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Where It All Began—The Montage

There are two basic types of montage. What is sometimes referred to as the Hollywood montage differs substantially from the European montage. The latter, developed to its highest level by the Russian filmmakers of the 1920s, used a carefully designed and edited series of straight cuts to develop story, situation, and character; it is most effectively demonstrated in the celebrated “Odessa steps” sequence in Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin.

The Hollywood montage, on the other hand, is almost invariably a transition. It too is composed of a number of silent cuts, often in a series of dissolves, and always musically underscored, but there its similarity to its foreign cousin ends. It is, in truth, simply a more ...

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