10 10 1 1 Editorial
10 10 1 1 v v vii vii 10.7227/FS.10.1 Contributors
10 10 1 1 ix ix x x 10.7227/FS.10.2 London ‘Only the screen was silent . . .’ Memories of childrens cinema-going in London before the First World
In the early years of the cinema and into the 1910s and 1920s, it was less the film
than cinema-going itself that attracted urban publics. In this era, people were
enthusiastic about technology and the achievements of modernity; while at the same
time they felt anxious about the rapid and radical changes in their social and
economic life. In Germany, this contradictory experience was especially harsh and
perceptible in the urban metropolis of Berlin. The article demonstrates how within
city life, Berlin cinemas – offering the excitement of innovation as well as optimal
distraction and entertainment – provided an urban space where, by cinema-going,
appeal and uncertainty could be positively reconciled.
This book examines the relationship between class and culture in 1930s Britain. Focusing on the reading and cinema-going tastes of the working classes, it combines historical analysis with a close textual reading of visual and written sources to appraise the role of popular leisure in this decade. Drawing on original research, the book adds to our knowledge of working-class leisure pursuits in this contentious period.
Memories of childrens cinema-going in London before the First World
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Decades later, some of these children left memoirs (published or unpublished), or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.
This paper considers the impact of extra-filmic elements on the cultural
decision-making behaviours of a small rural Australian cinema audience, focusing on
the rural New South Wales village of Cobargo in the late 1920s. In considering how
why such fragile rural picture show operations either failed or became successful, it
is critical to take account of rural geographies, particularly in terms of early road
development, and the nature and state of road bridges in flood-prone areas. The paper
argues that these elements are part of a broad ecosystemic framework for cultural
decision-making which can assist in our interpretation of early newspaper advertising
and promotion for picture show programs.
As a technology able to picture and embody the temporality of the past, cinema has become central to the mediation of memory in modern cultural life. The memory of film scenes and movies screens, cinema and cinema-going, has become integral to the placement and location of film within the cultural imagination of this century and the last. This book is a sustained, interdisciplinary perspective on memory and film from early cinema to the present. The first section examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The second section examines the politics of memory in a series of chapters that take as their focus three pivotal sites of national conflict in postwar America. This includes the war in Vietnam, American race relations and the Civil Rights Movement, and the history of marginality in the geographic and cultural borderlands of the US. The book explores the articulation of Vietnam. The final section concentrates on the issue of mediation; it explores how technological and semiotic shifts in the cultural terrain have influenced the coding and experience of memory in contemporary cinema. It considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory. The book also examines the stakes of cultural remembering in the United States and the means by which memory has been figured through Hollywood cinema.
‘The people’s amusement’:
the growth in cinema-going and
inema-going was by far the most popular leisure activity in the 1930s. The
most frequently used phrase regarding its popularity is taken from A.J.P.
Taylor, who described cinema-going as ‘the essential social habit of the age’.1
Contemporary surveys attest to the cinema’s immense popularity. In 1935, the
New Survey of London Life and Labour declared that the cinema was ‘easily the
most important agency of popular entertainment,’ describing it as ‘the people’s
amusement’.2 Simon Rowson
Memories of cinema-going in the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood
this book. While personality and personal history
affect the content, intensity and emotional tone of a memory, the social
and cultural context of memory also exerts a substantial influence on
its form and experience. This chapter explores formations of memory in a
contemporary British context, specifically as it relates to memories of
cinema-going that have been reproduced in local newspapers. Based on
queues had endlessly waited, the gaps in the stalls yawned
wider each year. (Harry Hopkins, The New Look: A Social History
of the Forties and Fifties in Britain ) 2
The immediate post-war period saw the
zenith of cinema-going in Britain but in the 1950s the audience began to
shrink, slowly at first and then more rapidly. There was a complementary
decline in the
This book charts the development of
cinema exhibition and cinema-going in Britain from the first public film
screening – the Lumière Brothers’ showing of their
Cinématographe show at London’s Regent Street Polytechnic in
February 1896 – through to the opening of 30-screen
‘megaplexes’ such as Birmingham’s Star City. In 1896 there
were no permanent buildings dedicated to the showing of moving pictures