ScreenPrism: What was different about Spielberg and his generation of directors?
Professor Lapadula: Spielberg was a student of cinema. In Jaws (1975), you see him using techniques like the Hitchcock zoom. What Spielberg represents, along with Lucas, along with Scorsese, along with Spike Lee (although Spike Lee came later), is a new generation of filmmakers who were university trained for the first time. They actually came out of film programs – they studied film formally at an institution (USC and UCLA). They were very aware of the shoulders they were standing on.
By contrast, a director like Peter Bogdanovich of The Last Picture Show (1971) was a scholar of the cinema — he was a self-taught erudite student of the cinema — but he wasn't somebody who went to a film school. There weren't film schools when he was a young, young man. He came to film at the same time that people like Lucas were getting out of USC, but he didn't go through any formal training. His education was at the movies.