In the 1930's how did the media differ in the making of To Kill a Mockingbird compared to today's movie-making?To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Filmmaking in the 1930s was much less technologically advanced, of course, that in the 20nd and 21st centuries.  While there were some color films at the end of the 30s,such as the 1939 The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind, nearly all were recorded with black and white film.  In actuality, the technicolor was not the same as that of modern times:  a special camera ran three strips of film--red,blue, and yellow.  When the three strips of primary colors were consolidated, the resulting images were in full color, albeit rather exaggerated, as they are in the above-mentioned movies.

Because of the lack of technological advances, movies were similar to the stage dramas from which they burgeoned.  Sets were created, and actors delivered their lines much as they were delivered in theatres.  The on-location films that lend realism and authenticity to films did not come about until movie-making became extremely profitable.  And, method-acting in which the actor "becomes" the character, assuming dialects, realistic mannerisms, his/her thoughts and actions. also did not become de rigeur for actors until actors like Marlon Brando adopted this style of acting taught by Lee Strasberg.  Strasberg's students include many of the famous actors of the 20th century:  Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, and Robert de Niro, to name a few.

One significant difference between the movies of the 1930s and those of modern times is in the endings.  The uplifting ending was essential during such dismal times as the Great Depression when people attended movies to escape their desperate lives.  Audiences desired the promise of a new tomorrow in the movies, providing them a respite from their hardships for a least an hour.

Of course, the Oscar-winning film version of To Kill a Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck was made in 1962.  Using  black and white film to recreate the era of 1930s filmmaking, the movie was set on location in Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

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