History of the Drama genre
In the early years of cinema, melodrama held sway, as the
transition from silent cinema's pantomime left film with a
more presentational manner. In the 1950s, however, the
arrival of stage actors like Marlon Brando, trained in more
naturalistic techniques, slowly changed drama to a more
From the silent era to the 1950s, Dramas were tools to teach
the audience. Films would show the effects of the
depression. 1950s, began a rise in well-known dramatic
actors. Montgomery Clift, Glenn Ford, James Dean, Bette
Davis, and Marilyn Monroe were notable dramatic actors.
Dramatic Films focused on character relationships and
development. Many other films focused on women, and
their relationship with men
Drama & Subgenres
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic
characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug
addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, sexuality,
poverty, class divisions, violence against women and corruption put the characters in
conflict with themselves, others, society and even natural phenomena.
Dramatic films include a very large spectrum of film genres. Because of the
large number of drama films, these movies have been sub-categorized:
Crime drama and Legal drama – Character development based on themes
involving criminals, law enforcement and the legal system.
Historical drama – Films that focus on dramatic events in history.
Comedy-drama: is in which there is an equal, or nearly equal balance of
humour and serious content.
Melodrama: a sub-type of drama films that uses plots that appeal to the
heightened emotions of the audience. Melodramatic plots often deal with
crises of human emotion, failed romance or friendship, strained familial
situations, tragedy, illness, neuroses, or emotional and physical hardship.
Romance: a sub-type of dramatic film which dwells on the elements of
Tragedy: a drama in which a character's downfall is caused by a flaw in their
character or by a major error in judgment.
• Most drama films exhibit real life situations with realistic
characters setting and stories. Journeys of character
developments are portrayed along with intense social
interaction. The purpose of a dramatic story line is to move the
• Other conventions in drama films are:
• A climax
• Intense Music
• Extremely plot driven
• Props: Knifes, Guns, Drugs, Alcohol, Mobile Phones
• Characters are essential to Drama films as they help create
tension and atmosphere to the film due to circumstances their
• Setting: Outdoors, Run down buildings/houses, Council flats,
Houses and schools
A subgenre of thriller with a heavy focus on the unstable emotions of the
characters within a particular film. Psychological thrillers still
incorporate the common elements of mystery and drama but with
an emotional status, becoming the main focus within the genre. The
mental state of the character is more important than the physical
nature of the character in these thrillers and it is often the case that
the character is battling with their own mind. The story can be told
and is normally told in the form of a first person narrative of the
character going over the events in the story or in essence, talking to
themselves. This is a normal convention of a psychological movie.
The most popular psychological thrillers include:
1. Reality: Characters often try to determine
what is true and what is not within the
2. Perception: A person’s own interpretation of
the world around themselves through there
mind and sense
3. Mind: The human consciousness: the location
for personality, thought, reason, memory,
intelligence and emotion. The mind is used
as a location usually for narrative conflict
1. One minute.40 second trailer
2. Psychological thriller heavily stimulates the viewer's moods making them feel
anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty, surprise, anxiety or terror.
3. A suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller, Lynne Ramsay's We Need To Talk About
Kevin explores the fractious relationship between a mother and son
4. Psychological thriller is a specific sub-genre of the broad ranged thriller with heavy focus on
the unstable emotional states of characters, in combination with mystery and thriller.
However, it often incorporates elements from the mystery and drama genre, along with
the typical traits of the thriller genre.
5. The trailer begins with happy music, bright lighting, long shot and medium shots which
include the mise-en-scene that convey how positive the atmosphere in the family is.
Once the music changes to a sharp, fast tempo dark songs this immediately shows the
audience that this is the twist in the film (equilibrium) from a good thing to bad. The shots
changes to having more extreme close up shots( focus more on facial
expressions), immediate transitions from one shot to another and the music speeds up.
6. Many trailers of the similar genre will have a build(reinforced by the shots becoming
faster and music speeding up) which will then cut to a second black out and then a
quick shot of a 'clue' which would leave the audience asking 'what happens next'/ 'what
did the object or phrase mean?'
7. The audience are forced to ask important questions such as:
- What happened to Kevin?
- What happened to Kevin's mum?
- What Changed?
- How did it change?
- What does Kevin do?