The development of film criticism in Cape Town's daily press 1928-1930 : an explorative investigation into the Cape Times and Die Burger

Eckardt, Michael (2004-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis examines the development of film criticism in Cape Town's daily press from 1928 to 1930, using film reviews from the newspapers the Cape Times and Die Burger as sources. The study starts with an overview of studies concerning early South African film history, and characterizes it as a rather underdeveloped field of study. The character of film criticism in the period under discussion is explained by using a description of the general function of film criticism as a basis and taking film criticism in the Weimar Republic of Germany as an example for the following comparison. The basis for the comparative analysis is a list of films screened in three selected cinemas in Cape Town from 1928 to 1930. Part of the analysis is an empirical study to examine the quantitative development of film reviews in the period under discussion. Length ranges with which to characterize film reviews are defined and the preferred average lengths of reviews for both newspapers as well as for films screened at the particular cinemas are listed. The qualitative part of the study is a content analysis of two selected groups of films: 1. films which received average-size reviews and 2. films which ran longer than average and received above-average size reviews. The survey reveals that the Cape Times followed a "quantitative strategy", reviewing all films screened and that Die Burger had a "qualitative The reviews strategy", in both reviewing specially selected films only. newspapers can be characterized as functionalistic. The Cape Times displayed their business orientation by publishing mostly advertisement-like reviews; Die Burger's political orientation was reflected in comments about the language in sound films, including film and cinema into the language struggle. The study demonstrates that newspapers are a valuable source for research concerning early South African film history. The existing standard reference, Thelma Gutsche's The History and Social ,Significance of Motion Pictures in South Africa 1895-1940 can be fruitfully complemented by using Afrikaans newspapers, as well as the writings of the Afrikaner film critic Hans Rompel.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek die ontwikkeling van rolprentresensies in die pers van Kaapstad in die jare 1928 tot 1930 en gebruik daarvoor resensies van die nuuskoerante Cape Times en Die Burger. Die ondersoek begin met 'n oorsig van die vroeë Suid Afrikaanse rolprentgeskiedenis. Die karakter van rolprentresensie in die gegewe periode word verduidelik deur 'n beskrywing van die algemene funksie om rolprentresensie as "n basis te gebruik en rolprentresensies in die Duitse Weimar Republiek as 'n voorbeeld vir die opvolgende vergelyking te neem. Die basis vir die vergelykende analise is 'n lys van rolprente wat in drie geselekteerde bioskope in Kaapstad gedurende die periode van 1928 tot 1930 gewys is. 'n Gedeelte van die analise behels 'n empiriese studie om die kwantitatiewe ontwikkeling van rolprentrensensies gedurende die gegewe periode te ondersoek. Lengte reekse word gedefinieer om die resensies te karakteriseer, en die verkose gemiddelde lengtes van resensies word gelys vir beide nuuskoerante as ook vir films wat by die geselekeerde cinemas gewys is. Die kwalitatiewe gedeelte van die studie is 'n inhoudanalise van twee geselekteerde groepe van rolprente: 1. rolprente wat resensies van gemiddelde lengte ontvang het en 2. rolprente wat langer as gemiddeld gewys is en resensies van bo-gemiddelde lengte ontvang het. Die ondersoek wys uit dat die Cape Times 'n "kwantitatiewe strategie" gevolg het deur alle rolprente te resenseer, terwyl die Die Burger 'n "kwalitatiewe strategie" gevolg het deur net gekeurde rolprente te resenseer. Die resensies in albei nuuskoerante kan as funkionalisties beskryf word. Die Cape Times lig sy besigheidsgeorienteerde houding uit, deur grotendeels advertensie-gelyke resensies te skryf; Die Burger demonstreer sy politiese orientering deur kommentaar oor die taalgebruik in klankrolprente te lewer en sluit so rolprente en bioskope in die taalstryd in. Die studie demonstreer dat koerante 'n waardevolle inligtingsbron vir navorsing oor die vroeë Suid Afrikaanse rolprentgeskiedenis lewer. Die bestaande standaardverwysing, Thelma Gutsche se The History and Social Significance of Motion Pictures in South Africa 1895-1940 kan suksesvol gekomplimenteer word deur gebruik te maak van Afrikaanse koerante, as ook van die tekste van die Afrikaanse filmkritikus, Hans Rompel.

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