Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Blackton, Smith and Rock

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blackton, Smith and Rock

In the chapter titled Blackton, Smith, and Rock the motion picture industry was influenced by three pioneers of vitagraph cinematography. Their names were Albert E. Smith, J. Stuart Blackton, and William T. Rock. Their imitation of the Spanish-American war was one of the earliest works of motion-picture propaganda.

"In the larger centers of Chicago and New York the motion picture was undergoing evolutionary growth with the birth of a topical or news bearing function in connection with the war."
Since the movie makers could not film actual war footage they staged their own re-enactments and proclaimed it as real footage. They used miniature models, camera tricks, and props to influence the audience. The vitagraph, which gives the illusion of continuous motion by moving a series of pictures very rapidly was the machine used for motion picture propaganda. Their film Tearing Down the Spanish Flag was a great success and paved the way for other movie makers.


Blogger Maureen Lacossiere said...

The excitement and demand for this new creation of propaganda shows you exactly how this market (propaganda) works. There was an immediate reaction and demand for more of these war reanactments. This was a way to show the average citizen exactly what was going, through the eyes of the elite white man, on overseas. The elites views became the citizens views. With these movies this market of propoganda was able to send out messages and portray images in whichever way they wanted (making Filipinos, Cubans, etc. look like "savage children," unable to govern themselves)

2/24/2007 2:57 PM  
Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post.

The demand for images of war led this new class of business men to exploit this market for spectacular images.

I don't think that the film business expressed elite ideas about the war. The film makers catered to an urban working class audience with broad messages of patriotic nationalism and action.

2/25/2007 10:50 PM  

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