An account of the historical development of both movies and television series.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

34
votes
7answers
2k views

When/Why did American television change from primarily episodic to primarily serialized?

My recollection of the prime-time television I watched growing up -- the 70s and 80s plus whatever were on at the time -- are almost invariably of episodic television. At the end of each episode, ...
29
votes
5answers
2k views

What was the first crossover movie like The Avengers, using only movie franchises?

The Avengers is taking 4 separate movie franchises (Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America) and combining them all into one huge movie with all the main characters from each movie. Doing some ...
29
votes
2answers
12k views

Why did Michael Richards refuse to portray himself?

In the 1999 film "Man on the Moon" starring Jim Carrey as the infamous comic Andy Kaufman, the movie takes great pains to recreate specific points in Kaufman's life. In a somewhat unorthodox fashion, ...
25
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do some movies start with a big rotating circle and countdown?

Why do some movies start with a big rotating circle and countdown? Sometimes after 1, a woman is also shown as well. What is her purpose?
22
votes
7answers
11k views

What is the longest, single take, tracking shot in cinema/TV?

In episode four of True Detective, there was a 6-minute long, single take, tracking shot sequence. What is the longest, scripted, single take (no cuts) sequence in movies / television? I am not ...
21
votes
2answers
6k views

Why would a movie that appears pornographic via it's rating (X) receive an Academy Award?

When looking at the IMDb page for Midnight Cowboy, it says that the movie is rated X but won 3 Oscars. I always assumed an X-rated movie is a pornographic movie. Does this mean that Oscars can also be ...
19
votes
7answers
6k views

Era of profanity in movie scripts?

The quote "Frankly, my dear I don't give a damn" from Gone with the Wind was famous largely because of the early use of profanity in the script. In films from the 90s to the present, many movies are ...
18
votes
1answer
786 views

What is the sweariest movie ever?

I recently re-watched the Samuel L Jackson vehicle 51st State where he is also surrounded by some very sweary British actors (like Robert Carlyle). So I expected a lot of profanity. Obviously Jackson ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

What technology did each Pixar movie introduce?

I recall reading years ago that each Pixar film included some new technology or capability to their internal rendering software that they they'd developed as part of making that film. Monsters Inc. ...
12
votes
4answers
399 views

What was the first case of a celebrity playing a fictionalized version of her/himself?

James Van Der Beek in Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 is one of the more recent examples of celebrities playing a fictionalized version of themselves To be clear, I'm not talking about a ...
12
votes
1answer
462 views

What was the first film to have a fight on top of a moving train?

The earliest I could locate was a Mexican film El Tren fantasma as described here. The General (1926) starring Buster Keaton was known for its action in a train, but I am unable to reliably establish ...
11
votes
1answer
465 views

To which degree were Spaghetti Westerns influenced by Italian Neorealism?

After the chaos of WWII and the Mussolini-government the largely devastated Italian film industry developed the so-called Italian Neorealism, which distanced itself from the epic studio productions ...
10
votes
1answer
449 views

Who was McGuffin?

Most storytelling concepts that have names that sound like the name of a person can be traced to an actual person, real or fictitious. (Foley, Mary Sue, etc.) But I've never come across an ...
10
votes
1answer
214 views

Was Dr. Strangelove originally intended to be serious?

The legendary Kubrick comedy Dr. Strangelove is based on the book Red Alert which is in no way comedic. At the time of release, not long after the Cuban Missile Crisis, apocalyptic pessimism was the ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Did George Lucas try to acquire the rights to 'The Lord Of The Rings' / 'The Hobbit'?

  [Source] This review of the movie Willow, which was produced by George Lucas, claims: George Lucas was desperately attempting to secure the rights to the Lord of the Rings series and its ...
10
votes
1answer
301 views

What is the first movie to show slicing through a candle to show sword prowess

The nearest I can find is The Mark of Zorro. It shows the villain (played by the wonderful Basil Rathbone) slicing through a candle with rage and then the hero slicing through a candle but seemingly ...
9
votes
1answer
550 views

When and why did the decline of Musicals in American Cinema happen?

It seems to me that musicals are much less common in the American Film Industry these days in comparison to the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Of course, I'm not saying that they never make musicals (e.g. ...
9
votes
1answer
267 views

What is the most commercially successful Alan Smithee film?

As you can read on Wikipedia, Alan Smithee is an official Hollywood pseudonym which can be used by directors who wish to disown a film which they have lost creative control on. They maintain a list ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

What was the first full-length feature film shot completely with digital cameras?

Nowadays almost every movie is shot with digital cameras. I would like to know what was the first full-length feature film shot completely with digital technology instead of celluloid.
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Annual revenue for film industry by year adjusted for inflation

Have a theory about my question about the reasoning behind the average length of feature length films, but that theory is based on finding the annual revenue for film industry by year adjusted for ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

When was the first use of nudity on the silver screen?

With the exception of pornography (which I don't think makes it to the "silver screen"), which movie first made use of nudity? I realize that the term "nudity" is much different now than it was back ...
7
votes
1answer
371 views

What is the worst month to watch movies in United States?

First of all, this question is not about the influence of the critics in the media, it is about when (statistically) the good movies are released. While everyone has different types of tastes, "good" ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the source of Truffaut's famous anti-war movie quote?

Francois Truffaut famously said it is impossible to make an anti-war film. This is cited numerous times by Ebert, and there is even the trope "Truffaut was right". But what is the source for this ...
7
votes
2answers
713 views

Which film or TV-Show was the first to use a '555-' phone number?

[Image from Toy Story 3] Using a fictional '555-' phone number is not uncommon in American films and television shows. Which film or television show was the first to use a '555-' phone number?
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What was the first film shot completely with a subjective point of view?

What was the first full-length feature film shot completely with a subjective point of view, that is, with a subjective camera where shots simulates what a character actually sees (audience, ...
6
votes
3answers
840 views

What is the first instance of a disaster movie coming true?

Think movies like Twister, Dante's Peak and Hard Rain as general examples, but feel free to expand on them. Avoid movies like The Day After Tomorrow because they're not as clear-cut and may lead to a ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

First appearance of a weapon with the power of a nuclear bomb?

Atomic Bomb Predicted Before It's Time Written literature that predated the atomic bomb made references to man creating a weapon that could set the sky on fire. H.G. Wells book The Time Machine ...
6
votes
2answers
760 views

How were zombies first depicted in film?

I would like to know in what ways and why the concept, appearance, and manner of the zombie has changed from its original conception (early 20th century) to today's?
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Unwritten rule that you never show a child getting seriously injured or killed?

I just discovered the anime Genocyber. The Wikipedia states that it breaks the unwritten rule that you never show a child getting seriously injured or killed. So I was wondering if this rule ...
5
votes
2answers
346 views

The first human robot?

Can anyone find an example of the first robot that was human in appearance? The earliest I can think of is in the 1973 film Westworld. I'm looking for the first cinematic android that was created ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the first appearance of the F-bomb in a movie?

Having seen the incredible statistics on the frequency of the use of the word "fuck" in movies in this question: What is the sweariest movie ever?, I thought it might also be worth recording the first ...
3
votes
3answers
363 views

Why do some movies originally shot on film have notably vivid reds and skin tones?

Many older movies seem to have vivid reds and particularly realistic or noticeable skin tones (they certainly seem to stand out from typical skin tones on TV or the majority of movies). This applies ...
3
votes
2answers
481 views

Why were the 90's considered cynical in the US when most Hollywood output I remember seemed optimistic?

I didn't grow up in the US so I don't have a perspective of this. But why were the 90's considered such a cynical time? I personally do NOT perceive it this way, but a few random reads led me to a ...
2
votes
1answer
230 views

Reasonable metric for “popularity” in movies

I'm trying to do a statistical comparison of the "most popular" movies by year. That is, I'd like to look at the top 20-50 or so movies for each year from maybe 1950-2010. I'm flexible on the exact ...
2
votes
0answers
34 views

Comparative Profitability of Genres in Movie History

I'd like to see a list of genres based in order of profitability throughout movie history. I suspect the horror genre is the most profitable genre going back all the way to the early days of movies, ...
1
vote
1answer
523 views

When did theaters first start showing matinees or giving matinee discounts?

I'm trying to figure out if matinees (and the subsequent matinee prices) have always been a part of movie history or if they were adopted later on. I know matinee was adopted by the English from the ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

Were old TV shows routinely sped up for some reason?

I have recently made a habit of waking up early, and as a by-product spend my mornings catching re-runs of The Donna Reed Show. I've noticed in a number of episodes, though not necessarily all of ...