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Ian Christie, Sarah Leahy, and Andrew Martin

Film Studies
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Rethinking the Familiar in Steven Soderbergh‘s The Limey
Lee Carruthers

This article complicates the notion that Steven Soderbergh‘s films are simply a refashioning of familiar materials, as evidenced by his ongoing appropriation of classical Hollywood and the European art cinema. Through a close analysis of The Limey (1999), this essay argues that Soderbergh‘s film interrogates the idea of familiarity, as such, beginning with the perceptual experience that it generates for viewers. With reference to Victor Shklovsky‘s notion of defamiliarization as well as Martin Heidegger‘s formulation of temporality in Being and Time, this discussion proposes that Soderbergh‘s reiteration of the filmic past can be seen as a meaningful event for film-critical practice that sheds new light upon issues of filmic temporality and film history.

Film Studies
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Film Studies
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Sarah Cardwell

Film Studies
Memories of childrens cinema-going in London before the First World War
Luke McKernan

Before 1906, there were no dedicated venues for the exhibition of film in London. Five years later, cinemas had spread all over the city, and 200,000 people were attending a film show in the city every day. Many in these first cinema audiences were children. Significantly - indeed probably uniquely for the time - cinema was a mass entertainment deliberated aimed at, and priced within the range of, the young. Decades later, some of these children left memoirs (published or unpublished), or were interviewed by oral historians. This body of evidence on the experience of cinema-going before the First World War has been hitherto ignored by film historians. This essay examines this testimony from London audience members, which is constructed around the various stages of the act of going to the cinema. The testimony demonstrates that the experience and the enjoyment of the social space that the cinema provided were at least as important as the entertainment projected on the screen. The early cinema demands greater recognition for its function as a social sphere, and particularly as a welcoming place for children.

Film Studies
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Cecil Court and the Emergence of the British Film Industry
Simon Brown

Cecil Court is a small pedestrian passageway in the London Borough of Westminster. Under its more famous name of Flicker Alley, it is also the mythic birthplace and romantic heart of the early British film industry. This essay sets aside romantic myths and adopts the economic theory,of agglomeration, using the film businesses moving in and out of Cecil Court as a case study to demonstrate the changing patterns within the industry. In doing so it charts the growth patterns and expansion of the British film industry from 1897 to 1911. It shows its development from its origins,in equipment manufacture, through to production and finally to rental and cinema building and outfitting, marking the transition from its small-scale artisan-led beginnings into a large and complex network of distinct but interlocking film businesses.

Film Studies
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The Films of Glasgow Corporation 1938-1978
Elizabeth Lebas

Glasgow Corporation had been sponsoring films for almost twenty years when in 1938 its Public Health Department commissioned seven silent films. This marked new relations between the Corporation and the emerging Scottish documentary film movement and a change of approach towards the films’ audiences and the city itself. The essay traces the Corporation‘s film sponsorship from the late 1930s to 1978 when the final images of Glasgow‘s Progress, the Corporation‘s last sponsored film - on its urban renewal projects were taken. By then the Corporation had been amalgamated into Strathclyde Regional Council, the century-long social project of reform had come to an end and television had made its own documentary impact. It argues that over time Corporation films served a variety of political and institutional purposes and often prefigured the fortunes of the city and its people.

Film Studies
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‘We Want “U” In’
Janet McBain

This short essay draws on research undertaken by the curator of the Scottish Screen Archive on the few surviving films credited to Greens Film Service of Glasgow in the teens and twenties. The research revealed a dynamic family business, born out of the travelling cinematograph shows of the late nineteenth century, growing to assume a dominant role in the Scottish cinema trade in the silent era, across exhibition, distribution and production. One small part of a lost film history waiting for rediscovery – early cinema in Scotland.

Film Studies
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Film Renters in Manchester, 1910-1920
Richard Brown

Although film renting began in Britain in London, the rapid spread of cinemas after 1910 meant that there was a demand for distribution closer to the sites of exhibition. As a long-established trading centre, Manchester was well placed to become the hub for Northern distribution, and local trade directories list distributors from 1912 onwards. These clustered at first near Victoria Station, but soon moved to Deansgate, as independent distributors began to outnumber branch offices of the major companies. The life-expectancy of these was short, and the First Worlds War affected their business, but they remain an important and under-researched aspect of the early British cinema business.

Film Studies
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A Short History of Brighton on Film
Frank Gray

Over fifty feature films have been made either in or about Brighton and they have all contributed to popular understandings of Brighton‘s history and its character. Collectively, they present the city as a site for extreme emotions and conflicts found within narratives that are always set either on the seafront or at the Royal Pavilion. It can be argued that these Brighton films are not about Brighton at all but instead serve as vehicles for the expression of popular anxieties, concerns and desires. As such, they transcend the specificities of place and history and become projections of what could be described as a national unconscious.

Film Studies