Encyclopedia of Early Cinema
Taylor & Francis, Aug 1, 2004 - Performing Arts - 704 pages
This encyclopedia presents a wealth of information on early cinema history, with coverage of the techniques and equipment of film production, profiles of the pioneering directors and producers, analysis of individual films and the rapid growth of distinct film genres, and the emergence of something the world had never seen before - the movie star.
A perfect companion for any student of early cinema and film studies.
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Encyclopedia of early cinemaUser Review - Book Verdict
For the purposes of this work, "early" cinema is defined as the period from the mid-1890s to the 1910s, although some entries cover earlier and later years. The scope is international, with some attention being paid--however briefly--to the development of cinema throughout the world, including the African colonies of the great powers. Editor Abel (film studies, Univ. of Michigan) presents nearly 1000 alphabetically arranged entries written by experts from the United States and Europe; a useful thematic index draws similar topics and concepts together, among them "Cultural Contexts" (e.g., advertising, modes of reception, world's fairs), audiences/spectatorship, "Social Contexts" (e.g., imperialism, race), technology, developments in film style, and the topic with the largest number of entries, key figures of the various national cinemas (e.g., Sarah Bernhardt). It is the latter category that may be the most problematic. While there is admirable breadth (numerous people who are all but forgotten today), most of the entries are so short as to be mentions, and some significant figures are omitted altogether. Bottom Line Like many ambitious works, this one perhaps tries to cover too much. Numerous topics, e.g., moving picture fiction and World War I, are material for entire books. Given these caveats, however, Abel and his large team have produced a considerable and distinctive contribution to an often little-known period of film history. Recommended for larger cinema collections.--Roy Liebman, formerly with California State Univ., Los Angeles