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A Companion to Early Cinema

Andre Gaudreault (Editor), Nicolas Dulac (Editor), Santiago Hidalgo (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3231-5
648 pages
July 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Early Cinema (1444332317) cover image


An authoritative and much-needed overview of the main issues in the field of early cinema from over 30 leading international scholars in the field

  • First collection of its kind to offer in one reference: original theory, new research, and reviews of existing studies in the field
  • Features over 30 original essays from some of the leading scholars in early cinema and Film Studies, including Tom Gunning, Jane Gaines, Richard Abel, Thomas Elsaesser, and André Gaudreault
  • Caters to renewed interest in film studies’ historical methods, with strict analysis of multiple and competing sources, providing a critical re-contextualization of films, printed material and technologies
  • Covers a range of topics in early cinema, such as exhibition, promotion, industry, pre-cinema, and film criticism
  • Broaches the latest research on the subject of archival practices, important particularly in the current digital context
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Table of Contents

List of Contributors viii

Acknowledgments xiv

Introduction 1
Nicolas Dulac, André Gaudreault, and Santiago Hidalgo

Part I Early Cinema Cultures 13

1 The Culture Broth and the Froth of Cultures of So-called Early Cinema 15
André Gaudreault

2 Toward a History of Peep Practice 32
Erkki Huhtamo

3 “We are Here and Not Here”: Late Nineteenth-Century Stage Magic and the Roots of Cinema in the Appearance (and Disappearance) of the Virtual Image 52
Tom Gunning

4 The Féerie between Stage and Screen 64
Frank Kessler

5 The Théâtrophone, an Anachronistic Hybrid Experiment or One of the First Immobile Traveler Devices? 80
Giusy Pisano

6 The “Silent” Arts: Modern Pantomime and the Making of an Art Cinema in Belle Époque Paris: The Case of Georges Wague and Germaine Dulac 99
Tami Williams

Part II Early Cinema Discourses 119

7 First Discourses on Film and the Construction of a “Cinematic Episteme” 121
François Albera

8 The Discourses of Art in Early Film, or, Why Not Rancière? 141
Rob King

9 Sensationalism and Early Cinema 163
Annemone Ligensa

10 From Craft to Industry: Series and Serial Production Discourses and Practices in France 183
Laurent Le Forestier

11 Early American Film Publications: Film Consciousness, Self Consciousness 202
Santiago Hidalgo

12 Early Cinema and Film Theory 224
Roger Odin

Part III Early Cinema Forms 243

13 A Bunch of Violets 245
Ben Brewster

14 Modernity Stops at Nothing: The American Chase Film and the Specter of Lynching 257
Jan Olsson

15 “The Knowledge Which Comes in Pictures”: Educational Films and Early Cinema Audiences 277
Jennifer Peterson

16 Motion Picture Color and Pathé-Frères: The Aesthetic Consequences of Industrialization 298
Charles O ’ Brien

Part IV Early Cinema Presentations 315

17 The European Fairground Cinema: (Re)defining and (Re)contextualizing the “Cinema of Attractions” 317
Joseph Garncarz

18 Early Film Programs: An Overture, Five Acts, and an Interlude 334
Richard Abel

19 “Half Real-Half Reel”: Alternation Format Stage-and-Screen Hybrids 360
Gwendolyn Waltz

20 Advance Newspaper Publicity for the Vitascope and the Mass Address of Cinema ’s Reading Public 381
Paul S. Moore

21 Storefront Theater Advertising and the Evolution of the American Film Poster 398
Kathryn H. Fuller-Seeley

22 Bound by Cinematic Chains: Film and Prisons during the Early Era 420
Alison Griffiths

Part V Early Cinema Identities 441

23 Anonymity: Uncredited and Unknown in Early Cinema 443
Jane M. Gaines

24 The Invention of Cinematic Celebrity in the United Kingdom 460
Andrew Shail

25 The Film Lecturer 487
Germain Lacasse

26 Richard Hoffman: A Collector’s Archive 498
Richard Koszarski

Part VI Early Cinema Recollections 525

27 Early Films in the Age of Content; or, “Cinema of Attractions” Pursued by Digital Means 527
Paolo Cherchi Usai

28 Multiple Originals: The (Digital) Restoration and Exhibition of Early Films 550
Giovanna Fossati

29 Pointing Forward, Looking Back: Reflexivity and Deixis in Early Cinema and Contemporary Installations 568
Nanna Verhoeff

30 Is Nothing New? Turn-of-the-Century Epistemes in Film History 587
Thomas Elsaesser

Index 610

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Author Information

André Gaudreault is Professor in Film Studies at the Université de Montréal, where he heads the research group GRAFICS (Groupe de recherche sur l’avènement et la formation des institutions cinématographique et scénique). He is also director of the bilingual journal Cinémas, published in Montreal. He has presented numerous scholarly papers and published extensively on film narration and early cinema.

Nicolas Dulac is Lecturer in Film Studies at the Université de Montréal. He has published on early cinema and turn-of-the-century popular culture in journals such as 1895 Revue d’Histoire du Cinéma, Cinema & Cie, and Early Popular Visual Culture.

Santiago Hidalgo is Lecturer in Film Studies at the Université de Montréal. He has published on early cinema, film criticism, and film historiography in Cinémas and in conference proceedings for events in Udine, Italy and Cerisy, France.

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"This book is an authoritative reference on the field of early cinema.It includes work by established and up-and-coming scholars that offers the cutting-edge research and original perspectives. Its 30 chapters are a must-have reference for those working in field." (Wonderpedia, 19 September 2013)

"It goes without saying that it deserves to be on the library shelves of institutions where the subject forms part of the academic curriculum."  (Reference Reviews, 1 June 2013)

"One of the strengths of this substantial 'companion' is that it raises the issue of definition in a variety of provocative ways."  (Sight & Sound, 1 February 2013)

"The essays are well researched and display a refreshing diversity of approaches. Even as the discipline of cinema and media studies turns to newer media, early cinema continues to posses a certain allure." (Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, Summer 2013)

“This collection of essays by early cinema scholars from Europe and North America offers manifold perspectives on early cinema fiction which perfectly reflect the state of international research.” - Dr. Martin Loiperdinger, Universität Trier

“A fabulous selection of first-rate essays!  -Rick Altman, University of Iowa

“One of the most thought-provoking books in recent film studies: in it, early cinema is both a historical object and a contemporary presence. As in a great novel, we can retrace the adventures of the past – the films, styles, discourses, and receptions, that made cinema the breakthrough reality it was in its first decades. But we can also come to appreciate how much of this reality is still present in our digital world.” -Francesco Casetti, Yale University

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