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Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema

Ian Christie



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University of Chicago Press
09 December 2019
The early years of film were dominated by competition between inventors in America and France, especially Thomas Edison and the Lumiere brothers . But while these have generally been considered the foremost pioneers of film, they were not the only crucial figures in its inception. Telling the story of the white-hot years of filmmaking in the 1890s, Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema seeks to restore Robert Paul, Britain's most important early innovator in film, to his rightful place.

From improving upon Edison's Kinetoscope to cocreating the first movie camera in Britain to building England's first film studio and launching the country's motion-picture industry, Paul played a key part in the history of cinema worldwide. It's not only Paul's story, however, that historian Ian Christie tells here. Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema also details the race among inventors to develop lucrative technologies and the jumbled culture of patent-snatching, showmanship, and music halls that prevailed in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Both an in-depth biography and a magnificent look at early cinema and fin-de-siecle Britain, Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema is a first-rate cultural history of a fascinating era of global invention, and the revelation of one of its undervalued contributors.
Imprint:   University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm, 
ISBN:   9780226105635
ISBN 10:   0226105636
Series:   Cinema and Modernity
Pages:   304
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Ian Christie is Anniversary Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck, University of London, and a Fellow of the British Academy. His books include The Art of Film: John Box and Production Design and Michael Powell: International Perspectives on an English Film-maker.

Reviews for Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema

Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema will likely remain the definitive monograph on a fascinating and influential early British film pioneer. Christie provides novel insights into how British cinema in its earliest years documented historical events and lucidly traces the origins of motion picture copyright wars. This is an outstanding study that is certain to be welcomed by film scholars and to transform the study and teaching of the early years of cinema. --Edward Dimendberg, Professor of Humanities, University of California, Irvine

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