in From silent screen to multi-screen
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book charts the development of cinema exhibition and cinema-going in Britain from the first public film screening, the Lumière Brothers' showing of their Cinematographe show at London's Regent Street Polytechnic in February 1896, through to the opening of 30-screen 'megaplexes'. In part the existence of cinema is the result of an array of technological developments going back arguably to the sixteenth century with the camera obscura and encompassing the development of celluloid film and its projection to a large audience. It is also the result of the efforts to create spaces for the public exhibition of moving images; grand spaces which have embraced and reflected the great modernist project of the twentieth century. The book places the development of cinema in a broad social, economic, cultural and political context.

From silent screen to multi-screen

A history of cinema exhibition in Britain since 1896


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