Analysis of a Narrative Structure

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Analysis of a Narrative Structure The Immigrant (1917) R.C. Allen (Azlant, 1997:237) states that ‘by 1903, comic films alone comprised 30 percent’ of copyrighted films, with figures rising ‘to an astounding 96 per cent’ by 1908, clearly dominating the market at the birth of motion pictures. This essay will analyse the narrative structure of one of the first comic films, The Immigrant 1917). The Immigrant (1917) follows a very linear narrative structure, as was common of many films of the time. Barnes (2004:54) suggests ‘the whole narrative is self-explanatory’ however he doesn’t disregard the fact that ‘the film is truly revolutionary, both in technique and the artistry of the comic miming of Laura Bailey’. Historian Robert C. Allen (Azlant, 1997:238) suggested the narrative film ‘resulted from the industry’s phenomenally increased demand for new films’ moving away from the early ‘scenario’ (Azlant, 1997:229) styled motion pictures. Narrative films of the year 1903 are believed by historian Jacobs (Azlant, 1997:237) to have ‘fuelled the very permanence of the motion picture industry.’ Barnes (2004:54) argues that ‘a more likely date for its production is the Autumn of 1902’ as opposed to the commonly conceived date of 1903, firstly due to technological impracticalities shooting ‘during the dark days of January or February’ backed by an interview published in 1897 with G.A. Smith himself, remarking ‘of the necessity for strong sunlight’ citing this as the reason motion pictures were ‘mostly taken in Spring and Summer.’ By drawing the production date back even further, Smith’s achievements in creating such a narrative, appear even more substantial, pre-dating ‘Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery (1903)’ by over a year. Barnes’ (2004:54) writing focuses more on the editing technique and the groundbreaking choice of shots; most notably cutting from wide to

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