Old Hollywood Makeup

For centuries, the only visual standard of narrative storytelling was the theatre. Since the first narrative films in the 1890s, film-makers sought to capture the power of live theatre on the cinema screen. Most of these film-makers started as directors on the late 19th century stage, and likewise most film actors had roots in vaudeville or theatrical melodramas. Visually, early narrative films had adapted little from the stage, and their narratives had adapted very little from vaudeville and melodrama. Before the visual style which would become known as “classical continuity”, scenes were filmed in full shot and used carefully choreographed staging to portray plot and character relationships. Cutting was extremely limited, and mostly consisted of close-ups of writing on objects for their legibility.