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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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‘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
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 Decades later, some of these children left memoirs (published or unpublished), or were interviewed by oral historians.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
Elizabeth Ezra

hesitated to bring the concepts of contemporary – or even what is, by now, quite dated – film theory to bear on the earliest films, as if films before Griffith and theory after Bazin were separated by an unbreachable divide, summed up in Noël Burch’s designation of early cinema as a ‘primitive otherness’ (Burch 1990 : 198). More recently, André Gaudreault has characterized Méliès’s films as

in Georges Méliès
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Andrew Dix

storytelling above, the history of film is not, after all, to be emplotted straightforwardly as one of narrative’s inevitable and absolute hegemony. Research by Tom Gunning, André Gaudreault and others has established that, for much of its first decade, film was more concerned to demonstrate its powers of visual representation than to tell stories. This early cinema of attractions , in Gunning’s enduring phrase, was an ‘exhibitionist cinema’ rather than one dedicated to absorbing the spectator narratively ( 2006 : 382). Pioneering filmmakers such as the Lumière

in Beginning film studies (second edition)
Jonathan Driskell

Although Marcel Carné’s final films did not receive the critical acclaim or box-office success of his earlier cinema, they remain interesting as late manifestations of the core concerns that define his work across the decades. One of the central aspects of his cinema, which has been considered throughout this book, is the tension between his interest in the grounded, physical, social world and the

in Marcel Carné
Werewolves, wolves and wild children
Editors: Sam George and Bill Hughes

The book explores crucial questions concerning human social existence and its animal substrate, and the intersection between the human and the wolfishly bestial. The collection connects together innovative research on the cultural significance of wolves, wild children and werewolves from a variety of perspectives. We begin with the wolf itself as it has been interpreted as a cultural symbol and how it figures in contemporary debates about human existence, wilderness and nature. Alongside this, we consider eighteenth-century debates about wild children – often thought to have been raised by wolves and other animals – and their role in key questions about the origins of language and society. The collection continues with analyses of the modern werewolf and its cultural connotations in texts from nineteenth-century Gothic through early cinema to present-day television and Young Adult fiction, concluding with the transitions between animal and human in contemporary art, poetry and fashion.

Open Access (free)
Editor: Paul Grainge

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.

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Susan Hayward

Besson reproduces in his own work. It is instructive that (as we mentioned in Chapter One ) amongst the filmmakers Besson quotes as sources of inspiration he names Spielberg, Lucas and Coppola – all special effects rollercoaster moviemakers. 2 The rollercoaster narrative-visual line of Besson’s own films recalls the precipitous nature of the early cinema chase sequences and spectacular acrobatics. The idea is to display what the camera can do

in Luc Besson
Open Access (free)
Sarah Bernhardt, Queen Elizabeth and the development of motion pictures
Victoria Duckett

Sarah Bernhardt's Queen Elizabeth (Henri Desfontaines and Louis Mercanton, 1911) was an international popular success, released in the US as a headline attraction for the Famous Players company founded by Charles Frohman and Adolph Zukor in order to distribute the film. It drew other theatrical stars to the cinema and helped to inaugurate the longer playing narrative film, furthering a new category of spectacle in cinema itself. Yet scholars and historians have long denounced Queen Elizabeth as anachronistic and stagey, material proof of its star's inability to engage with film. Examining specific scenes and shots, this chapter will show that the film's appropriation of a rich history of the stage, painting and literature challenges us to think of early cinema in new and provocative ways. The aim is not to uncover a lost masterpiece, but to demonstrate that only today, at a point at which we can discuss intermediality, transnational art forms and feminism as related undertakings, is it possible to explore Bernhardt's 'moving' Tudor Queen.

in The British monarchy on screen