Color. Sound. Multiplexes. Artificial Lighting. The ever-changing history of film is a story of the intersection between culture and technology from the past 200 years.
It's told in an entertaining and impeccably researched fashion by David Parkinson, whose new book "100 Ideas That Changed Film" (Laurence King, $29.95) reveals such tidbits as what was probably the first-ever movie sequel (DW Griffith's His Trust Fulfilled, 1911) and how the ape's cry in the 1933 version of King Kong was created (a lion's roar played backward at half speed).
Here's a selection of 11 big ideas from the book, all of which completely alter how we watch the movies.
Idea 11: Chase Sequences
A Mini making a desperate getaway in Turin, Italy following a gold bullion robbery in <em>The Italian Job</em> (1969). The car chase perfected in such films as <em>Bullitt</em> (1968), <em>The Italian Job </em>(1969), and <em>The French Connection</em> (1971) confirmed a younger generation's taste for speed and spectacle, which continues to impinge upon the blockbusters of today.
Idea 19: In-Camera Effects
Visual effects have been entrancing audiences since the days of the Kinetoscope. In<em> Raging Bull</em> (1980), Martin Scorsese used close-ups and slow motion to emphasize the brutality of the boxing bouts.
Idea 20: Serials
Betty Hutton relives the glory days of the silent serial in <em>The Perils of Pauline</em>, a 1947 biopic of the legendary chapterplay heroine, Pearl White. Early serials or chapterplays helped turn movie-going into a habit. It also gave rise to the cliffhanger.
Idea 45: Dubbing
When <em>Spartacus</em> (1960) was restored in 1991, Anthony Hopkins dubbed Laurence Olivier's lines in the infamous "snails and oysters" exchange with Tony Curtis. Techniques in dubbing improved tremendously in the mid-1930s.
Idea 51: Studio Realism
Lazare Meerson's sets were key to achieving the romanticized working-class atmosphere in René Clair's <em>Sous les toits de Paris</em> (1930). While the first constructed sets were built for the Italian super spectacles, designers such as Meersen paid such meticulous attention to authentic detail that their studio sets had a profound influence upon Neorealism.
Idea 56: Models
Model-makers Ian MacKinnon and Peter Saunders brought Nelson Lowry's designs to life for the Roald Dahl adaptation <em>Fantastic Mr. Fox</em> (2009). Stop-motion puppetry has been used since the early 20th century and can provide a texturality and tactility still unmatched by computer software.
Idea 60: Film Noir
Critically disdained, film noir subsisted on low budgets and B-movie status. From <em>Le Samouraï</em> (1967), an angel of doom lies in wait for Alain Delon's meticulous hitman in Jean-Pierre Melville's neo-noir masterpiece.
Idea 66: 3-D
Placing viewers at the heart of the action, the new generation of 3-D processes has brought the possibility of interactive cinema closer than ever.
Idea 86: Feminist Film Theory
Only Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino directed sound features during the big studio era. It was not until the 1970s that feminist film theory posed a radical challenge to such gender imbalance. Dorothy Arzner depicted strong and independent women in <em>The Wild Party</em> (1929).
Idea 90: Teenpics
Teenage audiences have saved Hollywood more than once. Postwar teen pics were once churned out for drive-ins and double-feature houses. Here, the Brat Pack comes of age in John Hughes's The Breakfast Club (1985).