If you only ever see one Black and White movie, make this it. This film blew me away however; how ignorant can I be about old films?
Koch Vision, in association with The Archive of American Television, has released Studio One Anthology, a six-disc, play collection representing the "golden age" of live network television anthology drama from one of the most well-regarded examples of that short-lived genre: CBS's Studio One, which ran from to Plays and one opera included in this collection are: The anthology sports a few video extras, including those great, original Westinghouse commercials with Betty Furness, along with a glossy page booklet with detailed cast and crew information, along with background information on the plays.
It's must-viewing for anyone interested in the roots of American network television history. Not unlike what Hollywood did back when sound films were first introduced, when the new medium seemingly demanded actors and playwrights with a theatrical background, so too did early network TV cast about for actors, performers, directors, and writers whose roots in the legitimate theatre as well as the so-called "lower" forms of stage theatrics, such as vaudeville would help bring quality and "class" to the ever-expanding network TV schedules - along, of course, with the sporting events, westerns, and sitcoms that dominated the first few years of network programming.
As the networks greatly increased the time they were broadcasting in the late s and early s, and as they encountered more and more criticism from journalists almost all of them New York City-based about the "intellectual wasteland" of television, the networks were able to kill two birds with one stone: It didn't hurt that network TV production in those early days was centered almost exclusively in New York City, where the networks could tap a myriad number of performers and writers, many of them young and hungry for their first big break in show business.
If established Broadway and Hollywood actors, directors, and writers spurned the new bastard medium television as a faddish, freakish novelty, all the better; the new talent was much cheaper, much more easily controlled, and the initially small audiences many of them upper-middle class urban viewers who could actually afford the first expensive TV sets didn't seem to care what was coming over these miraculous small little boxes of ghostly black and white shadows.
Studio One, a weekly dramatic anthology created by Fletcher Markle for CBS Radio inwasn't a runaway success it lasted only one yearbut once CBS committed to expanding their nascent television broadcasting, Studio One's format of a weekly adaptation of either an established classic or newly created play, was considered a natural for the new medium.
Anyone studying film and television history will come across a lot of books that describe this specific time period - the late s to the mid-to-late s - and this particular genre, the live dramatic anthology series, as the "flowering" of television's "golden age. Of course, prior to the invention and subsequent widespread use of video tape, kinescopes were utilized by the networks 16mm films of the live performances, taken off a studio monitormostly for the intended purpose of broadcasting a particular show later to the West Coast.
But most live programming from this time period existed within its broadcast time frame, and disappeared into the ether, forever. What shows that managed to survive the ravages and vagaries of time represent only a small fraction of what network and eventually local stations broadcasted, so judging this time period as television's "golden age" may be nostalgic, wishful thinking on the part of those whose aesthetic outlook depends on this theory being true.
Aiding this widespread "golden age" theory is the fact that much of what was written about television at that time, by then-contemporary critics based in New York City, was oriented towards seeing live broadcast drama as the only "true" art that graced early network schedules, as opposed to the looked-down-upon "mass entertainment" fare such as sporting events, variety shows, and later, sitcoms.
Those elitist critics, dismayed from the start by the commercial aspects of television how dare they interrupt a program to sell soap? These urban critics, who valued attempts at staging classical dramas and exciting, new, modernist plays over the easy laughs and thrills of vaudeville-inspired variety shows and westerns, provided the historical basis for many historians to come who brought along the same aesthetic preferences as their sources.
While many viewers and a few critics rightly considered the genuine geniuses such as Sid Caesar, Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, Ernie Kovacs, and of course Lucille Ball the equals if not superiors to anything seen on Studio One, the hierarchal divides between "high and low-brow" art were still quite prevalent among print critics at this time.
Acknowledging this bias in both the original journalists of the day and in many of today's historians, in no way diminishes the impact and genuine artistry of live dramatic anthologies of this time period, though. Quite the contrary, when watching some of the examples gathered here on the Studio One anthology, it's easy to see that what was offered on a weekly basis over the broad network programming schedule, was quite extraordinary for its daring in blatantly trying to bring intellectual and cultural programming to the "average" viewer.
Quite simply, almost none of the programs featured on this anthology would ever see the light of day on any of today's network schedules, and that's a shame. Regardless of the level of success these adaptations achieved is somewhat beside the point.
Any artistic endeavor should be judged, ultimately, on its own inherent merits; just because a piece of work has "good intentions" doesn't therefore automatically make the piece a success a point seemingly lost on a good number of contemporary critics today when judging socially conscious - but badly executed - films.
But the sheer number of live dramatic anthologies that once proliferated on "The Big Three" during this time one source on one of the extras provided on this set claims a high of fourteen hours of such programming during one particular season indicates that something outside the norm was operating during this flowering of network TV, an occurrence that doesn't seem likely to ever repeat itself on today's locked-down-tight TV schedules.
There's an undeniable level of excitement that permeates these kinescopes of the live performances that went out week after week from New York City, an excitement that will be familiar to those viewers who regularly attend staged plays and musical performances, but one that may seem, due to the crudity of the kinescope recordings, stiff and unyielding to viewers more comfortable with today's television programming.
Anyone who's had any experience with stage shows either performing in them, working on them, or simply watching themwill recognize the "go for broke" tension that comes through these recorded plays.
These actors know they've one chance to get it right, or else fail spectacularly before millions of unseen viewers. While a stage actor can often gauge and adjust his or her performance by the interaction with the audience, these actors were confined to incredibly cramped, technically primitive TV studios, enacting their roles before ludicrously cheap sets often just painted canvas in the beginningwhile trying to dodge the huge cameras, cables and flying sets that were necessary to bring these plays off - and with no audience to play off.
That's an incredible handicap that nonetheless brings a level of excitement to these performances that, regardless of the actual success of the entire production, goes a long way towards making these kinescopes come alive.
The technical aspects of these laboriously staged plays shouldn't be forgotten, either. Unlike today's world, where people can casually take brief videos from their palm-sized cell phones, the three or four video cameras that were needed to broadcast these plays were behemoths with four rotating lens, tethered to huge cables that snaked all over the studio floors, necessitating nightmarish blocking logistics that would task the average engineer, let alone a theatrical director trying to bring a sensitive, powerful drama to life for the viewer.
Even more telling, Studio One at the time was noted for its facility for actually moving those cameras around, and "cutting" from camera to camera, creating film-like editing capabilities that one simply couldn't experience sitting in a stage theater.
How these early directors, such as Paul Nickell and Franklin Schaffner the two most represented directors in this Studio One DVD anthology were able to not only navigate these stifling, foot-high, yards-long TV studios, while moving these incredibly cumbersome cameras around the cable-strewn floors without crashing into each other on a weekly basis, all the while creating credible dramas that "worked" for the audiences, is anybody's guess, but these efforts certainly mark a milestone in technological creativity within network TV's early history.
With that said, not all within this Studio One anthology is entirely "golden" and perfect. The very technical limitations cited above can often negatively impact the intended dramatic effect of the plays the staging of the first offering on this set, the opera The Medium, is incredibly stilted and ultimately, grindingly tiresomewhile at times, the intensity of the performances, particularly from the younger, more inexperienced performers, can come across as "stagey" in the worst sense of that word contrary to probably quite a few, I found Sal Mineo's performance in Dino all too "Method-y".
And certainly, the plays themselves, and their adaptations, vary in quality, as well. While some are still viable today, even fifty-some-odd years later both of Gore Vidal's efforts here are amazing; Pontius Pilate is like an oasis in the desert; Serling's The Strike is nicely spare and hard-edged; The Death and Life of Larry Benson is beautifully dreamy and strange and oft-puttingothers date badly the Yul Brynner-directed The Storm is ludicrous; The Remarkable Incident at Carson Corners and Dino are all too indicative of liberal feel-good s socially relevant drama; Julius Caesar is too truncated and miscast, to boot.
As Charlton Heston wisely intones in one interview snippet from one of the extras included on this set, live dramatic anthologies made up the bulk of what was called alternately "the golden age of television" and "the vast wasteland," with the truth probably somewhere in the middle.
Time is probably the biggest potential drawback for many of the plays presented here in the Studio One anthology.One of the "holy grails" of live network drama, the celebrated Reginald Rose play, Twelve Angry Men, is finally presented in what appears to be a complete kinescope (the kinescope found recently in a lawyer's personal effects).
However, due to the saturation availability of the Sidney Lumet theatrical version of the play, this Bob Cummings. Apr 23, · Because the themes in 12 Angry Men still ring true today, and because the themes were presented so well in the film, this movie can be considered a timeless piece of art in addition to a great piece of entertainment.
Considered one of the best films of all time, 12 Angry Men had a lot to say. Although the film was made fifty years ago . The Adult Point of View of a Lower Class Teenager in the Play 12 Angry Men by Reginald Rose ( words, 4 pages) 12 Angry Men EssayNo matter how many changes are made overtime, people are selfish.
Throughout the years, culture has changed, but values and human behavior has not. '12 Angry Men' is an outstanding film. It is proof that, for a film to be great, it does not need extensive scenery, elaborate costumes or expensive special effects - just superlative acting.
The twelve angry men are the twelve jurors of a murder case.
In Reginald Rose Twelve Angry Men, Rose uses the play to reflect the duty and responsibility of a juror. Rose uses the characters to reflect different themes of the play.
Rose uses the characters to reflect different themes of the play. "12 Angry Men -- "Knowing full well that a guilty verdict means death, a jury of 12 men must decide the fate of an boy accused of killing his father." "12 Angry Men, , Sidney Lumet - there should be a Henry Fonda in every jury room.