As Cliffhanger is the breaking in the most exciting moment of a narrated history designated. Typical is the cliffhanger for continuation romans as well as TV series, but is also used with multi-part Kinofilmen. What is important is that the action is condensed shortly before, the tension rises and is broken off at an ebendiese moment and is referred to a continuation. The means is primarily intended to encourage the recipient (reader, viewer, listener) to buy the continuation or to visit a possible follow-up event.
The term comes from English and can be literally translated with cliffhangers, that is, a person who hangs on a rock. The translation points metaphorically to the real meaning of the word. The point is, that the tension of a narrative builds up gradually and then breaks off at the most exciting point. He who follows the action is therefore left behind.
The Cliffhanger interrupts the rising action at the most exciting moment and points to the continuation.
This title is based on the novel A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy, an English writer, dating back to 1873. The novel was divided into several sections and published in several episodes in a magazine. The inclined readers had to buy the new edition, if they wanted to follow the plot of the narrative. At the end of one of these scenes, Henry Knight, the protagonist of the novel, clings to a clump of grass that grows on a cliff so as not to fatally overthrow.
Thus, the episode ended at the most exciting part of the plot and it was questionable for the reader whether Henry Knight would fall into certain death or head the whole thing towards a happy ending. To find out, you had to wait for the next issue. This means of customer loyalty was successful, so other authors began to copy the principle: the cliffhanger was born.
The concept quickly spread in other genres, was a frequent means of prose and became popular mainly in the cinema and later in television series. The American cinema of the 1930s is also worth mentioning. In numerous events, an almost half-hour series was shown in front of the main film, which was continued weekly. This very often ended with a cliffhanger. Who now wanted to know how the series was far-reaching, had to go to the cinema every week, no matter what film was shown.
Kinofilms with cliffhanger
Especially in recent years Kinofilme often ended with a cliffhanger. These were usually multi-parts, which were planned in several parts, at an exciting place, then to the continuation to continue.
Selected film examples with Cliffhanger in alphabetical order:
The Golden Compass
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Hobbit: An unexpected journey
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Pirates of the Caribbean 2
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
James Bond 007: Casino Royale
Kill Bill – Volume 1
New Moon – Until (s) at noon
Star Trek III: Looking for Mr. Spock
Star Wars: Attack of the clones
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Back to the Future
Back to the Future II
Cliffhanger in series
Furthermore, it is usual to interrupt television series at an exciting point and to animate the viewer to the next episode. Very often, the series of such a series end up particularly exciting, in order to make the audience curious about the next season.
The cliffhanger is primarily a proven means of spectator loyalty and has often been used since the 1980s. Sometimes it happens that the season of a series ends very exciting and is then discontinued. The viewer is left hanging because the end is not resolved.
This can be explained by the fact that even series, whose proclamation is shrinking, put on the cliffhanger for the preparation of the next season. If the quota still remains low, the setie is set. Typical examples here are My Name Is Earl, Heroes, and What’s Up, Dad ?, which were not continued after the thrilling season, because the audience was absent.
There are also numerous examples in German-speaking countries. For example, nearly every episode of the soap opera ends forbidden love or even good times, bad times with a cliffhanger. In these examples, the viewer is usually confronted with an unclear situation or an unresolved conflict, which is only elucidated in the next episode (see Dénouement).