novel is et in tondon.

t\ahat ties together ihe settings dd senes is ttE

Presace of the title he.o. P]ots ar€ sometimes distinguished by

thei. mood md outcome. Comi.

plob sGIy end with a happy evmt such d the maniage jn ShakespeaF's

Yo! Ltl, it, whereas hagi. plot6 hay end wiih ihe prctagonistt

isotarion dd


death as in Shakespeare's

MndDet . Subplob @ minor or subordimte acrions

often used to ontribute inter€st dd action to the min plor.

Some criti.s identify character rather ihd plot as the defining tuature of

plot is a ftamework of actiom that fm*s

ataqtion on

ndative. ln ihis view,

chalactei The charactels dsirs, motives, or goals lead to action. Howevei,

when someone claim a slory is more .haacterdriven lhm plot-driven, keep

in mind that chara.ter and action are often s inte*wined that ii is diffi.dt to distinguish between the tvo. In sophisn@ted nanaiivs, a.tion grows out of

characte! md chara.ter grows out of acfion.

Chda.ter is a peFonality on paper oi filn. In literary fiction/ .hdacters are often dGcribed both olrzrdtdly and inMrdl . We .ofle to know one thiough what he or she does, sa)s, and looks like, or thrcugh the opinions md rea.tions

of oth€rs. we may also get to know a .luEcte! inwardiy thrcugh

d omi<ieni

authols pr*ntation of the

rator'\ duec'

character's thoughts and feelinSs

or ihrcugh a nd,

Loluenldr) ln blr. howe!er c\drdchrs .F bually porhdred



aut@dtu anlf tJvor1h their dppedrdcp.

.perh. e\pe\\ioN, gesues.


dd move.mrr, o- hrouSn rhe Fa(hor ard lonmenB ot ot@. cr\ara.teD.

Filnnakers w canera novenent

and mgles/ lighrln& color cont.asts, edir-

in& and other devices to reveal charactei But u{es a devi.e such as a

voiceover is use4 we don't know eractiy what the