Scene, then crowd response. John Ford liked it best when a crowd was actually in the corner of the scene, on the scene, watching with their own eyes, then he basked in their reactions, as if to give us our own reaction to the scene at runtime.
In the same year, Citizen Kane and How Green Was My Valley vied for the Academy Awards. While Kane is my preference, Valley was good. Tres good, and a prototypical example of the Fordism to come, but each film had similarities. Though the reflecting pool of Citizen Kane was deeper, it, like the John Ford effort, relied on characterizations in subsequent scenes to literally tell us what to think about what we just saw.
But again, Ford preferred the responses literally on the scene, as if happening live.
George A. Romero's work of his most productive period(1975-1982) presented the absolute abandonment of Fordism, with the films Martin and Dawn of the Dead representing kind of a counterpoint.
That should have been the death knell.
And we see the technique largely abandoned in the post-modern work of people like Tarantino.
It's a new day.
I flash-forward to the Oscar winner Man On Fire, which is an isolated revenge piece. "A bullet always tells the truth" he says. Focused, but at once oblivious to stray elements that crop by like insubstantial clouds.
A secular humanism pervades now, and is being replaced increasingly by racial apologies.