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baxtor07
10-15-04, 05:34 AM
noob question:
how can you tell if a film during the 1930s-1940's is a serial film?

specific question: is the movie "Back to Bataan" (1945) a serial?

sorry for being ignorant. TIA

Forum Troll
10-15-04, 06:37 AM
Serials are multiple short films that have a connecting plot. "Buck Rogers" and "Flash Gordon" are examples. "Back to Bataan" is a full-lenght sequel.

Gerry P.
10-15-04, 06:41 AM
First off, this question should have been asked in the "Movies" forum, since it is unrelated to DVDs.

As for your question, Back to Bataan is not a serial, but a regular old feature film.

Serials are/were long stories broken into numerous 10-20 minute short films or episodes. Theaters would show one episode per-week as part of a pre-feature program. If a patron wished to see the entire serial, they would have to return to the same theater, week after week, until the story had run its course. I believe serials were around from the 1910s clear up to the 1950s.

If you actually want to watch a serial, I'd recommend this one (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027623/) and this one (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0006206/).

John Sinnott
10-15-04, 06:59 AM
Do you mean serial or series? A serial, as Troll pointed out, was a very long movie that was split into chapters (usually 12) with one shown every week. The easiest way to check to see if something is a serial is to check the run time. If it is 250 minutes, chances are it's a serial.

There were several movies that churned out sequel after sequel. Francis the Talking Mule, Tarzan, the Dead End Kids and Charlie Chan are just a few examples. These are often refered to as series films, made cheaply to fill the demand the studio owned theaters had for product. These films were usually given similar names to make them easily identifiable. If you type in "Charlie Chan" into the IMDB, you'll see a list of all the films in the series. I'm not sure if there is a hard and fast rule, but I'd guess you need at least 4 films to be a series.

Hope this helps, and welcome to DVDTalk.

-John

nemein
10-15-04, 07:03 AM
Moving to the movie forum.

baxtor07
10-15-04, 12:08 PM
Sorry for not putting this in the movie thread earlier, but thanks for the help everyone. I would have really screwed up on an easy essay for my film class. I was familiar with serial tv shows, but not movies; didn't know, but should have known serial=series in films, as well. Thanks again

chente
10-15-04, 07:25 PM
Les Vampires looks really cool.

obscurelabel
10-16-04, 09:35 PM
...but should have known serial=series in films, as well. Thanks again

Not sure if this is exactly what you mean or not. As videophile noted, there were a lot of film series from the 1930s and 40s, which were feature length (60 minutes or more, although some may have been a couple of minutes shy of an hour) and featured the same characters and similar story lines. These were all self contained movies with a beginning and an end, whereas the serials were multi-part stories, usually with "cliffhanger" climaxes that would only be resolved in the next weekly episode, shown before the main feature. The series films were very similar in conception and form to TV series. Release schedules varied, but the more popular of these might have two or three new films per year released. A few more examples:

Mr. Wong
Mr. Moto
Boston Blackie
Maizie
Blondie
Henry Aldrich
Dr. Kildare
Andy Hardy
Ma and Pa Kettle
Bulldog Drummond
The Falcon
Mexican Spitfire

To confuse matters with serials, quite a lot of the multi-part serials were later edited down into features (to maximize the producer's ability to book their productions as many ways as possible). Thus you will see, for example, the material originally released as the serial Flash Gordon (1936) re-cut into the feature Spaceship to the Unknown (1936).


Much more about serials here:

www.serialsquadron.com

baxtor07
10-17-04, 04:07 AM
Originally posted by obscurelabel
Not sure if this is exactly what you mean or not. As videophile noted, there were a lot of film series from the 1930s and 40s, which were feature length (60 minutes or more, although some may have been a couple of minutes shy of an hour) and featured the same characters and similar story lines. These were all self contained movies with a beginning and an end, whereas the serials were multi-part stories, usually with "cliffhanger" climaxes that would only be resolved in the next weekly episode, shown before the main feature. The series films were very similar in conception and form to TV series. Release schedules varied, but the more popular of these might have two or three new films per year released. A few more examples:

Mr. Wong
Mr. Moto
Boston Blackie
Maizie
Blondie
Henry Aldrich
Dr. Kildare
Andy Hardy
Ma and Pa Kettle
Bulldog Drummond
The Falcon
Mexican Spitfire

To confuse matters with serials, quite a lot of the multi-part serials were later edited down into features (to maximize the producer's ability to book their productions as many ways as possible). Thus you will see, for example, the material originally released as the serial Flash Gordon (1936) re-cut into the feature Spaceship to the Unknown (1936).


Much more about serials here:

www.serialsquadron.com

thanks for the link and info obscurelabel, but it still is a bit confusing. Just to be sure, I bought a collection of 5 movies of TARZAN (upc 96009-16519) which include: Tarzan the Fearless (1933), Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1935), and Tarzan's Revenge (1938). Would any of those be considered serial films? I haven't opened them yet, but then again it was only 5.99 at Best Buy.

Which of these is true:
1)Serial film = a film born from a tv series (i.e. Star Trek)?
2)Serial film = a series in film (i.e. indiana jones trilogy, etc..)?

Thanks again, and sorry for my ignorance.

Gerry P.
10-17-04, 04:14 AM
Originally posted by baxtor07
I bought a collection of 5 movies of TARZAN (upc 96009-16519) which include: Tarzan the Fearless (1933), Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1935), and Tarzan's Revenge (1938). Would any of those be considered serial films? These seem to be examples of what obscurelabel mentioned, namely serials edited down to features.
Which of these is true:
1)Serial film = a film born from a tv series (i.e. Star Trek)?
2)Serial film = a series in film (i.e. indiana jones trilogy, etc..)?Both are false. A serial is different than a film series.

I'm not quite sure why you're still confused, since multiple definitions have been given:

"Serials are multiple short films that have a connecting plot."

"Serials are/were long stories broken into numerous 10-20 minute short films or episodes. Theaters would show one episode per-week as part of a pre-feature program."

"A serial...was a very long movie that was split into chapters (usually 12) with one shown every week."

"the serials were multi-part stories, usually with "cliffhanger" climaxes that would only be resolved in the next weekly episode, shown before the main feature."

Were "a film born from a tv series" and "a series in film" the only choices given by your teacher?


p.s. What kind of film class are you taking? And is it high school or college?

baxtor07
10-17-04, 04:27 AM
ok thanks, a serial film: broken down into chapters (usually 12 or 15).

where would i be able to find one (particularly a serial from 1930s, 1940s) and any recommendations:
best buy, target?

i need one asap, otherwise i would have just ordered from www.serialsquadron.com

baxtor07
10-17-04, 04:34 AM
Originally posted by Gerry P.
p.s. What kind of film class are you taking?

Film class in CSULB:
FEA (film and electronic arts) 314: Theatrical Film Symposium
We basically have a lecture one hour,watch a movie, possibly have a guest speaker who is associated with that movie talk, then Q&A once every week; half independent films.
What we have seen so far:
1) "Aliens vs. Predator"---------some executive in marketing from the film spoke.
2) "The Mummy an' the Armadillo"-----independent (director/writer was there)
3) "Chronicles of Riddick"-----Director David Twohy was there
4) "Sky Captain and the world of tomorrow"------1 and a half hour lecture, no guest speaker
5) "Stage Beauty"-----great lion's gate film
6) this coming monday: class voted on seeing "TEAM AMERICA" and no guest speaker over "THE MACHINIST" which a guest speaker was available.

Gerry P.
10-17-04, 04:38 AM
Originally posted by baxtor07
where would i be able to find one (particularly a serial from 1930s, 1940s) and any recommendations:
best buy, target? Best Buy might have one or two. You'll probably have to browse around the Horror, Si-Fi or Special Interest sections. Target would be highly doubtful. Even better than Best Buy would be a Borders, Tower Records, Virgin Megastore or Media Play, if possible.

Just make sure the running time is long [i.e. 150-250 minutes] and not feature length.

Gerry P.
10-17-04, 04:40 AM
Originally posted by baxtor07
Director David Twohy was there... Wow... sounds fun.


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