A Companion to Early Cinema

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  • EditEd by Andr GAudrEAult nicolAs dulAc And sAntiAGo HidAlGo

    Early CinEma

    a C o m pa n i o n t o

    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.

    Martin Loiperdinger, Universitaet Trier

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

    One of the most challenging 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











    EditEd by


    And HidAlGo90000

    9 781444 332315

    ISBN 978-1-4443-3231-5

    Andr Gaudreault is Professor in Film Studies at the Universit de Montral, where he heads the research group GRAFICS (Groupe de recherche sur lavnement et la formation des institutions cinmatographique et scnique). He is also director of the bilingual journal Cinmas, 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 Universit de Montral. He has published on early cinema and turn-of-the-century popular culture in journals such as 1895 Revue dHistoire du Cinma, Cinema & Cie, and Early Popular Visual Culture.

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

    Cover image: Michael Nicholson/CorbisCover design: www.simonlevyassociates.co.uk

    A Companion to Early Cinema is an authoritative reference on the field of early cinema. Its 30 peer-reviewed chapters offer cutting-edge research and original perspectives on the major concerns in early cinema studies, and take an ambitious look at ideas and themes that will lead discussions about early cinema into the future.

    Including work by both established and up-and-coming scholars in early cinema, film theory, and film history, this will be the definitive volume on early cinema history for years to come and a must-have reference for all those working in the field.


    a C o m pa n i o n t o

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  • A Companion to Early Cinema

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  • A Companion to Early Cinema

    Edited by

    Andr Gaudreault, Nicolas Dulac, and Santiago Hidalgo

    Assisted by

    Pierre Chemartin

    Editorial Board

    Franois Albera, Jennifer Bean, Paolo Cherchi Usai, Jane M. Gaines, Richard Koszarski, Michle Lagny,

    and Charles Musser

    A John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Publication

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  • This edition first published 2012 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

    Wiley-Blackwell is an imprint of John Wiley & Sons, formed by the merger of Wiley s global Scientific, Technical and Medical business with Blackwell Publishing.

    Registered Office John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, UK

    Editorial Offices 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148-5020, USA 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, UK

    For details of our global editorial offices, for customer services, and for information about how toapplyforpermission to reuse the copyright material in this book please see our website at www.wiley.com/wiley-blackwell .

    The right of Andr Gaudreault, Nicolas Dulac, and Santiago Hidalgo to be identified as the authors of theeditorial material in this work has been asserted in accordance with the UK Copyright, Designs andPatentsAct 1988.

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted by the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, without the prior permission of the publisher.

    Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may notbeavailable in electronic books.

    Designations used by companies to distinguish their products are often claimed as trademarks. All brand names and product names used in this book are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks oftheir respective owners. The publisher is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold on the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. Ifprofessional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should besought.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    A companion to early cinema / edited by Andr Gaudreault, Nicolas Dulac, Santiago Hidalgo ; assisted by Pierre Chemartin. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4443-3231-5 (hardback : alk. paper) 1. Motion picturesHistory. 2. Silent filmsHistory and criticism. I. Gaudreault, Andr. II. Dulac, Nicolas. III. Hidalgo, Santiago. PN1994.C584 2012 791.4309dc23


    A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

    Set in 11/13pt Dante by SPi Publisher Services, Pondicherry, India

    1 2012

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  • Contents

    List of Contributors viii Acknowledgments xiv

    Introduction 1 Nicolas Dulac, Andr 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

    Andr 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 Ferie between Stage and Screen 64 Frank Kessler

    5 The Thtrophone, 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 poque Paris: The Case of Georges Wague and Germaine Dulac 99

    Tami Williams

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  • vi Contents

    Part II Early Cinema Discourses 119

    7 First Discourses on Film and the Construction of a Cinematic Episteme 121

    Franois Albera

    8 The Discourses of Art in Early Film, or, Why Not Rancire? 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 Path-Frres: The Aesthetic Consequences of Industrialization 298 Charles O Brien

    Part IV Early Cinema Presentations 315

    17 The European Fairground Cinema: (Re)defi ning and (Re)contextualizing the Cinema of Attractions 317

    Joseph Garncarz

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

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  • Contents vii

    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 Hoff man: 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: Refl exivity 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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  • List of Contributors

    Richard Abel is Robert Altman Collegiate Professor of Film Studies in Screen Arts & Cultures at the University of Michigan. Most recently he published Americanizing the Movies and Movie-Mad Audiences, 19101914 (2006), co-edited Early Cinema and the National (2008), and edited a paperback version of the Encyclopedia of Early Cinema (2010). His current project is Menus for Movie Land: Newspapers and the Emergence of American Film Culture, 19131916 .

    Franois Albera is Professor of History and Aesthetics of Cinema at the Universit de Lausanne (Switzerland). A specialist in Soviet and Russian Cinema Studies, he has written Eisenstein et le constructivisme russe (1989), Albatros; des russes Paris 19191929 (1995), and L avant-garde au cinma (2006), and edited many books, including S. M. Eisenstein: cinmatisme (1980) and Les Formalistes russes et le cinma, potique du film (1995). Albera is also a regular contributor to 1895 Revue d Histoire du Cinma and was for many years its chief editor.

    Ben Brewster has just retired from a position as Assistant Director of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He formerly taught at the University of Kent at Canterbury, and was editor of Screen . He has published on early and silent cinema in such journals as Screen , Cinema Journal , and Film History .

    Paolo Cherchi Usai , Senior Curator of Film at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, is Curator Emeritus of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and co-founder of the Pordenone Silent Film Festival and the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation. He directed the experimental film Passio (2007), adapted from his book The Death of Cinema (2001). His most recent work is Film Curatorship: Archives, Museums, and the Digital Marketplace (2008).

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  • List of Contributors ix

    Nicolas Dulac is Lecturer in Film Studies at the Universit de Montral, where he is also a researcher for GRAFICS (Groupe de recherche sur l avnement etla for-mation des institutions cinmatographique et scnique). He has published on early cinema and turn-of-the-century popular culture in journals such as 1895 Revue dHistoire du Cinma, Cinma & Cie , and Early Popular Visual Culture .

    Thomas Elsaesser is Professor Emeritus of Film and Television Studies at the Universiteit van Amsterdam and, since 2006, Visiting Professor at Yale University. He has authored, edited, and co-edited some twenty volumes. Among his recent books as author are European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood (2005), Terror und Trauma (2007), Film Theory: An Introduction through the Senses (2010, with Malte Hagener), and The Persistence of Hollywood (2011).

    Giovanna Fossati is Head Curator of EYE Film Institute Netherlands. She holds a Ph.D. in Media Studies (Universiteit Utrecht) and teaches in the MA Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image (Universiteit van Amsterdam). Her recent publications include articles in The YouTube Reader (Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vonderau, eds., 2009) and the book From Grain to Pixel: The Archival Life of Film in Transition (2009).

    Kathryn H. Fuller-Seeley is a Professor in the Department of Communication at Georgia State University. A cultural historian of film, radio, and television, she is the author of numerous essays and has written or edited four books, including, as editor, Hollywood in the Neighborhood: Historical Case Studies of Local Moviegoing (2008), and the single-author volumes At the Picture Show: Small Town Audiences and the Creation of Movie Fan Culture (2000) and Celebrate Richmond Theater (2001).

    Jane M. Gaines is a Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University in New York. She has won national awards for two books: Contested Culture: The Image, the Voice, and the Law (1991) and Fire and Desire: Mixed Race Movies in the Silent Era (2001). She has published articles on intellectual property and early piracy as well as documen-tary film and video and co-edited Collecting Visible Evidence (1999). Currently, she is completing Fictioning Histories: Women Film Pioneers , a project for which she received an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences scholar award.

    Joseph Garncarz is currently Privatdozent for Theater, Film, and Television Studies at the Universitt zu Kln, Germany, and has regularly been a visiting professor at several European universities. A social historian of media, his publications include Hollywood in Deutschland: Zur Internationalisierung der Kinokultur 19251990 (2012) and Malose Unterhaltung: Zur Etablierung des Films in Deutschland 18961914 (2010). Many of his articles have been translated from German into English, French, Czech, and Polish.

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  • x List of Contributors

    Andr Gaudreault is a Professor in the Dpartement d histoire de l art et d tudes cinmatographiques at the Universit de Montral. He is the author of From Plato to Lumire: Narration and Monstration in Literature and Cinema (2009) and Film and Attraction (2011), and the editor o...


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