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The thriller is one of the most enduringly popular of movie genres and one that has changed surprisingly little since its heyday of the 1930s Only the subjects have varied significantly The thriller got its start in the roots of motion pictures Once audiences evolved past the point of enjoying disjointed scenes of motion and action directors and producers were forced to reach out for stories to tell Without the availability of dialogue dramatic material didnt work well on screen during the early years of cinema and the notion of stringing action scenes together seemed attractive to filmmakers who were more comfortable with visual than dramatic material Edwin S Porter is generally -- though erroneously -- credited with making the first thriller to tell a coherent story with The Great Train Robbery 1903 The movie made use of the best stunt riders available surprisingly sophisticated editing techniques and a plot that was -- within the limits of 1903 popular sensibilities -- engrossing As the medium evolved and the first generation of film actors developed their own technique before the camera characterization came into play and by the teens the rudiments of the thriller were in place In those days before they were fully defined the different genres borrowed freely and unselfconsciously from each other and comedies utilized elements of the thriller -- especially risky physical stunts -- just as the thriller crossed over into melodrama The modern thriller coalesced during the 1930s not coincidentally at a time when the world itself seemed to become a somewhat more dangerous -- or potentially more dangerous -- place The genre as we know it was shaped most definitively by Alfred Hitchcock the celebrated English filmmaker who learned from watching the best work of the German Expressionists and coupled it with an American-style sense of action pacing Beginning with The Lodger 1926 a story about the hunt for a serial murderer in London loosely based on the turn-of-the-century hunt
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