143 votes
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Why are films where the bad guy "wins" at the end so rare?

TLDR: There are plenty of films where the "bad guy" wins. Ultimately, the reason why the bad guy wins can come down to a number of reasons, including to be more realistic, to set up a later "good"...
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85 votes
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Why were movies shot on film shot at 24 frames per second?

According to this site: In the early days of film cameras were hand cranked, which caused inconsistencies from movie to movie. Even further still, projection houses would speed up frame rates of ...
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  • 44.8k
80 votes
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Why would a movie that appears pornographic via it's rating (X) receive an Academy Award?

Quite simple: Midnight Cowboy is not a pornographic film. What we have here is a misunderstanding of the original intent of the X rating, which gave rise to the NC-17 rating. Several films from the ...
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  • 19.5k
78 votes
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What makes The Shawshank Redemption so cinematically important?

I believe it is due to its great acting and very memorable plot. I'm not aware of any widely-used cinematic techniques that were invented due to the film. When the film was initially released, it ...
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78 votes
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Why do old gun fight scenes sound so weird and cartoonish?

To answer this, let's take a quick look at Merriam-Webster's definition of "art", specifically the section on synonyms: ART, SKILL, CUNNING, ARTIFICE, CRAFT mean the faculty of executing well what ...
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  • 2,478
75 votes
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Hollywood movies that no longer exist in any form

Oh good lord, yes. List of lost films (Wikipedia) The Scorsese Film Foundation estimates that more than 90% of American films made before 1929 are totally lost. The Library of Congress estimates that ...
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68 votes
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Where and when does the "idea" light bulb appear for the first time?

Where does this metaphor come from? The term "bright" to mean "clever" seems to have originated/evolved in the 18th century.. By the mid 1700s, the term was being said to ...
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  • 128k
62 votes

Why are there so few movies about the Vietnam war itself?

Short Answer Public sentiment against the Vietnam War meant that it was difficult to show the war in a satisfactory light, especially given that it ended in a costly American defeat. Hollywood had ...
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62 votes

Early credit roll before the end of the film

Monty Python's Flying Circus did this. According to TV Tropes: Credits Gag: In addition to many Creative Closing Credits, the placement of the credits in the show's sequence was a gag in itself. ...
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  • 3,792
61 votes

What is the world's first movie?

Well, in terms of the first motion picture ever - i.e. use of the technology to make a moving picture - the credit may go to one of two people. Eadweard Muybridge is credited with inventing the ...
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  • 4,147
60 votes
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How did Hitchcock enforce the "no late admission" policy for Psycho?

Enforcement is perhaps not the word. Although the movie studios had considerable sway and influence over theatre owners at the time they could not insist that the owners maintain the policy of "...
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  • 128k
44 votes

Why are films where the bad guy "wins" at the end so rare?

You asked a number of questions here; as often happens, not all of them got answered. Try to ask only one question per question. Are there actually rules, written or unwritten, preventing a script ...
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  • 1,019
40 votes
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How did the word "Bollywood" originate?

Bollywood is a portmanteau (a blend of linguistic words), which is derived from Bombay (currently known as Mumbai) and Hollywood, California. The name "Bollywood" is a portmanteau derived ...
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  • 56.9k
39 votes

What's the first movie with a plot twist?

I don't know if it was the earliest, but certainly one of the earliest plot twists (and the earliest notable one that I know of) was the ending of The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1920). The film uses ...
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  • 19.4k
37 votes
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What's the record for highest number of biographies on a single person?

I took the very unscientific approach of using Wikipedia and their List of biographical films. I then put all the information into a spreadsheet, removed a lot of annoying merged cells and came up ...
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36 votes

Early credit roll before the end of the film

I believe the notorious film Irréversible does this as part of its "reverse chronology" gimmick. The credits roll right at the very beginning, reversed so they scroll from top-to-bottom instead of ...
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  • 19.4k
32 votes

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

What you're talking about is a Film Leader. Originally, a frame was inserted once every 16 frames (16 frames per foot for 35mm film) with numbers marked 11 to 3. At some point in the mid 1960's that ...
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  • 57.1k
32 votes

If Sweden didn't have commercial TV channels until the late 1980s, how can these TV commercials from the 1960s and 1970s exist?

A "Husmors Filmer" (see Youtube video title) is a "Housewife Film" (and trademarked at the time) and "yes," apparently women attended matinees where such films were ...
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  • 2,616
31 votes

Frame rates of early movies

There's an interesting blog at Vanilla Video discussing this and state it is due to the hand-cranked nature of the projectors and cameras: The earliest cameras and projectors needed to be hand-...
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30 votes

When were digital effects first used in film or TV?

From Wikipedia: First digital animation in a feature film The first feature film to use digital image processing was the 1973 movie Westworld, a science-fiction film written and directed by novelist ...
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26 votes

Was Looney Tunes considered a cartoon for adults?

In the heyday of Looney Tunes, in the 1940s and 1950s, was it considered an adult cartoon or a kids cartoon? Both Cartoons were shown to all audiences as "filler" between movies, much as ...
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  • 128k
25 votes

Who was McGuffin?

TL;DR The name MacGuffin does not originate from a particular person's name. It's just a nonsense term that has been around before it was applied to the movie concept of a random item that drives the ...
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  • 15.2k
25 votes

Why are films where the bad guy "wins" at the end so rare?

For a writer, it's important to get your audience to care about your protagonist (whether they are good, bad, ugly, or neutral). If they don't care about and aren't interested in the protagonist, and ...
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24 votes

What makes The Shawshank Redemption so cinematically important?

"Important"? I'm not sure it's really "important", but it's a great movie. It's a wonderfully crafted revenge story. And it's not a revenge you see coming. It's not obvious like "I Know What You ...
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  • 57.1k
24 votes
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How many Batmans have existed in TV and movies?

At least 21 distinct Batmans across films, series and animated series where he is the dominant character. So, there have been 10 Batman films (11 if we include future releases). This number includes ...
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24 votes

Why do old gun fight scenes sound so weird and cartoonish?

As far as the high-pitched noise goes, you might want to think about what's being shown. The sound you're hearing is (supposed to be) not the sound of the gun itself, but the sound of the bullet ...
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  • 2,413
24 votes

Why are there no programmes / playbills for movies?

They did catch on for big budget "important" movies during the last millennium, but for some reason fell out of fashion decades ago. In fact I might own one or two old movie programs or programmes. ...
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23 votes
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Why the aspect ratio change from 4:3 to 16:9 to even wider formats?

The initial motivation was to compete with television, after that it was more like an arms race The original aspect ratio for film was based on an arbitrary choice in the very early days of cinema ...
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  • 21.7k
23 votes
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Is The Ethel Waters Show lost media?

I approached this from the opposite direction. Rather than trying to find if one specific broadcast survived, I instead looked for the earliest method of recording a live broadcast. Other than some ...
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