Just as factories have been the backbone of industrial development, jobs, and the rising standard of living, plants and factories have been widely depicted in film and television. Beginning with the classic factory gears in Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, plants have appeared throughout the history of film and TV, appearing as recently as 2012 in Les Miserables, where the main character, Jean Valjean, was a factory owner.
Unlike the factory art displayed in last week’s article, 15 Artistic Views of the Factory, movie factories have tended to be positive -- or at least exciting. Whether it’s a chocolate factory or an automated production facility for drones, factories in film are fantastic environments. While there is the occasional -- and notable -- derisive look at plants such as The China Syndrome, generally, filmmakers have had fun with factories.
Click on the image of the Droid Factory from Star Wars Episode II below to start the slideshow.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, 2002
The Droid Factory is one of the highlights of Star Wars Episode II. The shots of the fully automated factory with thousands of droids in production are exquisite. (Source: starwars.wikia.com)
Modern Times (1936) is going on my 'must-see' rental list.The set construction alone looks like it cost the production studio a bundle!Intrigued, I poked around and found it has a very high rating in "Decent Films Guide" :http://www.decentfilms.com/reviews/moderntimes.Luckily, I also found it on Netflix!
Because I've spent enough time in factories, I always frowned at the void of any personnel present in the Terminator factory scenes; all machinery running in full volume capability; what we used to call "lights-out" manufacturing, and not a living soul around.Yes, this is possible, but not 24/7. (I know, its Hollywood; -- but still – Hey, I'm just Sayin' ! )
While Motorola's paging division did, in fact, successfully implement 'Lights-out' manufacturing on a few of their Pagers in the early 1990's, this type of staff-free manufacturing has not become ubiquitous for many reasons related to logistics and material supply.
Rob-there are two factories that really stand out for me: 1.) Norma Rae and 2.) The Droid factory in Star Wars. Years ago my grandmother worked in factory that made thread for clothing. The thread was wound on bobbins and spools for sale to manufacturers who made cloth. I accompied my mother one evening to pick her up from the factory after a long day. Only then did I realize what a "sweat shop" she worked in. The movie Norma Rae reminded me of that environment. Thankfully, we seem to be beyond those working conditions.
That's interesting, Rob! Yeah, 8 Mile was actually not a bad little film, even if it was just a vehicle for Eminem (who turned out to be quite a good actor--but he was playing himself!). Those factories looked pretty rough and gritty...must have been a really interesting experience to work in them--a real glimpse into working-class America.
Great slides. Made me laugh at the number of times I've seen aging tanks in breweries used as movie backgrounds. The huge stainless domed ends have been passed off as nuclear reactors, and even the engine room of space ships. Only once, in Strange Brew, have I seen them called what they were. Mothballed breweries make great backdrops with stainless pipes and platforms that look like they could travel at light speed.......
Elizabeth, thnaks for the metion of 8Mile. I forgot about those factory scenes. How could I miss that? I grew up in the Detroit area and once lived on 9Mile. I worked in my share of those Detroit factories.
Cool slideshow! I seem to recall other films in which factories were sort of eerie places, though. I can't recall the name of the film offhand but I am sure there is a scene set in a factory where a murderer is chasing a victim, and that factory was pretty terrifying! Also in the Eminem film "8 Mile," there are some interesting factory scenes, including an intimate one with him and his girlfriend in the film, the now (sadly) deceased Brittany Murphy.
Don't forget the Ron Howard film, "Gung Ho," in which a Japanese car company buys an American manufacturing plant, and then has to deal with the conflicts arising between American labor and Japanese management. It's a comedy, so it doesn't exactly present an intelligent look at those conflicts.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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