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Serial film

A serial film, film serial, movie serial or chapter play, is a motion picture form popular during the first half of the 20th century, consisting of a series of short subjects exhibited in consecutive order at one theater advancing weekly, until the series is completed. Each serial involves a single set of characters and antagonistic, involved in a single story, edited into chapters after the fashion of serial fiction and the episodes cannot be shown out of order or as a single or a random collection of short subjects; each chapter was screened at a movie theater for one week, ended with a cliffhanger, in which characters found themselves in perilous situations with little apparent chance of escape. Viewers had to return each week to follow the continuing story. Movie serials were popular with children, for many youths in the first half of the 20th century a typical Saturday matinee at the movies included at least one chapter of a serial, along with animated cartoons and two feature films. There were films covering many genres, including crime fiction, comic book or comic strip characters, science fiction, jungle adventures.

Many serials were Westerns. Although most serials were filmed economically, some were made at significant expense; the Flash Gordon serial and its sequels, for instance, were major productions in their times. Serials were action-packed stories that involved a hero battling an evil villain and rescuing a damsel in distress; the villain would continually place the hero into inescapable deathtraps, or the heroine would be placed into a deathtrap and the hero would come to her rescue. The hero and heroine would face one trap after another, battling countless thugs and lackeys, before defeating the villain; the silent era was the zenith of the movie serial. Famous American serials of the silent era include The Perils of Pauline and The Exploits of Elaine made by Pathé Frères and starring Pearl White. Another popular serial was the 119-episode The Hazards of Helen made by Kalem Studios and starring Helen Holmes for the first forty-eight episodes Helen Gibson for the remainder. Ruth Roland, Marin Sais, Ann Little, Helen Holmes were early leading serial queens.

Other major studios of the silent era, such as Vitagraph and Essanay Studios, produced serials, as did Warner Bros. Fox, Universal. Several independent companies made Western serials. Four silent Tarzan serials were made. Serials were a popular form of movie entertainment dating back to Edison's What Happened to Mary of 1912. There appear to be older serials, such as the 1910 Deutsche Vitaskop 5 episode Arsene Lupin Contra Sherlock Holmes, based upon the Maurice LeBlanc novel, a possible but unconfirmed Raffles serial in 1911. Europe had its own serials: in France Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset launched his series of Nick Carter films in 1908, the idea of the episodic crime adventure was developed by Louis Feuillade in Fantômas, Les Vampires, Judex. Years after their first release, serials gained new life at "Saturday Matinees", theatrical showings on Saturday mornings aimed directly at children. For that reason, serials are sometimes called "Saturday Matinee Serials" though they were shown with feature films.

The arrival of sound technology made it costlier to produce serials, so that they were no longer as profitable on a flat rental basis. Further, the Great Depression made it impossible for many of the smaller companies that produced serials to upgrade to sound, they went out of business. Only one serial specialty company, Mascot Pictures, transitioned from silent to sound filmmaking. Universal Pictures kept its serial unit alive through the transition. In the early 1930s a handful of independent companies tried their hand at making serials, including the once-prolific Weiss Brothers; the Weisses bought a little time when Columbia Pictures decided to take a try at serials, contracted with them to make three chapterplays. They were successful enough that Columbia established its own serial unit and the Weisses disappeared from the serial scene; this was in 1937, Columbia was inspired by the previous year's serial blockbuster success at Universal, Flash Gordon, the first serial to play at a major theater on Broadway.

The creation of Republic involved the absorption of Mascot Pictures, so that by 1937, serial production was now in the hands of three companies only – Universal and Republic, with Republic becoming the acknowledged leader in quality serial product. Each company turned out four to five serials per year, of 12 to 15 episodes each, a pace they all kept up until the end of World War II when, in 1946, Universal dropped its serial unit along with its B-picture unit and renamed its production department Universal-International Pictures. Republic and Columbia continued unchallenged, with about four serials per year each, Republic fixing theirs at 12 chapters each while Columbia fixed at fifteen. By the mid-1950s, episodic television series and the sale of older serials to TV syndicators by all the current and past major sound serial producers, together with the loss of audience attendance at Saturday matinees in general, made serial-making a losing proposition. There have

The Sign of the Twisted Candles

The Sign of the Twisted Candles is the ninth volume in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series. As the second volume written by Walter Karig, it was published in 1933 under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Due to Karig having died in 1956, as of January 1, 2007, the 1933 book and the other two Nancy Drew books he wrote, have passed into the public domain in Canada and other countries with a life-plus-50 policy. In the course of solving the mystery of an old man's disappearing fortune, Nancy both starts and ends a family feud and reveals the identity of an orphan of unknown parentage; the second of three novels by ghostwriter Walter Karig, this story focuses on Nancy's encounter with a 100-year-old man at The Sign of the Twisted Candles, a roadside inn and restaurant. Nancy and her friends and George, take afternoon tea there while waiting out a storm, where Nancy's roadster is blocked by a fallen tree, they encounter Asa Sidney, celebrating his 100th birthday, the maid and waitress, Carol Wipple, mistreated by her adoptive parents and Emma Jemmit.

Nancy discovers Mr. Sidney is an elderly relative of Bess and George, her willingness to communicate with him launches a family feud upon his death a few days later; this leaves Nancy without allies in the family. Carol is named as the major benefactress, Nancy sets out to prove Frank and Emma Jemmit have misappropriated property. Nancy must discover why Asa was interested in young Carol. Meanwhile, relatives from the Sidney and Boonton families fight over the money. While investigating, Nancy is reunited with her friends. During the climax of the book, she is nearly killed when pushed from a ladder, laid against a tower window, illustrated in the original 1933 edition. Carol is discovered to be the great-niece of Asa Sidney; the family feud is resolved due to Nancy's discoveries. The original 1933 artwork is by the fashion illustrator Russell H. Tandy, illustrator for the Nancy Drew series from 1930 to 1949. In the original edition, Nancy is shown meeting with Mr. Sidney in hat; this edition is noted for its internal art depicting Nancy pushed from a ladder.

This illustration and two others were dropped in 1936 and subsequent editions. Bill Gillies' 1950 cover art shows Nancy watching from a window. A more executed version of this image was used for half of the end paper used from 1953 to 1959; the end papers show the digging man, while Nancy hides behind watches. The 1968 cover art shows a flip-haired Nancy near a candle with Asa glowering in the background; this art was used as a generic cover stock, in red and pink, for library binding or rebound library copies of all titles in the series

Dull Tool

"Dull Tool" is a song by American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, released on the soundtrack to the comedy film This Is 40. It is the first track Apple wrote for a film. "Dull Tool" was produced by Apple's long-time collaborator Jon Brion, leaked online in November 2012, several weeks before the soundtrack hit stores on December 11. American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple became involved with the comedy 2012 film This Is 40 after being sent a script by its writer and director, Judd Apatow; the two had met a few years during a benefit concert for a family clinic. Some time after sending Apple the script, film composer Jon Brion told Apatow that Apple had recorded a demo for the film. Apatow commented in an interview with Pitchfork Media, "I didn't know she would write anything; the song was perfect, I knew where to put it." He added that Apple had recorded a second song, but he could not find an appropriate place to insert it into the film. It was heartbreaking not to put it in. It's a beautiful song."

Brion, a long-time collaborator of Apple's, produced "Dull Tool", as well as every other original song featured on the album. "Dull Tool" has been perceived to reference a poorly-ended relationship, in which Apple begins by discussing the game hide and seek and ends by "launching into a barrage of insults." Lyrically, various music critics considered the "dense and fevered" song to be the "tortured antidote" or "painful sequel" to "Hot Knife", a song from Apple's 2012 album, The Idler Wheel.... Slate noted that the song included Apple's regular "fast-tumbling waltzes on the piano" as well as "an orchestra’s worth of mandolins, electric guitars, timpani." The song appears in This Is 40, but was not planned for inclusion in the film's soundtrack. In October 2012, Pitchfork Media reported a supposed conflict between Apple and her record label, Epic Records. Apple had "lashed out at her label for pulling promotional support from her new album in response to her placing a song on a soundtrack", being produced by two other music companies.

This led to speculation. It leaked online in November 2012, several weeks before the soundtrack debuted in stores on December 11. In a review of the soundtrack, Rolling Stone called the song "sprightly but vicious", while the Corpus Christi Caller-Times opined that the album was "smartly assembled" and Apple's song "convincingly echo domestic frustration". Though Apple's music has been featured on other film soundtracks, "Dull Tool" marked the first time she could be eligible for an Academy Award; the Huffington Post revealed that Universal had listed it among other pieces it submitted for consideration to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but it did not receive a nomination for Best Original Song