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Post-War Cinema 

The Story of Film examines world cinema in the period of 1939-1952 looks at film-making during and immediately after World War II. Hollywood films shift away from soft focus and begin to ... See full summary »


Mark Cousins


Mark Cousins


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Episode credited cast:
Mark Cousins ... Himself - Presenter
Norman Lloyd ... Himself - Interviewee
Robert Towne ... Himself - Interviewee
Paul Schrader ... Himself - Interviewee
Judy Balaban Judy Balaban ... Herself - Interviewee
Haskell Wexler ... Himself - Interviewee
Stanley Donen ... Himself - Interviewee
Terence Davies ... Himself - Interviewee
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Juan Diego Botto ... Narrator (voice)


The Story of Film examines world cinema in the period of 1939-1952 looks at film-making during and immediately after World War II. Hollywood films shift away from soft focus and begin to use the techniques of deep staging and deep focus as in John Ford's Stagecoach (1939) and Orson Wells's Citizen Kane (1941). It then looks at Italian Neorealism of Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica before examining the development of Film Noir in the films of Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, and Ida Lupino. American films grow more serious though romantic film remain popular. In the late 40's, American cinema is investigated for communist activities and producers, actors, and directors are blacklisted. Meanwhile in Britain, Carol Reed creates the Noir classic The Third Man (1949) Written by Shatterdaymorn

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Release Date:

1 October 2011 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Hopscotch Films See more »
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Did You Know?


Cousins states that the Italian neo-realist movement was among the inspirations for the creation of film noir, a genre that began in 1940, yet the specific film he cites - Rome, Open City - was not made until 1945 and not seen in the USA until 1946. See more »


Mark Cousins - Presenter: [about the rise of Film Noir] The romantic exuberance of Hollywood ebbed - it's paradise got a bit lost. And it showed.
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Features Code Unknown (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Deep Staging
14 April 2015 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

This offering begins with a discussion of Deep Staging, a technique which uses foreground and background simultaneously to contrast to or to complement two scenes. Movies such as Stagecoach, Flesh and the Devil, Chimes at Midnight, The Maltese Falcon, and The Best Years of Our Lives embrace this. The opposite is Shallow Focus where tight camera shots are used. Of course, throughout the 40's, the war became central to what directors and producers did. This led to the Neo- Realist movement where everything, no matter how mundane, was subject matter for the films. This is the opposite of Hitchcock who said you only leave in the interesting parts.

In the late 40's, Film Noir was a significant form. Double Indemnity was the prototypical film. Fluffy musicals were extremely popular as well, with Betty Grable being the representative among many.

The Army/McCarthy hearing now took place which split Hollywood down the middle. There is much talk about Elia Kazan and his actions during the hearings. Many were blackballed; many never worked again.

There is a focus on Stanley Donen who did Indiscreet and A Matter of Life and Death. This episode closes out with an analysis of Carol Reed's The Third Man. It is not the way we would like it to be, but it is, and that's it. There is a nice commentary on the final scene. Certainly one of the greatest films of all time.

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